Tag Archives: Shimin Noh

Pictures from the 30th Matsuyama Shimin Noh Recital

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.

Dogo Onsen by frenchbear @deviantart

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!

30th Matsuyama Shimin Noh 2014 – Midare

This year the Matsuyama Shimin Noh celebrates its 30th anniversary! On November 3rd 2014 Udaka Tatsushige, Michishige’s elder son, will perform the Noh Midare, a special variation (kogaki) of the Noh Shōjō. Udaka Norishige, his younger brother, will perform the maibayashi (chant and dance excerpt with instrumental dance) from the Noh Takasago.

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: Rebecca Teele Ogamo (小鴨梨辺華): Ochiba, Diego Pellecchia (高谷大悟): Kantan, Elaine Czech: Ukon. The performance of Takasago and Midare will begin at 15:00.


30th Matsuyama Shimin-Noh performance

3 November 2014 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)
Maibayashi: Takasago. Shite: Udaka Norishige
Noh:  Midare. Shite: Udaka Tatsushige

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: ini.kyoto (at) gmail.com

Midare (synopsis by Rebecca Teele Ogamo)

A young man named Kofu living at the foot of Mt. Kanekin in China is a virtuous and dutiful son and as a reward for these traits he is granted a dream oracle in which he is advised to open a wine shop near the Yangtze River. He does so and becomes very prosperous. One day a stranger comes to the shop. No matter how much he drinks his complexion never changes and he never seems to become drunk. When Kofu asks his name he says he is Shojo and that he lives in the sea. Shojo invites Kofu to meet him at the Bay of Jinyo on the western part of the Yangtze River.

The Noh begins with Kofu’s narration of these events. He explains that he is on his way to meet Shojo at that moment. He admires the moon as he waits at the appointed place and anticipates the pleasure of drinking wine with his friend. Shojo enters and the chorus describes wine as a medicine or elixir with the power to keep those who drink it from aging. Shojo offers to dance in celebration of their friendship. With the sound of the booming of the waves as a drum and the wind through the waves as a flute to accompany him, he dances: now on the beach, now in the surf along the Bay. His dance ends, but before he leaves he praises Kofu for his obedient heart and as a gift he presents him with a jar of wine which will never run dry. He dips the wine and drinks, then with faltering steps sinks down to rest. When Kofu himself awakens from his drunken slumber he finds that the Shojo has disappeared, but the jar of wine remains, a spring of wine that will be inexhaustible for generations to come.

Midare features the midare-ashi, a particularly unusual and challenging dance sequence, is performed instead of the usual chu-no-mai medium tempo dance.

Though the original play Shōjō was a typical two part Noh, over the years it was abbreviated to its present one-scene form. The play TaiheiShōjō in the Kanze school repertory is considered to be another early rendition of the story and is a Noh in two parts.