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The Noh play "Mazu" was inspired by legends about sea goddess Mazu who is worshipped in Taiwan as the protector of seafarers. This play will be performed on April 22 at the Kyoto Kanze Noh Theater. Watch this unique performance online with English subtitles!
Noh theater is a traditional Japanese performing art, just like Kabuki theater or Bunraku, the Japanese puppet theater, but with a history that goes even further back into the past, to at least the 14th century.
Noh performances are held on a regular basis in Japan, either at Noh theaters in the larger cities or at shrines that have noh stages. The fans of this art often practice it themselves for self-development, just like one would practice tea ceremony, ikebana flower arrangement, or traditional martial arts.
One of the most anticipated Noh events of 2022 is the performance of the new Noh play "Mazu." This play has never been performed before, so it's completely new to the Noh repertory. Moreover, it features leading actors from the Noh world, such as Nomura Mansai and Katayama Kuroemon.
Thanks to a crowdfunding project hosted by Japan Tomorrow, the performance of "Mazu" held on April 22 at the Kyoto Kanze Noh Theater can be watched online with English subtitles!
This chance to view Noh theater online should not be missed! We summed up the main reasons below.
Photo by truranari.com
Noh theater performances are rarely held outside of Japan because they require all the features of the Noh stage.
If you are in Japan, however, it's very easy to find Noh performances in the larger cities, which often have several Noh theaters. The problem is that Noh performances rarely have programs in English, not to mention English guidance or subtitles.
The new Noh play "Mazu" performed in Kyoto on April 22 will be streamed online live without subtitles, but a subtitled version will be sent to supporters from overseas in about two weeks after the performance!
It's a unique chance to watch Noh and deepen your understanding of this art!
Mazu is considered to be the guardian deity of seafarers and fisherpeople. She is cherished in Taiwan and the coastal regions of China.
It is very rare for a foreign deity to be featured in a Noh play. In "Mazu," however, the legends and history of Japan blend in naturally with the legends widely known in Taiwan about the deity that protects seafarers.
This Noh play is also a story about the friendship between Japan and Taiwan.
By applying to watch the Noh play "Mazu" online, you become a supporter of the Mazu project. You can select a reward that includes special goods and souvenirs along with the link to watch "Mazu" online.
The line-up includes traditional Japanese sweets made in Kyoto by famous confectionery maker Tawaraya Yoshinobu, beautiful Japanese wrapping clothes bearing the Mazu logo, Mazu postcards, and more!
Turn your encounter with sea goddess Mazu into a truly memorable experience by selecting one of these souvenirs!
The cast featuring in the Noh play "Mazu" includes famous names in the world of Noh theater. Katayama Kuroemon, one of the best-known actors of the Kanze school of Noh, will play the role of goddess Mazu. Bringing this deity to life on the Noh stage was his initiative at the suggestion of a Taiwanese friend.
Kyogen actor Nomura Mansai, well-known to both Japanese and international audiences, will play the role of the Japanese deity that greets Mazu in the sky. The dance of these two deities at the end is one of the highlights of the Noh play"Mazu."
Kyogen actor Shigeyama Ippei, otsuzumi (large hand drum) player Kamei Hirotada, Noh actor Hosho Kin'ya are other performers who are well-known to Noh theater fans.
The current repertory of Noh plays consists of about 250 plays; most of them have been created in the period between the mid-14th century and the early Edo period. Many other Noh plays have been born along the way, but only these 250 passed the test of time.
This means that when you watch a Noh play in Japan, you will most probably view one of these 250 plays. They have a universal appeal and the power to move the hearts of people from any age and any corner of the world.
Nevertheless, contemporary writers and performers strive to create new Noh plays inspired by current events and matters.
The Noh play "Mazu" is such a new work that is particularly relevant in our times marked by the pandemic. In this time when we cannot travel freely across borders, the creators of this play wanted to show that borders can be crossed through culture and art.
Because it's a new Noh play featuring a deity that has never been seen before in Japanese Noh theater, a completely new Noh mask was created especially for this performance!
We hope you'll take this chance to watch the new Noh play "Mazu" online with English subtitles! The initiators of this project are doing their best to make sure that this performance will become a memorable experience for all its supporters from around the world.