About us

The International Noh Institute(国際能楽研究会)offers training in Noh chant (utai), dance and mimetic movement (shimai) with master-actors Udaka Tatsushige and Udaka Norishige, and noh mask carving with Udaka Keiko. We offer a chant/dance summer intensive training program (July-August) as well as chant/dance, and mask carving training throughout the year.

INI was founded in 1986 by Udaka Michishige, master-actor of the Kongo School and master noh mask carver, in response to the urging of Michishige’s international students and participants of intensive courses. Since then, Michishige has taught students from all walks of life: actors, dancers, designers, mask makers, musicians, psychologists and scholars, from all over the world through INI programs. Currently, Michishige is guiding the Noh studies of students in and from Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Thailand, Spain, and the United States. Michishige has trained three foreigners licensed as Noh instructors (shihan), Rebecca Teele Ogamo (the first foreigner to become a Noh Association member), John McAteer, and Monique Arnaud. They teach and promote Noh through INI as they also continue with their own training.

The voice and movement of noh and the unique world encompassing spirits of ladies and warriors, gods, goddesses, plants, and demons are introduced through the study of the plays constituting the traditional repertory of noh. Lessons emphasize traditional values, including the language and manners that express the relationships between master and student and between fellow students, values that constitute the discipline of Noh. All students, amateur or professional, are taught with the same exacting discipline. In addition to offering on-going Noh training and support for students – training and support sensitive to individual students’ needs – INI offers information on all aspects of Noh to enhance understanding and accessibility.

Udaka Tatsushige (Main Instructor)

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Born in Kyoto, December 21, 1981 Udaka Tatsushige was trained under the 26th head of the Kongo school, Kongō Hisanori, and his father, Udaka Michishige. He started his career as a child actor when he was three years old. Besides his career on stage, he has extensive teaching experience in nō, and has performed and given workshops and lecture-demonstrations not only in Japan, but also in South Korea, France, and the U.S. over the past decade.He is now based in Kyoto.

Diego Pellecchia (Course Coordinator – Kyoto)

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Diego Pellecchia started studying Noh in Italy with Monique Arnaud in 2006. In 2012 he has moved to Kyoto where he continues his training with Udaka Michishige. In 2013 he took the shite role in the full Noh Kiyotsune, which he performed at the Kongō Nōgakudō in Kyoto, and is now on the track to obtain his shihan (instructor) license. Diego holds a PhD in Drama from Royal Holloway, University of London, and has published widely on Noh theatre and its reception outside Japan. He is Associate Professor at Kyoto Sangyo University, Faculty of Cultural Studies. Follow his personal blog on Noh here.

Rebecca Teele Ogamo (Supervisor – Kyoto)

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Rebecca Teele Ogamo started training in Noh and mask carving with Udaka Michishige in 1972. She received her Kongō-ryū shihan (certified instructor) license in 1980 and became the first non-Japanese member of the Noh Performers’ Association in 1996. She has taken the shite role in eight Noh beginning with Hagoromo in 1976 and most recently Yuki in 2010. She has presented workshops, demonstrations, and lectures in the USA, Brazil, and New Zealand, assisting with the production there of The Dazzling Night, by Rachel McAlpine and directed by INI member John Davies. She is particularly committed to creating Noh masks for women performers. In 2003 she was awarded the Kyoto Prefecture Akebono Prize for contributions by women to the prefecture.

Monique Arnaud (Course Coordinator – Europe)

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Monique Arnaud has been studying Noh with Udaka Michishige since 1984. She received  the Kongō-ryū shihan (certified instructor) license in 1991. She has taken the shite role in several full Noh plays: in 2010 she performed Makiginu, while in 2013 she took the tsure role in Kiyotsune. In 1998 she has opened the Italian Branch of the INI in Milan, teaching Noh chant and dance following the Kongō School tradition. Monique is associate professor at IUAV University of Venice, where she directs student productions under the influence of Noh principles since 2008. She also continues her work as opera director in Italy, Japan and Spain. Monique is the only licensed Noh instructor resident in Europe, and teaches Noh chant and dance in Milan.

Cristina Picelli (Member – Italy)

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Cristina Picelli started to train in Noh with Monique Arnaud in 1999. Since 2007 she visits Kyoto periodically in order to train with Udaka Michishige. In June 2013 she has been the first italian woman to perform a maibayashi (dance and music excerpt of a Noh play) on a Noh stage in Japan. She has mastered a number of shimai and has also served in the ji-utai chorus. In Italy, She organizes workshops, demonstrations, lectures and lessons for the Italian branch of the INI in Milan. Cristina graduated in Art History and Criticism with a thesis that analyses Udaka Michishige’s shinsaku-noh (new Noh) Genshigumo. Her dream is to build a full Noh stage in Italy.

Lee Stothers (Member – Canada)

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Dr. Lee Stothers began training in noh with Udaka Michishige in 1986. She  received her Ph.D. in Asian Studies from the University of British Columbia, where she also taught classical Japanese, and pre-modern Japanese literature. After graduation she received numerous grants to develop segments of her contemporary noh play, culminating in live performances of “Tama: Black & White Dragon,” “Blue Dragon” and “Equinox: A Video Noh.” Upon her return to Kyoto in 2007 for Udaka Michishige’s 60th birthday recital, Lee performed with INI members her noh play, The Fisherman’s Wife, one of a cycle of five noh-inspired screenplays, Bridges (still in progress). During the summer of 2012 she hosted the 1st INI Summer Intensive Course in Vancouver, a two-week series of workshops including mask-carving, shimai, and utai conducted by Udaka-sensei on an outdoor Noh stage in North Vancouver.

Angela Mayumi Nagai (Member – Brazil)

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Angela Mayumi Nagai, dancer and researcher, started her training in shimai and utai with Udaka Michishige as a Japan Foundation Fellow in 1997 and became instructor of basic Noh techniques with the INI in 2003. In 2012 she received her PhD in Arts from the State University of Campinas. She is a member of CEO (Center for Oriental Studies), Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUC-SP). She is a regular teacher of body techniques for actors in Campinas as well as being an active member of the Brazilian Association of Nohgaku (BAN), since 2012. The BAN was started by 21 practitioners of Noh chant, dance and music who live in Brazil, including Japanese immigrants and Brazilians. BAN has been presenting performances since 2009 and promotes courses in Noh dance, chant and music for professionals and amateurs, since 2014, in the city of São Paulo.