Here are a few pictures of the 30th Matsuyama Shimin Noh recital in Matsuyama (Ehime pref.). Every year on November 3rd Kei’un-kai and INI members perform shimai (dance) and utai (chant) excerpts in a recital that takes place before a full Noh performance starring Udaka Michishige or, as in this year’s case, his sons Udaka Tatsushige and Udaka Norishige. The Udaka family has its roots in Matsuyama, where its ancestors were Noh performers who served the Matsudaira lords at Matsuyama Castle until the end of the Edo period, hence the deep connection between the current Udaka family, based in Kyoto, and the city of Matsuyama.
This year’s recital took place at the Dogo Yamatoya Honten, a beautiful ryokan (traditional hotel). The owner of this establishment is a fan of Noh, and the hotel rooms and facilities have Noh-sounding names. On the fourth floor there is an outdoor Noh stage where performances can be watched both from the usual front and side floors, and from porch-like structures at the back of both sides, just like the stages built within the premises of aristocratic mansions or temples. We were blessed by a deep blue sky and crisp autumn air, and the event, culminating with the performances of Takasago maibayashi by Udaka Norishige and Midare by Udaka Tatsushige, went very well.
Elaine Czech and I (Diego Pellecchia) arrived early in the morning on a night bus (a good way to save some money on transportation/accommodation fees) and enjoyed a hot bath at Dogo Onsen, one of the most famous Onsen in Japan, which has also served as model for Miyazaki Hayao’s Spirited Away. Matsuyama is famous for various literary figures and fictional characters who populated it, such as Natsume Sōseki’s Bocchan. Preparations for the performance started early, with more than 30 participants changing into traditional clothes (montsuki/kimono and hakama), getting ready to go on stage. Visitors and audience members could also admire some of Udaka MIchishige’s masks on display in the lobby (see photos below) and watch the recital before the main event, the performances of Takasago and Midare in the afternoon. Elaine has taken pictures from of the day, which we are sharing here. Enjoy and we hope to see you there next time!