Hatsune Miku and Dojoji – Kyoto Soseiza

illustration by  七原しえ © Crypton Future Media, INC. www.piapro.net
illustration by 七原しえ © Crypton Future Media, INC. http://www.piapro.net

Sōseiza is a Kyoto-based group of performers belonging to different performance traditions, including members of the Kongō school of shitekata. Every year the group stages performances that cross genres, but are generally based on traditional arts such as Kabuki, Nihon-buyō, Noh, Nagauta, Shakuhachi, etc. This year Sōseiza is taking it one step further with the performance that brings together the story of Dōjō-ji and the vocaloid computer star Hatsune Miku.

Dōjō-ji tells the story of a young woman who, driven by her passionate love for a priest, transforms into a demonic snake and coils herself around the bell where he was hiding, melting the bell and burning him to death. The story is much more complex and interesting – check a synopsis with stage pictures from the Noh adaptation here.

This vocaloid version sounds like a rather bold experiment, fusing traditional Japanese performance with very contemporary (and equally local) technology, giving the classic tale a pop twist. I have my reservations, though one cannot tell before actually attending (which I won’t be able to do this time..). If you happen to go see this show, please let me know how it was! I’d be happy to post your review here.

Hatsune Miku X Dōjō-ji X Vocaloid

Time: 4 July 2014 from 18:30 (pre-talk opening)

Place: The Sodoh Higashiyama Kyoto

Noh pop songs

Just a quick link to report something I bumped into: three songs by Kyūko and Aina, based on the themes of three Noh plays: Teika, Ominameshi and Shōjō. As the authors specify in the description of the video, they have only been inspired by the content of the plays, and freely developed the lyrics on their own.

Despite the production of the songs, vaguely reminding some tacky period drama soundtrack, I actually find the experiment interesting, and I am honestly impressed by the huge leap the authors have taken by transforming something like Noh, often understood as old and venerable, into something so easy-listening: the characters of the three plays must be so alive in the imagination of Kyūko and Aina. The video also includes a link to an internet shop where it is possible to purchase postcards with bunnies in Noh costumes…