To the Theatre
How can I get firsthand experience?
Learning from professional performers will help you to enjoy the plays even more.
Schools and specialties
Nohgaku performers are divided into four specialties according to their assigned roles: Shite-kata – lead role of Noh; Waki-kata – supporting actor; Kyogen-kata – actor who performs Kyogen; Hayashi-kata – performer of instrumental music “hayashi”. Each role has its own style that differs by school. For instance, the Shite-kata has five schools of Kanze, Hosho, Konparu, Kongo, and Kita.
The Nohgaku Performers’ Association, many Noh theatres, and schools hold lectures and classes for the public to experience Noh firsthand. You can try Noh’s utai (chanting), dance, and hayashi, as well as have a go at reenacting the lines and movements of Kyogen plays.
The way of learning Nohgaku, as taught from a performer to a fan, has remained the same since this learning system developed several hundred years ago. Noh’s utai (chanting), shimai dance, and instruments used for hayashi, as well as Kyogen are taught directly by performers of Nohgaku. There are also group classes that let you learn about Nohgaku in a more informal and accessible manner, one of which is lifelong learning classes.
Become a Nohgaku performer
You can become a Nohgaku performer even if you were not born into a family of Nohgaku performer and did not learn the art from a young age. You can study under a Nohgaku performer or complete training offered at the National Noh Theatre as a way to carve out a path to becoming a Nohgaku performer.