Noh mask carver Udaka Keiko, who also teaches to INI members during workshops and residencies, has recently been interviewed by BBC World for an episode of the popular podcast The Documentary, researching the world of “ojōsan” or young women in contemporary Japanese society. Keiko was asked questions about women and representations of women in noh. You can listen to the episode here.
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.
INI SUMMER INTENSIVE PROGRAM 2016
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)
|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 ini.kyoto[at]gmail.com Please attach your C.V. and a brief statement of interest.
Images from past events
Italian photographer Fabio Massimo Fioravanti presents his photo book The Way of Noh – Udaka Michishige: Actor and Mask Carver on December 4th 2014 in Rome.
The book contains stage and backstage photographs of Kongō School Master-Actor Udaka Michishige, as well as of his Noh masks. The bilingual (Italian-English) book is already available in Italy and will soon be available on the international market, so stay tuned! The event will take place at the Spazio Ducrot gallery, in the heart of Rome, Via d’Ascanio 8/9 on December 4th (Thu) from 19:00, and will feature an exhibition of Fioravanti’s photographs, as well as a Noh mask demonstration by Kongō School certified instructor Monique Arnaud, who also serves as European Coordinator of the INI International Noh Institute. The INI is particularly active in Italy, where Arnaud is teaching Noh chant and dance on a regular basis. INI Italian members Cristina Picelli and Diego Pellecchia, who have now appeared a number of times on Japanese Noh stages, began their training with Arnaud in Milan. If you are in the area do not miss this chance to hear about Fioravanti’s experience with Noh photography, and to meet Noh instructor Monique Arnaud. Ciao!
Here are a few pictures of the 30th Matsuyama Shimin Noh recital in Matsuyama (Ehime pref.). Every year on November 3rd Kei’un-kai and INI members perform shimai (dance) and utai (chant) excerpts in a recital that takes place before a full Noh performance starring Udaka Michishige or, as in this year’s case, his sons Udaka Tatsushige and Udaka Norishige. The Udaka family has its roots in Matsuyama, where its ancestors were Noh performers who served the Matsudaira lords at Matsuyama Castle until the end of the Edo period, hence the deep connection between the current Udaka family, based in Kyoto, and the city of Matsuyama.
This year’s recital took place at the Dogo Yamatoya Honten, a beautiful ryokan (traditional hotel). The owner of this establishment is a fan of Noh, and the hotel rooms and facilities have Noh-sounding names. On the fourth floor there is an outdoor Noh stage where performances can be watched both from the usual front and side floors, and from porch-like structures at the back of both sides, just like the stages built within the premises of aristocratic mansions or temples. We were blessed by a deep blue sky and crisp autumn air, and the event, culminating with the performances of Takasago maibayashi by Udaka Norishige and Midare by Udaka Tatsushige, went very well.
Elaine Czech and I (Diego Pellecchia) arrived early in the morning on a night bus (a good way to save some money on transportation/accommodation fees) and enjoyed a hot bath at Dogo Onsen, one of the most famous Onsen in Japan, which has also served as model for Miyazaki Hayao’s Spirited Away. Matsuyama is famous for various literary figures and fictional characters who populated it, such as Natsume Sōseki’s Bocchan. Preparations for the performance started early, with more than 30 participants changing into traditional clothes (montsuki/kimono and hakama), getting ready to go on stage. Visitors and audience members could also admire some of Udaka MIchishige’s masks on display in the lobby (see photos below) and watch the recital before the main event, the performances of Takasago and Midare in the afternoon. Elaine has taken pictures from of the day, which we are sharing here. Enjoy and we hope to see you there next time!
Udaka Michishige is unique in being both a shite actor of the Kongo School, and a Noh mask carver. This year’s Noh mask exhibition of the Men-no-kai, his group of students from Tokyo, Nagoya and Kyoto studying Noh mask carving will take place at the Kyoto Prefectural Center for Arts and Culture on Hirokoji-Kawaramachi dori, second floor, November 28th – 30th, from 10:00 to 18:00 (closes at 17:00 on the 30th). On November 29th (Sat.) from 13:30 there will be an explanation and a demonstration of the elaborate costuming of a 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)
This is the first of a series of posts on photographers who have worked with the INI and with Udaka Michishige.
Irwin Wong is a professional photographer based in Tokyo. A few months ago he contacted the INI as he was looking to arrange a photo shoot commissioned by camera maker Hasselblad for the advertising campaign of their new model. We arranged to meet at Iori, a machiya, or traditional house in downtown Kyoto: Michishige brought his costumes and the masks he carves, and his sons Tatsushige and Norishige helped him with the complex dressing process. Irwin brought his camera and lighting equipment, while his collaborator Kondō Keiichi filmed the behind-the-scenes that you can watch in the video below. It was very productive day and Irwin’s pictures are just stunning: make sure to check out his post on the photo session, which also includes technical information about the cameras and the lights.
We can see two characters in the pictures: the female character is the mae-shite for the Noh Uneme, which Michishige performed in February 2014. The costume is a karaori, or Chinese brocade, and the mask is Ko-omote, to portray the face of a young girl. In stark contrast with the delicate female character is the vengeful ghost of Taira no Tomomori, appearing in the second half of the Noh Funa Benkei. Features of this costume are the white hitoe-kariginu, symbolising the character is a ghost, and the halberd and sword. The mask is Shintai, also used for roles of powerful gods.
On July 20th 2014 Udaka Michishige’s Noh mask carving atelier opened its doors to Kyoto residents and exchange students from Japan, Lebanon, France, China, Thailand, and Italy who wished to explore the world of Noh masks. Participants were able manipulate the fragrant hinoki wood, and tools such as saws and chisels, and try their best in the first stages of the carving process. Later they were introduced to the basics of painting, such as application of gofun shell powder and natural pigments. Udaka Michishige explained how the wood is cut respecting the way the tree grows, and provided insights on mask techniques from the point of view of the expert Noh actor, as well as mask carver.
It’s a been a lovely Sunday morning and we look forward to welcoming other participants in the near future!
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http://goo.gl/maps/38RjC
お問い合わせ・お申込：TEL-FAX: (075)761-5639 メール: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: http://goo.gl/maps/38RjC
For information or to reserve a place EMAIL: email@example.com
Please wear comfortable clothes.