NOHGAKU FESTIVAL to be held during the Tokyo 2020 Games

Noh performers on stage.
Noh performers on stage.

Part of the TOKYO 2020 NIPPON FESTIVAL, the NOHGAKU FESTIVAL will provide a unique chance to welcome the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games with a showcase of Japan's rich arts and culture.

The NOHGAKU FESTIVAL will be part of five TOKYO 2020 NIPPON FESTIVAL joint programmes, which will run in conjunction with the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Nohgaku, or Noh and Kyogen, is one of the oldest theatrical forms in the world, designated by the Japanese Government as an Important Intangible Cultural Heritage. Through the TOKYO 2020 NIPPON FESTIVAL, the next generation will be able to discover and deepen their understanding of this traditional Japanese performing art.

The NOHGAKU FESTIVAL in the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020

The NOHGAKU FESTIVAL will be co-sponsored by the Nohgaku Performers' Association, the Japan Nohgaku Organisation and the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020).

Kanze Tetsunojo, Chairman of the Nohgaku Performers' Association, and Yoshio Awaya, Managing Director of the Japan Nohgaku Organisation, introduced the programme during a press conference in July.

Masaaki Komiya, Vice Director-General of Tokyo 2020 said: “I would like to see the common spirit of ‘peace and diversity’, shared by Nohgaku and the Olympic and Paralympic Games, demonstrated globally.”

Mansai Nomura, Chief Executive Creative Director of the Tokyo 2020 Opening and Closing Ceremonies, will be performing “Sanbaso (Divine Dance)” on the opening day of the NOHGAKU FESTIVAL. He stated enthusiastically, “I hope to make a clean dash for the festival since I will be performing on the first day and shortly after the Opening Ceremony on 24 July.”

Chief Executive Creative Director of the Tokyo 2020 Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Mansai Nomura (fourth from the left) with other noh performers.
Chief Executive Creative Director of the Tokyo 2020 Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Mansai Nomura (fourth from the left) with other noh performers.

What is Nohgaku theatre?

Nohgaku theatre encompasses two types of theatre: Noh and Kyôgen which are performed on the same stage.

Noh integrates masks and costumes in a dance-based performance usually inspired from traditional Japanese literature. Kyogen is a comedy drama which expresses people's daily life through laughter.

In 2001, Nohgaku has been proclaimed as "Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO.

THE NOHGAKU FESTIVAL in the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 will bring together heads of various Noh schools and living national theatres.

Scheduled programme during the Olympic Period

  • Monday 27 July
    Noh: “Okina (The Old Man)” by Kanze Kiyokazu
    “Sanbaso (Divine Dance)” by Mansai Nomura
    Kyogen: “Suehirogari (An Umbrella Instead of a Fan)” by Yauemon Okura
    Han'noh: “Shakkyo Koshiki (Stone Bridge)” by Norikazu Komparu
  • Tuesday 28 July
    Kyogen: “Tsuribari (Fishing Hook)” by Ukon Miyake
    Noh: “Kiyotsune (Taira-no-Kiyotsune)” by Akiyo Tomoeda
    Maibayashi (An abbreviated presentation of Noh in which the main part is performed by the protagonist, the Noh chorus and the Noh musicians wearing montsuki-hakama.)
  • Wednesday 29 July
    Kyogen: “Futari Daimyo (Two Lords)” by Sengoro Shigeyama
    Noh: “Aoi no ue Koshiki (Lady Aoi)” by Bunzo Otsuki
    Maibayashi
  • Thursday 30 July
    Kyogen: “Boshibari (Tied to a Pole)” by Manzo Nomura
    Noh: “Kantan (Life is a Dream)” by Takeda Takashi
    Maibayashi and Shimai (Noh dance in plain clothes)
  • Friday 31 July
    Kyogen: “Tsukimi zato (The Moon-Viewing Blindman)” by Tojiro Yamamoto
    Noh: “Dojoji (Dojoji Temple)” by Tatsunori Kongo
    Maibayashi
  • Monday 3 August
    Noh: “Okina (The Old Man)” by Yasuaki Konparu
    “Sanbaso (Divine Dance)” by Yataro Okura
    Kyogen: “Futaribakama (Two in One Hakama)” by Yasutaro Yamamoto
    Han'noh: “Ema Nyotai (The Votive Tablets)” by Yoshio Awaya
  • Tuesday 4 August
    Kyogen: “Kawakami (Headwater)” by Man Nomura
    Noh: “Ataka Kanjincho Takinagashi-no-den (The Ataka Barrier)” by Tetsunojo Kanze
    Maibayashi
  • Wednesday 5 August
    Kyogen: “Kusabira (Mushrooms)” by Mansai Nomura
    Noh: “Hagoromo-Wago no Mai (The Feather Mantle)” by Minoru Umewaka
    Maibayashi
  • Thursday 6 August
    Kyogen: “Kirokuda (Six Ox-Loads of Wood)” by Mansaku Nomura
    Noh: “Funabenkei Shiranami no den (Benkei in the Boat)” by Hisanori Kongo
    Maibayashi and Shimai
  • Friday 7 August
    Kyogen: “Boshibari (Tied to a Pole)” by Motonari Okura
    Noh: “Dojoji (Dojoji Temple)” by Kazufusa Hosho
    Maibayashi

The scheduled programme during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will be announced in due course.

TOKYO 2020 NIPPON FESTIVAL

The "TOKYO 2020 NIPPON FESTIVAL" is one of the official cultural programmes of the Tokyo 2020 Games, and will take place from April to September 2020 when the world's attention will be directed towards Tokyo and Japan. 

The programme will boost excitement and anticipation for the Games, while promoting Japan’s unique culture across the globe. It will encourage people from different backgrounds to participate and develop friendships that will lead to a more diverse society. Through its cultural activities and art programmes, the TOKYO 2020 NIPPON FESTIVAL will provide opportunities for as many people as possible to take part in the Tokyo 2020 Games.