Monday, September 6, 2010

Evening of Traditional Osaka Performing Arts    上方伝統芸能ナイト

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Yamamoto Noh Association's "Evening of Traditional Osaka Performing Arts", which is held with Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean subtitles, at the Yamamoto Noh Theater located close to Osaka Castle.  Some of you may remember that I had the Yamamoto Noh Theater perform off-site for the Hewlett-Packard group that visited Osaka last year in November.  That blog entry can be viewed here.

With Osaka home to many traditional performing arts, this particular event was a "sampler" consisting of 15 minute performances of the following: Silent Movie, Kodan (Storytelling), Rakugo (Comic Storytelling), and Noh Play.

For those of you unfamiliar with these arts, I will outline them below followed by an introduction to the Yamamoto Noh Theater.

Silent Movie: The first silent movie in Japan is said to have been shown on February 15, 1897, by way of the Lumiere brothers from France who started it all with their invention of the cinematograph.  To ensure a successful screening, the film interpreter, who accompanies the cinematographer, had to work in perfect harmony with the cinematographer as projectors in those days were operated by hand.

Kodan (Storytelling): Kodan is a vaudevillian performing art in which a professional storyteller tells a story in front of a desk.

Rakugo (Comic Storytelling): Rakugo was established as a performing art about 300 years ago.  Rakugo is characterized by comic monologues about the lives of townspeople or folk tales.

Noh Play: Reaching its perfection about 650 years ago, Noh is said to be the oldest existing theatrical performance, and is also Japan's first Intangible Cultural Heritage designated by UNESCO.

Yamamoto Noh Theater: Established in 1927, the original theater burned down during World War II, but was rebuilt as the present building in 1950.  The theater was recently designated as a national Tangible Cultural Property from the Japanese government in 2006.  

As the Yamamoto Noh Theater has its multi-lingual subtitle performing arts night on the first and third Saturday of every month, I highly recommend anyone wanting to experience another side to Japanese culture to make the trip to the theater.

週末は 大阪城近くの山本能楽堂で行われた「上方伝統芸能ナイト」に参加してきました。このイベントは日本語、英語、中国語、韓国語の字幕で楽しむことができます。覚えてくれている方もいらっしゃるかもしれませんが、去年の11月にヒューレッドパッカード社が大阪に来た際、山本能楽堂を迎え伝統芸能を披露していただきました。
この「上方伝統芸能ナイト」は、 活動写真、講談、落語、能の 4つの上方伝統芸能から構成され、それぞれを15分ずつ楽しむことができます。
活動写真:日本初の活動写真は、シネマトグラフを開発したフランスのリュミエール兄弟を通じ、 1897年2月15日に上映されたものだと言われています。サイレント映画ということで映画説明者(後の活動弁士)が上映には不可欠でした。また、映写機は手回し式だったので、映写技師と説明者が息を合わせることがとても重要でした。
山本能楽堂:1927年(昭和2年)に建設されたが、その後、戦災に遭い焼失してしまいました。そして1950年(昭和25年)に再建され、現在に至っています。 2006年(平成18年)には、市街地にある木造3階建てで、伝統的な能舞台を持つ能楽堂として貴重なことから、文化審議会により国の登録有形文化財として登録されました。

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