Author Archives: inikyoto

Call for participants – INI Kyoto Summer Intensive 2021

The INI – International Noh Institute is now accepting applications for its 2021 Summer Intensive Program. Participants will study noh dance and chant according to the Kongo school tradition, and learn about various aspects of noh performance, including masks and costumes. The training period will culminate with the participation in a recital at the Kongo Noh Theatre.

Program highlights

  • Train intensively in noh dance and chant. Practice in a small group for an immersive experience.
  • Perform with professional actors.
  • Watch noh performances on traditional stages.
  • Visit noh-related historical locations.
  • Experience living in the ancient capital, Kyoto.

Details

  • Training period : August 9-22, 2021
  • Recital: August 22nd
  • Fees: Regular ¥ 70,000 Repeater ¥ 60,000 INI member ¥50,000
  • Capacity: 8 participants

Fees include : Dance/chant lessons, materials, Kongo school fan, participation in the August 22nd recital, and a certificate of completion. Fees do not include: White tabi (split-toe socks – around ¥700- ¥1000/pair) Transportation, accommodation, and any other personal expenses.

Instructors: Udaka Tatsushige, Udaka Norishige (Kongo school actors), Udaka Keiko (noh mask carver) 

Director: Diego Pellecchia (Kyoto Sangyo University)

How to apply: Send an email to ini.kyoto[at]gmail.com Please attach your C.V. and a brief statement of interest. We are aware that traveling may be difficult during the current pandemic. Feel free to contact us for more information about the program.

Application deadline: June, 1st 2021

Images from past events

Full high-quality videos of three nō plays, with English and Japanese subtitles

This introduction to Noh, part of an initiative to make traditional arts accessible during the pandemic, offers videos of three Noh performances related to famous historical sites in Kyoto: ·      Kiyomizu Temple, where KAGETSU takes place·      Kifune Shrine and Seimei Shrine which relate to KANAWA·    Awata Shrine and other shrines related to swordsmiths and the craft of sword making in the Awataguchi area, which relate to KOKAJI Hakutō (a powerful variation of the standard Noh KOKAJI)

Video link URL

Project description:

The Culture & Arts Profitability Enhancement Project is a project of the Japanese Agency of Cultural Affairs, in cooperation with Yamaha Corporation, to enhance the profitability of traditional arts and organizations experiencing a sharp decline in revenue due to COVID-19 through introducing new initiatives.

Features:

Each video starts with an introduction to the Kongō Noh Theatre by the Head of the Kongo School, Kongō Hisanori. An introduction to stage properties used in the Noh follows, with an actor explaining and demonstrating the use of the props and stage movement where appropriate. Another actor then narrates the history of each site accompanied by scenes of the locations. This introduction also includes a synopsis of the noh with scenes from the performance. The Head of the School then introduces the masks used in each noh. His introductions to the masks include Muromachi and Edo period masks and examples of mask types for comparison. (For example: two Kasshiki masks when introducing, KAGETSU; two Deigan masks in introducing KANAWA, and two Tobide masks in introducing KOKAJI Hakutō).

Details and price:

KAGETSU: 1:03:24

KANAWA:  1:22:08

KOKAJI Hakutō: 1:14:33

Audio: Japanese

Subtitles: English and Japanese

The videos are available for ¥2,160 for each play or ¥5,400 for the set of three plays.

These videos are available through the end of March 2021 and can be viewed for one month from the date of purchase. 

Play synopses:

KAGETSU, a young acolyte reunited with his father one spring day at Kiyomizu Temple, a scene one could imagine glimpsing among the cherry blossoms of the The Kiyomizu Temple Pilgrimage Mandala painted in the Warring States period (1467 – 1615).

KANAWA, what results when a woman, cast off by her husband for a new wife, prays for retribution in this lifetime rather than love and harmony at Kifune Shrine, (and her husband seeks the aid of diviner Abe no Seimei).

KOKAJI Hakutō, swordsmith Munechika, through the aid of the God of Inari appearing as an ancient and powerful white fox, is able to fulfill the dream oracle of the Emperor Ichijo regarding a sword.

[Video] Noh: “Shōjō” Featuring actors of the Kongō School of Noh

The video of Udaka Tatsushige’s full performance of the nō play Shōjō with English and Italian subtitles is now available online.

Tatsushige-sensei is the main instructor for the INI program, and Shōjō is one of the pieces that students learn during our Summer Intensive Training program. We are very much looking forward to resuming the program as soon as possible. In the meantime, please enjoy this video!

The performance was produced by Udaka Tatsushige and Udaka Norishige, and was filmed in the fall of 2020 at the Kongō Noh Theatre in Kyoto. Rebecca Teele Ogamo and Diego Pellecchia translated and curated the subtitles in English and Italian. We hope to be able to add subtitles in other languages soon. Play summary and credits below the video.

Online Lecture/Demonstration on Noh Theatre at the 2021 Virtual House of Voices

INI Instructor Udaka Tatsushige-sensei will give an online lecture/demonstration on noh theatre at the 2021 VIRTUAL HOUSE OF VOICES event organized by the California Institute of the Arts – School of Theatre. I paste the event information below.

Booking is required but participating is free of charge!

Please join us for this CalArts School of Theater initiative, conceived by Rafael Lopez-Barrantes, in which we explore three ancestral voice practices to create a dialogue between practitioners, students, faculty, artists, scholars, researchers, and scientists.The goal is to experience different cultural forms of the voice and to promote further dialogue between those interested in all aspects of human vocal expression.  This year, the event will be conducted online via ZOOM meeting, following CalArts’ safety guidance due to the pandemic.

Event details

Friday, January 22nd  (Los Angeles Time) 3 PM – 4:30 PM //
Saturday, January 23rd (Japan Time) 8 AM – 9:30 AM //
Tatsushige Udaka // Japanese Noh Theatre Tradition
RSVP at: https://calartshouseofvoices.com/

Video – The World of Noh

Watch “The World of Noh,” a video featuring excerpts from the Noh Tsunemasa (shite: Udaka Tatsushige) as well as interviews with actors and stage assistants. You can also catch a glimpse of the backstage preparations for the performance, in particular the costuming of the main actor. The video was filmed in October 2020 and is produced by Udaka Tatsushige and Haruna.

On the Life of Udaka Michishige: September 18, 1947~March 28, 2020

Udaka Michishige, master actor of the Kongō School of Noh, and noh mask carver, passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by his family, on March 28, 2020, after living with a very aggressive type of lymphoma for over a year.

Born in Kyoto on September 18, 1947, Michishige entered the Kongō School as a live-in apprentice in 1960 at the suggestion of his father at the age of 13. The word around the theater at the time was that there were great expectations for the new member of the family who was said to be a little unusual and to like English.

Through the influence of his great-grandfather, Kawada Shoryō, a Tosa, Shikoku, clan samurai artist and scholar instrumental in debriefing John Manjiro, the castaway rescued with his comrades by a whaling vessel, returning many years later, and of his father, also an artist and historian, Michishige-sensei was always naturally curious about differing perspectives and drawn to them.

Photo: Fabio Massimo Fioravanti

  On becoming independent in 1970, he soon had international, as well as Japanese, students. A passion for making masks lead to the formation of the Men no Kai carving group in 1978. Members, attracted to his excitement in sharing the world behind the mask as well as the craft itself, followed him in seeking the goal of creating masks for use on stage.

  Michishige also had a strong conviction from an early age of the importance of the jiutai, the chorus in noh, and the support and production groups Udaka Koenkai formed in 1983, and Noh-o-tanoshimu kai started in 1984, presented opportunities for him to choose challenging plays and to highlight the importance of the chorus leader, at times taking this role rather the main role. In consideration of his activities and excellence in all aspects of noh, he was designated by the government as a representative of a National Intangible Cultural Asset in 1991.

   Always challenging himself and the world of noh, Michishige never turned away a student, regardless of nationality or gender, convinced that Noh had a transformative and evocative power that anyone could respond to and embody themselves through training. His idea of a “Noh Renaissance” encompassed this embrace of a wide range of students and an approach to training that insisted on the development of concentration and intention through meditation, voice and body through exercises he designed to complement each person’s personal instrument, their body.

  Through the noh he authored he sought to reveal how close to us the veil between past and present always is. In 2001 he wrote and performed his first original noh play, SHIKI-HOTOTOGISU on the celebrated haiku poet Masaoka Shiki. In the same year he wrote HEIWA NO INORI: GENSHIGUMO, A PRAYER FOR PEACE, for which he took the unusual step of inviting non-performers to take the stage in the role of spirits in a memorial requiem for those caught up in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The play was first performed in Kyoto in 2003. RYŌMA, focusing on Sakamoto Ryōma, one of the architects of the Meiji restoration and influenced by Kawada Shoryō, was performed in 2003 at the Kōchi Museum to celebrate its 10th anniversary, accompanied an exhibition of Michishige’s great-grandfather’s paintings.

  In 2019 Michishige was chosen as the 29th recipient of Hosei University’s Saika Prize, awarded each year since 1988 to a person involved in noh for their lifetime achievements in supporting and transmitting noh. While in the hospital, in response to receiving this honor, he wrote about his hopes and dreams for continuing to make noh more readily accessible on an international scale through training in Japan. He also wrote both a noh and a kyogen play during the early days of his hospitalization.

  The magnitude of what he shared so generously, exacting the same discipline and enthusiasm from others as he demanded of himself, is too large to comprehend as yet. He is sorely missed, even as we understand his was a life well lived, and his passing a journey he embarked on with the preparation and thought for others with which he approached every challenge. Members of INI, cherishing the gift each has received, will carry on his legacy.

  Udaka Michishige is survived by his wife, Mariko, and their three children: noh actors Udaka Tatsushige and Norishige, and mask maker Udaka Keiko.

Announcing, with regret, the passing of Udaka Michishige-Sensei

On March 27th, 2020, Udaka Michishige-Sensei passed away quietly at home surrounded by his family. He had been battling cancer for over a year.

While we are greatly saddened to have to give you this news, we are also relieved that Michishige-Sensei is now free of the trials of his illness, and that he was able to spend his last days at home with his family as he wished.

Michishige-Sensei has left to continue his journey, leaving us to cherish our memories of what we have learned, the gifts we received, and to nurture and pass on the seeds of his passion for noh which he shared with us all so generously. He lives on in each of us.

Please enjoy a glass of wine and sing some lines of utai in his memory, and in celebration of a life well-lived.

On behalf of INI, Kyoto, Rebecca Teele-Ogamo

Cancelled: Call for participants – INI Kyoto Summer Intensive 2020

Dear Applicants to the INI Kyoto Summer Intensive 2020

I regret to inform you that because of the recent outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) the 2020 Summer Intensive course has been cancelled.

The whole world is being affected by the outbreak, and Japan is no exception. Though we may be experiencing a slower increase in the number of infections as opposed to other countries, it has become clear that holding our intensive course and recital this summer would be unrealistic. 

On behalf of our main instructor, Udaka Tatsushige, I would like to thank you all for sending your applications and statements of interest. Though we do not have a definite plan for 2021, we are committed to re-schedule the intensive program when possible. It would be wonderful to see you all then. 

All best wishes and please do take care during this difficult time.

Diego Pellecchia (Course Coordinator)


The INI – International Noh Institute is now accepting applications for its 2020 Summer Intensive Program. Participants will study noh dance and chant according to the Kongo school tradition, and learn about various aspects of noh performance, including masks and costumes. The training period will culminate with the participation in a recital at the Kongo Noh Theatre.

Program highlights

  • Train intensively in noh dance and chant. Practice in a small group for an immersive experience.
  • Perform with professional actors.
  • Watch noh performances on traditional stages.
  • Visit noh-related historical locations.
  • Experience living in the ancient capital, Kyoto.

Details

  • Training period : August 10-22, 2020
  • Recital: August 23rd
  • Fees: Regular ¥ 70,000 Repeater ¥ 60,000 INI member ¥50,000
  • Capacity: 8 participants

Fees include : Dance/chant lessons, materials, Kongo school fan, participation in the August 23rd recital, and a certificate of completion. Fees do not include: White tabi (split-toe socks – around ¥700- ¥1000/pair) Transportation, accommodation, and any other personal expense.

Instructors: Udaka Tatsushige, Udaka Norishige (Kongo school actors), Udaka Keiko (noh mask carver) Director: Diego Pellecchia (Kyoto Sangyo University).

How to apply: Send an email to ini.kyoto[at]gmail.com Please attach your C.V. and a brief statement of interest. Application deadline June 1st 2020


Images of previous training programs and recitals

Study Noh theatre’s theory and practice in Venice

Nō theatre classes resume at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, Italy. Monique Arnaud, certified instructor of the Kongō School and INI senior member, will teach nō chant and dance in a series of five meetings organized by Gesshin, a student association led by Luca Domenico Artuso, who also trained with INI in 2018.

For info: gesshincafoscari@gmail.com