Noh Performance in Russia
Kongo School to stage Hagoromo in conjunction with
Raku: The Cosmos in a Tea Bowl exhibition

The Japan Foundation has organized a performance of Noh drama of the Kongo School in Russia at the State Hermitage Museum and the Moscow Theater Center “Vishneviy Sad.” These performances are planned in conjunction with the opening of the ceramics exhibition Raku: The Cosmos in a Tea Bowl, which is shown at the country’s top two prestigious venues, the State Hermitage Museum and the Pushkine Museum. A lecture and demonstration given by the Urasenke School of tea ceremony will also be held, and participants will have the opportunity to learn about the philosophy, thought, traditional crafts, and arts that have been handed down for centuries in Japan in a comprehensive way.

Noh has a history of 650 years. Of its five schools, four are based in Tokyo, and the only one that is located in Kyoto is the Kongo School. For the event in Saint Petersburg, Hisanori Kongo, the 26th-generation Grand Master of the Kongo School, will direct and star in the classic Noh play Hagoromo (The Feather Robe) and convey the beauty of Japan’s traditional performing arts to an international audience by these stately and spectacular performances.

For this event at the Moscow Theater Center “Vishneviy Sad,” it will be directed by Hisanori Kongo, the 26th-generation Grand Master of the Kongo School, and starring his son, 27th-generation Master Tatsunori Kongo. Anticipation is already mounting for this performance played by actors aged with a mean age of 31 years, who are extraordinarily young in the world of Noh.

At an opening event, which will take place prior to the play at the Pushkin Museum, there will be a Noh chant and kotsuzumi (shoulder drum) performance “Yashima” by Hisanori Kongo . After the final play at “Vishneviy Sad,” young Russians, who study Japanese language and culture or engaged in the theatrical arts will interact with young Noh performers to deepen their understanding of traditional Japanese performing arts.

For the details of the exhibition at the State Hermitage Museum, please visit its web page.

Stage photograph from Hagoromo
Scene from the Noh play Hagoromo   Hisanori Kongo



1. Subayashi: “Shishi” (Lions), from Shakkyo (Stone Bridge)


Lions, servants of the deity of wisdom Monju, perform a wondrous dance and then return to their designated seat in this piece from the Noh story Shakkyo (Stone Bridge). This is one of the classic tales in Japanese performing arts, with a story that has inspired a body of related works in Kabuki as well. Here, the tension, power, and celebratory energy of the piece are highlighted in this condensed Subayashi (music only) version.

2. Lecture

3. Noh play: Hagoromo (The Feather Robe)


This is among the most popular Noh plays, based on an ancient legend and frequently performed since the 16th century.
Zeami, a seminal figure in the formation of Noh, wrote that this dance of an angelic female figure was in a special category, and this piece went on to influence the style of Noh dance significantly. The white sand of the beach, the green of the pines, and Mt. Fuji towering in the distance are an elegant backdrop for the breathtaking performance.

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