Art & Design

Intensive Noh Lesson

6 - 9 March 2013, London

Teacher - Akira Matsui
Noh Kita School Important Cultural Asset Designated by the Japanese Government, visiting from Japan


Learning Noh singing & dance the kiri section of "Matsukaze". Also intro to Noh instruments (nôkan flute, ôtsuzumi and kotsuzumi hand-drums, taiko stick drum).

date      time      place    
6th        7 pm  –   9 pm   SOAS   room B111 (Brunei Gallery)                
7th        10 am  – 4 pm   Daiwa Foundation Japan House          
8th        10 am  – 4 pm   Daiwa Foundation Japan House          
9th        10 am  – 4 pm   SOAS  room  L 67  Main Building          

Limited spaces. Apply to Riko Sherratt  


Originating in the 14th Century, Noh is a highly stylized masked
song and dance drama in which beauty of voice and movement are the highest aims.
Noh themes and dramaturgy are extremely simple. The crescendo of single emotion is presented by means of spatial composition and music. Subjects handled include filial piety, love, jealousy, revenge and samurai spirit. The scripts often not only lack a coherent plot, but even purposefully avoid usual dramatic contrasts and development.
Features of this operatic dance drama include the main role’s use of a mask, and the orchestra, which comprises a large hand drum (o-tsuzumi), a small hand drum (ko-tsuzumi), a traverse flute (fue), and sometimes a stick drum(taiko).


Story of  ‘Matsukaze (Pine Wind) ‘
This is one of best-loved plays in the repertoire. The shite, depicting the ghost of a local woman wears a ko-omote mask. The play was apparently created by Zeami, drawing partly on existing variants.
 Ariwara no Yukihira (818-93) a court noble and a poet, like his famed brother Narihira, spent several years in a picturesque fishing village on Suma Bay (near modern Kobe) enjoying the country life. This play supposes that, while there, he became intimate with the peasant salt-maker Matsukaze and her sister. Eventually he returned to the Capital, promising of course to see them again – but it was not to be. Now centuries later, the sisters’ ghosts pine for their former lover. A traveling priest (as in so many Noh plays) encounters the sisters, who relate their tale and reveal that their spirits cannot break free from their painful memories and attachments to earthly desires.
Matsukaze dances her grief, asking the priest to say a prayer for her peace in the other world. But – as in so many plays – was it all just a dream?


Lesson Fees: SOAS Noh Group members - free.

                         Non-members –donation about thirty pounds recommended.

6 - 9 March 2013

6 & 9: SOAS,Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG.

7 & 8: The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation,Japan House, 13/14 Cornwall Terrace, London NW1 4QP 


SOAS Noh Group