Gion Hatanaka ryugin

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The Noh Theater

服部 英二 (Eiji Hattori)

"The Noh, it's the pursuit of the ideal beauty of things."

       The Noh Theater is the legacy of the oldest forms of Japanese theater. It was at first religious celebration, to please the deities and ensure their goodwill for the harvest. It changes through time, with the arrival of Buddhism.

«As might be expected, Barrault [...], was struck by the intimate blending of dance, music, mime, text, chant, which makes of the Noh a total kind of theater. Particularly fascinating, however, is Barrault's sensitivity to the symbolism of the fan and to the inwardness of the Noh experience. "
(Theater East and West: Perspectives toward a Total Theater, PRONKO, p.94)

The most commonly used prop in Noh is the fan, as it is carried by all performers regardless of role.  With an incredible talent of mime, it's almost like performers will really turn the fan into another object.

The Noh Masks: 

In Noh, the main performer always wears a mask while playing. It's like wearing make-up, but some people see in Noh masks something more spiritual "than a prop used to change ones appearance."  Thus, it seems natural that there is a great variety of them. "There were originally about 60 basic types of Noh masks, but today there are well over 200 different kinds in use." 
 If you look well into cultural activities to do during a long journey to Japan, you might be able to find a master that will show you how to carve your own Noh mask.

For example, Ryugin's manager, KOZAKI, carved a beautiful Noh Mask under GENPAKU Kitazawa-sensei's teachingson of professor Nyoi, whom used to be a well known master in the cultural community.

北沢・元白 先生 - GENPAKU Kitazawa-sensei

Pictures: KOZAKI 

- Theater East and West: Perspectives toward a Total Theater, from Leonard Cabell Pronko
- 出会いの風景 or 世界の中の日本文化  服部 英二