Kyoto Takigi Noh 2013: Oe-yama


(Fire-lit performance)

Heian-jingu Shrine, Kyoto

1, 2 JUNE 2013

I strongly recommend those in Japan on June 1, 2 to come and attend the Heian Jingu Takigi Noh fire-lit performances in Kyoto. It is a unique chance to see full performances both by Kanze and Kongo master-actors, in the context of the evocative Heian-jingu shinto shrine. Performances begin at 5:30 (doors open at 4:30 and I  encourage you to come before this time –  seating is on a first come, first served basis) and end at around 8:45. Tickets are between 4,000 and 2,700 yen depending on the type. The INI International Noh Institute will have a stand with free information, translation and synopses in English – I will be there in person! ^_^ Do not hesitate to contact me if you are planning to come! See below for more info.

—- UPDATE :  advance tickets are now sold out!

2 JUNE 2013 Noh: OE-YAMA

Mae-shite: UDAKA Michishige


Synopsis (from P.G. O’Neill’s A Guide to Noh)

Yorimitsu and his companions, disguising themselves as yamabushi priests, set off at the command of the Emperor to find and kill a demon known as Shuten-doji. Guided to his dwelling on Oe-yama by a woman who has been captured and made to work for him, they beg a night’s lodging there. Shuten-doji is alarmed that his hiding-place is has been discovered, but because of a promise he has made never to lift his hand against priests, he feels bound to receive them hospitably. They drink together, but later that night when he has taken on his true form as a demon, he is surprised in his sleep and eventually killed by his enemies.


64 Takigi-noh_ura


A bit of a random post.

Cycling in the snow this morning reminded me of Mishima’s Spring Snow which I am reading these days. In one of the salient passages of the book, set in the Taisho period (1912-1926), the protagonists Kiyoaki and Satoko take a rickshaw ride on a snowy morning in Tokyo. Covered with various layers of technologic fibre from top to bottom, and still shivering while waiting for the green light at the bicycle crossing, I imagined Kiyoaki and Satoko riding the rickshaw, him dressed in his school uniform, her in a winter kimono and coat, with only a blanket on their knees as additional warming device. In this scene the two exchange their first kiss, as frosty hands move underneath the blanket. With this kind of temperature it would be the last thing I want.

Then I realised that people can stand different temperatures according to the environment in which they grew up. Japanese students today still wear shorts in winter, and some girls still wear a skirt and short socks. British people would go out in their t-shirt on a sunny but cold february day. Not to mention what girls would wear on the same night out.

Okina - Kongo Hisanori (Yasaka-jinja, Kyoto)
Okina – Kongo Hisanori (Yasaka-jinja, Kyoto)

Two years ago I attended the performance of Okina performed by the Iemoto Kongo Hisanori at Yasaka-jinja in Kyoto. I think it was January 3rd and I was observing chorus members sitting in the back of the outdoor stage, dressed in traditional clothes… and I was wondering how many Uniqlo heat-tech  garments or kairo heating patches they were actually wearing.