This year’s Tatsushige no Kai (Nō actor Udaka Tatsushige’s annual self-produced performance) will feature the nō Chikubushima in the nyotai variant. The performance will take place on July 11th 2021 at the Kongō Noh Theatre in Kyoto and will be simultaneously streamed online for those who will not be able to attend in person.
In the standard version of the play Chikubushima (synopsis) a dragon god appears in the second act, accompanied by the goddess of music Benzaiten. However, in the nyotai (female body) version of the same play, the roles are inverted, and the main character in the second half is Benzaiten. Likewise, in the first act Benzaiten in the form of a woman is the main character, while the accompanying character is the Dragon God in the form of an old man.
This version of the play is particularly consistent with the topic of the play, in which Imperial envoys sent to worship at Chikubushima island (on Biwa lake, close to Kyoto) are surprised that women, too, are allowed on such sacred ground. It is then explained that women may worship here because the shrine on the island is also dedicated to Benzaiten (Sarasvati), who appears in the form of a woman. Benzaiten is also thought to be a manifestation of Buddha.
Another important feature of this year’s Tatsushige no Kai is the participation of Hatano Yoshiko, a female nō actor in the Kongō school, performing the special dance excerpt from the play Semimaru, in which Princess Sakagami wanders the mountains to the East of Kyoto to find her brother, who now lives in the wilderness after being exiled from court because of his blindness.
Finally, part of this even’s revenues will be donated to Seki Semimaru Shrine to contribute for the reconstructions of its buildings.
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