With over six hundred years of history, Noh theater is one of the world’s oldest theater art forms that is still regularly performed today. At times portraying a fantastic, mystical realm dominated by capricious gods, frightening demons and other supernatural beings, and at other times depicting epic fights between warriors, or a woman’s maddening pain at the loss of her lover, the world of Noh is both unpredictable and thrilling. As one of Japan’s main traditional performing arts, Noh theater has recently become even more accessible to the wider public, with the addition of English subtitles for non-Japanese speakers and online streaming of the plays.
This year, the Hibiya Festival 2021 will be online and as part of its seven-month-long program, an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the Kanze Noh Theater, one of the leading theaters in Tokyo’s Ginza area. Created with the goal of connecting people and entertainment, Hibiya Festival 2021 brings, for a limited time, an inaugural backstage tour of the venue will be available on the festival’s YouTube channel, HIBIYA FES CHANNEL, with English and French subtitles.
The tour will be hosted by actor Saburota Kanze, the promising son of Kanze School of Noh’s 26th kanze headmaster, Kiyokazu Kanze, and it also includes a beginner’s guide to Noh and never-before-seen footage of the theater that both newcomers and longtime fans alike will enjoy. Get all the answers to the questions you have always wanted to ask about Noh, such as “Why does Noh stage have a roof?” or “What is the purpose of the Noh theater’s bridge?” in this video.
The theater, located in Tokyo’s bustling Ginza district, has an impressive stage built entirely of Japanese cypress and can accommodate up to 480 people. It specializes in the kanze style, the main school of Noh theater, and hosts more than two dozen Noh programs annually, along with more than 130 other Noh programs. In addition to having a glimpse of the sacred, tension-filled stage, you’ll also get to see how the actors are dressed and how the masks are put on before performances, as well as experience a play seen from the perspective of a Noh actor. At the end of the online tour, Saburota Kanze will perform a scene from a Noh play.
Immerse yourself in the extravagant world of Noh through this new opportunity to learn about unseen aspects of this quintessentially Japanese tradition.