Kyogen Performance Tour in US The Okura School of Kyogen by the Shigeyama Family

Photo of Kyogen Performance Tour in US The Okura School of Kyogen by the Shigeyama Family

Kyogen will bring peals of sophisticated laughter to two major cities in the US!

The Japan Foundation is now presenting the project "JAPAN: Nature and Culture for the Future" with a wide variety of events in Washington, DC and Chicago in order to introduce diverse aspects of Japanese culture to American audience, focusing on Japanese aesthetic values and way of life.

In addition to a number of exhibitions, film screenings, and lectures, we organize a tour of performance in Kyogen in the two important cities by the Sengoro Shigeyama Family that boasts a history of 400 years in Kyoto.

It is hoped that the audiences in the US, especially those of younger generations, will share laughter, as well as catch a glimpse of the values of freedom, peace, justice, creativity, vitality, refinement, and sensitivity, and, last but not least, the way of harmony between people and nature, which Japanese society and culture have long cherished.

Tour Schedule: Sunday, March 21 through March 29, 2010

Chicago, IL

Dates: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 7:00 pm
Wednesday, March 24, 2010 7:00 pm
Venue: Assembly Hall, International House at the University of Chicago
Co-organizers: Consulate General of Japan at Chicago, The University of Chicago, International House at the University of Chicago
Inquiries: University of Chicago International House Link

* On March 22 (3:00 pm - 4:00 pm), a workshop will be held for students at local elementary schools who will be on the stage with Kyogen performers; on March 24, a workshop will be held to introduce Kyogen to students at local high schools.

Washington, DC Date: Friday, March 26, 2010 7:00 pm
Venue: The Studio Theatre, Washington, DC
In cooperation with the Embassy of Japan

Reservations & Inquiries: E-mail

* On March 26 (3:00 pm - 4:00 pm), a workshop will be held for children and students who will be on the stage with Kyogen performers at the Studio Theatre, Washington, DC.

≪Performing a digest of "Sanbaso"at the Opening Ceremony of the National Cherry Blossom Festival≫
Date: Saturday, March 27, 2010 4:00 pm - 4:15pm
Venue: National Building Museum
Co-organizer: The National Cherry Blossom Festival In cooperation with the Embassy of Japan
Inquiries:1-877-44BLOOM or E-mail

* On March 27 (0:45 pm - 1:15 pm), prior to the opening ceremony, a Kyogen workshop for children and students will be held at the Family Daytime Exhibition.



Srage photograph of SambasoThis is a sacred dance in celebration of fertility and of good harvest, performed at New Year, theater openings and other ceremonies; it is a noble piece, solemn and elegant, yet somewhat humorous. Sambaso, an old man, along with a young man Senzai, will come up to the stage, to the accompaniment of fue (flute), otsuzumi (knee drum) and kotsuzumi (shoulder drum), to show the dance consisting of two parts: "Momi-no-Dan," a lively heroic dance, in the style of plowing the fields, to unique voices calling in time to the rhythms created by the instruments; and the solemn yet dryly humorous "Suzu-no-Dan," danced by a suntanned old farmer wearing a black mask and shaking bells, a symbol of happiness and harmony.

Kaki Yamabushi ( The Persimmon Thief )

Srage photograph of Kaki Yamabushi
Photograph by Fumio Fukuda

On his way back to the Dewa Mountains from ascetic training in Katsuragi, a hungry mountain priest stops to eat a persimmon from a tree by the road. He climbs the tree to get the fruit. The farmer who owns the tree sees him and becomes angry, but pretends not to notice the priest. Teasingly, the farmer shouts things like, "That must be a bird," or "It"s a monkey, no doubt." Not wanting to be discovered, the priest responds by making sounds of the animals referred to by the farmer. Finally, the farmer says, "I'm sure it's a kite. But then again, a kite would spread its wings to fly. If it does not spread its wings, the figure must be that of a man." The priest falls for it, jumps out of the tree, making the sounds of a kite, and then...
Through the simplicity of Kyogen, anything can be imagined as actually being on stage. This play allows the full expression of the imagination, delighting the audience with a world of possibilities on a simple stage.

Kusabira (Mushrooms)

Srage photograph of KusabiraA man has big mushrooms growing in his house. He picks them and picks them, but they still keep growing. Not knowing what else to do, he asks the mountain priest to perform a prayer so that the mushrooms will go away.
The priest begins his prayer, but the mushrooms continue to grow at an even faster pace, troubling the priest and the homeowner. The harder the priest prays, the more the mushrooms grow'
This Kyogen resembles science fiction, with the unusual behavior of mushrooms popping up here and there, half bent over. For today's performance the mushrooms will be played by students and children in Chicago/Washington, DC, showing what they accomplished during the workshops they attended.



Akira Shigeyama
Photo of Akira Shigeyama
Official Website
Shigeru Shigeyama
Photo of Shigeru Shigeyama
Official Website
Doji Shigeyama
Photo of Doji Shigeyama
Official Website

Hiroki Masuda
Photo of Hiroki Masuda
Official Website
Tatsuya Iguchi
Photo of Tatsuya Iguchi
Official Website


Kazuhiko Aihara
(Flutist - Fue)
Photo of Kazuhiko Aihara
Tomohide Furuta
(Shoulder Drummer - Kotsuzumi
Photo of Tomohide Furuta
Yasuhiko Ishii
(Knee Drummer - Otsuzumi)
Photo of Yasuhiko Ishii

Stage Director

Nobuharu Sawai

Stage Manager

Miho Takechi (Art Producer, mihoproject)

[Contact Us]

The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Section, Arts and Culture Dept., The Japan Foundation
Contact: Momoko Ouchi (Ms)
Tel: 03-5369-6063 Fax: 03-5369-6038 E-mail

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