Tag Archives: Udaka Norishige

Dōjōji memorial performance at the Kongō Nōgakudō (11 December 2022)

Dōjōji holds a special place in all traditional Japanese performing arts. The story of the dedication ceremony for a temple bell which leads to the revelation of its horrific history is one that is met by audiences with anticipation. The original bell, we learn, was destroyed many years before when it was used as a hiding place by a monk fearing for his life. The woman who had been led to believe that the monk would one day take her for his wife learns that this is not true. Her devastation at this betrayal of her love for the monk leads to her transformation into a serpent by her single-minded passion to find him as she follows him to the temple of Dōjōji where he has taken refuge. Finding his hiding place within the bell, she coils her serpent form around it, her passion burning him to a crisp. Priests preparing for the dedication ceremony are warned not to allow any women the temple precincts until after the ceremony is over, but they are no match for the spirit of the woman who come to avenge herself again on the bell, persuading them that as an entertainer is beyond gender. They even find an eboshi, the lacquered hat worn by shirabyoshi dancers, for her so she can perform in celebration of the raising of the bell. 

The nō version of Dōjōji emphasizes the unique relationship between the shite and the musicians, especially the hip and shoulder drums, to express intense primal emotions of resentment and of desire. Each of the two drums has a particular instance when they become one with the actor in his role of the woman seeking her revenge, but finally being driven away by the earnest prayers of the temple monks.

The first performance by a nō actor is considered to be especially important, a coming of age in his mastery of his skills in all aspects of his art, from chant and dance, to costuming as he accomplishes the change into serpent form within the bell and then battles the monks who seek to vanquish the spirit.


On Sunday, December 11th, Udaka Norishige, will be performing Dōjōji at the Kongō Nōgakudō as the main feature of a memorial performance observing the sankaiki, or third anniversary of the death of his father, Udaka Michishige, who passed away on March 28, 2020. The traditional way of counting age in this case is based on the concept of cycles, with the first cycle considered to be accomplished at death, the first anniversary a year later, and the third at the end of the second year anticipating the start of the third year after death. Just as asymmetry is preferred over symmetry, odd numbers are considered preferable to even ones and to be more auspicious.

Mask exhibition

This is a performance dedicated to the memory of Udaka Michishige well-known as a performer, mask carver, teacher, and writer of and about nō and nō masks and also an affirmation of the resolve of his three children, mask carver Keiko, and actors Tatsushige and Norishige to continue on the path their father introduced them to and which they now are following each in their own way and also always supporting each other.

Photography exhibition

To this end they are also curating a display of performance photographs of their father, including photos of the three plays he authored and performed in: Shiki: Hototogisu, Genshigumo: Inori, a Prayer for Peace, and Ryōma as well as some of his nō masks. There will be a thirty-minute intermission between the performance by Udaka Tatsushige of the maibayashi of Tenko, the main dance section of a play in which the spirit of a young boy dances in joyful gratitude for religious services offered on his behalf after his death and Dōjōj allowing for more time to see the photos and masks.

This is a very special performance on many levels, and we look forward to seeing you there

December 11th 2022 from 14:00 (doors open at 13:00) at the Kongō Nōgakudō.

Tickets prices are:

 ¥6,000    general admission 

 ¥8,000    A seats  (facing the chorus or far right of stage front) 

 ¥11,000  S (Stage front, toward the back and right of stage front) 

¥13,000  SS (Stage front, closer to the stage) 

To reserve a ticket, contact us

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.