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Question136 Has anyone from a Noh family been outstanding in another field?

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Matsumoto Takashi (1906-1956) was the eldest son of a Noh actor and aspired to become an actor himself, but he followed a career as a haiku poet due to illness. His father was Matsumoto Nagashi, a major player in the Hōshō School, while his younger brother, Matsumoto Shigeo, was later recognized individually as a living national treasure. The famous novelist Izumi Kyōka was also a relative.

Takashi received a diagnosis of pulmonary apicitis while still in his teens. He became interested in haiku when he read the haiku magazine “Hototogisu” during his recuperation and later studied under the famous poet Takahama Kyoshi. After suffering a nervous breakdown around the age of 20, he gave up the idea of being a Noh actor and spent the rest of his life as a haiku poet.

He created some haiku pieces based on Noh, including “Chi-chi po-po to tsuzumi utōyo hanazukuyo” (“Let's tap a drum and make a sound under a blossoming cherry tree in the moonlight”) – “chi” and “po” describe the sound of the shoulder drum. Takashi mastered the shoulder drum, as well as chanting and dancing, and played the drum at some amateur events by haiku poets who loved Noh, including Kyoshi.

At the age of 42, he published the novel “Hatsukaminari,” based on the life of Hōshō Kurō, whom Takashi had studied under as a child. The book was made into the movie “Shishi-no Za” (Throne of Lion) by film director Ito Daisuke.

Takashi was a literary man who loved Noh throughout his life.

(December. 1 2015)


illustration : Hiroko Sakaki
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