Celebrating 400 Years Of Spanish-Japanese Performing Arts : Know About The Noh Theatre

Sep 12, 2021 (0) comment

Noh Theatre

Japanese performing arts are technically complex and pretty varied theatre and dance arts of Japan. Bunraku, Kabuki, Noh theatre, or dance drama are the most popular ones. Commemorating 400 years of Spanish-Japenese performing arts, let us explore one of the famous Japanese performing art forms, known as Noh.

The introduction to the Noh theatre:

Noh is originated from the word ‘No,’ which means “talent” or “skill” in the Sino-Japanese dictionary. Noh is an effective form of Japanese dance-drama with a classical touch that has been prevailing and performed since the 14th century. The theatre, which functions even today, was developed by Kan’ami and his son Zeami.

Noh Theatre

The basic storyline of the performance would most often be about a person with supernatural power being transformed into a human, the protagonist narrating a story through traditional literature. Noh comprises costumes, masks, and several props that the professional actors in the performance most probably use. In addition, emotions are beautifully depicted through their dance forms, and veneers are used to show the characters such as deities, ghosts, women, demons, etc.

History and improvement of Noh:

Noh Theatre

Sangaku is said to be one of the oldest predecessors of the Noh. The Noh art form was introduced in the 8th century from China to Japan.
During the Muromachi period from 1336 to 1573, Kan’ami Kiyotsuga and his son Zeami Motokiyo renovated the ideas of traditional Noh and came up with other modern performances.

Training, roles, and performers:

One who wanted to pursue acting started to get training at a very early age, mainly at three.
Zeami introduced nine levels to pursue acting from Noh so that the kids can pursue performing at each level or stage right from their childhood. In 2012, five existent schools were built from Noh, namely Kanze, Hosho, Komparu, Kongo, and Kita, for people who play the protagonist’s character, known as ‘shite.’. Each specific family has been looking after school, which is said to be more precious and significant.
Four significant categories come under the roles of Noh. They are Shite, Kyogen, Waki, and Hayashi.

Noh Theatre

● Shite: Shite refers to the main character of the performance, basically a protagonist. A shite is most often a human and, later, a ghost in the plays. Mae-shite is referred to as the first role, and Nochi-shite is referred to as the later character.

● Kyogen: Kyogen performs the interludes while the play is going on. They also perform in different plays between single Noh plays.

Noh Theatre

● Waki: Waki is the counterpart to the protagonist, known as Shite.

● Hayashi: Hayashi refers to the group of instrumentalists who play the four instruments such as stick-drum, shoulder-drum, flute, and hip-drum in the Noh theatre.

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