[Monthly Noh] Uneme 23 Feb 2014

On February 23rd 2014 from 1:30pm Udaka Michishige will perform Uneme, a Noh of the 3rd category (women Noh) by Zeami Motokiyo, as part of the monthly (teiki) performances of the Kongō school at the Kongo Noh Theatre in Kyoto. For ticket reservation and for more information, please contact me here.

Long ago an Uneme, or Lady in Waiting, drowned herself in Sarusawa Pond after the Emperor, who had once shown her so much affection, turned his attentions elsewhere. After hearing her story from a Woman who reveals that she is the spirit of the Uneme, a Priest prays for her salvation. She then appears as she was in the past, recalling banquets on the pond long ago, and dances. Even now, on the night of the full moon in September a service is held for her, a dragon boat such as the one she would have ridden, circling the pond. (Summary by Rebecca Teele Ogamo)

Another feature of the story is that after Uneme’s death a shrine was built next to the pond for her consolation. However the shrine could not bear to face the place where she took her life, and turned around overnight. The Uneme Matsuri festival is held every year in September. The festival features a parade of Heian period characters and the typical dragon boats circling the pond.

The Sarusawa Pond (Photo: Terao Kaionin)

The Sarusawa Pond (Photo: Terao Kaionin)

Dragon boat of the Uneme Matsuri (Photo: s.yume)

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