Noh is a traditional Japanese theater with a history of more than 600 years since its establishment. It is designated as intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO as well as by the Japanese government. Despite such long history and reputation, there are very few opportunities to get close to Noh in today’s life. Many Japanese people think that Noh is difficult or hard to understand or even boring although they have never actually seen it.
Therefore, we took international students to a field trip to Kawamura Noh theater so that we could wipe out such prejudgments and enjoy Noh while learning about the respectful culture of this art.
We had Mrs. Kawamura as lecturer to deepen our understanding of Noh.
Noh masks show different expressions depending on the angle they are seen from. Looking at a mask very closely, we actually felt the expressiveness and attractiveness the mask posesses.
Through learning about Noh costumes, we touched the beauty and delicacy of Japanese culture. It felt like Noh is a kind of moving art museum.
We tried on the costumes and felt as if we had become a member of the Japanese nobility.
The sound of Japanese traditional percussion instruments led us to the wonderful world of Japanese traditional music.
Once on stage, we learned Noh’s walking techniques.
We learned to sing lyrics of Noh with a proper sitting posture and greetings. Although the meaning of the lyrics was too hard to understand, we found it fun to chant and experience the rhythm and sound of Japanese language. Through this experience, we realized that Noh is a kind of musical.