Category Archives: Events

Noh photography exhibition in Osaka

locandina.jpgItalian photographer Fabio Massimo Fioravanti is exhibiting his works at the Italian Culture Institute – Osaka (see map below). The exhibition, entitled like his 2014 book, La Via del Noh (The Way of Noh) displays a variety of photographs, providing rare insights into the onstage and off-stage life of noh actors. On this occasion, Fioravanti, who has been photographing noh since the 1980s,  and has a close connection with the Kongo school and with actor Udaka Michishige, has printed his works on Japanese awagami paper, produced exclusively with natural fibers, hence providing a more ‘natural’ look to the photographs.


Fabio Massimo Fioravanti – La via del Noh 能への道

October 27th – November 9th 2017

Italian Culture Institute – Nakanoshima Festival Tower. 〒530-0005 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Kita Ward, Nakanoshima, 2 Chome−3−18

INI – Summer Intensive Program 2017

The INI – International Noh Institute is now accepting applications for its 2017 Summer Intensive Program. Participants will take part in an intensive training period, during which they will study Noh chant and dance at the INI headquarters in Kyoto with Kongō school Noh actors Udaka Michishige, Udaka Tatsushige and Udaka Norishige. In addition, they will be able to observe the rehearsal and to attend the Udaka Seiran Noh performance. During the program, participants will learn about various aspects of noh, including masks and costumes. The program is coordinated by Dr Diego Pellecchia (Kyoto Sangyo University). Application deadline: May, 1st 2017.

Program highlights:

  • Train intensively in noh chant and dance, following the traditional methods of the Kongō school.
  • Practice in a small group at the okeikoba, private training space of a noh master, for an immersive experience.
  • Observe the rehearsals of a professional noh performance.
  • Watch two noh performances: at a Buddhist temple (free of charge) and at the Kongo Noh theatre (included in the participation fee)
  • Experience living in Kyoto, the heart of Japanese traditional culture.


Requirements: Anyone is welcome to join – no previous knowledge of Noh is required. Lessons are given in English and/or Japanese. Past year program attendees are entitled to the repeater discount of 10,000JPY, as shown below.

Capacity: 3-5 participants

Place: INI Training Space, Kyoto

Period: September 4 – 14 2017, every day

Fees (in Japanese yen)

Regular 60,000
Repeater 50,000

Fees include:

  • Regular: chant/dance lessons, basic materials (according to their level), Udaka Seiran Noh ticket, INI certification of completion of the introductory course.
  • Repeater: chant/dance lessons, basic materials (according to their level), Udaka Seiran Noh ticket, INI certification of completion of the intermediate course. Audiovisual materials to continue dance and chant practice from home.

Fees do not include:

  • Tabi white split-toe socks (around 700JPY)
  • Kongō-style Noh dance fan (5000JPY).
  • Transportation, accommodation, and any other personal expenses.

Activities calendar: September 2017

Lessons will take place 10:00-15:00 at the INI training space in Iwakura, Kyoto.


How to apply: send us an email at[at] Please attach your C.V. and a brief statement of interest.

Application deadline: May, 1st 2017

*Late applications will be considered only if places are still available. The program will be cancelled if it does not reach the minimum number of participants


On the performance of Sagi at the Seiran Noh 2016

We publish here some thoughts on Udaka Michishige’s performance of Sagi (The Heron), by Rebecca Teele Ogamo.

The Seiran Noh performance of Sagi on September 11th, 2016 celebrating Udaka Michishige’s 70th birthday was one of the plays featured in the Kansai area Noh reviews in the Nohgaku Times. As the critic points out, the story is a demonstration of how a bird, without spirit or mind, shows its gratitude towards the emperor and has no real emotional expression. This being the case, the success or failure of a performance rests on the actor’s skills, refined over time, to portray the sense of purity and innocence of the heron through making the face a vehicle of abstract expression, as a mask is not used, but is performed hitamen, or with the face as a mask, or instead of a mask. The critic was especially impressed by the way that Michishige was able to do this, keeping his face completely devoid of expression. His portrayal of the utter stillness of the bird when it stopped, as though perching without moving had a majestic grace, and the seemingly effortless performance of the unique and extremely difficult dance of the heron, meticulously and without any wasted movement, seemed to reveal to the audience the actual heron on the shore of the pond.



Udaka Michishige as ‘the heron’ in Sagi. Udaka Seiran Noh. Kongō Nōgakudō, 11 September 2016. (Photo: Oka Tetsuya)


I have seen Udaka-sensei in other hitamen roles, but always as in the role of a living person, as in Hachinoki or Mochizuki, or of a ghost manifesting as a living person as in the first half of Atsumori. This was the first time to see him in the role of a non-human creature, relying on completely on focused movement, rather than a mask, to portray the essence of the heron. I was startled when I realized that I was no longer aware of an actor or his face, but felt I was watching a heron as it danced. The critic seemed to confirm this experience. “I wonder what kind of Sagi I will be?” Michishige mused one day after a mask carving class. I think it was the natural result of years of dedicated uncompromising practice.

Whatever our path, challenges are limitless, and the base and foundation on which we pursue them must always be a constant refining of basic skills.

For INI, too, this means a continuing renewal of our commitment to sharing and exploring the traditions of Noh. We grow and gain energy through shared experiences of how we test our limits. Please let us know about your path and progress, and know we support you in your challenges.”

Rebecca Teele Ogamo


Photos from the 2016 Kei’un-kai INI Taikai Gala Recital

Fabio Massimo Fioravanti, who has already collaborated with Udaka Michishige on various projects, including the book La Via del Noh – The way of Noh captured these beautiful moment from our last Taikai Gala Recital at the Kongo Noh Theatre on August 21st.

We would like to congratulate all participants – in particular Monica Alcantar, Lisa Swinbanks and Regina Toon, our INI Summer Program graduates! Well done! See you again soon!

Kei’un-kai INI Gala Recital 2016

Kei’un-kai INI Gala Recital 2016 Celebrating Udaka Michishige’s 70th birthday

Place: Kongō Noh Theatre

Date: 21 August 2016 Time: from 09:00 until 17:00

Entrance Free of Charge

This year’s Kei’un-kai INI Gala Recital (21 August 2016 from 09:00) celebrates the 70th birthday of our teacher and leader, Kongō School Master-Actor Udaka Michishige. In the Sino-Japanese tradition, the 70th birthday is considered a special event, to be celebrated in style. Its name (古稀 koki), derives from a poem by Chinese literate Tufu (Toho, 杜甫, in Japanese): jinsei nanaju korai mare nari (人生七十古来稀なり), meaning that in those days it was rare to reach the age of seventy.

The event features various performances, including two full playsHagoromo and Sesshōsekinyotai variant; two maibayashi dance and chant excerpts with musical accompaniment,  Tomoe and Yamanba; as well as numerous chant and solo dance pieces. See the program below.

This year the INI will be represented by Senior Director Rebecca Teele Ogamo, singing in a rengin excerpt from the noh Hanjo, and Junior Director Diego Pellecchia, performing the shimai solo dance excerpt from the play Kurama Tengu. Pellecchia will also sing in various choruses for other performances. INI Summer Intensive Program 2016 participants Monica Alcantar, Regina Toon, and Lisa Swinbanks will also perform shimai dances.

Kei’un-kai INI Gala Recital 21st August 2016
Kongo Noh Theatre, Kyoto

Kami-uta (recitation of the ritual performance Okina)
Su-utai (solo chant of a full play): Shunkan
Rengin (chant excerpt): Hashi-Benkei
Shimai (dance excerpt with chant): Oimatsu; Yuya; Shōjō (performed by the INI 2016 Summer Program Participants)
Shimai: Atsumori (kuse); Kokaji (kiri); Tsurukame; Tsunemasa; Chikubushima; Yuki; Ashikari; Koma no Dan; Makura-jidō.
Maibayashi (dance excerpt with chant and music): Tomoe (Itō Yūki)
Bangai shimai (performed by professional actors): Tama no dan (Udaka Norishige); Tanikō (Udaka Tatsushige)
Noh: Hagoromo (Hirasawa Yumiko)
Maibayashi: Yamamba (Chiba Mariko)
Rengin: Hanjō

Bangai shimai: Kumasaka (Udaka Michishige)
Noh: Sesshōseki – Nyotai (Kurochiku Tokindo)
Shimai: Kurama Tengu; Izutsu; Yorobōshi; Uta-ura (kuse); Himuro; Hanagatami; Kayoi Komachi; Uta-ura (kiri); Aoinoue; Shokun.

Ending time: 17:00

INI Summer Intensive Program 2016

The INI – International Noh Institute is now accepting applications for its 2016 Summer Intensive Program. Participants will join INI members for a 2-week intensive training period, during which they will study Noh chant and dance at the INI headquarters in Kyoto with master-actor of the Kongō school, Udaka Michishige. During their stay, participants will be able to learn various aspects of noh, including masks and costumes.

Lessons follow the traditional methods of the Kongō school, providing participants with the unique chance of frequenting the okeikoba, private training space of a noh master, for an immersive experience.

Participants are also welcome to join the August 21st Kei’unkai-INI Gala Recital, along with Udaka Michishige’s international and Japanese students, on the prestigious stage of the Kongō Noh Theatre, in Kyoto.


Requirements: Anyone is welcome to join – no previous knowledge of Noh is required. Lessons are delivered in English and/or Japanese.

Capacity: 5 participants

Place: INI Headquarters, Kyoto

Period: August 1 – 14 2016

Fees (in Japanese yen)

Regular 60,000
Student 40,000
Recital at the Kongo Noh theatre (optional) 20,000
  • Participants are required to purchase separately the necessary personal items for noh practice: tabi white split-toe socks (around 700yen) and a Kongō-style Noh dance fan (5000yen).
  • Participants are required to arrange for their accommodation.

How to apply: send us an email at[at] Please attach your C.V. and a brief statement of interest.

Read impressions of the INI summer training from participants Sadia Gordon and Dorothee Neff.

Images from past events



Shinonome Noh 2016: Tamura

INI founder Udaka Michishige is a descendant of the Udaka Clan, serving the Matusdaira feudal lords in Matsuyama, Shikoku as Noh actors from 1712 until the beginning of the Meiji period.

In Matsuyama, Michishige has an okeikoba training space, where INI members also train intensively. Regular performance events in Matsuyama include Shinonome Noh and the Matsuyama Shimin Noh. The Shinonome Noh is an annual Noh and Kyogen event taking place at Shinonome Jinja, a shinto shrine located on the hill dominated by Matsuyama Castle. Michishige has collaborated with Shinonome shrine cataloguing and restoring the vast Noh masks and costumes collection.

This year’s Shinonome Noh performance will take place on April 4th (Monday) from 14:00 (gates open at 13:30), and will feature the Kyogen Fujimatsu and the Noh Tamura. INI member Diego Pellecchia will sing in the chorus (in the program he is listed under his Japanese name, 高谷大悟 Takaya Daigo). Tickets: 2000yen.


Tamura tells the founding myth of Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto in the early 9th century. Having defeated a rebellion in the East lands thanks to the divine intervention of the Bodhisattva Kannon, General Sakanoue Tamuramaro became a benefactor of the temple. The first half of the play, set at Kiyomizu temple in spring, is characterised by the images of cherry flowers in full bloom. By contrast, the second half describes the battle between Tamura’s army and the rebels, ending with words of praise for Kannon.


The Second Tatsushige no Kai: Shoki – 20 March 2016

Following last year’s successful performance of the virtuoso Noh Mochizuki, on March 20th 2016 Udaka Tatsushige is going to stage his second independent Noh event. This year he is going to perform the rare play Shōki. Shōki (in Chinese Zhong Kui), a character known in China and in Japan, is characterised by a massive beard, hence the theme of this event, ‘beards’.

The event is going to feature a very special guest: poet Tanikawa Shuntarō, who will read poems from his repertoire, including Hige (‘Beards’). Other performances in the program are the solo chant with drum accompaniment from the noh Sanemori (Udaka Michishige and Kawamura Sōichirō) and the Kyogen Akutaro (Shigeyama Yoshinobu), all of which are stories about bearded characters.

For more information about the program and to reserve a seat please visit Tatsushige’s site (in English).

Shōki (also romanized as Syouki) is a legendary character who lived in China during the Tang dynasty (618-907). Having failed the legendarily difficult admission exam to become a civil servant, he committed suicide. When Emperor Genso was informed of these facts, he dressed Shōki’s dead body in green court garb, bestowing official rank, and provided for a generous burial service. Before long the spirit of Shōki, now in the underworld, regretted having killed himself, and swore to protect the country. He then became a household deity with a fierce aspect, driving away evil spirits and curing illness. In Japan Shōki can be still seen drawn on paper amulets against smallpox, as a doll given to children when they turn five, or as a guardian figure on the roofs of old houses.


‘Shoki, the demon queller’ by Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

Udaka 2015 Independence Day, and INI Gala Recital 2016

In the early hours of September 13th 2015 Udaka Michishige continued with putting the finishing touches on the Deigan mask he would use later that day in his performance of Teika, the center piece of the 16th Seirannoh-no-kai at the Kongo Noh Theatre: adding more color, polishing, pausing to check the effect once again. This was the latest effort in the search for the essence of the expression of the Deigan mask, in this case for the essence that would most effectively portrayal his interpretation of the spirit of Princess Shokushi Naishinno. As always the process was continuing until the last possible moment.

His thoughts at this time as he kept on with this search included welcoming the 45th observance of his independence as a Noh actor and also his wishes for INI members. “Independence” can mean embarking on a lonely road and uncompromising battle of seeking the essence of your art. Michishige continues to be his own harshest critic and taskmaster, but he also treasures and finds strength in fellow travellers on the path. He hopes that you, too, as his fellow travellers are keeping to your path of seeking the highest essence in your endeavours.

Michishige also looks forward to sharing in training and performing Noh with as many of you as possible in the Gala Noh Recital at the Kongo Noh Theatre on August 21, 2016. More details will be coming soon, but please put the date down on your calendar and get in touch with us with any questions. As always at INI will do what we can to facilitate your participation.

In closing, the performance of Teika was very well received. Here are a few photos from the performance though they are hardly a substitute for the experience of the performance itself.

Rebecca Teele Ogamo

31st Matsuyama Shimin Noh 2015 – Fujito

On November 3rd 2015 Udaka Michishige will perform the Noh FujitoUdaka Tatsushige, his elder son, will perform the maibayashi (chant and dance excerpt with instrumental dance) from the Noh Awajiwhile his younger brother Norishige will perform the shimai Kiyotsune.

In Fujito the spirit of the young fisherman who revealed to Sasaki no Moritsuna the shallows at the straits of Fujito so that he is able to take the enemy by surprise, appears and acts out how he was killed by Moritsuna, his body left to sink at the straits to ensure that the secret would not be revealed to anyone else. The Buddhist service Moritsuna offers on his behalf enables the spirit to gain enlightenment.

From 10:00 to 14:30 students of Udaka Michishige will perform dance and chant excerpts. INI members will also participate with the following shimai: Diego Pellecchia (高谷大悟): Kamo, Elaine Czech: MiwaThe performance of KIyotsuneAwaji, and Fujito will begin at 15:00.


31st Matsuyama Shimin-Noh performance

3 November 2015 Matsuyama (Ehime prefecture) Dogo Yamatoya Nohgakudo 10:00 – 17:00

Part I (10:00 – 14:30)
Student recital of chant and dance – free of charge

Part II (15:00 – 17:00)

Shimai: Kiyotsune (kuse). Shite: Udaka Norishige

Maibayashi: Awaji. Shite: Udaka Tatsushige
Noh: Fujito. Shite: Udaka Michishige

Tickets: General Admission ¥5,500   Advance Sale: ¥5,000
Student Admission ¥1,500

For questions and reservations contact us.

KYOTO INI Main Offices, Training Center 111 Satta-cho, Kami-takano, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-0047 Fax: +81 (075) 701-1058 Email: (at)