Greeting message

This year's Tatsushige-no-kai is will be the fourth instalment of the series, which started in 2014. I will perform Tanikō, a noh play set in the world of shugendō (Japanese mountain ascetism). 
Shugendō originated on Mt. Kazuraki (between Nara and Osaka), where En-no-gyōja, the mythical founder of the cult, practiced austerities. Pilgrimages of yamabushi (mountain priests) to these sacred grounds continue even today. According to the legend, En-no-gyōja had a demon couple, Zenki and Goki, as his disciples. It is thought that the descendants of these demons have been perpetuating the tradition of En-no-gyōja for over 1300 years. On the occasion of this year's Tatsushige-no-kai, I have invited Nishino Hatsuo, a representative of one of the five ‘demon’ clans descending from Zenki and Goki, to talk about the shugendō practices of Mt. Kazuraki and the five demon clans. The talk will be followed by the performance of noh and kyogen plays.
The play Tanikō is set on the pilgrimage route known as the 'Twenty-eight Mansions of Kazuraki', extending across the areas of Osaka, Wakayama and Nara. Though this route is as important as the 'Okugake-michi' of Mt. Ōmine, another sacred mountain that has been designed as World Heritage site, it is currently at risk of disappearance due to the exploitation of the territory it crosses.
I hope that this year's Tatsushige-no-kai will be a chance to reflect on the value of the traditional culture as it is represented by noh and by shugendō. I am grateful to our guests, Nishino Hatsuo and Asamura Motonobu, for having accepted the invitation to my event, and I look forward to meeting you all.

Udaka Tatsushige



Nishino Hatsuo is a representative of one of the five clans descending from Zenki and Goki (Kameoka, Nishino, Nakai, Nakagawa, Maesaka). He is based in Kinokawa City, in Wakayama Prefecture, and has a long experience in shugendō practices.
Asamura Motonobu has been a disciple of the late Takahashi Toshio since 1996. With him he studied Buddhist sculpture and restoration. After three years of introductory studies, he has continued his studies in Kyushu and Osaka until he achieved independence and moved to Nara in 2011. He participated in the carving of three statues of Mii-dera: Amida Nyorai, Yakushi Nyorai and Senju Kannon Bosatsu. Apart from his activities as carver of Buddhist statutes, he is involved in a project for the conservation of the Twenty-eight Mansions of Kazuraki.



Udaka Tatsushige

'The shugendō practices of Mt. Kazuraki and the five demon clans'

Nishino Hatsuo, Asamura Motonobu and Udaka Tatsushige in conversation

Shimai: Tsuchigumo

Udaka Norishige Yamada Isumi
Udaka Tatsushige Shigemoto Masaya Sōmyo Tadasuke, Mukai Hiroki

Kyogen: Kani Yamabushi

Shigeyama Chūzaburō, Yamada Kōdō, Yamamoto Yoshiyuki Okamura Hironobu
Intermission - 30 minutes 


Noh: Tanikō

Udaka Tatsushige, Udaka Michishige, Kobayashi Isao
Kobayashi Tsutomu, Hara Masaru, Arimatsu Ryōichi, Oka Mitsuru, Hara Riku
Matsumoto Kaoru
Kongō Hisanori, Hirota Yukitoshi, Teshima Yukihiro
Morita Yasuyoshi, Kodera Kazuaki, Kawamura Masaru, Inoue Keisuke
Matsuno Yasunori, Imai Kiyotaka, Taneda Michikazu, Kongō Tatsunori, Imai Katsunori, Teshima Kōji, Shigemoto Masaya, Udaka Norishige
The performance is expected to finish around 17:00 
Light refreshments will be served in the lobby after the performance. Please join us if your time allows.

The plays

Shimai (dance excerpt in formal clothes) 
Tsuchigumo (The Earth Spider)

The word tsuchigumo (earth spider) appears in legends and folk tales and is thought to refer to aboriginal clans predating the Yamato civilization. Graves of the tsuchigumo can be found in Kyoto and Nara. Anciently these people, perhaps hostile to the ruling groups, were depicted as monstrous creatures such as the one appearing in the noh play.
The warrior Minamoto no Raikō is has fallen ill when a mysterious monk comes to visit him. In reality the monk is a monstrous spider in disguise, who attacks Raikō throwing spider webs on him. Raikō retaliates by drawing his sword and attacking the monster, which soon disappears.

Kani Yamabushi (Crab Priest)

It is often said that Noh is tragic while Kyōgen is comic. Perhaps the tears and laughter that characterize the two genres are an artistic way to compensate for something that humans are lacking.
A Mountain Priest who has completed his apprenticeship is on the way back to the mountains, followed by his Porter. As they walk, they approach Crab Bay in the Omi province. There, the Spirit of a Crab appears and blocks their way. The Porter tries to use his stick to get rid of it, but the Spirit of the Crab pinches his ear. The Mountain Priest then decides to use his spiritual powers to take care of the situation, but things do not go as he planned…

Tanikō (The Valley Rite)

The shugendō practices are a fusion of local mountain cults with esoteric Buddhism. It is said that the Yamabushi priests following these practices become one with the mountains and are endowed with magical powers. The setting of the noh play Tanikō is the sacred area of Mt. Kazuraki and Mt. Ōmine, comprising Mt. Izumi Katsuragi, in the Kongō Range, straddling the border between Osaka and Wakayama Prefectures. It is said that the founder of shugendō buried the twenty-eight chapters of the Lotus Sutra in different locations along the mountain path, hence the name of the ‘Twenty-Eight Mansions’ route of Kazuraki.
The word Tanikō (lit. ‘going into the valley’) refers to the Yamabushi practice of hurling into a valley those who would fall behind during the pilgrimage. This is the main theme of the play.
Among the Yamabushi Priests practicing at the Imakumano temple complex in Kyoto is a young apprentice named Wakamatsu, who commutes to the temple while still living with his mother. One day the Priests visit Wakamatsu’s house to announce that they will soon travel to the mountains, where they will spend a period practicing austerities. Wakamatsu’s Mother is ill, but the son begs her to let him go with the Priests, saying that he wants to pray for her recovery. Wakamatsu’s father has already passed, and the Mother is worried for her only son. Though she tries to convince him not to go, Wakamatsu has made up his mind.
The pilgrimage begins, and Wakamatsu, who is not used to the hardships of such travel, soon falls ill. Though the Priest who has been his Mentor tries hard to protect him, the boy’s fate is sealed: the group must obey the Yamabushi rule prescribing that those who fall ill shall be hurled into the valley. After Wakamatsu’s death, his Mentor is shattered, and tells the other priests that he, too, would throw himself from a cliff and die. However, the other Priests remind him that the austerities the purpose of their daily practices is to be able to act in cases like this. The Mentor resorts to his spiritual powers to bring Wakamatsu back to life.
The Priests pray and En-no-gyōja, founder of shugendō, appears. Praising Wakamatsu’s filial piety toward his Mother, En-no-gyōja declares that he will resuscitate Wakamatsu. He calls upon a fierce deity, Gigaku-no-kijin, who flies down to the ravine where the boy’s body lies, clears it from the rocks that cover him, and brings it back to the Priests. Declaring that he was also moved by Wakamatsu’s filial piety, the deity strokes Wakamatsu’s head and brings him back to life.

Tickets & Access

The Fourth Tatsushige no Kai - Tanikō
Noh Performance Tatsushige Udaka



30 June 2018 (Saturday) from 14:00 (doors open at 13:00)



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.


Special seats / 15,000yen (with a CD and a gift)
First class seats / 10,000yen
Second class seats / 8,000yen
Third class seats (non-reserved)/ 5,000yen
Parents and children seats (2 people) / 7,000yen
Next generation seats (nonreserved) / 3,000yen
First class boxes (1 to 5 people) / 50,000yen
Click here for more information >



Tickets on sale from 2 April, 2018 (Mon) 10:00- . Early booking is recommended. 

Tatsushige no kai office

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)

Seat guide

Front seats area 

Seats facing the front of the stage. 
■Special seats 
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 seats 
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.  

Side area 

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! 

Middle area 

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.  

Balcony area 

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. 



Tatsushige no kai office