Noh Dramas Were Important To The Japanese Culture In What Way

Noh dramas were important to the japanese culture in what way?

Home»History What role did noh plays play in Japanese culture, and how did they contribute to it?


B. Noh plays are a vehicle for the dissemination of Japanese traditions and cultural activities. Noh plays were vital to Japanese culture because they spread Japanese customs and cultural practices around the world. In Japan, noh drama is the most ancient form of theater that has survived to the present day. It is a combination of music, dance, and acting that is used to teach Buddhist concepts. The storyline of a Noh play is typically based on famous moments from well-known works of Japanese literature, such as The Tale of Genji or The Tale of the Heike.

Noh is a Japanese word that denotes “talent and skill.” ANSWER: B.

  1. EXPLAINATION: Noh is a Japanese word that implies talent and skill, and it is not the same as Western narrative theatre.
  2. Noh Drama is derived from historic dance plays and festival dances that were performed at shrines and temples in Japan throughout the 12th and 13th centuries, respectively.
  3. Noh plays are a vehicle for the dissemination of Japanese traditions and cultural activities.
  4. Noh developed into a separate form in the 14th century and continued to be improved during the Tokugawa era (1603–1867), when it was finally abolished.
  5. Outside of the noble mansions, however, there were performances that were open to the general public.
  6. Following World War II, the form had a resurgence in popularity as a result of the growing interest of a broader audience.
  7. In a way, it’s almost ceremonial.

Noh Drama

Noh drama is the oldest surviving form of Japanese theater. It combines music, dance, and acting to communicate Buddhist themes. Often the plot of a Noh play recreates famous scenes from well-known works of Japanese literature such asThe Tale of GenjiorThe Tale of the Heike. The typical Noh play is not a dramatic reenactment of an event but its retelling. An Introduction to Noh Every culture in the world has its own theater. In Japan one of the most ancient forms of theater is Noh. The Noh theater found its form in the fourteenth century and continues in much the same form, with many of the same plays, in present day Japan. A Noh play portrays one all-encompassing emotion dominating the main character, theshite(she-tay). Whether jealousy, rage, or sorrow, all music, gesture, dance, and recitation are used to build the emotion to its final climax at the close of the play. Often the plays depict the return of a historical personage, in spirit— or “ghostly”—form, to the site of a significant event in his or her life. A warrior might return to the battle field, or young woman to the scene of a love affair. According to Buddhism of the fourteenth century, a person could not find spiritual release even after death if he still possessed a strong emotion or desire. To exorcise this emotion, the warrior might appear in his armor and recreate the battle in a dance. The dance would reveal his humiliation at suffering defeat.Noh plays are extremely intense. In order to express something so abstract as an emotion, words are often inadequate. As the play progresses, then, dance and poetry are used to express the tortured heart. Other elements which contribute to an intensification of the mood are the bare simplicity of the stage which allows no distraction from the main character, and the gorgeous costumes of the main character himself. The stylized movements also help to focus the energy on the emotion rather than on the individual personalities. In Noh as in classical ballet, every movement is choreographed and often symbolic. There is no individual interpretation.Aside from the main character there are one or sometimes two secondary parts, thewaki. Usually they are priests attired in long dark robes. Like the audience, the secondary character is really there only to observe the tragedy enacted by the main character. Usually a play opens with the priest or other secondary character’s entrance. He describes the scene which he wants the audience to imagine. The scenes are all actual spots in Japan. The main character may then enter disguised as a local person. The local person reveals to the secondary character the significance of the site. He then exits. He returns dressed as his true self with a mask and embroidered robes. From the time of his return to the stage, the secondary character generally remains seated to one side.Masks are very important in the Noh and are worn only by the main character. The mask helps to raise the action out of the ordinary, to freeze it in time. For the Noh actor the mask of a particular character has almost a magic power. Before putting it on he will look at it until he feels the emotion absorbed within himself. When he puts on the mask, his individuality recedes and he is nothing but the emotion to be depicted.A chorus sits to the side of the stage. The chorus often echoes the words of the characters, but it may also speak for them. Thus in a dialogue between the main character and secondary characters, the chorus may say the lines of either of them. This is of course according to the script and not improvised. Nothing on the Noh stage is improvised. The use of the chorus to recite the actors’ lines make it seem as though the lines belong to no one: The actors are there but the emotion is not under anyone’s control. It floats between actors and chorus and is further picked up by a sudden drum beat or drawn out by the flute.There are usually four musicians who sit to the rear of the stage. Three play Japanese drums and one plays a flute made from bamboo. The drums give a very hollow thud while the flute has an eerie whistling sound. This eerie whisper is what draws the first actor out onto the stage and creates the other-worldly feeling necessary to Noh. Suggested Noh Plays for Reading A translation of the playAtsumori, based on the death of Atsumori as told in the medieval epicThe Tale of the Heike, can be found in Donald Keene,Anthology of Japanese Literature from the Earliest Era to the Mid-Nineteenth Century(New York: Grove Press, 1955), 286-293.In addition, the playSotoba Komachiappears on pages 264-270 of Keene’s Anthology. This play is about a famous poet from the Heian Period named Ono no Komachi. She was renowned for her beauty as well as her talent, and used it on occasion to torment her suitors. In the play, she is possessed by the angry spirit of a lover who died before completing an ordeal Komachi **set for him — to visit her house for one hundred consecutive nights without once being admitted. As you read, keep in mind that at first Komachi appears not as a beautiful young woman but as an ugly old crone, and that in the end she speaks in the voice of her unsuccessful lover. Notice all the Buddhist ideas and references in the lines spoken by the priests and Komachi. The central idea is that no one can attain enlightenment, or relief from suffering, until he or she has broken all emotional ties with the people or things of worldly existence.** In Japan, it is customary for very famous people to be referred to by their personal name — in this case Komachi — and not their surname. Remember that the personal name follows the surname in Japanese word order; the protagonist’s surname, then, is Ono. Sotoba — from the play’s title — means stupa or grave marker. Student Exercise
  • Using current events as inspiration, come up with plausible stories for Noh dramas. As an illustration, how would you go about creating a Noh play on Princess Diana? Perhaps the secondary character would be a little boy or girl who is on a trip to England with his or her parents. During his or her visit to Buckingham Palace, this character may be accosted by an elderly woman who is sweeping the palace grounds. The elderly lady informs him or her about the sad tragedy that occurred when the lovely princess was killed in an automobile accident. Then the young lady falls asleep and is startled to see that the old groundskeeper has been changed into Princess Diana. When asked how she feels about having to leave her nation and her two boys for the other side, the princess would say she is “devastated.” She would convey her feelings of loss and regret via a ceremonial dance, which would be the prevailing emotion. In a modern Noh drama, the narrative of Princess Diana is merely one of the many conceivable situations that may be presented. You might be able to uncover newspaper stories that contain quotes from speeches that you might use as inspiration for your play. It is important to remember that you must determine the emotion that has captured the individual. Imagine creating Noh masks out of cardboard and using them to perform the play for your students. The Noh play employs poetry, dance, music, and masks in order to depict feelings that are so deep that they cannot be expressed in any other manner. There are times in everyone’s life when words are simply insufficient to express their emotions. Consider occasions in your life when you have experienced such sentiments — particularly negative emotions like as envy, regret, or fury — that are so prominent in Noh play and how you dealt with them. What exactly did you do? Is it possible to put your emotions into a dance or song to express yourself? Although the song may have been heard on the radio before, it will have a personal meaning for you when you sing it.

Noh theatre

Noh theatre, usually written Noh, is a traditionalJapanesetheatrical form that is one of the world’s oldest continuously performed theatrical forms. Noh, which is derived from the Japanese word n, which means “talent” or “skill,” differs from Western narrativedrama in several ways. Not unlike Western actors or “representers,” Noh performers are merely storytellers who utilize their physical appearance and actions to communicate the substance of their tale rather than enacting it in the traditional Western sense.

  1. The educated audience is fully aware of the story’s premise, therefore what they are most interested in are the symbolism and subtle allusions to Japanese cultural history that are embedded in the words and gestures of the performers.
  2. Noh music is a kind of Japanese music.
  3. In Japan, noh grew from ancient forms of dance theater, as well as from other sorts of festival play performed at shrines and temples, which had begun to appear by the 12th or 13th centuries.
  4. It evolved into a ceremonial play performed on auspicious occasions by professional actors for the warrior class—in a way, a plea for peace, longevity, and wealth for the social elite—and was performed by professional actors on auspicious occasions.
  5. Despite the fact that Noh survived the breakdown of the feudal system that occurred with the Meiji Restoration in 1868, a few prominent performers managed to keep its traditions alive.
  6. Noh dramas are classified into five categories.
  7. A limited amount of language is used, and it just serves as a framework for the dance and music.

Kyogen, or hilarious skits, are presented as interludes between performances of the same play.

There are three key Noh roles: the orshite (the principal actor), the orwaki (the subordinate player), and thekygenactors (thekygenactors are thekygenactors, one of whom is frequently featured in Noh plays as a narrator).

Aside from the traditional roles of attendant (tsure), “boy” (kokata), and nonspeaking “walk-on,” there are several more subordinate roles (tomo).

It is one of the most significant parts of the performance to have an accurate recitation (utai).

In the play, each sort of conversation and song has its own name: thesashiis similar to a recitative; theutaare songs that are performed in their entirety; therongi, or argument, is intoned between chorus andshite; and thekiriiis the last chorus, which marks the conclusion of the play.

A number of the most beautiful and excellent Noh poems, includingMatsukaze (“Wind in the Pines”) by Kan’ami and Takasagoby Zeami, were written by Zeami and his father, Kan’amiKiyotsugu (1333–84), who were both born in 1363.

Kaky (1424; “The Mirror of the Flower”) described the creation of Noh plays, the recital of poems, the mime and dance performed by the players, as well as the staging elements of the theater.

ygen, which means literally “black” or “obscure,” represented a beauty that was only half experienced by the spectator—it was fully felt but just barely glimpsed by the viewer.

Noh is a Japanese performance art that originated in Japan.

Furthermore, there was ongoing refining of received forms in order to represent Noh’s aims more clearly or vividly, although these were usually just slight departures from the conventional form of the art form.

During the twentieth century, there was some experimentation.

For his part, Mishima Yukio took ancient plays and reworked them with fresh twists while keeping the original ideas in tact.

Instead, Noh has been perpetuated in the postwar period by theatregoers who have learned to appreciate it not only for its status as a “classic theatre” or for its innovations, but also for its perfection and refinement as a modern stage art in its own right.

Virginia Gorlinski has changed and updated this article in the most recent version.

Japanese Culture – Entertainment – Noh Theater

Noh is the oldest style of theater still in existence, and though it can appear quite incomprehensible and – let’s be honest – monotonous at times, it has recently seen something of a renaissance in Japan. The increased popularity of a new youthful generation of celebrities has been the primary cause behind this. They have included Izumi Motoya, who is sometimes referred to as the “Prince of Noh,” his sisters Junko and Miyake Tokuro, and Nomura Mansai, who have all been very prominent. She was the world’s first female Noh performer, and her presence undoubtedly drew a large amount of attention.

  1. In a noh drama, the protagonist takes center stage.
  2. Acting troupes were sponsored by shrines and temples, and their performances served as’sermons’ as well as forms of entertainment.
  3. After performing for the ShogunAshikaga Yoshimitsu(1358-1408), they were sponsored by him and rose to a greater social level than any other performers had before achieved in the country.
  4. Noh depicts the austere Buddhist way of life that the nobility has accepted, whereas kabuki represents the more earthy, animistic Shinto ideology that the common people have adopted.
  5. Noh, as well as other art forms such as the tea ceremony and Buddhism, expanded throughout all levels of society at an accelerating rate.
  6. Noh performances were staged by Hideyoshi and subsequently Ieya to commemorate their ascension to the throne.
  7. However, when the military elite began to lose their grasp on power near the end of the Edo Period(1600-1868), noh and kabuki grew increasingly popular among the general public.

Despite the fact that it suffered as a result of the reforms implemented during the Meiji Period (1868-1912), it was able to preserve enough support and private sponsorship to survive and, in some cases, thrive.

As in most scenes, theshi-teis the main actor (center stage), who is backed by two other actors: thetsure (stage left) and thewaki (stage right) (far right).

In terms of stage placement, each performer has a predetermined spot.

The primary actor’s character is formed via the use of a combination of masks and extravagant clothes.

He dresses in at least five layers of clothes, giving him a presence that is bigger than life.

Although the scenery is virtually non-existent, props play a vital role in the game.

The performance consists of a mix of song, speech, music, and dance movements.

While the tale may be recognizable to the audience in this case, the mood and underlying aesthetic are what matter in this case, like in kabuki. A noh performer who is dressed in a hannya mask A person who does kyogen


During the intermission, as well as between individual noh performances, there is a half-hour kyogenperformance to enjoy. The purpose of these performances varies – some are intended to convey the tale of the noh play in basic words, while others are intended to provide comedic relief. Even though kyogen is a complex art form in its own right, it is most commonly associated with noh. There are five different sorts of noh plays, and conventional programs contain one of each, in the following order: Characters such as gods, warriors, beautiful ladies, a variety of figures (sometimes modern figures or insane women!) and, eventually, demons appear in them.

  1. As with kabuki, noh may be difficult to handle when performed in its entirety.
  2. The word noh literally translates as ability or talent, and you’ll need enough of it to be able to keep up with a full-length production!
  3. The spooky masks truly come into their own and nearly appear to come to life throughout this performance.
  4. They do, however, make excellent mementos.

Noh Theater

Hiraizumi’s Noh stage is located in Chusonji Temple. Noh (, N ) is a Japanese type of theater that combines music, dance, and drama and dates back to the 14th century. It was created in collaboration with kyogen, which are hilarious works that are played during interludes between the main noh production. The combination of noh and kyogen is known as nogaku, and it has been declared as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

It was Zeami’s efforts that drew the attention of the government to the art form and earned it its support.

In the following years, four main noh troupes were formed, each of which received sponsorship from shrines and temples.

In this way, noh grew more and more conventional, with a greater emphasis placed on tradition than than creativity.

During this period, a fifth company was established, bringing the total number of main noh troupes to five, all of which are still active and performing today. The Sado Noh Village is hosting a noh performance.

What is it?

Noh theater is built around the elements of song and dance. The pace is languid, the language is poetry, the tone is monotone, and the clothing are lavish and heavy in weight. Plots are frequently based on legends, historical events, literature, and current events, among other sources. Dreams, otherworldly worlds, ghosts, and spirits are all common themes in fantasy literature.


It is played on a stage that is square in shape with a ceiling that is supported by pillars at each of its four corners. Only the rear of the stage has a wall with a painted image of a pine tree, while the other sides of the stage are completely exposed to the audience. Entering the stage is made possible via a bridge that runs at an oblique angle off of the stage. Noh used to be performed mostly outdoors, but in recent years, contemporary indoor theaters have become a popular setting for the performance.


Noh is only performed by men.

  • Shite is the protagonist of the story. It is possible for the shite to play the role of a holy old man, a divinity, a demon, a spirit, or a live man, depending on the play. A variety of moods are conveyed by his gestures
  • Waki is the supporting performer. The waki can take on the role of a priest, a monk, or a samurai. In stark contrast to the shite, the waki is always depicting real people
  • Hayashi is always depicting musical instruments. With a flute (fu), shoulder drum (kotsuzumi) and taiko drum (taiko), four musicians offer accompaniment for the performance
  • Jiutai – the chorus – sings in unison to the accompaniment of the musicians. Stage attendants are located to the left of the stage and aid the narrator in the delivery of the narrative
  • The chorus is located to the right of the stage. The stage attendants, who are dressed in black, are not actors in the play, but they support the players in a variety of ways, such as by delivering them props.


The masks that the shite wears are an important part of the noh performance. They provide information to the audience about the type of character being represented. Masks representing devils and spirits, as well as ladies and men of all ages, are frequently seen on the streets. The masks are made from blocks of Japanese cypress that have been carved by hand. Because of their three-dimensional qualities, trained performers may produce a wide range of expressions by changing the position of their heads.

Costumes and Props

Costumes are made up of several layers and textures that provide the impression of brilliant grandeur while simultaneously creating a hefty, enormous form. Props, most notably a folding fan, help to increase the expressiveness of the performance. The fan, whether closed, partially closed, or open, may resemble any thing as suggested by its shape and handling, such as a dagger or a lantern, depending on how it is used.


Noh performances are interspersed with humorous pieces known as kyogen, which are performed at intervals between the main noh performance. In order to elicit laughter from the audience, they frequently employ sarcasm and smart jokes, and they are frequently delivered using rhythmical language and occasionally exaggerated motions to achieve this effect. The majority of kyogen works are about 15 and 20 minutes long and feature two or three actors. Ordinary stories that develop in ordinary life, such as men expressing their wish to find wives or farmers praying for good fortune, serve as the basis of most plots.

Where to watch Noh?

Nowadays, sophisticated indoor theaters with a built-in noh stage are some of the most convenient venues to view noh performances. In Tokyo, such locations include the National Noh Theatre, which is located near Sendagaya Station, the Kanze Noh Theater in Ginza, and the Cerulean Tower Noh Theatre, which is located in Shibuya. The Otsuki Noh Theatre is located in Osaka, while the Nagoya Noh Theatre is located near to the Nagoya Castle in Nagoya. Modern noh performances run a few hours and comprise of two or three noh acts interspersed with brief kyogen pieces.

One-act noh performances are often available at a discounted rate, which may be an excellent option for anyone who want to get an overview of the Japanese art form in a short amount of time.

According to previous information, shrines, temples, and members of the nobility were among the earliest supporters of the noh theater.

Their concerts are only held on rare occasions, and tickets may be tough to come by.

Ginza’s Kanze Noh Theater is a must-see. SixQuestions? Please post your question on our forum.

Japan Culture: The Masked Dance Drama, Noh

Noh is one of the world’s oldest types of dance theater, and it is not only one of the oldest in Japan. For some, its most distinguishing feature, the Noh mask, might be frightening, but understanding more about Noh, its history, and where to see this long-running dance theater can lead to a deeper appreciation for this ancient form of entertainment. The following is a table of contents:

  1. In Japan and across the world, noh is considered to be one of the most ancient forms of dance theater. For some, its most distinguishing feature, the Noh mask, might be frightening, but understanding more about Noh, its history, and where to see this long-running dance theater can help to increase one’s admiration for it. a list of the topics that will be covered


Noh (pronounced “noh”) is derived from the word “noh,” which means “ability or talent.” As a result, it may be stated that Noh theatre is about appreciating talent. Noh is descended from the ancient Chinese style of theatrical arts known as Sangaku, which originated in Japan. The beginnings of Noh may be traced back to the Nara Period, when Sangaku arrived in Japan for the first time. Gradually evolving until the 8th century, when Sangaku was divided into two forms:Gagaku, which was given to kings and nobility, andSarugaku, which was performed at Shinto shrines because of its connection to God.

  1. Dengaku, also known as field music, was influenced by Korean music and was connected with farming and the harvest season, whereas Sarugaku Noh was a refined form of Sangaku that had explicit themes.
  2. Noh troupes began to arise with the appearance of four major players: Yusaki-za, Sakado-za, Tobi-za, and Enmai-za, who together formed the four earliest schools of Noh, which are still in existence today but are called by other names.
  3. He also blended traditional stories, like as the Tale of Genji, into his Noh performance style.
  4. Noh theatre is defined by Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.
  5. as follows: ” Kan’ami ” Introducing the World of Noh is defined by The NOH as follows:

Present Day Noh by Zeami

Kan’ami’s son, Zeami, was a powerful warrior. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “He and his father, Kan’ami (1333–84), were the inventors of the Noh play in its present form.” Despite the fact that Kan’ami invented the new style of Noh, it was his son who refined it, and it is this type of Noh that we enjoy today. According to legend, Zeami has authored around 100 Noh plays. When you consider that there are only about 200 or so Noh plays, this is a significant quantity. In addition, he produced the Fushi Kaden, a manual or theory of Noh for his students, which has since become the standard reference for the art form.

As a matter of fact, when Zeami was younger, the Shogun and him had a sexual connection, which was regarded normal at the time. ” Kan’ami ” is an entry in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.’s ” Kan’ami ” dictionary. “The Words of Zeami, His Dramatic Life,” National Opera House (NOH).

Crisis of Noh

Noh was also a favorite of Oda Nobunaga and Hideyoshi Toyotomi, two of Japan’s most powerful men. Hideyoshi Toyotomi himself was a Noh performer, and Oda Nobunaga was a fan of the art genre, frequently repeating phrases from it. It was such a big issue that Tokugawa Hidetada enacted legislation declaring Noh and Kyogen to be legitimate art forms of the Shogunate during his reign. The Noh theater, despite its social stability at the time, was thrown into disarray as Japan entered the Meiji period.

After much deliberation, Noh and Kyogen were united to become Nohgaku.

International Recognition

In an effort to promote awareness and safeguard the disappearing tradition, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Noh as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2001. “Nogaku Theatre,” a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage site.

Influence of Buddhism

Because of its Chinese beginnings, Sangaku, from which Noh descended, carried with it Buddhist influences that permeated Noh’s aesthetics and practices. The introduction of Buddhism to Japan, which would later influence Shintoism, had an impact on Noh, which was known for its holy dances and ceremonies.

Knowing and Witnessing Noh

Noh follows a set of rigid regulations, with a predetermined topic, storyline, and performer set-up, for example. Let’s take a look at what distinguishes a Nohgaku from a non-Nohgaku.

Characteristics of Nohgaku

The following are some of the qualities of Nohgaku:

  • The following are some of the features of Nohgaku.

INTERESTING FACTS A set of Noh plays comprising of all five styles of Noh theatre may take up to eight hours to perform in the olden days when Noh was court entertainment.

Five Types of Noh

FACTS TO KEEP IN MIND: A set of Noh plays comprising of all 5 styles of Noh theatre may take up to 8 hours to perform in the olden days when Noh was court entertainment.

  • Kami talks about Shinto shrines and the gods that reside within them. Shura on the subject of warriors
  • Katsura that is about lovely ladies or gorgeous deities
  • Kyojo is a story about a mad or insane lady who harbors grudges and wishes to exact vengeance
  • Kirino tells a story about demons or any other supernatural being

Plot and Theme of Noh

Because Noh is founded in religion, it includes themes from Shintoism and Buddhism into its stories, notably those related to nature from Shinto and life and desire from Buddhism, among other things. Noh plays are primarily concerned with supernatural aspects such as gods, demons, and ghosts. Noh, in contrast to other plays, does not rely heavily on language to convey emotions. Instead, it concentrates on the mood, the setting, and the dancing, enabling the audience to interpret the performer’s movements and feelings for themselves.

Noh Mask

A Noh mask, which is the most distinguishing feature of Noh, is an absolute need for each Noh performance. A Noh mask, carved from wood, may appear emotionless, or even terrifying to people who are unfamiliar with the art form. Performers employ a multitude of tactics to bring the mask to life, including their own body, face angle alignment, and the lights on the stage itself. It is estimated that there are over 200 distinct types of Noh masks, which may be split into six categories:

  • Okina is an elderly man
  • Jou is an elderly woman
  • Otoko is a man
  • Onna is a woman
  • Kishin is a demon
  • Onryou is a ghost or spirit.

“Noh Masks Database,” according to the Noh. In the article “Capturing the secret emotions of Japanese Noh masks,” CNN says, ” In the video below, Michishige Udaka, the late founder of the International Noh Institute, who is also a Noh performer and mask carver, expresses his passion for Noh via his work.

See for yourself how he brings the character to life in this wonderful piece by this talented author and illustrator. Youtube, Fallout Media, ” The Spirit of Noh’ – The World’s Oldest Surviving Form of Theater ” – The World’s Oldest Surviving Form of Theater “

Noh Performers

In a Noh performance, there are two primary roles to play. In fact, there are Noh plays that are centered around solely these two characters.

  • Shite is the main character and is generally the only one who wears a Noh mask. The Shite may portray two characters in a single performance, and he or she may appear in the same play both with and without a mask. Waki’s work frequently depicts the supernatural
  • The character who appears as a supporting character. A critical part in enhancing the Shite’s radiance. He never disguises himself and is constantly present in the world of living things.

Other characters in Noh are as follows:

  • Tsure is a supporting figure that generally appears alongside the Shite or Waki. Kokata is a position created specifically for youngsters. Mr. Hayashi: The musicians, who are dressed in samurai garb, are seated at the rear of the stage and play instruments like as the flute and a variety of drums. In collaboration with Hayashi, the Utai singers sing or chorus in a choral style. They take up a position on the right side of the stage
  • And

Noh Theaters in Japan

In case you’re interested in seeing a Noh performance, here are several Noh Theaters that you may visit:

National Noh Theatre

In 1983, the National Noh Theatre first opened its doors to the public. It is located in Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, and has 627 seats that are equipped with a subtitle system. As well as presenting regular Noh plays, the theatre also hosts open lectures on Nohgaku, hosts an exhibition hall where visitors may learn more about Noh, has an audio-visual section, and has a Noh library. Additionally, Noh performances may be seen in the open air. Occasionally, items are made available to the general public at no charge.

Yokohama Noh Theatre

The Yokohama Noh Theatre, which is located in Yokohama City, Kanagawa, is the oldest Noh theatre in the Kanto region. It has been classified as a Cultural Property of the City of Yokohama. On days when there are no performances, guests can take in the stage from the 2nd floor observation deck. The stage is distinguished by the presence of plum blossoms displayed on its kagamiita (back wall), rather than the traditional pine tree. For additional information on the history of this theater, please see this page.

Tickets can be purchased online or over the phone.

Nagoya Noh Theatre

It is located in the city of Nagoya, in the prefecture of Aichi-ken, and is the world’s largest Noh performance venue. Its stage, which is constructed of Hinoki (Japanese cypress) wood, is well regarded for its exquisite architectural design. It is similar to Yokohama’s Noh Theatre in that it is available to the public when there are no performances taking place on stage. The Nagoya Noh Theatre hosts noh performances on a monthly basis on average. Conferences, various forms of entertainment, and even weddings have taken place in the region as well.

” Nagoya Convention and Visitors Bureau ” Nagoya Noh Theatre ” is the name of the theatre in Nagoya.

Yarai Noh Theatre

It is located in Nagoya City, in the prefecture of Aichi-ken, and is the world’s largest Noh theatre. Its stage, which is constructed of Hinoki (Japanese cypress) wood, is well acclaimed for its exquisite design. When there are no performances, the stage is available to the public, just as the Noh Theatre in Yokohama, Japan. The Nagoya Noh Theatre hosts noh performances on a regular basis. Conferences, various forms of entertainment, and even weddings are held in the region. “Nagakudo” is the name of the Nagoya City Cultural Promotion Agency.

Kanze Noh Theatre

Ginza Six retail mall is located on the third floor of the Ginza district of Tokyo’s Chuo-ku.

The Kanze School of Noh has officially launched the Kanze Noh Theatre. Every first Sunday of the month, with the exception of April and October, you may see the Kanzekai () group play Nohgaku here, with the exception of April and October. Japanese Noh theater (Kanze Noh theater)

Suginami Noh Theatre

Suginami Noh Theatre is the second-oldest Noh theater in Tokyo, having opened its doors in 1896. It is situated in the town of Wada, Suginami-ku. Since 2012, the theater has been designated as a National Cultural Property of Japan. The stage was inherited by Yamamoto Tojiro I in 1878, who in turn handed it down to Yamamoto Tojiro IV, a notable Kyogen actor who lived until his death in 1903. Yamamoto Tojiro IV was named a living national treasure of Japan in 2012, and he is still alive. The Yamamotokai () company performs here to preserve the Okura style Kyogen that has been passed down through generations of Yamamoto.

Toyota City Concert Hall Noh Theatre

The Toyota City Concert Hall’s Noh Theatre is located in the Toyota City neighborhood of Aichi-ken. Unlike the concert hall, which is mostly used for classical music events, the Noh Theatre is exclusively used for Noh performances. The Noh theatre, which is located on the 8th level, has 458 seats. Hinoki is used to construct the stage. In addition to Noh performances, various performing arts such as Kyogen, Japanese dance, and Japanese traditional instrument music are presented at this venue.


Noh is a valuable cultural treasure not only for Japan, but for the entire globe as a whole. Help the world, not just as a visitor, but also as a cultural lover, by bringing back this wonderful kind of art to life. Watch Nohgaku, enjoy it, learn about it, and spread the word to your friends; you could even consider making a gift or two. Simply doing so constitutes a significant contribution in and of itself. It’s possible that you’ll grow to appreciate it.

Noh Theatre

There is no doubt that noh is a vital cultural treasure not only in Japan but throughout the entire world. Please assist the world, not just as a visitor, but also as a cultural enthusiast, in reviving this magnificent piece of artistic expression. Check out Nohgaku, take pleasure in it, learn about it, and spread the word to your friends. You could even consider making a small payment or two. It is a significant contribution in and of itself to just accomplish this. Perhaps you’ll even start to enjoy it, who knows?


Noh theatre, whose name derives from the Japanese word for ‘ability’ or ‘talent,’ has its roots in the rites associated with old Buddhist and Shinto faiths, as well as three previous forms of dance and music that date back to the 12th century CE or even earlier:

  • At harvest season, dengaku is the term used to describe the ceremonies and rituals that have traditionally been performed by troupes at temples and by peasants. It is also performed by professional troupes. Sarugaku is a blend of quick dance, hilarious recitals, and acrobatics, which is performed by professional troupes. Chinese dancers introduced Bugaku, the classic masked dances of the Japanese royal court, to Japan.

Bugaku, in particular, developed in popularity as a result of the patronage of the shoguns, Japan’s military commanders, who designated them as an official performing art to be performed on ceremonial events during the Edo Period. Bugaku, in particular, increased in popularity as a result of their patronage (1603-1868 CE). Noh theatre developed as a result of this, and it was particularly popular among the warrior class. The genre was also connected with the highest levels of Japanese society, according to historical records.

There are very few, if any, sets of little decorations, with probably perhaps a sanda pine tree as an exception.

The Stage

The stage of a Noh drama has some characteristics that are universal. It is normally square in shape and is 6 by 6 metres (20 x 20 feet). It is constructed of holy cypress wood and has a modest gabled roof, similar to Shinto shrines. It’s hard to tell whether there are any sets or how much decorating there is; possibly merely some sand and a pine tree (either real or painted). The players make use of a limited number of props, which include things such as a hand fan, parasol, a bell, and a letter.

Some productions have an exit route that is either a bridge or a simple curtain that allows the actors to leave the stage to change into different outfits.

This is made up of drummers, flautists, and a vocal chorus, which is normally made up of eight vocalists in total.

The Actors

Women were not permitted to act in Noh theatre throughout the medieval period, presumably as a result of the influence of male-dominated Buddhism, and as a result, all roles – both male and female – were performed exclusively by men. An additional factor might have been that, despite the fact that professional actors occasionally had their own fan clubs, they did not have a particularly high social standing in Japanese culture. The principal characters in a Noh play are represented by masks that are constructed to seem like particular stock characters such as young ladies, old men, soldiers, priests, spirits, and demons, among others.

  1. When performing a play, there are two primary roles: the leading character (shite) and the second character (waki).
  2. Only these three performers are dressed in disguise.
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  4. With only a few words said by the main players, it is common for other characters, such as ghosts and traveling monks, to interject commentary into the action of the play, which helps to explain the purpose behind their highly stylized gestures and the movements of their companions.
  5. They are exceedingly ornate and may be classified into three kinds, all of which were inspired by the clothes worn at the medieval imperial court.
  • Kisuke refers to inner clothing
  • Uwagi refers to outer garments
  • Hakama refers to pants.

Noh Costume for the Theatre The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a world-renowned museum in New York City (Copyright) The designs of these costumes, which are mostly colored in gold, crimson, and yellow, are strongly tied to the individual role that the actor is portraying, but even a peasant figure on the Noh theater is dressed in a luxurious attire.

Aside from that, the textiles differed since there were four different types:

  • Kara-ori is a luxurious brocade
  • Atsu-ita is a silken fabric. Nui-haku is a traditional Hawaiian dress with embroidered and gold leaf motifs. Suri-haku is a Japanese art form in which only gold leaf is used for decoration.

With their masks and finery on, actors move around the stage and make movements in a very leisurely and highly stylized manner, all to the accompaniment of musical accompaniments. The motions and movements, known as askata, are performed in a prescribed manner so that a skilled audience may deduce their meaning from them. For example, moving the character’s head in a different direction can indicate that the character has arrived at a new location, while taking a few steps can indicate that the character is embarking on a lengthy journey.

The feelings that the character is experiencing at the time are represented by some of the movements.

Atsumorior’s’Birds of Sorrow’ is considered to be Zeami’s greatest masterpiece, and he also wrote numerous treatises on the subject.

The Plot

With their masks and finery on, actors move around the stage and make motions in a very leisurely and highly stylized manner, all to the accompaniment of musical score and narration. The motions and movements, known as askata, are performed in a prescribed manner so that a skilled audience can deduce their significance from the actions performed. Example: a change in direction of the character’s head can indicate that the character has arrived at a new location, while a few steps can indicate that the character is embarking on a lengthy journey.

The feelings that the character is experiencing are represented by certain gestures.

‘Atsumorior’Birds of Sorrow’ is considered Zeami’s greatest classic, despite the fact that he also wrote numerous treatises on the subject.

  • Introduction (jo): The secondary character enters the scene and provides background information about the story’s setting. The pace is sluggish. In the case of development (ha), the main character takes the stage and there is an interchange between the two protagonists in which major events crucial to the plot are recounted
  • Climax (kyu): At this point, the main character appears in a new mask, which represents his actual self. As a result, he obtains some type of assistance from the minor character and is able to break away from the moral and/or physical predicament that he has found himself in

Introduction (jo): The secondary character enters the scene and provides background information about the story’s settings. A sluggish beat may be heard. It’s time for development (ha): the main character takes the stage, and there is a conversation between the two protagonists in which major events crucial to the plot are revealed; Climax (kyu): At this point, the main character appears in a new mask, which represents his actual identity. As a result, he obtains some type of assistance from the minor character and is able to break away from the moral and/or physical impasse he has found himself in;

  • In Japan, the term “God Plays” (kamimono) refers to a play with a religious theme, in which the main character is generally a god
  • Soldier plays (shuramono), also known as hero plays, in which the primary character is a doomed warrior or masculine character, most typically a person from the Gempei War (1180-1185 CE), are also known as warrior plays. Women’s Plays (kazuramono) – sometimes known as wig or heroine plays – are plays in which an aristocratic woman is the main protagonist. This type of play often contains far less activity than the other types of plays. Miscellaneous Plays (kyjomonoandgenzaimono)- a type of play in which the plot revolves around the emotions of a’real’ person, such as love, jealousy, or courage
  • A type of play in which the plot revolves around the feelings of a’real’ person, such as love, jealousy, or courage
  • Demon Plays (kiri no) are plays in which the characters are mad or infatuated women, demons, and ghosts
  • They are performed in Japan.

In addition to this classification, plays are also separated into four seasons, with each season having its own set of performances that take place exclusively during that season. a dancer in the Noh Theater Scene The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a world-renowned museum in New York City (Copyright)

LegacyModern Noh

Noh theatre had an immediate impact on contemporary society because it had a profound impact on the fashion of Japan’s aristocracy and military leaders, who took great pleasure in donning the elaborately embroidered costumes made famous by Noh actors. Noh theatre had an immediate impact on contemporary society because it had a profound impact on the fashion of Japan’s aristocracy and military leaders. Noh also played a role in the development of a completely different subgenre. This isKabuki, which evolved from theKyogen(‘wild words’) genre of brief comedic or satirical acts that were first performed during the pauses between the acts of a much more serious Noh play in which they were first presented.

Noh theatre suffered when its most important backers, the shoguns, were overthrown in 1867 CE, although it had been in decline for a long time, having peaked in the 15th and 16th centuries CE.

Noh plays, despite the fact that they are usually presented for a small connoisseur audience, are still performed in all of Japan’s major cities today.

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Tokyo Culture

There was an immediate impact of Noh theatre on contemporary society because it had a profound impact on the style of Japan’s aristocracy and military leaders, who cherished the richly embroidered costumes made famous by Noh actors. Noh theatre had an immediate impact on contemporary society because it had a profound impact on the fashion of Japan’s aristocracy and military leaders. Aside from that, Noh was responsible for establishing a totally new genre. In Japan, this is known as Kabuki, which evolved from theKyogen (literally, ‘wild words’) genre of brief comedic or satirical plays that were originally performed during the gaps between the acts of a much more serious Noh drama.

In 1867 CE, the Noh theater suffered because its most important sponsors—the shoguns—were deposed, although it had been in decline for a long time, having peaked in the 15th and 16th centuries CE.

Noh plays, despite the fact that they are mainly played for a small connoisseur audience, are nevertheless performed in all of Japan’s major cities.

Because of the generosity of the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, this content has been made available. Thank you! This definition sparked your interest. Prior to publication, this article was checked for correctness, dependability, and compliance with academic standards.

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