Exchange students joined “Noh Theatre” event at Hosei University

We, Exchange Students from Overseas Program (ESOP) students were lucky to have the opportunity to participate in a “Noh” activity held by the Nogami Memorial Noh Theatre Research Institute of Hosei University before the semester began in order to help us get familiar with Japanese culture more quickly.

Noh is a traditional Japanese theatre from 14th century, which is a perfect combination of script, music and dance. The stories are mostly based on myths, legends and folk stories. We first watched a documentary about Noh music to get a preliminary understanding of it. Then the institute invited a famous Noh performer to give us a live version and that is totally different from what we saw on documentary. We were all shocked by the spectacular performance of several actors singing and acting on the stage.

The most distinctive feature of Noh music is that the main performers need to wear magnificent costumes and masks to illustrate the stories. Therefore, in order to make the overseas students have a better understanding, we were divided into several groups, and each senior performer taught us how to walk with the masks and how to use the performing fans. Each of us has the opportunity to experience Noh by ourselves and we learned that to perform on the stage is not is not as easy as imagined before.

Finally, he introduced the characters represented by each mask, such as a young woman who looks kind and an old man who looks quite fierce. The difference between the masks aims to express the different characters and the story. It will be difficult for us to have the opportunity to experience Noh, one of the traditional Japanese art forms so close but for the activity. Thus it is really a good activity for overseas students to understand Japanese culture and drama.

 Jin Hanlin (ESOP student)