Category Archives: Training

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



INI summer training 2015 – introducing Dorothée Neff

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Dorothée Neff

Dorothée Neff is a young member of the Berliner Ensemble, the legendary theatre company founded by Bertolt Brecht in Berlin soon after the end of WWII. Dorothée has spent a month studying Noh with Udaka Michishige and the INI, seeking to expand her knowledge of performance beyond the boundaries of Western theatre. It has been a great pleasure to welcome her and see her develop dance and chant skills in such a short time. Sadia Gordon, whom we introduced in an earlier post, and Dorothée formed a great combo, helping each other as they moved through their first steps in the world of Noh. Below are some reflections she was kind enough to send us. I love the way she describes the INI as an intimate group in which the Noh tradition is transmitted from heart to heart, mind to mind, body to body.

Diego Pellecchia, INI  Junior Director

My first time in Japan, practicing Noh

by Dorothée Neff

 After performing in Robert Wilsons “Faust I & II” at the Berliner Ensemble, I very  much felt the desire to travel to Japan to learn more about Noh Theatre, since I could feel a very strong influence of Japanese culture and theatre on his theatrical work with us actors in Berlin. Before my first lesson at the Okeikoba, Diego Pellecchia introduced me and three of my fellow students to Japanese manners – how we should sit, greet, behave and talk in front of our teacher, Udaka Michishige. I soon realized that Japanese culture and Noh theatre go hand in hand together and I could never do one without being conscious about the other.

 The first day I went to the okeikoba, I entered a room with a wooden stage and a table in the front. It felt as if time passed slower. When entering and leaving the rehearsal room we would first take off our shoes in front of the rehearsal room, enter and kneel in front of Udaka Michishige and our fellow students, bow and thank them for giving us the chance to study with him. In doing so every day, I felt like I was entering a very new and unique place, very different from everything I knew before. In the same breath I felt the power of tradition and heritage and how important it is to have a sense of where one is coming from.


From left to right, Sadia Gordon, Udaka Michishige, Dorothée Neff

 A very special time during my stay in Kyoto at the International Noh Institute was an intensive three day rehearsal period in Matsuyama with Udaka Michishige, Diego Pellecchia and Rebecca Ogamo Teele, during which I had the stage, time and support to practice “Shojo” intensively. Since every movement in Noh Theatre, every gesture is very slow, I felt how important it is to be completely aware and conscious, with all of my body and energy, how important it is to stretch out my body, to fill the room with my energy and spirit. What I enjoyed most was the chanting. First I needed time to grasp the different pitches and sounds when chanting Noh in Japanese, but after Matsuyama, I felt I became more familiar with the sounds and pitches. “Familiar” is definitely a word I would use when describing the INI. It is a very intimate, one-to-one teaching atmosphere, something I had searched for for a very long time, and never found back home, but found when I came to the INI in Kyoto. I only realized after leaving Kyoto how much I missed and longed for “time”, “traditions” and  “familiarity” as in a sense of trust and well-being based on a shared etiquette of respect.

 When I came back to Germany, my friends and family asked me what I learned and what I could take on board from Japan, but I never knew what to say in the beginning, although I knew there was something. But it wasn’t until an audition, when I felt how much time, and space I took when speaking, moving, breathing, and observing, that I knew what it was. A teacher once said to me: “A pianist would not leave out one note when playing Beethoven, so why would you, as an actress, rush through your lines?” And now, after coming back from Japan, I feel how much I enjoy saying my words, how important it is for me that those down stage understand what I mean. For the first time, there is space, and I take it, with all of me, my breath and soul and it feels alive.

INI summer training 2015 – introducing Sadia Gordon

Dear INI members and supporters, greetings from an unusually fresh Kyoto! It’s Diego here. While the temperature might be lower than usual, we are looking forward to a hot summer full of events and training opportunities here at the INI headquarters. Many international students are going to join the INI summer training, and we would like to give them a chance to introduce themselves and explain why they chose to study Noh with the INI. I always enjoy learning how different paths and life experiences can lead to the study of Noh theatre. So here is our first guest, Sadia Gordon, sharing her first impression of the INI Noh training in Kyoto.


Sadia Headshots-7878

Sadia Gordon (New Zealand)

My name is Sadia Gordon. I am a 22 year old actor in training, studying Performing and Screen Arts at Unitec in Auckland, New Zealand. In our third and final year of study, we are given six weeks to go out and explore something that we are interested in, connected with the field of work we would like to go into. At Unitec, we are lucky enough to have John Davies as our Head of Department. John has been to Japan on several occasions to study Noh Theatre.

In my first year at drama school, John did a small performance of a Noh Theatre play in full costume with the wig and mask. I remember being amazed by his stillness and precision, and thinking that would be something I would find very hard to do. I had been thinking about what I wanted to explore for secondment, in terms of what my main challenges are as an actor and what would help me get to the place I want to be before graduating.

This idea of feeling completely grounded and connecting with the breath has been something that I have found hard throughout my acting training. However, I have found that when I do reach this calm, centred place, my thoughts are so much clearer on stage and I can really tune into the intentions of my character. During a meditation class, led by John, I suddenly felt completely connected to myself, without any outside noise distracting me. I realised this is the direction I need to go in. I knew that Noh Theatre would be a way for me to further develop my stage presence while also connecting with myself and my base. I thought that learning Noh in Japan would be the ultimate way to immerse myself in the culture and really get to understand the art form. I worked 12 hour shifts for 3 long months at a vegetable factory in Christchurch, New Zealand to save up and I am now seeing how worth it that was!

Udaka Michishige and Sadia Gordon

Udaka Michishige and Sadia Gordon

Japan is very different from New Zealand, but I also see some similarities which make me feel like I am at home. Kyoto is such a beautiful, fresh place. I feel very calm and safe here. I have found people to be so kind and generous and interested in what I have to say, which I think can be very rare these days. I can’t believe that I am surrounded by beautiful temples and I can go and sit in any one of them, for as long as I want to. I feel so lucky that I am able to be here, working under Udaka Michishige’s tuition, as John did years ago.

My first Okeiko was incredible. I was very nervous, but as soon as I stood up on the butai with my tabi on, I could feel my feet firmly on the ground and I felt very at ease, within the structure of my movements.  I hope that in 5 weeks, when it comes time for me to go back home, I can take with me some of the beauty and simplicity of traditional life here. I am realising how important and healthy it is for us to take time out of our busy lifestyles, full of noise and technology to sit and listen.

Domo Arigato Gozaimasu.

Sadia Gordon

Noh theatre X Impact HUB Kyoto

The INI International Noh Institute is pleased to announce the first ‘Introduction to Noh theatre’ course at Impact HUB Kyoto. This 6-session course is aimed at Kyoto residents, exchange students, or any other English-speaker who would like to take a closer look at Noh theatre’s tradition. Participants will learn the basics of Noh chant and dance directly from certified INI instructors. Additional activities include observation of a Noh mask carving workshop and visits to the Noh theatre. Professional Noh actor Udaka Tatsushige will give a performance demonstration on the first session, May 7th. 

Practice sessions will take place at Impact HUB Kyoto, a platform promoting innovative thinking and collaborative work, located in a beautiful traditional building in the heart of Kyoto. See below for access information. The lessons will be held in English and no previous knowledge is required: anyone can join!

Dates and time: Twice a month on Thursdays, from 18:00 to 21:00 (participants are free to come and go at any time). Training calendar: May 7, 21; June 4, 18; July 2, 16. Min 6 Max 10 participants.

Participation Fee: Regular: 10,000; Students/Hub members: 8,000 White tabi (split-toe socks) 800yen.

Application: deadline April 30th Feel free to contact us to place your booking or for any other query

INIXHUB 2015 web

Access: Impact HUB Kyoto Get off at Kuramaguchi station on Subway Karasuma line. Take Exit 1, then walk south (toward Doshisha university) for few minutes (located between Tabacco store and a parking lot).

Learn Noh mask carving from a professional Noh actor

Autumn is finally here! The leaves are turning to beautiful shades of red and gold in the crisp autumn air, and we are getting ready to admire the gorgeous foliage on the hills that surround Kyoto, the ancient capital. In this wonderful and refreshing atmosphere we renew our invitation to visit Udaka Michishige’s Noh mask carving atelier.

Udaka Michishige is unique in being both a Noh actor and a mask carver. Students in his mask carving classes in Kyoto, Nagoya and Tokyo learn to sculpt masks of a high quality that can be used on stage. Every two years a group mask exhibition is held in Kyoto to show the latest results of students efforts. These mask exhibitions include free-standing displays of some masks, performance pictures, costumes and lecture-demonstrations to promote a deeper understanding of the place of the Noh mask in the world of Noh.

Contact us to arrange a visit of Udaka Michishige’s atelier in Kyoto, Nagoya, or Tokyo.

(Poster design by Elaine Czech)



無料見学と体験:能面の彫りと彩色。Free Noh mask carving/painting hands-on session.

nomen chirashi summer



場所:宇髙通成『面乃会』京都本部敷舞台 地下鉄国際会館歩:7分・三宅町バス停前 〒606−0047 京都市左京区上高野薩田町111 Googleマップ

お問い合わせ・お申込:TEL-FAX: (075)761-5639 メール:


FREE Noh mask carving/painting hands-on session

2014 July 20th (Sun) 10:00am-12:00am

@Udaka Michishige ‘Men-no-kai’ Headquarters, Kyoto

Subway: Kokusai-kaikan station, 7 min walk. Bus: Miyake-cho bus stop. 111 Satsuta-cho, Kami-Takano, Sakyo-ku. Kyoto, Japan 606-0047. Google maps:

For information or to reserve a place EMAIL:

Please wear comfortable clothes.


Participants of the February mask carving atelier special opening

In January and February 2014, Udaka Michishige’s Noh mask carving atelier in Kyoto opened its doors to observers. We received many requests (thanks Kyoto Journal for helping with the promotion!) from professionals, university students, Japanese, non-Japanese, travelers and residents who were curious to come see how Noh masks, mysterious objects of transformation of the Noh actor, are created. Here are a few pictures of the participants of the February 27th session. We are planning to hold more mask-related events this summer, so watch this space for further information!

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[Extended] Noh Mask Carving Atelier – Special Opening (February 2014)

The Noh Diaries

Due to popular demand the Special Opening of Udaka Michishige’s Noh Mask Carving Atelier has been extended. We have received many requests of Japanese and non-Japanese, Kyoto residents and Kyoto visitors who wished to learn about the world of Noh masks from the direct experience of a professional carver and actor such as Udaka Michishige.

Three new dates (February 6th, 20th and 27th) have been added. There are two time slots: afternoon (14:00~17:00) or the evening (18:00~21:00).

This is a great opportunity for those interested in masks and in the mask-making process, as well as in the use of the masks in actual performance: Michishige is the only Noh actor who is also a skilled mask carver, regularly using his own masks on stage. In 2010, Michishige published the photobook The secrets of Noh Masks (Kodansha/Oxford) with photographer Shuichi Yamagata. I have posted more about Michishige’s activities as mask…

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Noh mask carving atelier – special opening

The Noh Diaries

Udaka Michishige’s Noh mask atelier will open to guest observers on January 9th, 16th and 23rd from 14:00 to 17:00 or from 18:00 to 21:00. This is a great opportunity for those interested in masks and in the mask-making process, as well as in the use of the masks in actual performance: Michishige is the only Noh actor who is also a skilled mask carver, regularly using his own masks on stage. In 2010, Michishige published the photobook The secrets of Noh Masks (Kodansha/Oxford) with photographer Shuichi Yamagata. I have posted more about Michishige’s activities as mask carver here.

If you are in Kyoto don’t miss this chance to be introduced to the world of Noh masks – both Japanese and English speakers are welcome! Observers are admitted FREE OF CHARGE

To reserve a place, or for more information, please feel free to contact me here.

Shintai, for roles of young gods, by Udaka Michishige (Photo: Fabio Massimo Fioravanti) Shintai, for roles…

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1st INI Summer Intensive Course in Vancouver (July 2012)

The 1st INI Summer Intensive Course in Vancouver was a two-week series of workshops including mask-carving, shimai, and utai conducted by Udaka-sensei and organised/facilitated by INI Canadian representative Lee Stothers on an outdoor Noh stage in North Vancouver. The pictures below document the intensive mask carving session. Elaine Czech, who took the pictures, participated to the workshop and decided to continue the practice of Noh afterwards. She is now one of the junior INI members in Kyoto!