istory of NOH

Noh is a poetic dance-drama performed in ancient Japanese language with highly ritualized movements. Noh was original called sangaku and was brought over from China 1,300 years ago, then it merged with Japanese comic theater and became a new form of entertainment called sarugaku. It featured short dances and skits, consisting of impersonations and plays on words. By around the thirteenth century, several professional sarugake troupes sprung up. The skits grew into longer stories, and the songs and dances became more sophisticated. Another big changes came in the mid-fourteenth century, when Kan’ami (1333-1384) and his gifted son, Zeami (1363-1443) turned sarugaku into an art form called noh. Dan’ami introduced complex rhythms to replace a monotonous singing style, and developed a very advanced philosophy. Zeami went even further, writing and performing in plays that touched and deeply moved those who saw them. Although noh has evolved since then, the basic shape and style hasn’t changed all that much. Kan’ami and Zeami won a wide following--among not only the villagers but also the country’s most powerful politicians. The country’s modernization drive following the Meiji Restoration (1868) nearly killed noh, since the nation’s leaders rejected everything associated with the samurai. Noh also faced a crisis during and after World War II. But the tireless energy of a few dedicated noh artists saved it from extinction, and it is beginning to win a new, wider following. In May 2001 it gained worldwide recognition when the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization proclaimed it as one of 19 “masterpieces of intangible heritage.” Before World War II, women were not allowed to perform noh, but today there are more and more women professionals. There are also a rising number of overseas performances, and it’s not rare for the audience to include many foreigners.

Sun Art Center
Sunset East Blvd. 123 Hollywood, CA 39254 Phone: 555-777-555 Email: sunart@hotmial.com Web site: www. sunart.org

N . O . H
Japanese Traditional Drama


okyo Edo Drama Group
thirteen performing artists, twelve from Japan and one from France. Five leading noh professional performers and four Noh musicians, will be putting the final touches in 2005 special world tour performance. “....The magic quality of Noh is not only visual. The reverberations of the rhythms that hold the magic of Noh music and the feeling of rapture we might even call religious brought on by the unison singing of the chorus serve to separate the consciousness of the audience from reality.”
- TIME Magazine, Paul Smith -

Tokyo Edo Drama Group was found on September 10, 1920, by Master Akira Matsui. It is one of the oldest professional noh performance groups in Japan. In 1980, the group was handed to Master Matsui’s son, Maibayashi Matsui. Tokyo Edo Drama Group has been awarded with the hightest honor theater gold group for the past conserctive five years in Japan. Mr. Matsui has been educated in the University of Southern California with a MA degree of Theater Art. He is the poineer of taking the noh performance outside of Japan, from West Coast to East Coast of America, from Germany to England in the past ten years. He also servers as a director of group. Tokyo Edo Drama Group has been in residency at Tokyo since 1940 and it currently has 54 members and

from left to right: Director:Maibayashi Matsui Performers: Jiichi Asami, Herosa Takahashi, Hiroshi Morioka,Yumeja Suzuki, Sato Yagata


Oh masks
Japanese masks are part of a highly developed theatrical tradition. Their purpose was once strictly religious but this changed long ago. The Noh mask is said to be the most artistic of all Japanese masks. young woman is one of the most challenging for any actor. The masks are comparatively small and they only cover the front of the face having only small holes for eyes, nostrils and mouth. Often after an actor donning his sumptuous costume, he seats himself before a mirror and studies the mask, becoming one with the character he is about to perform. The mask is then tied onto his head, any wig or necessary headgear is put on and he stands before a full-length mirror letting the mask takes over his own personality before he is led to the stage. Noh masks have to be very light because they are worn throughout a performance that lasts for several hours. They are carved from one piece of cypress wood. After the masks has been carved to the desired thickness, holes for eyes, nose and mouth have been cut, it is then coated with layers of gesso mixed with glue. This coating is then sanded down, giving the mask its final shape. Finally it is painted in the colors prescribed for the particular character and some parts of it might be gilded.


our Schedule
Royce Hall Kennedy Art Center Eisen Theater New York Art Center

USC L.A., CA Washington, DC Chicago, Illinois New York City, New York

10/22-10/30 11/04-11/13 11/19-11/30 12/06-12/12

Masks play a very important part of creating a striking performance. Masks are only worn by the main character, his mask would stylize the person it represents and show them in a truer light than reality could do by depicting only the absolutely essential traits of character. There are five categories of Noh masks: gods, demons, men, women and the elderly. The masks used in Noh theatre generally show a neutral expression so it is up to the skill of the actor to bring the mask to life through his acting. The parts are all acted by men, so the task of performing as a

• All performances will start at 6 pm and end at 9 pm with a 15 minutes break in the mid-session. • For play details please visit www.sunart/noh.org. • For ticket reservations please contact sunart@hotmail.com or 1-800-365-3345