A Message from Udaka Tatsushige

 I know we have all experienced difficulties each day as a result of the spread of the novel coronavirus.
 
 I’ve heard in the past from my Kongō school seniors about their noh activities during the war. Indeed, because of those efforts of many people to survive and to preserve their culture during turbulent times, I feel there is much that has been passed on to us that is relevant today. With a particular thought in mind, I decided to hold a Tatsushige no Kai performance this year.
 
 Do you know the place in Otsu City called “Seki Semimaru Shrine”?
 
 Seki Semimaru Shrine is devoted to Semimaru, known as a Heian Period poet and blind biwa, or lute, priest, and who is worshipped here as a god of music. The “Seki Semimaru Shrine Arts Festival” was started in 2017 for the purpose of restoring the shrine which had been showing signs of aging in recent years.
 
 Having a connection with the event from its start and having received a mission in 2019 as “Seki Semimaru Shrine Performing Arts Ambassador, ” I had been thinking about what I could do in this capacity and decided to hold this Tatsushige no Kai performance as a “Seki Semimaru Shrine Kanjin Noh.” Kanjin Noh, fundraising performances for shrine or temple construction or repairs, date back to the early history of noh. 
 
 In other words, a Kanjin Noh is a charity performance event. Part of today’s proceeds will be donated to Seki Semimaru Shrine along with a list of the names of all who have participated in today’s performance. I hope it will be possible, through Noh, to connect Japanese culture as it relates to Seki Semimaru Shrine and your daily lives.
 
 I have invited the Chief Priest of Seki Semimaru Shrine, Hashimoto Masahiro, to join us on the day of the performance and he will conduct a purification ceremony before the start of the Kanjin Noh. Seating will be reduced by half as a measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but we will also be livestreaming the performance on the internet. Our everyday world and the world of Noh, the Noh theatre and livestreaming….. I hope you will enjoy this experience beyond time and space. I’m looking forward to your participation and to your joining us at the theatre.
 

Udaka Tatsushige 

Program

Purification Ceremony:  Seki Semimaru Shrine Chief Priest, Hashimoto Masahiro
 
Greeting:  Udaka Tatsushige
 
Discussion:  Hashimoto Masahiro, Chief Priest of Seki Semimaru Shrine and Udaka Tatsushige
 

Shimai:  Semimaru, Michiyuki 

Shite:  Hatano Yoshiko
Chorus:  Udaka Tatsushige, Sōmyō Tadasuke, Mukai Hiroki, Yukawa Ryo
 

Kyogen:  Hakuyō 

Kōtō:  Shigeyama Chuzaburo
Biwa Lender:  Yamaguchi Kōdō 
Zatō:  Yamamoto Yoshiyuki
Stage attendant:  Okamoto Hironobu
 
(30 Minute Intermission)
 

Noh:  Chikubushima, Nyotai

Shite:  Udaka Tatsushige
Tsure:  Udaka Norishige
Waki:  Oka Mitsuru
Waki-tsure:  Arimatsu Ryōichi, Hara Riku
Ai-kyogen:  Shigeyama Chuzaburo
 
Flute:  Akai Yōsuke
Shoulder drum:  Hayashi Yamato
Hip drum:  Moriyama Yasuyuki
Stick drum:  Maekawa Mitsunori
 
Stage attendants:  Kongō Hisanori, Hirota Yukitoshi, Teshima Yukihiro
 
Chorus:  Matsuno Yasunori, Taneda Michikazu, Kongō Tatsunori, Hirota Yasuyoshi, Imai Katsunori, Teshima Kōji, Shigemoto Masaya, Yamada Isumi

 

The performance is expected to finish around 5 p.m.
 

Synopses and Commentary

Shimai:  Semimaru, Michiyuki
(Dance and chant excerpt from the Noh Semimaru)

 The “Seki” of Seki Semimaru Shrine refers to the “Ōsaka Barrier” at the border between Yamashiro and Omi. “Ōsaka” also has the meaning of “to meet or encounter,” and in the Noh Semimaru it is here that a chance meeting takes place between the blind prince Semimaru, abandoned at Osakayama, and his sister, called Sakagami because her hair stands on end. In the dance excerpt “Semimaru Michiyuki,” Sakagami describes, through chant and dance, her journey from the capital to the Ōsaka Barrier.
 

Commentary:

 Starting with the chant “Leaving the flowery capital…”, Sakagami describes going past Kamogawa, Shirakawa, Awataguchi, Otawayama, and Yamashina, all place names still in use today. Also, at Seki Semimaru Shrine you can see the historic remains of the stream mentioned in the poem by Ki no Tsurayuki included in its entirety in the chant:  “Seeing it’s reflection in the clear stream at Ōsaka Barrier, the horse offered at the full moon pulls away…“.

Kyogen:  HAKUYŌ

 Because there is going to be a ritual with biwa soon in the capital, Hakuyō, a zatō (lower ranking blind biwa priest) goes to visit a man who has a good biwa in order to borrow it as a replacement for his master’s, which is broken. By chance, Kōtō has also come to borrow a biwa. Although Hakuyō had already reached an agreement first to borrow the biwa, Kōtō insists that he should have it because of his higher ranking. Finally a quarrel ensues, and the master of the house suggests that the two blind men settle the matter through a sumo wrestling match….
 

Commentary:

 Blind priests who played the biwa, called biwa hōshi or “lute priests,” were known by their ranking, the highest being kengyō, followed by bettō, kōtō, and zatō. Over time the legendary biwa hōshi Semimaru came to be worshiped by many performers as a god of the performing arts.

Noh:  CHIKUBUSHIMA  Nyotai

 When Imperial envoys sent by Emperor Daigo to worship at the island of Chikubushima reach the shore of Lake Biwa, they encounter an old fisherman in a fishing boat with a woman on board. The envoys ask to be taken on board too and after enjoying the scenery along the shore finally reach Chikubushima, where, guided by the old fisherman, they go to worship at the Myōjin shrine. Seeing that the woman is joining them before the shrine to worship, they ask suspiciously, “Isn’t this island forbidden to women?” to which the two reply, “Because Benzaiten, Sarasvati, is an incarnation of the Buddha and also a god in the form of a woman, this is a sacred place where women may worship.” Then the woman enters the shrine itself and the old fisherman goes into the waters of the lake. That night Benzaiten appears and dances, and a dragon god also appears, presenting gold, silver, and jewels to the envoys, in this way revealing the sacred vow to save all sentient beings and to protect the land.
 

Commentary

 “Shudosaido” is  the vow of gods and buddhas to lead all the world’s sentient beings to salvation by manifesting before people in various forms. In Chikubushima, Benzaiten, who answers the prayers of petitioners, and a dragon god, protector of the lower realm, appear. In today’s “Nyotai” or “Female form” performance variation,  Benzaiten appears as the main character rather than the Dragon God as is the usual case. Benzaiten is depicted with a biwa, a Japanese lute, and like Semimaru, is a god of music and eloquence.

The 6th Tatsushige no kai

-Noh Performance to Raise Funds for Shrine Repairs-
Chikubusima Nyotai

 

Dates

11 July 2021 (Sun) 2 p.m.  (doors open at 1 p.m.)
 

Venue

Kongo Noh Theatre
Karasuma Ichijō-agaru Ryūmon-cho, 590

  • Subway Karasuma line-Imadegawa (K06), South Exit (n.6). Walk South 300m.
  • No parking is available - please use the parking within the Gosho Imperial Gardens.

 

Tickets(only available in Japanese)

■General >>
■Live streaming >>
 
Ticket sale starts on 12 June 2021 (Sat) from 10 a.m.
 

TICKETS

All seatings are reserved

□ Special seats / 20,000yen 

□ 1st class / 15,000yen 
□ 2nd class / 10,000yen 
□ 3rd class / 8,000yen
 
□ Family seats / 4,000yen per 1 people (more than 2 people)

  • You can book one of these if you come with a +6 year-old son, daughter or grandson, granddaughter. All the balcony is reserved for these seats, so you can sit back and enjoy the performance.

 
 Next generation seats / 4,000yen

  • These seats are for those who are students, or never seen the noh performance before, or are interested in the performing arts in general.
Live Streaming  2,000yen (The archived video will be available for viewing for 1 month.)
  • You can watch the performance live. In addition, you can also view the archived video for 1 month after the performance.
  • ※ This video can also be seen by those who joined the audience on the day of the performance. 

 


 

▼ Part of the proceeds from ticket sales will be donated/dedicated to Seki Semimaru Shrine along with a list of donors.

 

Depending on the location of seats, they may be included in the filming of the video for streaming.
Be sure to check where your seat is when purchasing your ticket.

 

▼ Text of lyrics, and recording of the chant in the form of an MP3 audio file with a translation into modern Japanese and English. Before the performance, a text of the lyrics and Recording of the chant in the form of an MP3 audio file with a translation into modern Japanese will be available. By listening in advance it will be easier to hear the lines as they are sung on stage. You will also be able to enjoy the recording after the performance.
 


Contact

Tatsushige no kai office
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