What is Noh Theater and its Purpose in Japanese Culture

japanese noh theater

Noh is a form of theatre involving music, dance and drama. It is developed along with Kyogen which are comical pieces which are played during noh performances. Noh is derived from the Japanese word that means skill or talent. It is the major form of art and drama in Japanese culture. It is also based on traditional Japanese tales to narrate their stories.
This noh theatre play contains significant significance as it leads towards the Japanese traditions, for getting more knowledge and for knowing the history of noh theatre scroll down and take some advantage.

History of Noh Theatre

Noh is the form of high theatre acts developed from the folk traditions of Japan. Kan’ami was the person who created an idea for such kind of theatre play in Japan. Because he took these traditions seriously and started practising on it so that everyone takes his concept by heart. Noh drama is serious theatre play, so they use a brief comical short act in the intermission. That comical act is known as Kyogen.
It was Kan’ami son who came forward to act for this play and started gaining the government’s recognition of Noh theatre. The time passes and over time noh play also changes, but the theme and storyline remain the same.

You can also check out these Famous Kabuki Plays and learn about the history of Kabuki.

Characteristics of Noh Play

Now you must be wondering about the characteristics of Noh play, or you might be thinking about what makes Noh. Noh play describes some essential qualities and features that you can describe in the form of characteristics, themes, music and presentation. Noh plays do not have an abundance of characters; in fact, there is only one lead character. The actors represent the primary purpose of the drama, and there are supporting roles, chorus and musicians with the main lead. All the actors in this play are male. The leading role (Shite) is always someone with supernatural powers (in play), and the supporting role (Waki) are normal human beings. The lead character who is frequently seen is a ghost who is reflecting on his life or specific events. So it would not be wrong if someone says that noh theatre themes are supernatural and other worldly that revolves around spirits, ghosts, and dreams.

Where to watch Noh Theater

The easiest place where one can enjoy the Noh play is an indoor theatre with an in-built noh stage. In Tokyo, there are several places where one can enjoy the Noh play Sendagaya Station, the Kanze Noh Theater in Ginza and the Cerulean Tower Noh Theatre in Shibuya. In Osaka, there is Otsuki Noh theatre and Nagoya have Nagoya Noh theatre near Nagoya castle. Noh plays last for two to three hours and contains several Noh acts with short pieces of Kyogen act. The ticket price starts from 3000 yen and ends up at 12,500 yen. Some places also offer discounted tickets to watch noh plays. For purchasing a ticket, you must know a little bit of Japanese language.

Types of Noh Masks

Noh mask contains a wide range of masks and plays with varying characteristics that one should know about. Here are some of the major types of noh masks that are renowned among the people and theatre actors as well.
Otoko: A men mask
Chujo: Contains a womanish look that elaborates sophisticated and graceful man
Kagekiyo: Represents an insane person
Kumasaka: A famous thief and a leader of robbers.
Onna: women mask
Zo: Shows the dignity of the Goddess
Rojo: A thin, aged face of a woman that shows the glimpse of the beauty of the youth
Fukai: Elaborates on a middle-aged woman with wrinkles from a build up experiences.
Onryo: Ghost mask
Ja: It describes a woman who feels extremely angry and holds a grudge

Types of Noh Plays

Here are some most famous Noh plays that give a beautiful message to the audience with a little bit of humour.

Genzai: Is about human characters
Mugen: Is all about supernatural powers and spirits
Ryokake: Combines the above two plays

Where can you get a Noh mask?

Noh masks are necessary for acting in Noh plays and for this, you should know the best place from where you get the premium quality noh mask to elaborate your character to the audience. Kabukimask.com is here to assist you in this regard so that you have a fantastic experience.

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