“Kyōgen” Terms

Hatsu-omote (初面)

To put on a mask and perform Noh for the first time. Children who practice Noh from an early age tak...

Ono (斧)

Stage prop used in Noh and Kyōgen. Ono (an axe) is a type of blade used to cut and split wood. In th...

Naga-mono (長物)

Stage prop used in Noh and Kyōgen. A weapon with a long handle. In Noh plays, the naginata held by t...

Naga-dōgu (長道具)

Stage prop used in Noh and Kyōgen. A weapon with a long handle. In Noh plays, the naginata held by t...

Gasshō (合掌)

A style of Noh and Kyōgen acting, performed when revering or mourning an object. Both arms are held ...

Tome (トメ)

It is a style of Noh and Kyōgen acting. It is a form of dancing that is used to end a dance performa...

Osame (納メ)

It is a style of Noh and Kyōgen acting. It is a form of dancing that is used to end a dance performa...

Shitome (シトメ)

It is a style of Noh and Kyōgen acting. It is a form of dancing that is used to end a dance performa...

Kumihimo (組紐)

A cord in which bundles of threads are crossed diagonally to form a structure. Most of the cords use...

Ukeru (ウケル)

It is a style of Noh and Kyōgen acting. It is to face in the direction of an object. Turning to the ...

Mino (蓑)

A type of costume. An outer covering that covers the body for waterproofing, preventing snow and col...

Sao (竿)

It is a prop used in Noh and Kyōgen. The material used is bamboo, and the beautiful parts of the app...

Mawari-kaeshi (回リ返シ)

A style of Noh and Kyōgen acting. It is about one-and-half turns to the left. The mawari-kaeshi is o...

Sashi (サシ)

A style of Noh and Kyōgen acting. It is frequently used in the form of a fan or hand pointing forwar...

Hakama-kyōgen (袴狂言)

A Kyōgen performance in which the performer uses no masks or costumes, but instead wears a montsuki...

Shukkin-ryō (出勤料)

The fee for performing Noh and Kyōgen. In the Noh world, a performer’s appearance on stage is calle...

Horagai (法螺貝)

Stage prop used in Kyōgen. Sometimes held by actors playing mountain priests as a Dharma tool for S...

Wata-bōshi (綿帽子)

A headdress used in Kyōgen for the role of an old nun. The shape and dress are almost the same as h...

Eboshi-himo (烏帽子紐)

A set of braided cords used to secure a tate-eboshi (formal headwear with a peak), such as nashi-uch...

Tsue (杖)

Many canes are used in Noh and Kyōgen plays. These are for direction, not for supporting the perform...

Nohgaku (能楽)

Nohgaku refers to noh and kyōgen. It may also include Shiki-sanban (the three rituals, or Okina). Un...

Kesa (袈裟)

A type of costume, a patched-cotton robe worn by Buddhist monks over their vestments. In Noh, a type...

Nochi-shite (後シテ)

For the characters to change masks, costumes, etc., they often enter the curtain or go behind the pi...

Mae-shite (前シテ)

For the characters to change masks, costumes, etc., they often enter the curtain or go behind the pi...

Chīsa-gatana (小サ刀)

A short, brimless sword carried at the waist. It is used in the role of samurai who wear certain sty...

Hinoki (桧)

A coniferous tree belonging to the genus cypress in the cypress family. There are two types of cypre...

Ninzū-mono (人数物)

A play with many characters and glamorous stage scenes. If the number of characters in a Noh play is...

Shikinō (式能)

A Noh performance held as an official ceremony. Considered the most prestigious Noh performance duri...

Tsuku (ツク)

The verb “tsuku” is used to indicate overlapping. Noh performers hate overlapping in anything, incl...

Nihon Nohgaku-kai (日本能楽会)

Japan Nohgaku Organization. A general incorporated association consisting of members selected from ...

Nohgaku Kyōkai (能楽協会)

The Nohgaku Performers’ Association. A public-interest incorporated association whose full members a...

Neru (ネル)

The fabric used for the lining of Japanese split-toe socks. This is a cloth woven with cotton yarn w...

Hineru (ヒネル)

One of the fundamental motions of Noh plays. A movement to change direction while standing. First st...

Kakeru (カケル)

One of the fundamental motions of Noh plays. A movement to change direction while standing. First st...

Men-uchi (面打)

Makers of Noh and kyōgen masks. The term also refers to the work of making masks. “Kamenfu” (A Genea...

Tachi (太刀)

A Japanese sword with a blade length of about 60 cm (2 shaku) or more, mainly used for roles of Genp...

Kahōmono (果報者)

One of the roles in kyōgen plays. Kahōmono refers to rich and lucky men, often seen as leading chara...

Waki-kyōgen (脇狂言)

One of the classifications of kyōgen plays. In the official Goban Date (five-play) program style est...

Gakuya-baki (楽屋履き)

A pair of covers worn over Japanese split-toe socks. The shape is similar to that of slippers; cloth...

Kyahan (脚絆)

Garments over the leg worn by characters who are travellers or workmen. In Kyōgen plays, they use ts...

Edo-dan (江戸段)

A type of dan-noshime. It has wide coloured stripes with fine checkerboard horizontal patterns. The ...

Dan-noshime (段熨斗目)

A type of costume. It is a short-sleeved kimono with horizontal stripes worn by a man in a lower pla...

Waki-kyōgen (脇狂言)

A kyōgen play performed after waki-noh (highly celebrative Noh plays) in the formal performing styl...

Tō-uchiwa (唐団扇)

A hand prop of a round fan held instead of an ordinary fan (chūkei) by the character of a Chinese p...

Kanetsuri-kōken (鐘吊後見)

A part in the Noh play "Dōjōji" that involves carrying the fake bell to the stage, hanging it with ...

Kanetsuri (鐘吊)

A part in the Noh play "Dōjōji" that involves carrying the fake bell to the stage, hanging it with ...

Noh-gakushi (能楽師)

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

kyōgen-utai (狂言謡)

A type of chant recited by kyōgen actors. It includes "koutai," a short utai recited in drinking par...

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...

Kikyoku (稀曲)

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

Kyōgen-bakama (狂言袴)

A type of costume used for kyōgen plays. It consists of a pair of hakama trousers made of linen and ...

Kataginu (肩衣)

A sleeveless robe with pointed shoulders. As a stage costume, it is frequently used for kyōgen plays...

Uki (ウキ)

The name of a musical scale for chanting. Uki appears between middle and high basic notes, between h...

Monpa (もんぱ)

A type of costume used in kyōgen, Monpa are stuffed animal suits for animal roles. The costume cover...

Waranbe Gusa (わらんべ草)

Treatise of late Edo era kyōgen. Written by Yaemon Toraakira (1597-1662), 13 th generation head of t...

Rōjomono (老女物)

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

Rikugi (六義)

The Rikugi is a book passed from Ze’ami to his son-in-law Konparu Tayū, or Zenchiku. It was passed o...

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...

Heike (平家)

When Heike Monogatari, or The Tale of the Heike, is performed with a biwa, a Japanese lute, it is kn...

Hiraki (ヒラキ)

Hiraki refers to the idea of release in vocals or forms. During the forms, or kata, the performer e...

Hiraki (開き)

Hiraki refers to the idea of release in vocals or forms. During the forms, or kata, the performer e...

Hyakushōmono (百姓物)

One type of kyōgen play. In the play, a farmer who has come to Edo to pay his taxes is the shite. T...

Binan (ビナン)

A costume often worn by kyōgen actresses. A white cloth made of silk or hemp is wrapped around the ...

Hishigi (ヒシギ)

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

Bangai (番外)

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

Tome (留め)

Tome, or “to stop,” indicates the end of something. It can be the end of a Noh or kyōgen play, or s...

Tsumeru (ツメル)

Tsumeru is when a performer moves forward with two sure steps, a left then a right (sometimes a righ...

Setsugekka (雪月花)

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

Sumibōshi (角帽子)

One type of headwear in Noh and kyōgen. The sumibōshi, or “angled hat,” is worn by monk roles, with ...

Kouta (小歌)

Noh and kyōgenplays believed to incorporate folk songs from the Muromachi era. Kouta is represented ...

Kae (替エ)

Kae, or “change,” indicates a change in the normal performance style when multiple Noh or kyōgen pla...

Ōzeimono (大勢物)

Tachishū is the word used when multiple similar characters such as troops, aristocracy or followers ...

Shōzoku (装束)

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

Katatsuke (型付)

Katatsuke refers to a predetermined, stylized form (movement) in Noh and kyōgen plays. Or it can be ...

Katari (語リ)

Katari, or simply “speaking” refers to one character telling stories of past events or famous storie...

Kurai (位)

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

Furyū (風流)

Okina (properly referred to as shikisanban) has been called “Noh, yet not Noh,” as it is a special p...

Sandan-no-mai (三段之舞)

A type of dance in Noh and kyōgen. The shitetsure or kokata dance the naka-no-mai, officially a five...

Bōfuri (棒振リ)

“Stick waving” – a type of dance in kyōgen. In the play Nabeyatsubachi, a man selling kakko, double...

Maikyōgen (舞狂言)

One type of kyōgen. Maikyōgen refers to kyōgen that borrows the form of Noh, particularly mugen-noh....

Wataribyōshi (渡リ拍子)

One of the rhythms used in Noh and kyōgen. The narrow definition is a sagariha performed slowly as e...

Raijo (来序)

One of the hayashigoto of Noh (a part in a play where the hayashi plays the main role). The hayashig...

Hayashimono (囃子物)

Plays that are sung and danced in kyōgen with a unique, bright and airy rhythm. These often include ...

Maibayash (舞囃子)

One style of Noh performance danced in montsuki or hakama (or occasionally kamishimo) in which the m...

Sanyaku (三役)

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

Notto (ノット)

Notto is a shortened form of norito, which means a blessing. The notto is chanted by the role of th...

Seme (責メ)

In kyōgen, a movement where the enmaō or devil banishes a dead person to hell. It is played with th...

Kuchiake (口開)

One type of Aikyōgen (ai) performed by the kyōgenkata in Noh. The ai that appears in the beginning ...

Sanbasō (三番叟)

The dance performed by the kyōgenkata after the dance of the words of happiness of the Okina, the S...

Aigatari (間語リ)

One type of aikyōgen performed by the kyōgenkata in Noh. After the entrance of the maeshite in Noh, ...

Igatari (居語リ)

One type of aikyōgen performed by the kyōgenkata in Noh. After the entrance of the maeshite in Noh, ...

Tachishaberi (立チシャベリ)

One type of aikyōgen performed by the kyōgenkata in Noh. After the entrance of the maeshite in Noh, ...

Menbakomochi (面箱持)

In Okina (shiki sanba), play that prays for peace and security of the nation, the mask representing...

Kuchiakeai (口開間)

One type of aikyōgen performed by the kyōgenkata in Noh. Used to create the setting for the entrance...

Kyōgenkuchiake (狂言口開)

One type of aikyōgen performed by the kyōgenkata in Noh. Used to create the setting for the entrance...

Kyōgentabi (狂言足袋)

The socks worn by kyōgenkata when putting on their costumes. They are made of yellow died cotton, an...

Uchikomi (打込)

A form in Noh and kyōgen. After moving the fan held in the right hand to the right, it is taken in f...

Yubiori (指折リ)

A form in Noh and kyōgen. The hand is placed in front of the chest and the fingers folded back in a ...

Haneōgi (ハネ扇)

A form in Noh and kyōgen. One main rib (the fattest rib of each side of the fan) of the opened fan i...

Kazashi (カザシ)

A form in Noh and kyōgen. In the kazashi, or “shading fan” form, the hinge of the opened fan is held...

Kumo no ōgi (雲ノ扇)

A form inNoh and kyōgen. In the kumo no ōgi, or “shading fan” form, the hinge of the opened fan is h...

Manekiōgi (招キ扇)

A form in Noh and kyōgen. In the manekioōgi, or “inviting fan” form, the hinge of the opened fan is ...

Tsuki no ōgi (月ノ扇)

A form in Noh and kyōgen. In the tsuki no ōgi, or “held fan” form, the hinge of the opened fan is he...

Kakaeōgi (抱エ扇)

A form in Noh and kyōgen. In the kakaeōgi, or “held fan” form, the hinge of the opened fan is held b...

Makura no Ōgi (枕ノ扇)

One of the forms in Noh and kyōgen. The tip of the paper of an opened fan is held with the left hand...

Tappai (達拝)

One of the forms in Noh and kyōgen. Both elbows are held firmly, and the two hand are grasped and he...

Senzainomai (千歳ノ舞)

In Okina (Shiki Sanban), a play that prays for peace and security of the nation, this is the dance o...

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...

Suppa (すっぱ)

A character in kyōgen. A swindler. In kyōgen, the suppa uses fancy words to trick peasants out of th...

Shiwaihito (しわい人)

A stingy person that never wants to pays. Nanigashi, who appears in Bonsan, is asked by an acquainta...

Oikomi (追い込み)

A style of ending a kyōgen performance, short for oikomidome. One character says “please forgive us,...

Yamabushi (山伏)

A character in kyōgen. Living a ascetic life in the mountains and said to possess supernatural power...

Sōryo (僧侶)

A character in kyōgen. Living a ascetic life in the mountains and said to possess supernatural power...

Ado (アド)

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

Daimyō (大名)

A character in kyōgen. While daimyō refers to someone with power, land and subjects, certain daimyō ...

Jirō Kaja (次郎冠者)

A character in kyōgen plays. Jirō Kaja does not refer to a specific person, but rather to the protég...

Tarō Kaja (太郎冠者)

A famous character in kyōgen plays. Tarō Kaja does not refer to a specific person, but rather to a h...

Shagiri dome (シャギリ留)

A style of music in Kyōgen. At the finale, the leading actor jumps from side to side and to his fron...

Okurikomi (送リ込ミ)

A sequence of actions by a leading actor and an accompanying Kyōgen actor before they make their exi...

Nayose (名寄)

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

Nuihaku (縫箔)

A short-sleeved kimono with both shishu (nui) and surihaku (haku) patterns on either satin or rinz...

Nakairi (中入り)

Nakairi refers to when the performers step behind the curtain or set between the first and second ha...

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...

Shidai (次第)

One of the hayashigoto of Noh (a part of the play where the hayashi plays the main role). While shid...

Shikaridome (叱リ留)

A type of kyōgen performance that ends with the master scolding his servant, giving it its meaning “...

Shiori (シオリ)

A movement indicating crying – the hand with extended fingers is held slightly in front of the face,...

Michiyuki (道行)

The michiyuki, or “travel song” is the shōdan describing the character’s travels. The vocals often i...

Kotoba (コトバ)

Kotoba, or “words,” refers to parts of vocals that include words only and no notes. In chant books, ...

Kokata (子方)

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

Waraidome (笑イ留)

Waraidome, or “ending laugh,” is a type of kyōgen performance ending with a great laugh. For example...

Narai (習)

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

Oshirabe (お調べ)

Oshirabe refers to the hayashikata tuning their instruments before the performance of Noh. The hayas...

Komai (小舞)

One of the dances of the kyōgenkata, many of the komai, or “small dances,” are relatively short. The...

Kakeri (カケリ)

Kakeri, or “anguish dance,” refers to the movement indicating the deranged state of warriors that ha...

Issei (一セイ)

Issei, or “one voice,” is a short vocal sung directly after the entrance of the shite. They are ofte...

Ashirai (アシライ)

Written with the same kanji as “to bow,” this extremely widely used term essentially means “to atten...

Hiraki (披キ)

A narai, or “advanced practice play” of a nohgakushi, or the first time this play is played. Narai a...

Shimai (仕舞)

A type of performance accentuating the movement of the shite danced in the crest-adorned kimono know...

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...


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