Introducing the world of NohFor Noh Beginners

For those who have a basic understanding of the history and techniques, you may think, “I want to go see noh!” But you still might wonder where noh is performed and what you should look for when you go. The-noh.com provides a “help corner” for first time viewers to answer some FAQ.

Q. Where can I see noh?

A. To begin with, there are publicly owned venues like the National Noh Theatre, the Yokohama City Noh Theatre, and the Nagoya Noh theatre. Throughout Japan there are also a variety of privately owned noh theatres with regular performances. “The-noh.com” has provided a map (link below) to 75 public and private noh theatres. Why don’t you check to see which theatre is the closest to you?

go For a “Japan-wide Noh Theatre Map (in Japanese only)” click here

Q. When and what can I see?

A. You can look up daily schedules for performances all over Japan on the “Performance Schedule.”

go For “Performance Schedule (in Japanese only)” click here.

Q. I’m worried about seeing a performance without any outline of the story...

A. When you’ve decided on a performance to go to, you’ll enjoy it more if you prepare by knowing either the story or highlights of the noh. In the “Noh Play Database” you can get a summary of each noh with highlights, references, costumes, character and mask details. There is also an introductory photo slide show in the “PhotoStory” section to get a sense of the atmosphere of the noh. In the “Story Paper” section you can print out the script in modern language and bring it with you to the theatre to follow along.

go For the “Noh Play Database” click here.

Q. With all the different characters, who is who?

A. You can tell character by the masks they wear; of which there are a number of categories including, “Old man,” “Man,” “Woman,” “Demons,” “Ghost and Spirit,” to name a few. Within each broad category there are further classifications. For example, within the “Woman” mask category, depending on the noh, there are a number masks like “Fukai,” “Ko-omote,” and “Ōmi-onna” that a performer can choose to portray a specific kind of emotion. After deciding what noh you’ll see, take a look at the “Noh Mask Database”.

go For the “Noh Mask Database” click here.

Q. I have an interest in the singing and/or instruments, I want to know more about the costumes, I want to delve deeper into noh!

A. You can attend noh performances with pre-show lectures, instrumental/dance recitals or gatherings, noh singing workshops or lectures, as well as mask or costume exhibitions. All over Japan there are a variety of noh related events offered. We provide that information on our “Event schedule” page.

go For the “Event schedule (in Japanese only)” page click here.

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