Category Archives: General

4K video of torch-lit Noh performance in Kyoto

A beautiful video digest of the 2018 Heian Jingū Takigi Noh, the open-air, torch-lit noh performance taking place at Heian Shrine every year on June 1-2. Udaka Michishige is featured performing Hashi Benkei from min. 1:15. Check it out!

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Noh theatre and videogames, again

Deigan certainly is one of noh theatre’s most perplexing mask, one of the most difficult to define because of its eerie expression and ‘human yet non-human’ features. It is in fact used for a number of different characters, from malevolent spirits to ghosts of elegant courtiers, to dragon goddesses. So much that Square Enix designers picked it up for a character (a villain of course) in one of their forthcoming videogames.

Here below is how a real deigan mask would look like.

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Deigan 泥岩, by Otsuki Kokun

The 4th Tatsushige no Kai: Tanikō 谷行 June 30 2018

On June 30 2018 Udaka Tatsushige will perform the noh Tanikō 谷行, a rarely performed play set in the world of shugendō, a syncretic religion fusing Buddhist beliefs with the worship of natural elements. The followers of shugendō, known as yamabushi (mountain-priests) perform austerities during their pilgrimages across the sacred mountains between the present-day Osaka and Nara prefectures.

This noh is full of action, featuring a group of yamabushi forced to sacrifice one of their young acolytes by hurling him down a valley, and the intervention of a fierce deity who coming to rescue the child.

Tanikō famously inspired Bertolt Brecht’s school operas Jasager/Neinsager.

All information on the play and on how to reserve your seat HERE.

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— Diego Pellecchia

 

Restaurant with Noh stage to open in Tokyo this month

Suigian (水戯庵), a sushi restaurant featuring a noh stage, is set to open in Nihonbashi (Tokyo) on March 20, 2018. The restaurant will offer daily performances of Noh and Kyogen. I have mixed feelings about it. Yes offering this kind of performance is not philologically incorrect as people did eat drink and even smoke inside noh theatres in the past. Yes, we need to bring more people closer to noh so we should embrace ways to popularize it. But would you like to watch noh with the noise of people drinking cheering chewing etc? With the smell of food and alcoholic burps in the air? Would performers like it? The restaurant looks posh enough and is endorsed by performers (you can see famous actors and musicians featuring the photos on the website) still…  I wonder what plays they will perform… in the case of Noh, I can think of very few that I would enjoy watching while having something in my stomach… I wonder what you guys think!

Suigian

 

Noh Kiyotsune with English subtitles in Tokyo

Tessenkai is producing a special event in Tokyo on March 25th (details below) featuring the noh Kiyotsune. On the day of the performance, the audience will be able to follow the action on the scene while reading subtitles appearing directly on personal tablets or smartphones via an app. The service is provided by Hinoki Shoten, publisher of noh books. I took care of the English edition of the subtitles.

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20 questions on the Japan Times

Hello!

Wow… my last post dates back to August! I have been pretty busy keeping up with work and research duties and had little time to update my little blog here. I will make that a New Year proposition. Meanwhile, Mika Sato Eglinton, fellow PhD at Royal Holloway, theatre scholar and journalist, was kind enough to invite me to answer 20 questions on my life in Japan, which appeared on the Japan Times this Sunday. It was great fun to try come up with answers. Newspapers have limited space so my verbose answers had to be cut, and something got a bit lost in the process, but that is part of the game! Anyway, I will leave a link to the article here! https://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2017/12/09/people/diego-pellecchia-heavy-metal-noh-collide/

Diego Pellecchia

Live subtitles on tablet at Noh performances

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This is something I’ve been involved in recently, translating Japanese into English for Hinoki Noh publishing house. I hope I will be able to translate texts in Italian too, some day! Multilingual subtitles at the Noh theatre would be amazing.

The picture above shows the introductory section spectators can read before the performance begins. After that the audience can follow the action on stage while reading brief descriptions automatically updating on the screen as the play progresses. Pages have black background and white characters, minimizing the annoying effect of bright screens in the semi-darkness of the playhouse.

See the Japan Times article on this service here.