“Basic Knowledge” Terms

Bangumi (番組)

A series of plays for a performance (or the order of the plays), or a small book or sheet of paper g...

Shimai-ōgi (仕舞扇)

From actors, musicians and assistants to reciters, every Noh performer holds a fan. Actors in costum...

Ningen Kokuhō (人間国宝)

Popular name for certified people with high levels of artistic skill who take part in performing ar...

Noh-gakushi (能楽師)

Performers involved in the art of Noh (Noh and kyōgen) as their profession. Responsibility for thei...

Men-himo (面紐)

Braided codes for fixing the mask to the actor's face. The round braid straps are made of silk so th...

Nohgakudo (能楽堂)

A theatre dedicated to Noh and kyōgen performances. It consists of the stage, the auditorium and anc...

Gakuya (楽屋)

Rooms behind the Noh stage where the performers to carry out their preparations. Gakuya usually cons...

Shirasu (白州/白洲)

Shirasu is the area covered with white pebbles between the Noh stage and the auditorium. Until the E...

Kinin-guchi (貴人口)

A single door about 1.3 meter wide and 1.8 meter high. It is located at the left of the stage behind...

Kikyoku (稀曲)

Plays that are rarely performed. Both Noh and kyōgen have existing repertoires of well over two hund...

Su-utai-ōgi (素謡扇)

A fan used for su-utai (vocals without hayashi). It is a type of shizume-ōgi but slightly smaller (f...

Keiko (稽古)

Practice or training. Noh and kyōgen actors train every day in various ways to build the big reperto...

Shimai-bakama (仕舞袴)

Actors who perform Mai-bayashi (digest performances with music) or solo dances, as well as assistant...

Eigo-noh (英語能)

A play constructed in the traditional style of Noh with traditional techniques (vocals, dance and mu...

Yōkyoku (謡曲)

The lyrics of Noh, or chanting those lyrics to a tune. The term Yōkyoku came into use around the lat...

Haikyoku (廃曲)

Used in contrast to genkōkyoku, plays currently being performed, haikyoku refers to plays no longer ...

Rōjomono (老女物)

The five plays which feature an old woman as the shite: Sekiderakomachi, Higaki, Obasute, Oumukomach...

Shoshin (初心)

Shoshin is a popular word and idea from one of Zeami’s treatises on Noh, Kakyo, in which he tells re...

Riken-no-ken (離見の見)

Riken-no-ken, or “sight outside of sight,” is a term used in Ze’ami’s treatise on Noh, Kakyō. It ref...

Ran-noh (乱能)

Noh has many specialized roles including the shitekata, wakikata, hayashikata and kyōgenkata, and in...

Senyōmen (専用面)

A “specialized mask,” or mask worn by a specific character. Noh masks include generalized masks such...

Musashino University NohgakuResearch Center (武蔵野大学能楽資料センター)

The research center was established to give an accurate portrayal of modern Noh, which now has a per...

Waseda University The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum (早稲田大学演劇博物館)

Houses a world-class collection of images and materials on theatre. It is also known by its nickname...

The Nogami Memorial Noh Theatre Research Institute of HOSEI University (法政大学能楽研究所)

A research center which houses historical documents related to nohgakuand serves to promote the art,...

Hishigi (ヒシギ)

Hishigi refers to a high, sharp tone of the Noh flute, and includes two types: a “hee”-type kata-hi...

Banshikichō (盤渉調)

Banshikichō is a tone of the flute used in Noh. It used to be one of the six tones of gagaku, tradit...

Bangai (番外)

During the Edo era, Noh and kyōgen were the entertainment of the shogunate, and each school would su...

Ōshikichō (黄鐘調)

Ōshikichō is a tone of the flute used in Noh. It used to be one of the six tones of gagaku, traditio...

Han’noh (半能)

Han’noh is an abbreviated style of Noh performance. After the waki enters the stage, the part of the...

Setsugekka (雪月花)

The three characters refer to the snow of the winter, moon of the fall and flowers of the spring (...

Shinsaku (新作)

Noh and kyōgen plays written after the Meiji era are known as shinsaku, or “new works” (shinsaku-noh...

Shūshin-mono (執心物)

One type of Noh play, included in the yonbanme-mono (“fourth performance” or “random Noh”). The main...

Konparu Zenchiku (金春禅竹)

Konparu Zenchiku was a Noh actor and playwright who lived from 1405 (Ōei 1212) to 1470 (Bunmei 2)?, ...

Genzai-Mono (現在物)

Genzai Noh is a type of Noh that deals with events in the real world, and Genzai Noh with a male shi...

Kamiuta (神歌)

The lyrics sung to shikisanban (okina). When okina is performed alone it is also known as and listed...

Geki Noh (劇能)

A type of Noh that focuses on the internal struggles and psychology of the characters. The term is m...

Kiridoguchi (切戸口)

The kiridoguchi is a small door to the right when facing the stage in the corner of the waki no kaga...

Shōzoku (装束)

The costumes in Noh and kyōgen. Includes the kimono worn as the very bottom layer of the costume (a ...

Kurai (位)

Kurai is a term that relates to the overall performance and production of Noh and kyōgen. It is used...

Kiri (キリ)

Kiri refers to the end of something. In Noh, this is the final party of the play, as in kiri-no-utai...

Sanyaku (三役)

A collective name for the wakikata, kyōgenkata and hayashikata as opposed to the shitekata. There ar...

Izumi School (和泉流)

One of the kyōgenkata schools. Said to have been founded by Sasaki Gakurakuken in the middle of the ...

Ōkura School (大蔵流)

One of the schools of kyōgen. While some sayGen-ei Hōin (1269-1350) of the Nanboku-chō era was its f...

Kita School (喜多流)

One of Noh’s shitekata schools. A new school founded around 1619 at the start of the Edo era with th...

Kongoh School (金剛流)

One of Noh’s shitekata schools. Its founder is said to be Sakato Magotarō Ujikatsu (1280-1384) of th...

Konparu School (金春流)

One of Noh’s shitekata schools. The Konparu School has the longest history of any of the four Yamato...

Hōshō School (宝生流)

One of Noh’s shitekata schools. The founder is said to be either the son or brother of Kan’ami Kiyot...

Umewaka Troupe (梅若家)

One of Noh’s famous Shitekata Kanze troups. Tachibana no Moroe a, a government official in the first...

Kanze School (観世流)

One school of the shitekata of Noh. The founder was one of the greats ofNoh, Kan’ami Kiyotsugu. (13...

Ado (アド)

The supporting actor to the shite (main actor) in kyōgen. When there are more than one ado, they are...

Shūgen (祝言)

Celebratory Noh played at the end of a day’s performance. Also known as shūgen-noh, in the official ...

Nochiba (後場)

In Noh and kyōgen, the performers will often step behind the curtain or set to change masks or costu...

Maeba (前場)

In Noh and kyōgen, the performers will often step behind the curtain or set to change masks or costu...

Kiri Noh (切能)

In the official five-play style of performance of theEdo era, shin nan nyo kyō ki (deity, man, woman...

Zatsu Noh (雑能)

In the official five-play style of performance of the Edo era, shin nan nyo kyō ki (deity, man, woma...

Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣秀吉)

Toyotomi Hideyoshi lived from 1537to 1598 and was a shogun during the period of warring states in th...

Kan’ami (観阿弥)

Kan’ami lived from 1333to 1384and was a performer during the Nanboku-chō period. His given name was ...

Zeami (世阿弥)

Zeami is believed to have lived from 1363 to 1443 and was a performer during the first half of the M...

National Noh Theatre (国立能楽堂)

The National Noh Theatre in Sendagaya, Tokyo opened in September 1983. In addition to 60 years of in...

Itsukushima Shrine Noh Stage (厳島神社能舞台)

Noh Stage located at Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima nationally designated as an Important Cultural ...

Honganji North Stage (本願寺北能舞台)

The Noh Stage located in Nishi Hongwanji, the Honganji North Stage is the oldest Noh stage recogniz...

Utaibon (謡本)

The utaibon is the book of words (lyrics) and musical notation for the syllables (goma-ten and goma-...

Nohkan (能管)

The flute used by the fuekata in Noh and kyōgen. The nohkan is also simply called the fue. As the no...

Yoza (四座)

Za is a name of given to groups formed by performers. At present, there are five schools of leading ...

Nayose (名寄)

A list of the plays performed by each school in Noh and kyōgen. In the Edo era, each school would su...

Ironashi (色無し)

In Noh and kyōgen, the word iro, or “colour,” simply refers to the colour red. For example costumes ...

Iroiri (色入り)

In Noh and kyōgen, the word iro, or “colour,” simply refers to the colour red. For example costumes ...

Mōshiawase (申し合わせ)

Point in the performance at which the rhythm is kept with only the ōgi (hari-ōgi), no ōtsuzumi or o...

Men (面)

See "Omote"...

Omote (面)

The masks used in Noh and kyōgen, known as either omote or men. Many characters wear masks in Noh, a...

Kitsuke (着付)

A type of kosode, or short-sleeved kimono, with smaller cuffs. When the costume is put on, a padded ...

Ōgi (扇)

A type of fan used as a handheld prop. Ōgi are very important to both Noh and kyōgen, and all of the...

Ryojite (両ジテ)

See "Ryōjite"...

Ryōjite (両ジテ)

While there is normally one shite, or main character, in Noh and kyōgen, at times the status of the ...

Hitamen (直面)

While characters in Noh perform while wearing masks, they play the role in a similar manner even whe...

Hakobi (運ビ)

A basic step in Noh and kyōgen. Hakobi essentially refers to a step in which the sole of the foot sl...

Kaeai (替間)

Aikyōgen refers to when kyōgenkata appear in Noh plays, and when a special performance that differs ...

Katariai (語リ間)

Aikyōgen refers to when kyōgenkata appear in Noh plays, and the portion of dialogue that connects th...

Karaori (唐織)

A gorgeous lined garment representative of Noh costumes, the karaori is a short-sleeved kimono worn ...

Shimogakari (下掛り)

Among the five shitekata schools, the Kanze and Hōshō schools, which share the same artistic roots, ...

Kokata (子方)

Roles played by children in Noh that include the entrance of the shitekata. There are two types of k...

Narai (習)

Narai are plays and performances that require special permission to be performed. Narai are both tec...

Kagami Ita (鏡板)

The lining board of the front of the Noh stage, with a large, old pine tree (oimatsu) painted on it....

Kamigakari (上掛リ)

Among the five shitekata schools, the Kanze and Hōshō schools, which share the same artistic roots, ...

Goban Date (五番立)

In the Edo era, Noh began to be performed as entertainment for the Shogunate, and the official style...

Hayashikata (囃子方)

The instrumental performers in Noh, the hayashikata are divided into the fuekata, kotsuzumikata, ōts...

Jiutaikata (地謡方)

The chorus of performers that sings the verses to certain Noh sequences, around eight jiutaikata sit...

Kyōgenkata (狂言方)

In addition to performing and acting as the kōken and jiutai in kyōgen, the kyōgenkata acts as the a...

Ai (アイ)

Ai, written with the kanji meaning “middle,” refers to the role of the kyōgenkata in Noh. Appearing ...

Tomo (トモ)

The role accompanying the shite or tsure, known as tomo when playing the role of a sword bearer or o...

Waki (ワキ)

Waki, written with the kanji meaning “side,” is the supporting actor in Noh. The waki has an importa...

Tsure (ツレ)

The performer appearing after the shite in Noh. Tsure is written with the kanji meaning “to accompan...

Shite (シテ)

The lead role in Noh and kyōgen. Written in kanji as either “doing-hand” or “useful-hand,” the shite...

Agemaku (揚幕)

The curtain separating the kagami no ma and stage. The curtain is often made of a five-colour silk b...

Hashigakari (橋掛り)

The hashigakari is the name for the bridge-like section connecting the main stage protruding into th...

Kensho/Kenjo (見所)

The audience seating at a Noh stage or Noh theatre. Seating is usually separated into the “front sea...

Oni Mono (鬼物)

In the official five-play style of performance of the Edo era, shin nan nyo kyō ki (deity, man, woma...

Katsura Mono/Kazura Mono (鬘物)

In the official five-play style of performance of the Edo era, shin nan nyo kyō ki (deity, man, woma...

Shura Mono (修羅物)

In the official five-play style of performance of the Edo era, shin nan nyo kyō ki (deity, man, woma...

Waki-noh Mono (脇能物)

In the official five-play style of performance of the Edo era, shin nan nyo kyō ki (deity, man, woma...


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