THE 60th ANNUAL KYOTO TAKIGI-NOH
Kyoto City is again preparing for the Annual Takigi-Noh performance at Heian Shrine on June 1-2, 2009. It is hoped that the following information about the history of Takigi-Noh, this year’s schedule and program, will help to make this event more accessible and enjoyable.
The Tradition of Takigi-Noh
The tradition of Takigi-Noh, or outdoor firelight Noh, dates back over a thousand years to performances associated with the early spring Shuni-e religious ceremonies held at the temple of Kofuku-ji in Nara during the second month of the year. Performances called Takigi-Sarugaku were held at this time and the tradition of Takigi-Noh developed along with that of Noh as a theatre art. Takigi-Noh reached the height of its popularity in the Edo period. Discontinued after the Imperial Restoration in 1868, it was revived in its present form after the Second World War.
In accordance with the trends of post-war revitalization, Heian Shrine was chosen by Kyoto City and Noh Association representatives as the most appropriate setting to realize goals of city tourism and the popularization of Noh through Takigi-Noh. The first Kyoto Takigi-Noh, co-sponsored by Kyoto City and the Kyoto Noh Association, was held on May 23-24, 1950. The first 4 performances were held at the end of May, but in 1955 June 1-2nd were chosen as the permanent dates for the event. Kyoto Takigi-Noh, one of Kyoto City’s finest tourist attractions, continues to gain in popularity each year. Kyoto takes pride in presenting the 60th Kyoto Takigi-Noh performance on June 1-2, 2009.
Evenings are still cool in early June, and it is recommended that you bring a sweater or light jacket. A commemorative pamphlet will be available for \800.
Date and Time: June 1-2 (Monday-Tuesday), 2009 5:30p.m.-about 9:00 p.m.
(The gate opens at 4:30p.m.)
Place: Heian Shrine, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto
Co-Sponsors: Kyoto City, the Kyoto Noh Association, with the authorization of Heian Shrine, and the support of the Kyoto NHK Broadcasting System
Tickets: Advance Sale: \3,000 At the Gate: \4,000
Group Discount Tickets (over 15 people): \2,700 per ticket
Tickets purchased in advance may be used either day, but may only be used one time.
Tickets are not refundable.
There is no charge for young children not yet attending school. There is no charge for up to two children of elementary school age accompanied by an adult. (Even if he/she has a ticket, a child under elementary school age must still be accompanied by an adult.) Tickets are on sale at Kyoto Kanze Kaikan and Play Guides from April 25th.
Advance sale tickets will no longer be sold after June 1st.
In the case of rain, the performance will be postponed until the next day. If it begins to rain before the fire lighting ceremony, ticket stubs will be recognized as valid when the performance is continued the next day. If it starts to rain after the fire lighting ceremony, the day’s performance is considered over at that point. Information about whether a performance will be held that day or not will be available from 2:30 p.m. at the following website: http://www.kyoto-kanze.jp Tickets are not refundable.
Audience Capacity: 3,500 per performance. (In the case of heavy attendance, entrance to the viewing area may be restricted briefly; there is usually some turnover in the audience after each section, or play.)
Photography: All picture taking or recording of any kind (video or audio) is strictly prohibited. (Professional photographers should apply to the Kyoto Takigi-Noh Office for permission to document the performance.)
Inquiries, in Japanese, may be made from April 25th at:
The Kyoto Takigi-Noh Office (075) 771-7230 from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., except Mondays.
THE 60th ANNUAL KYOTO TAKIGI-NOH
June 1 (Monday), 2009 5:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
(The gate opens at 4.30p.m.)
OKINA (Kanze School of Noh)
A ritual of purification and celebration that predates Noh as we generally recognize it today and the first source of its music, movement, and symbolism, Okina is performed at the start of the new year and on special occasions. The position of actors on the stage and the composition of the ensemble differs from Noh, and the donning on stage of masks of benevolent-featured old men signal the actors becoming one with gods and embodying the harmony of humankind with the universe.
Noh: EMA (Kanze School of Noh)
An Imperial Envoy visiting the Ise Shrines meets an Old Man and Old Woman displaying Ema, votive tablets, forecasting the weather for the year. Later the Sun Goddess, the goddess Uzume, and the god Tajikarao appear. They enact the scene of how the Sun Goddess was lured from the Great Rock Cave of Heaven after having hidden there, plunging the world into darkness.
Address by the Mayor, Message by the Chairman and Firelighting Ceremony
Noh: KAKITSUBATA Koi-no-mai (Kanze School of Noh)
The spirit of the Iris, Kakitsubata, appears to a Priest who has stopped to admire the beauty of these flowers. Immortalized by poet Ariwara no Narihira who composed a poem about a woman he’d left behind, starting each line with a syllable of the flower’s name, it dances in praise of the beauty of the flowers and of Buddhism that offers enlightenment to all living things.
Kyogen: FUKU NO KAMI (Okura School of Kyogen)
Two worshippers go to visit the Grand Shrine at Izumo. The God of Happiness appears and in answer to their question about how to find happiness, dances singing that the answer is a happy home, a healthy way of life, and to welcome friends with wine.
Noh: SHOZON (Kongo School of Noh)
Tosa Shozon has been sent from Kamakura with orders from Shogun Yoritomo to kill his brother, Yoshitsune. In the capital he denies rumors of the threat he poses, and swears a loyalty oath. He enjoys a feast and dancing by Shizuka Gozen, Yoshitsune’s mistress. But later, when he is preparing to attack, it is Shozon who is captured by Yoshitsune and his men.
June 2 (Tuesday), 2009 5:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
(The gate opens at 4.30p.m.)
OKINA Kagura-shiki (Kongo School of Noh)
Kagura-shiki is an abbreviated version of Okina created in 1886 for a performance at Kasuga Shrine in Nara. The ensemble consists of flute, one shoulder drum and one hip drum, and the actor taking the main role is costumed in white, carries a white fan and does not don a mask.
Noh: KAGETSU (Kanze School of Noh)
A Man who has become a priest after the disappearance of his son is reunited with him at Kiyomizu Temple. The boy, now called Kagetsu, is an acolyte there who entertains by telling parables or dancing. He relates how he was spirited away by ‘mountain goblins’ and father and son vow to follow the path of Buddhism together.
Message by the Chairman and Firelighting Ceremony
Noh: HAGOROMO Banshiki (Kongo School of Noh)
In heaven there is no deceit. As she has promised, a Heavenly Maiden performs for a Fisherman the dances of her home in the moon in exchange for the return of her Hagoromo, robe of feathers, that he has found on a tree by the shore at Mio Bay.
Kyogen: TSURIBARI (Okura School of Kyogen)
After praying to Ebisu, the god of wealth, usually depicted with a fishingpole and a sea bream, the Master has a dream oracle: by the shrine gate he will find a magic tsuribari, fish hook, with which he can catch anything he desires. But the New Wife and Maids he wishes for are not quite what he and his servant Taro Kaja expect…
Noh: MOMIJI-GARI Onizoroi (Kanze School of Noh)
It is autumn and hero Taira no Koremochi, comes across a Lady and her women banqueting under the maple leaves when on a hunting trip in the mountains. He joins them and the Lady serves him wine, dances, and then disappears when he falls asleep. She is actually a demon and returns later with other demons to attack him. He has been warned in a dream, however, and is able to vanquish the demons.