Tag Archives: kogaki

Toru: shaku-no-mai (酌之舞) variation

Today I went to the second Sōichirō-no-kai performance, organised by young Kanze school shite actor Hayashi Sōichirō. The main performance was Matsukaze, performed by Sōichirō and Sakaguchi Takanobu. The Kanze Iemoto, Kanze Kiyokazu (whose name is written 清河寿 and not 清和 starting this year) was the chorus leader, but also performed the maibayashi Tōru, shaku-no-mai kogaki (staging variation) before Matsukaze. Since I will perform the maibayashi from the Noh Tōru next August I thought I would go and watch this performance.

What an interesting performance! The normal version of Tōru features a haya-mai rapid tempo dance in 5 dan or sections. The Kongō school usually stages it as banshiki haya-mai, where banshiki indicates a shift in the flute mode during the second section (shodan). Among the variations in the Kongō repertoire is also the extremely demanding jū-san-dan no mai, or 13 movements dance, which Udaka Michishige danced last year at the National Noh Theatre in Tokyo.

Scan 5 Jul 2014 19.48-page1

The shaku-no-mai (酌之舞) kogaki, exclusive of the Kanze school, begins with a special tachimawari circling of the stage, followed by a shortened version of the hayamai, filled with special movements (for example the tappai position that signals the beginning of the dance is unusually performed while kneeling at jō-za, in front of the taiko player). What makes this kogaki particularly special is that the initial tachimawari is actually derived from the okina-no-mai dance in the ritual Okina. The shite goes to sumi (downstage right) and waki-za (downstage left) and stands still facing front while the flute plays one long, piercing note. In the context of Tōru I interpreted this as the spirit of the minister Minamoto no Toru contemplating the scenery of his villa in Kyoto (and the scenery of Matsushima and Michinoku that the villa itself reflects), his heart filled with nostalgia. It is a rather intense moment. Then the shite stamps exactly like in Okina, before completing the tachimawari and getting ready for the beginning of the actual hayamai.

Scan 5 Jul 2014 19.32-page1
Konparu school actor Sakurama Kintaro

Another interesting thing is the name of this kogaki. The Kanze school performs the 酌之舞, where 酌 (shaku) is the act of pouring beverages, in this case rice wine. In the play,  the spirit of the minister Minamoto no Tōru observes the full moon reflected on a cup of rice wine, as he used to let cups flow on the surface of the artificial sea he created within his Kyoto residence, Kawara-no-in, during the banquets he used to hold there. However, Konparu, Kita and Hōshō schools perform the 笏之舞, where 笏 shaku is the wooden rod that was part of the formal gear of high ranking aristocrats such as Minamoto no Tōru, and that nowadays only shinto priests use. In this variation the shite uses an actual wooden shaku instead of the fan.

PS: Yokomichi Mario’s book on kogaki Nō ni mo enshutsu ga aru (Hinoki 2007) comes in very handy for checking variations of many Noh plays.

Matsuyama Shimin Noh 2014 – Aoinoue mumyo no inori

Next Sunday (November 3rd, which is both my birthday and the ‘culture day’ in Japan) I will take part to the Matsuyama Shimin Noh performance at the Yamatoya Honten Noh stage in Matsuyama, Shikoku. The event begins at 10:00 with a recital (entry free of charge), featuring Udaka Michishige’s students. I will perform a shimai, or dance excerpt, from the Noh Uta-ura, and will sing in the su-utai chanting of the Noh Kogō. The main event will be Udaka-sensei’s performance of Aoinoue in the ‘mumyō no inori’ kogaki, or variation. I am lucky enough to have a privileged observation spot, serving in the ji-utai chorus for this performance.

Every year in November Udaka Michishige takes the shite main role at the Matsuyama Shimin Noh performance. Although based in Kyoto, Udaka regularly teaches both utai/shimai and mask carving in Nagoya, Okazaki, Tokyo, Yokohama, and Matsuyama in Shikoku, the area where his family originally comes from. He is a descendent of two Shikoku families: Udaka and Kawada. The Udaka family had a castle in Niihama City during the medieval period and later served the Matusdaira clan feudal lords in Matsuyama as Noh actors from 1712 until the start of the Meiji period.

For this year’s shimin Noh we are giving away 2 free tickets to the first two people who contact us so make sure not to miss this chance if you are in Matsuyama next weekend! Find contact details below.

poster_final light

Aoinoue

Based on an episode from the Tale of Genji, the 11th century masterpiece by Murasaki Shikibu, the main character is not Lady Aoi, the wife of Prince Genji, but Lady Rokujo, the most intriguing female character in the novel. Once Genji’s lover but now abandoned by him and filled with resentment towards his wife after a humiliating incident at the Kamo Festival where her coach was forced out of its viewing spot by Lady Aoi’s retainers, Lady Rokujō’s living spirit torments her rival. A shamaness is sent to discover the source of the possession of Lady Aoi and then an exorcism is performed by the priest Kohijiri, finally bringing Rokujo to her senses by calling on the power of the Buddhist sutras. In the mumyō no inori kogaki or ‘Exorcism in Spiritual Darkness Variation’, the robe used to represent Lady Aoi is white rather than red, and Lady Rokujo leaves the stage for a change of costume rather than retreating to the koken-za stage attendants’ seat for only a change of mask. She returns in nagabakama, long vermillion trousers, often with a Nagakamoji, an extension of the wig that emphasises that Lady Rokujo’s is a noblewoman, increasing the sense of horror at the intensity of the expression of her jealousy in choreography also more graphic than in the standard production.

(Text by Rebecca Teele Ogamo)

Ehime University Noh Club

Udaka Michishige has taught students of the Ehime University Noh Theatre Club for over 30 years. Club activities include the practice of Noh chant and dance as well as workshops and performances. Every year in November club members join other students of Udaka at Matsuyama Municipal Noh Performance. Lessons are held both in Japanese and in English.  Email: Kmct1q_es@ezweb.ne.jp

For information please contact:

KYOTO
Keiun-kai INI Main Offices, Training Center
111 Satta-cho, Kami-takano, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-0047
Tel: (075)701-1055
Fax: (075)701-1058

Email: ogamo-tr@mbox.kyoto-inet.or.jp (c/o Rebecca TEELE-OGAMO)

MATSUYAMA
Matsuyama Keiun-kai Shikibutai
Yamagoe 4-chome 11-38, Matsuyama, Ehime
Tel/Fax: (089) 924-8554