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Toshiko Sato

Dance in Noh.

Sato, Toshiko: "Dance in Noh", 16th International Congress on Dance Research, Corfu, Greece, 30/10-3/11, 2002.


In 2001, Nohgaku including Noh and Kyogen was proclaimed by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity. About 1400, when Zeami began to write his first book detailing how to study and perform Noh, entitled Fushi-Kaden, he stated: It was all through the guidance of my deceased father ranging over more than twenty years since my childhood, through his words, actions and personality… So, for the sake of Noh and my family, I consider it my duty to write down what I have learnt.

Following this example of Zeami, the Noh training and learning including its song, dance and mime have been taught from generation to generation in Noh families for 600 years or more and survive as a living art now. Almost 240 traditional Noh plays that are performed today have been handed down like this from the Muromachi period (1333-1568). The development of Noh until the present time was presented in chapter 1. In the next chapter, Noh dance techniques such as posture, step, movement and gesture patterns are discussed.

Preface: Noh’s essence is dance

Noh is serious musical drama, composed of music, chorus, and dance. The music is performed by one flutist and two or three drummers. The chorus, jiutai, is made up of six to twelve singers. Several actors dance and sing. The principal actor, shite, wears a mask and an elaborate, beautiful costume which is visually appealing. His main role is dance, though he also sings. There is only one shite in each play. The supporting actor, waki, always introduces the play and explains various situations. Waki never wears masks. The roles of shite and waki are the essence of a Noh play and many Noh plays have only these two actors.

There is an other stage type called Kyogen, a comedy with dialogue, which shares similar origins with Noh and developed alongside of it. The relationship of Noh and Kyogen is nearly equivalent to that of tragedy and comedy of ancient Greece. Greek poets who participated in the festival of Dionysia were assigned the duty of writing one comedy for every three tragedies. Some say it was to provide a break from the tension of the tragedies for the audience.

Noh and ancient Greek drama both have their origins in agricultural ceremonies of prayer and thanksgiving for good harvests; however, there was one difference between them: it was the grape in ancient Greece and rice in Japan. It is interesting to note that these two styles of performing art engender a completely different set of feelings despite their many similarities. There are many possible reasons, but the most remarkable is the difference in the dialogue development process, which is one of the most important factors in drama. The dialogue of Greek tragedies is said to originate from dialogues between priests as actors and the chorus or conductor. But Noh did not develop dialogue in the same way. In a manner of speaking, dialogue slipped out of Noh and was conserved in Kyogen. Therefore, what we see in Noh is something closely akin to the chorus of Greek plays, which originally specialized in singing and dancing.

In the style of the western theater, drama progresses by dialogue with dramatic opposition. But in the Japanese Noh, dialogue faded out just leaving the components of dancing and singing. “To go to see Noh expecting ‘a play with a story’ in the style of the Western theatre can only lead to disappointment,” wrote P.G.O’Neill. In fact, when Noh actors perform Noh, it is much more dance than acting.

Generally speaking, dance is primarily a symbolic art. When we want to express something or some emotion which we cannot express by words, we dance. For the same reason children like to dance. Dance avoids direct realistic representation. This symbolic expression or dancing in Noh is simplified and stylized movement.

I have been dancing ballet for a long time, and during the last ten years have been teaching comparative Japanese culture including Noh to international students of the Japanese Language School of Middlebury College in VT. U.S.A., in collaboration with my husband, professor Nobuo Sato. There are great differences between ballet and Noh. Nevertheless, having studied both ballet and Noh, I have noticed many similarities, especially posture, port de bras, and the expressive characteristics. I believe that people can learn one through the other.

1. An overview of Noh’s developments until the present time

1.1. Nara period (645-794)

During the Nara period, a form of play called Sangaku was introduced into Japan from China. Sangaku was a Chinese popular variety show consisting of dancing, acrobatics, juggling, magic, and pantomime.

1.2. The Heian period (794-1185)

The Heian period was a span of nearly 400 years. Heian literally means peace and tranquility. These 400 years were, on the whole, a peaceful period with a minimum of foreign influence during which a native culture developed, including Murasaki Shikibu’s Tale of Genji, which gave Noh so many interesting themes and stories. In this period, native comic dance called Dengaku, which was performed in the festivities attending harvest celebrations and other agricultural holidays, was gradually combined with Sangaku. This mixture of foreign, Sangaku, and native, Dengaku, influences grew into a musical humorous farce called Sarugaku.

1.3. The Kamakura period (1185-1333)

In the following Kamakura period, Sarugaku developed under the influence of many other performing arts, and by the middle of this period, Sarugaku theatrical troupes had been formed. Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples employed them to perform during festivals and ceremonies. We can see in this pattern, Sarugaku developed naturally for the general public. Also, in the Kamakura period, many great war romances were produced. The most famous of these was The Tale of the Heike, which is an epic in prose that deals with the rise and fall of the Taira Family in the context of Buddhist philosophy with its deep-rooted pessimism. This epic, with The Tale of Gengi, became one of the important themes of Noh.

1.4. The Muromachi period (1333-1568)

From the Nara period to the Kamakura period, Noh was continually evolving. During the Muromachi period, Noh was refined and it flourished.

In 1333, the forces led by Ashikaga Takauji destroyed the Kamakura shogunate. The shogunal residence of the Ashikaga family moved from Kamakura to Muromachi, a district of Kyoto. Accordingly, the Muromachi period focused around Kyoto. The traditional aristocratic culture of Kyoto intermingled with a Samurai culture formed in Kamakura, and formed a new Muromachi culture. Many people were coming to Kyoto from the provinces, as well as going out of Kyoto to the provinces. Muromachi culture was a very intricate blending of elite and popular elements. Emperors and courtiers shared with high-ranking warriors an interest in Noh as well as in Kyogen, the historical chronicles and war tales of the age, and along with commoners a passion for the short tales, dances, and mime of Dengaku. Kan’ami (1333-1384) and Zeami (1363-1443), father and son, brought Noh to the form that is still performed today.

Kan’ami was a great playwright, an outstanding actor, and a founder of the Kanze school, one of the five schools of Noh. Most important, Kan’ami emphasized rhythmic accompaniment in the plays and changed the general structure of Noh plays by adopting elements from Kusemai, a popular entertainment in which the performer simultaneously mimed, danced, and sang. This Kusemai was firmly established in Noh as an important dance scene by the shite.

In 1374, Kan’ami was signally honored by being invited to perform Noh for the first time before the shogun, the young Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1358-1408) in Kyoto, at the Imakumano shrine. Zeami, then a twelve-year-old boy, also appeared on stage. Yoshimitsu was so pleased with him that he removed him from his father’s care, and brought him up at his court. The son of a provincial actor was now the protégé of the most powerful man in Japan. Zeami, living in the court, received his education from the greatest men of letters. He learnt, for example, about waka poems and renga poems and about Zen philosophy which he could apply to his Noh. In fact, he created his 40 or so plays, his acting, and his productions on the Zen artistic principles of restraint, economy of expression and suggestion rather than statement.

Being raised by his father Kan’ami, a great Noh actor and playwright, and obtaining the patronage of a vigorous, cultivated, young ruler, Yoshimitsu, Zeami developed a theater of beauty and grace, and with his superb mind and great warmth of feeling, he established classic theatrical Noh. When he was twenty-two years old, his father died. He immediately became the leader of his own troupe and an all-around man of the theater, like Shakespeare.

Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the third shogun of the Muromachi shogunate, the actual feudal ruler of the land (as opposed to the Emperors who were by this time merely the titular heads of state) was able to increase shogunal authority over the country. He surrounded himself with such arbiters of taste and literary style as Noh players, Kan’ami and Zeami, and patronized Noh, poetry, painting, and garden design, like Louis 14th in France. His residence was called the “Palace of Flowers” and his Kitayama villa was known later as Kinkakuji. These were vital cultural and intellectual centers.

The Ashikaga family, so powerful under Yoshimitsu around 1400, failed to keep control of the country in the fifteenth century. A civil war, the Onin War (1467-1477) started in 1467 and was fought in and around Kyoto until 1477. Disputes between powerful military houses were so continuous that for a hundred years from the Onin War, no central government existed. This century is called the period of the century of wars. Kyoto, once ‘the capital of flowers’ was reduced to a burnt field, and the appalling loss in metropolitan temples, shrines, palaces, and their treasure fully matched the decline in metropolitan political authority and prestige.

Of course, the shogunate had little time for Noh under the warring situation. The cultured civilized life in Kyoto came to an end, but Noh’s development continued. When Kyoto was beset by war Noh troupes had little chance to perform. They went out of Kyoto to the provinces, where common people wanted entertainment and culture. In any age, all theatrical troupes need public support. Toward 1500, amateur performances became widely popular. The study of Noh music and dance spread not only among aristocrats but also among priests, soldiers, and commoners, who wanted professional instruction, which the troupes gladly gave them for a fee.

The role of the audience has been crucial throughout the history of theatrical development. As audiences change, the content of performing art inevitably changes. Audiences of Kan’ami and Zeami were both aristocratic and commoner. When these actors performed for aristocrats, they tried hard to emphasize the aristocratic refinement in Noh, for example, the rich decorative yet gentle and tranquil beauty called yugen in dance and singing. Zeami’s constant efforts to please the aristocrats led the Noh theater to the apex of its art. On the other hand, when they performed for commoners in the provinces, they added more entertaining mime.

Zeami wrote 21 books of Noh theory in his later years. In his first book Fushi-Kaden, he wrote: To keep the theater alive, it must appeal to an audience of various classes, both high and low.

1.5. The Azuchi-Momoyama period 1568-1600

When Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582) entered Kyoto in 1568, it signaled the end of the war period. In 1576, Oda Nobunaga built his palatial fortress at Azuchi and organized central government system. After Nobunaga was killed in the Honnoji Incident in 1582, the task of national unification was completed by Nobunaga’s subordinate, Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598) in 1590. He built his headquarters at Momoyama in Fushimi. The Azuchi-Momoyama period is named after the sites of these two castles.

The greatest symbol of the Azuchi-Momoyama period was the castle, a representation of power. Shoguns who completed the enormous task of national unification after the 100 years war wanted to surround themselves with lavish cultural refinements. In Hideyoshi’s case, one of them was Noh.

Hideyoshi gathered the scattered Noh actors from all over the country and encouraged them to form troupes again. He commissioned 10 plays written about himself, in which he played the principal role in the same manner as Louis 14th. The troupes or schools called Kanze, Hosho, Komparu, and Kongo survived the civil war and exist to the present day. They gave performances before their powerful patron Hideyoshi and other feudal lords.

Here, the Noh became a ceremonial entertainment for the Shogunate and eventually abandoned public audiences. Noh became increasingly formal and stylized. It then fossilized as the Shogunate did not like any changes at all and encouraged a static tradition in the Noh theater. In other words, when this performing art became part of the ceremonial trappings of the government, it stopped developing almost completely. Parts of vivid mime, which public audiences had loved, were reduced, and scenes of dance and singing increased.

1.6. The Edo (now Tokyo) period (1600-1868)

The Edo period, also called the Tokugawa period, dates from 1600, when Ieyasu defeated his principal rivals in the Battle of Sekigahara, to 1868, the year of the Meiji Restoration. The Edo period, one of the major epochs of Japanese history, is distinguished by the fact that for more than two centuries Japan enjoyed freedom from warfare at home and abroad. This period was called “National Seclusion.” Azuchi-Momoyama, an expansive period of history, was followed by a long era of insularity.

Ieyasu, the first Tokugawa shogun, also enjoyed Noh and protected it as an official ceremonial art of the Tokugawa shogunate. During the time of the second Tokugawa shogun, Hidetada, the shogunate permitted the establishment of the Kita school in 1618, bringing the total number of major schools of professional Noh actors to five, all of which are still in existence today.

During the Edo period, Noh was supported by the shogunate and Noh actors tried hard to please the shogunate. The common people for the most part lost interest in Noh, and enjoyed a new vigorous popular culture such as Joruri puppet theater, Kabuki, and Ukiyo-e prints. Noh’s popularity was almost entirely limited to certain higher groups, such as the Samurai clans. During the more than two centuries of the Edo period, Noh became more and more codified, even surpassing Zeami’s refined art in solemnity. Noh performances that took half an hour in Zeami’s day require an hour and a half or more today.

1.7. From the Meiji Restoration (1868) to the end of World War II (1945)

With the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the Tokugawa shogunate crumbled and the government subsidy of Noh stopped. Noh completely lost its only support from the feudal government. This led many Noh actors to quit the profession. For a while, it seemed to be the end of Noh.

However, the Meiji government ended Japan’s seclusion and rushed to catch up with the industrially and culturally advanced West. Meiji was the epoch of Japan’s transformation from a feudal polity into a modern industrial state. The slogan of Meiji period (1868-1912) was “Civilization and Enlightenment.” For eighteen months from 1871 to 1873, a large part of the Meiji leadership toured America and Europe as part of the Iwakura mission. Tomomi Iwakura (1825-1883) was the central figure of the Meiji Restoration. During his many experiences with the West, though almost everything was new to him, one of the important impacts upon him was the hearty welcome he received from the opera-house in every capital in Europe, as a special guest from Japan. At that time, a wonderful idea flashed into his mind. He thought if, in the West, it was opera or ballet that expressed a warm welcome to foreigners, it should be Noh in the case of Japan. Noh, Japan’s own classical performing art with a rich powerful past, became a national art. This helped breathe life back into Noh, and the various Noh schools built their own Noh theaters and established groups to promote Noh’s development. However Noh had become isolated from the common people and its popularity was limited to a small circle.

1.8. From 1945 to the present time

1.8.1. New audiences and supporters:

On 15 August, 1945, World War II came to an end. Japan was subjected to the Allied Occupation, which lasted from August, 1945 to April, 1952. During the years of the Occupation, there were many big changes, even a kind of revolution. For example, the Constitution of Japan, the Land Reforms of 1946, revamping of the educational system, curtailment of the economic activities of the Japanese financial group (zaibatsu), supporting equality of the sexes, etc. Noh lost its zaibatsu support, which it had had since the Meiji period. Accordingly, the audience of Noh completely changed. Now, the general public are the main Noh audience. Not only do they enjoy Noh performances but also they learn Noh song (utai), music (hayashi), and dance (shimai) from professional Noh-actors. Their tuitions support the Noh actor’s livelihood.

1.8.2. Women Noh-actors

In the democratic society after World War II, women also can participate in Noh and learn Noh song and dance, not only as amateurs but also as professionals. In 1948, the Noh Association permitted women to enter the Association as professionals, but Noh is still primarily male dominated.

1.8.3. The National Theater for Noh and Kyogen

In 1983, the National Theater for Noh and Kyogen opened in Tokyo with the following three purposes:

A) Popularizing Noh and Kyogen.

- 51 performances from April 2002 to March 2003

- Many performances for high school students

- 12 public lectures on Noh and Kyogen from April 2002 to March 2003.

B) Education. The National Theater has a theater school for studying the necessary curriculum to be waki players, musicians (hayashi), or Kyogen players. The term of study is for six years. This theater school started from 1984, and twenty-two students graduated since then.

C) Investigation, research, and keeping various records about Noh, and Kyogen.

Each house of the five schools or families of Noh trains its own shite. The Noh Association announced in 2001 that the number of shite is 1,069, with only 67 waki, and 147 Kyogen professionals. This division of titles is very strict, and not changeable in their lifetime, thus a waki never becomes a shite.

1.8.4. Creativity of Noh

Noh actors have to study and memorize about 240 traditional and classical Noh plays including the songs, dances, and text. They have kept the Noh repertoire alive not only as historical masterpieces but also as a living art of today. For about 600 years, the five schools or families have passed on Noh from generation to generation.

Noh-actors start their training from seven years old or earlier, then it continues until the end of their life, by Zeami’s words, searching for a true “flower.” The Noh actor's life is very busy, so creating new Noh is difficult, but they manage it.

In 1909, Collection of Sixteen Treatises by Zeami was edited by Dr. Togo Yoshida and for the first time published by the Noh Association. Zeami wrote all his works on Noh as secret books or as his family’s special books with the aim of passing on the ideas of his father Kan’ami and of himself to posterity. Accordingly, his writings were preserved secretly for many long years until published in 1909. Many scholars, as well as Noh actors, began to study Zeami and Noh. By and by, the new cooperation of Noh scholars and Noh actors enabled present day creation of new Noh.

1.8.5. Kanze Hisao

One of the most prominent Noh actors after World War II was Kanze Hisao (1925-1978). He was born in a KanzeSchool family in 1925. He studied Noh with his grandfather Kanze Kasetsu. He was recognized as a highly gifted shite actor from when he was young. When World War II ended, he was twenty years old. It would be his destiny to be the standard-bearer of a new Noh movement in the postwar years. In 1949, he became a member of “The Traditional Art Society” which includes Noh, Kabuki and Shingeki (the new school of acting that grew up under the influence of Occidental drama), and scholars. In 1950, he joined a meeting named “Renaissance of Noh.” Here, he studied hard on Zeami’s theories. In 1953, he made “The group of Hana” together with his two brothers and others. In 1955, he met with Tetsuji Takechi, a director, and produced several innovative Noh dramas. In 1960, there was an important encounter with Jean-Louis Barrault, a French pantomime. They became lifelong friends. In 1962, by Barrault’s recommendation, Hisao went to France and stayed there one year and studied European styled techniques of movements. From 1971 to 1977, he organized Mei-no-kai and performed new dramas with his new style, such as King Oedipus (1971) or Media (1975).

His death at fifty-three years old was deeply lamented, but his many gifts gave precious examples and courage to young Noh actors.

2. Dance in Noh

As we saw in the history of Noh, Noh choreography changed little, with some patterns or kata being used again and again. The most basic posture and movement of Noh dance are kamae (posture) and hakobi (steps or walking). With kamae and hakobi, there are about 250 kata (gesture patterns). Some kata have special meaning, while others have no meaning.

2.1. Kamae (posture)

Standing upright with a straight back is the position of stillness. It also leaves the actor ready for the next movement. Actors usually hold an object. Sometimes, it is a cane, rosary or bamboo grass, but the most popular is a fan, which only the main character holds. The fan has various meanings for different occasions, but basically works as a torimono. Torimono is a device to invite supernatural beings to this world in magical religions such as Shinto and shamanism. During sacred Shinto music and dancing (kagura), the gods are invited to eat and drink, join in the dancing, and eventually are seen off at holy places. Examples of torimono used in kagura celebrations are:

- Sakaki tree branches: Sakaki is an evergreen tree which is thought to be a god-inviting object and, at the same time, to indicate a sacred place.

- Mitegura: objects dedicated to gods in general; also places where gods dwell.

- Cane: god’s property, and sometimes god himself as the Hermes pillar.

- Bows, swords and halberds: the objects with pointed parts frequented by gods are also used to dispel evil spirits.

- Bamboo grass: functions to connect people with the spirit world.

- Hisago: a gourd which implies natural fertility.

- Kazura: creeper plant that suggests rejuvenation and the power of life.

2.2. Hakobi (steps or walking)

The basic Noh movement begins with a stylized step or walk from each position. Suri-ashi, a sliding walk, is the most important of these steps. In Japanese, the term mau is used to describe Noh dance, instead of the more usual odoru. The former term implies quiet, smooth and highly stylized movements, while the latter implies active movement. Thus, to dance in Noh is to mau, or move smoothly in keeping with the principles of hakobi.

Suri-ashi is believed to have come from a ceremony for calming the souls of the dead. This ceremony likely had two contradictory functions, tama-furi and tama-shizume. Tama-furi is to shake up and wake up fading lives and souls. On the other hand, tama-shizume functions to quiet and hold down the lives and souls which are soon to depart for another spiritual space, to try to keep them in this world. Not all Noh steps are suri-ashi.

2.3. Kata (gesture patterns)

Kata, gesture patterns that are used most often in Noh are as follows.

2.3.1. Gesture patterns that have special meaning.

a) Shiori is a weeping gesture. It is made by slowly lifting a hand to the brow of a lowered face. Morojiori expresses more violent grief than shiori. It is the same as shiori, except using both hands.

b) Kumo-no-ogi, or cloud fan means the rising of the sun or moon. It is made by holding out both hands, the right hand with an open fan over the left hand, and then spreading out the two hands, the right hand upward and the left hand downward, sometimes with stepping back three paces.

c) Makura-no-ogi, pillow fan, indicates sleep. When the actor does this gesture, he sits down on the floor and shields his face with an open fan held in his left hand.

d) Maneki-ogi, calling fan, means beckoning fan. This gesture is made when approaching a person in welcome, or brushing off something, or fanning a fire. Sometimes it describes the blowing of the wind. This is the gesture made by the mother who finds her lost son standing before her like in Sumidagawa. The movement is used to invite someone to come closer and is understood throughout most cultures.

2.3.2. Gesture patterns that have no meaning

a) Sashikomi-hiraki is the most basic and most used gesture. Sashikomi means pointing, while hiraki means opening. Sashikomi-hiraki is a combined gesture made by simultaneously holding out the right hand and advancing several steps and then spreading out both hands while stepping back three paces.

b) Sayu literally means left and right. This gesture is made two steps to the left side raising the left hand and then two steps to the right side raising the right hand.

There are three kinds of dancing in Noh, called mai (mai is the noun, while mau is the verb). They are mai-goto, hataraki-goto, and shimai. Mai-goto and hataraki-goto are accompanied by music, sometimes by all four instruments, sometimes without taiko, and always without singing. Mai-goto with its series of set poses and gestures without special meaning is longer and quiet, while hataraki-goto is brief, descriptive, and more active with some meaning. Usually both come near the end of a Noh drama before the final dance which is always accompanied by a song. Shimai is a dance in which the dancer is accompanied by chorus. Sometimes the dancer also sings, but always solo. Many Noh have two shimai in them, one in the middle called kuse, the other in the final scene called kiri.

Mai-goto and hataraki-goto are performed solo by the shite. Waki actors sometimes take part in hataraki-goto. Shimai is performed solo by the shite, or on rare occasions accompanied by one or more tsure.

3. A short presentation by the author

In the Nara period (645-794), a form of play called Sangaku was introduced into Japan from China. Afterwards, the mixture of Sangaku, the foreign element, and Dengaku, the native element, grew into a musical humorous farce called Sarugaku. It was performed in the festivities attending harvest celebrations and other agricultural holidays. When Sarugaku developed and theatrical troupes formed in the Kamakura period (1185-1333), Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples employed them to perform during festivals and ceremonies. Thus, Sarugaku developed originally for the general public.

In the Muromachi period (1333-1568), Noh was refined by two geniuses, Kan’ami and Zeami, father and son. At a special performance of the Kan’ami troupe at Imakumano shrine, the third shogun, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1358-1408) was so pleased with Zeami, then a twelve-year-old boy, that he brought him up at his court, the cultural and intellectual center of Japan. Zeami, living in the court, received his education from the greatest men of letters of his time, which he could apply to his Noh. Accordingly, his Noh plays could appeal to both aristocrats and commoners.

During the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568-1600) and the Edo period (1600-1868), Noh became a ceremonial entertainment exclusively for the shogunate, and eventually, was abandoned completely for public audiences. The shogunate did not like any changes in Noh. Noh became increasingly formal and stylized, and stopped developing almost completely.

For about 600 years or more, the five schools or families have passed on Noh including its extravagant costumes, masks, dignified postures and movements, from generation to generation. In the democratic society after World War II, the general public again became the main Noh theater goers. In 1983, the National Theater for Noh and Kyogen opened in Tokyo and helped Noh’s popularize Noh and enlighten its audiences.

Toshiko Sato



CF0219e.doc                           Contains drawings and photos with captions



A List of Captions for the Illustrations

(1) Plan of the Noh Stage

     a. Curtain

     b. Bridge-way

     c. The third pine tree

     d. The second pine tree

     e. The first pine tree

     f. Sand

     g. Back wall (scenery)

         The large picture of a pine tree on the stage’s only wall can be taken to represent a

       place of residence for the gods (yorishiro).

     h. Instrumentalists seat

     i. Main Stage

(2) Shakkyo is the most famous Noh play that deals with the lion. It includes many active dances.

     Shite: Nagashima Tadashi, in 1999, at the JapaneseSchool, Middlebury College, VT, U.S.A.

(3) Hagoromo is the heavenly maiden’s dance.

     Shite: Sato Toshiko, in 1999, at the JapaneseSchool, Middlebury College, VT, U.S.A.

(4) American students perform sashikomi-hiraki with Nagashima Tadashi, Japanese Noh actor, in 1999, at the JapaneseSchool, Middlebury College, VT, U.S.A.

(5) Kata-tsuke of Hagoromo is a written choreography of shimai.

(6) Sumidagawa performed by Kanze Hisao in 1956. (Photo: Tatsuo Yoshikoshi)

(7) Giselle, a new Noh performed by Umewaka Rokuro, Noh-actor in 1999. (Photo: Noboru Takahashi)

(8) Kaguya-hime, a new ballet choreographed by Toshiko Sato in 2000, using Noh movements and costumes. Jiang Qi (Ballet West, UT, U.S.A.) and Toshiko Sato. (Photo: Hiroshi Takahashi)


Preface: Noh’s Essence is Dance

Chapter 1 An Overview of Noh’s Development Until the Present Time

(1) The Nara period (645-794)

(2) The Heian period (794-1185)

(3) The Kamakura period (1185-1333)

(4) The Muromachi period (1333-1568)

(5) The Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568-1600)

(6) The Edo (now Tokyo) period (1600-1868)

(7) From the Meiji Restoration (1868) to the End of World War II (1945)

(8) From 1945 to the Present Time – Creativity and Education of Noh

Chapter 2 Dance in Noh

Chapter 3 A Short Presentation by the Author

List of Captions for the Illustrations



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