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Noh Theatre Show, at the National Theatre of Bucharest

19 June 2018

                                                                                On Tuesday, 19th June 2018, from 7.30 p.m., in the Studio Hall of the National Theatre of Bucharest, you are expected to a theatre show which can be seldom seen outside the Japanese borders.It is called KOKAJI, a Noh theatre performance (Japanese classical drama, whose origins include over seven centuries of existence) in the interpretation of the Yamamoto Noh Theatre company. For the merits concerning the maintenance and promotion of traditional values, Yamamoto Noh Theatre has been included in the list of the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. The subject of this play is based upon the Japanese legends focusing on the enchanted sword, but the best-known is the one of the Kusanagi sword. Emperor Ichijou has a strange dream about an unseen sword, which the blacksmith Munechika could make and, consequently, he sends his messenger to the former’s house. The blacksmith, not having any reliable apprentice initially refuses, but in the end he gives in to the Emperor’s order. Hoping for divine help, he goes to the temple and prays to the protective deity Inari Myoujin. During the prayer, a boy appears out of a clear sky, recounting the story of the great Kusanagi sword, which prince Yamatotakeru has manoeuvred in his triumphant fight against barbaric tribes. Before vanishing, as mysteriously as he has appeared, the boy advises the master blacksmith to prepare his anvil and expect a sign from him. Thus, not after long, he is visited by Inari Myoujin, the very protective deity of the temple, under the appearance of a fox. The two start forging the magic sword, naming it ”little fox” (Kogitsune-maru). Then, master Munechika engraves his name on a side of the blade, and the fox puts its name on the other. Thus complying with the received order, Munechika sends the sword to the Emperor, and the fox deity eloigns itself in the direction of mount Inari. Kokaji (the Blacksmith)is a dynamic play in two acts from the Kiri Noh category (plays with supernatural characters and animals), whereas the author is unknown. The show Kokaji is presented by the Yamamoto Noh Theatre company, a well-established theatre, well-known and appreciated not only in the Nippon world. Thanks to the cultural policy of opening, Yamamoto Nohgakudo has become nowadays a true magnet for numerous foreign tourists eager to study Japanese culture. The aim of the company is to continue the tradition and make Noh known country-wide and worldwide as a vivid and attractive form of classical theatre, which can be understood and appreciated by anyone. The cast of the show features Yamamoto Akihiro, Sugiura Toyohiko, Moriya Yoshinori, Umewaka Motonori, Yoshii Motoharu, Yamamoto Yoshiaki. The Yamamoto Noh Theatre Company is familiar to and appreciated by the Romanian audience, where it has been featured two years ago with several shows at the National Theatre of Bucharest and the International Theatre Festival of Sibiu. The company leader is a renowned Noh theatre actor, Yamamoto Akihiro. Manager of the Yamamoto Noh Theatre Company of Osaka and of the eponymous foundation, he is also the President of the Noh Theatre Actors Association of Japan. Through the Yamamoto Noh Theatre Company, he has contributed to the promotion and transmission of the unique values of one of the oldest forms of Japanese traditional art. For his activity, master Yamamoto Akihiro has been awarded in the year 2015 the Japan Foundation Prize for ”Global Citizenship” and in the year 2017 the prize of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Japan. Show duration of approximately 60 minutes, with translation into Romanian.   Translated by Simona Nichiteanu 

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