The theme of the ‘Second Tatsushige no Kai’, which took place one year ago, was ‘beards’. On that occasion, in addition to noh and kyogen plays, we were joined by a guest star, Tanikawa Shuntarō, who read his poems. It has been a truly wonderful day, and I would like to thank everyone for your continuous support.
This year, on the occasion of the ‘Third Tatsushige no Kai’, I invite another special guest: my father and teacher, Udaka Michishige, celebrating his 70th birthday. During his first year of middle school, my father entered the household of Kongō Iwao II, the 25th Grand-Master of the Kongō school, as a live-in apprentice. For ten years he trained in order to become a professional. Although I represent the second generation, only recently I started to realize the extraordinary effort he has put in training and performing throughout his career. ‘Family’ is the theme of this year’s Tatsushige no Kai. I chose this theme as the eldest son within our family of Noh actors, as well as in celebration to my father’s 70th birthday.
The shimai (dance excerpt) Tama no dan describes the love of a mother who loses her life for that of her child.
Hatano Yoshiko, who, in addition to being a professional shite actor in the Kongō school, is a senior student of my father’s, will take the main role in this performance. The kyogen Inaba-dō, set at Kyoto’s iconic temple hall Inaba-dō, is a heartwarming comedy depicting a typical husband-and-wife argument. Finally, the noh Shakkyō (The Stone Bridge), performed in a variant called ‘sangei-no-shiki’, will feature three mythical lions, representing the father (Michishige) and his two sons (myself and my younger brother Norishige). The three masks used for this play are made by my sister Keiko, noh mask carver. This performance brings together and celebrates our collective efforts as a family of Noh professionals.
I hope this will be a chance for all of us to think about what ‘family’ means to us, and to enjoy a pleasant time together.
I look forward to meeting all of you.
Udaka Tatsushige, Udaka Takitarō
Shimai (dance excerpt)
Tama no dan
Shite: Hatano Yoshiko
Chorus: Sōmyō Tadasuke, Udaka Norishige, Udaka Tatsushige, Shigemoto Masaya
Shite: Shigeyama Yoshinobu
Ado: Yamaguchi Kōdō
Assistant: Niijima Kento
30 min intermission
Shakkyō (‘The Stone Bridge’) sangei-no-shiki variant
Tsure: Udaka Norishige
Tsure: Udaka Tatsushige
Tsure: Udaka Michishige
Waki: Kobayashi Tsutomu
Ai: Shigeyama Yoshinobu
Large drum: Moriyama Yasuyuki
Small drum: Kichisaka Ichirō
Stick drum: Maekawa Mitsunori
Flute: Morita Yasuyoshi
Assistants: Hirota Yukitoshi, Kongō Hisanori, Teshima Yukihiro
Chorus: Urushigaki Kenji, Yamada Isumi, Teshima Kōji, Ono Yoshirō,
Imai Katsunori, Taneda Michikazu, Imai Kiyotaka, Kongō Tatsunori
Expected finishing time: 17:00
Light refreshments will be served in the lobby for about 30 minutes after the end of the performance.
Tama no dan
Tama no dan is a shimai (dance excerpt) taken from the noh Ama (‘The Diver’). Tama no dan (‘The Jewel Scene’) belongs to a special category of shimai called dan-mono. These dances are considered particularly difficult, and require higher expertise to be performed. There are only 9 dan-mono in a repertoire of over 230 shimai. The play Ama is based on the legend of Princess Tamatori (lit. ‘Jewel-taker’) appearing in the founding narrative of the Shido Temple. It is a moving tale of motherly love.
A fisherwoman (in Japanese, ama) dives into the sea to retrieve the ‘Jewel that Never Turns Away’, which the Dragon King stole and took to his palace underwater. In return, the minister who assigned her this task promised that her son would become the his heir. After reaching the palace of the Dragon King and stealing the jewel, she is surrounded by marine monsters. However, the diver is ready ‘to give her own life away and vanish like dew’ for her son’s happiness, so she cuts her belly and hides the jewel inside it. She then pulls the rope that she used to dive. The men waiting for her on the sea surface pull her up, only to find out that she took her own life in order to retrieve the jewel.
Inabadō is a hall belonging to the Byōdō-ji temple in the shimogyō area of Kyoto. Many kyogen plays are set here. One of the amusing aspects of kyogen is the blurry line between reality and fiction: visiting the actual Inaba-dō one may well wonder if the funny stories of kyogen really took place there!
A man who has long been vexed by a ill-tempered as well as drunkard wife takes the chance to send her a divorce letter while she is away, visiting her parents. Finally alone, the man decides to visit Inaba-dō to pray for a new wife. There he spends the night, waiting for an oracle to appear in his dreams. The wife, who received the divorce letter, but did not give her consent, has heard about the husband going to Inaba-dō, and now decides to find out what that is about. She reaches the hall and, finding him asleep, she whispers in his ear: ‘you will find your new wife at the Western gate’. The man believes to have heard the revelation he was wishing for in a dream, and hurries to the gate. There he finds a woman hiding her face under a robe. The man is overjoyed and urges the woman to follow him home where he wants to share a cup of wine in celebration of their wedding. However, things do not turn out quite as good as he expects...
Shakkyō (‘The Stone Bridge’)
‘The Stone Bridge’ is a narrow passageway: only 30 centimeters wide, but extending 10 meters over a 3000 meter-deep ravine. In addition, it is covered in wet moss. This bridge is said to lead to the Pure Land, where the bodhisattva Manjusri dwells. Although only those who undertook a strict spiritual training can dare to take on the challenge of crossing the bridge, Manjusri’s messengers, the mythical lions frolic on it with great ease. Shakkyō is infused with a feeling of mystery awe that only nature can deliver. The play also admonishes against any wrongdoing. For a noh actor, Shakkyō is a highly challenging play. In the ‘sangei no shiki’ variant performed today, three lions - a father (white) with two sons (red) - appear. In Japan white and red is an auspicious color combination, emphasizing the celebratory nature of this event.
Monk Jakushō is undertaking a pilgrimage across China and India, visiting sites associated with the Buddha. As he reaches the famous ‘Stone Bridge’ of Mt. Shōryō, an old man and a young man appear, warning him from crossing the long and narrow bridge leading to Manjusri’s Pure Land. The couple urges the Monk to wait there instead, because he is about to witness a miracle. Saying so, they disappear. Soon, three mythical lions, Manjusri’s messengers, appear. They frolic among fragrant peonies, and perform the famous ‘lion dance’ on the Stone Bridge.
Tickets & Access
The Third Tatsushige no kai
Noh "Shakkyo Sangei no Shiki(Stone Bridge)"
The Kongo Noh Theatre
Karasuma Ichijō-agaru Ryūmon-cho, 590
Subway Karasuma-Imadegawa (K06), South Exit (n.6). Walk South 300m.
No parking is available - please use the parking within the Gosho Imperial Gardens.
Google Map >
Tickets on sale from 16 March, 2017. Early booking is recommended.
Tatsushige no kai office: Email email@example.com
Internet Reservation: http://stage.corich.jp Search from the top page "竜成の会" (* In Japanese-language only)
Ticket prices (all reserved seats)
Special seats / 15,000yen
First class seats / 10,000yen
Second class seats / 8,000yen
Third class seats / 5,000yen
Parents and children seats / 7,000yen per 2 people (+3,500 per extra person)
Next generation seats / 3,000yen
First class boxes / 50,000yen (min 1 max 5 people)
Tatsushige no kai office
Tel. 080-4243-7440 (Weekday/10:00-16:00)
Front seats area
Seats facing the front of the stage.
36 premium seats close to the front of the stage, for those who wish to feel the tension of the stage. Booking this seat you will receive a small gift.
■First class seats
You are able to see all the stage from the front to the hashigakari bridgeway. Sitting here allows you to see clearly all that happens on stage.
Box at the back of the stalls. Each box accommodates up to five people. You can enjoy the performance with your friends. Only 3 boxes are available.
This kind of seats are unique to a Noh theatre. From here you can enjoy the performance as if you were ‘behind the scenes’.
■Second class side seats
From these seats you can feel the depth of the stage as you would not from the front. Professionals usually watch performance from these seats - recommended to those who want to focus on the movement of the actors.
■Third class side seats
Seats at the back of the side area. Relax and enjoy the performance… sitting here you don’t have to worry if you fall asleep!
Watching the performance from here you will understand the importance of the pillars, guiding the actor whose view is severely restricted by the mask. These are the cheapest seats, though they provide an unexpectedly interesting view.
■Third class middle seats
These are the cheapest seats among those close to the stage. Sitting here provides a sense of three-dimensionality unique to the noh stage.
■‘New to Noh’ seats
We have reserved these seats for the next generation of noh fans. If this is your first time to the noh theatre, or if you are interested in the performing arts in general, these seats are for you.
Seats in the balcony facing the front of the stage. These seats are cheaper now, but used to be the seats for the aristocrats.
■Parents and children seats
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.
CD with lyrics and contemporary Japanese text.
You can enjoy the performance at a deeper level if you are familiar with the lyrics in advance. We will send the CD along with your ticket purchase. Cost: 1000yen.
*Refunds are not available.
*At the door tickets subject to availability.
Audio and video recordings of the performance, including photographs, are strictly prohibited.
Please switch off your mobile phone before the performance.
Child care service
We have arranged a child care service for children aged 1~5. The fee is between 2000 and 3000yen. For more information please contact the Tatsushige no Kai office (080-4243-7440) Mon-Fri 10:00-16:00. (English and Japanese)