Japan-ASEAN Relations

December 18, 2023
The partners who watch a Noh performance after having a seat
A commemorative photos of the partners, Noh expert and actor facing straight at a camera
The partners, Noh expert and actor who have an exchange meeting over a light meal

On December 18, Mrs. KISHIDA Yuko, Spouse of the Prime Minister of Japan and the partners visited the National Noh Theatre in cooperation with Agency for Cultural Affairs. After watching a Noh performance on the stage made of 400-years-old Japanese cypress trees, they took a backstage tour including standing on the stage to experience the world of Noh. Afterwards, Mrs. KISHIDA had an exchange meeting with Noh expert and actor over a light meal. The partners who joined this program were as follows;

  1. First Lady Louise Araneta–Marcos, Spouse of the President of the Republic of the Philippines
  2. Mdm. Ho Ching, Spouse of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore
  3. Dr. Wan Azizah, Spouse of the Prime Minister of Malaysia
  4. H.E.Mrs. Vandara SIPHANDONE, Spouse of the Prime Minister of the Lao People's Democratic Republic
  5. H.E.Dr. PICH Chanmony HUN Manet, Spouse of the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia

After watching the Noh performance “Hagoromo” by Komparu school performers, the partners were guided by Mr. Richard Emmert, emeritus professor at Musashino University for a backstage tour of the National Noh Theatre where the partners saw audience seats from the stage and had a look around the Noh costumes, masks, and musical instruments which are actually used for the stage. After the tour, the partners had an active discussion with Noh performer Mr. Okura and Prof. Emer. Mr. Emmert and they showed a high interest in Noh.

  1. Date and time: Monday, December 18, 10:45 to 12:15
  2. Venue: National Noh Theatre
  3. Menu and drinks served (PDF)Open a New Window

[Reference 1]
Noh is one of Japan’s traditional performing arts with song and dance, which has been perfected by Zeami during the Muromachi period (15th century) and has continued to be performed continuously for about 650 years. It is usually performed along with Kyogen (comic plays) in an exclusive space called Noh stage. Noh owns extremely sophisticated script, direction and acting style, and is characterized by use of Noh masks. Also, one of the highlights of the Noh play is said to be magnificent and gorgeous Noh costumes.
In this day’s performance, Hachiro Tsujii, actor of the Komparu school plays “Hagoromo (The Feather Robe)”. The Komparu school is famous for inheriting ancient style in its artistic expressions. “Hagoromo” is a Noh play that is focusing on the dance of the beautiful celestial maiden from the moon. Similar stories exist not only in Japan but also in Southeast Asia and other parts of the world.

[Reference 2]Navigator: Mr. Richard Emmert
Professor emeritus of the School of Literature, Musashino University. Founder and past artistic director of the English Noh troupe Theatre Nohgaku. Certified Kita school Noh instructor. Born in Ohio in 1949, he attended Waseda University’s International Division, then began studying Noh theatre in 1973. He received a master’s degree and completed course work for a doctorate at Tokyo University of Arts. In 1990 he released the CD Noh in English. In 1991 he became the founder and director of the Noh Training Project. In 2019 he was awarded the Koizumi Prize for his work with composing English Noh.

[Reference 3]

  1. Mr. Hachiro Tsujii
    Noh actor at the Komparu School. Born in 1966 as the eldest son of the late Riho Senda, he was trained by the late Nobutaka Komparu and Yasuaki Komparu, the seventy-ninth and eightieth heads of the Komparu School. He is a holder of the Intangible Important Cultural Property(collective recognition)and a board member of the Nohgaku Performers Association.
  2. Mr. Genjiro Okura
    Noh musician (shoulder drum player), the head of the Okura School. Born in 1957 as the second son of the late Chojuro OKURA, the fifteenth head of the Okura School, and was trained by his father. He is a holder of the Important Intangible Cultural Property (individual recognition) and a vice president of the Nohgaku Performers Association.

Back to Japan-ASEAN Relations