Meguro City International Exchange Forum "Getting to Know Noh"

  • Thu 8 March 2012 12:00 ~ / Attendees: 41 (21 other nationals)
  • Lecturers: Mr. Yoshinobu KANZE, Mr. Yaemon YAMASHINA, Mr. Shigehiko FUJINAMI
  • Commentary and Interpretation by Mr. Akihiko ISHIHARA

Noh gives an impression that it is rather difficult to get into, even for Japanese people. Since this was the first time for us to have the chance to learn how to experience and appreciate Noh, the programme was well received. Gathering at the Hagi- no-ma in Meguro City Office, we introduced ourselves and had lunch together. After this time to get to know each other we went on to the Kanze Noh Theatre in Shibuya.

There were three performers on the stage and showed us Shimai (a Noh dance performance in plain costume) after explaining some basic points for better understanding. The programme was a scene from Yuya- dance of a young girl named Yuya, who was connected with the Heike clan, under a cherry tree in Kiyomizu Temple and a scene from Kurama Tengu- Tengu (a long-nosed goblin) teaching Ushiwakamaru (childhood name of Yoshitsune, a general of the Genji clan) military arts. We were totally enchanted by the elegant and heroic dances. Following the performances, Mr. Yamashina explained Noh masks and costumes and led us all in practicing a Utai (Noh chant) from a text of Oimatsu (Old Pine Tree).

Next, we went up to a practice room on the second floor and changing to white socks, we went up on a stage and practiced Noh walk without lifting our heels. They even let us do Noh walk with a mask. It was a great experience for all of us and hard to express how much we enjoyed in words. At the end we had a picture taken and the event finished with great satisfaction.

We would like to express hearty thanks to the people of Kanze Noh Theatre and Mr. Ishihara, who translated such professional terms of Noh and helped our understanding. Also, we thank the staff of Japanese language class for helping many friendship members and everyone who made the day very successful.

written by Jinichiro Eto and translated by Nobuko Matsushita

Je pense parler au nom de tous en disant que pouvoir découvrir le monde du Nô a été un grand honneur. Pour ma part, j'ai été enchantée par l'accueil que nous avons reçu et la gentillesse des personnes qui nous ont fait partager cette partie de la culture japonaise. J'ai beaucoup apprécié le fait d'expérimenter en personne la marche spécifique du Nô ainsi que le fait d'essayer un masque. Alors un grand merci aux personnes du théâtre, ainsi qu'à l'Association Unesco de Meguro et aux gens qui en font partie. Sans vous, je n'aurais pas eu ces souvenirs qui resteront avec moi, même quand je serai de retour en France. Le 8 mars 2012 a été un vrai bonheur.

- written by Ms. Magali Wasiak from France

Last week's workshop at the Kanze Noh Theatre was a rare privilege indeed! Feeling the cedar floorboards under our feet, trying out the unique, stylised walk, and wearing the beautiful masks... it was like entering another world. We are deeply grateful to the Artists who so generously performed, lectured and instructed us in their Art. And of course to all at UNESCO for giving us this precious opportunity.

- written by Ms. Tania Coke from UK
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