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Noh played at the historical site of Nagoya Castle





On the 30th of July, in the strong wind of approaching Typhoon #6 , at the historical site of Nagoya Castle, which is located in the suburbs of Karatsu, Noh play was performed by Bunzo Otsuki, Sensaku Shigeyama, and Nobutaka Saito.

Nagoya castle was the fort from which thousands of warriors set sail to Korea and China about 400 years ago, to fight two impossible wars against the Chinese Empire, only because of Toyotomi Hideyoshi's irrational ambition. The continued attacks could not even scratch the Chinese Empire, but they damaged too seriously the lands and the people of Korean Peninsula through which the army progressed. The wars left thousands of unhealed scars on the battlefields, and there still remains deep grief and wrath in the hearts of the people of Korea.

It is said that Hideyoshi entertained himself and his Samurais with Noh plays and tea ceremonies from time to time during the period of the wars. It was proved that the Golden Tea House really existed, and a little while ago the researchers found that Hideyoshi had an island built in the middle of the pond in the castle site. There, he must have had a picnic or boating or something like our modern outdoor fun.

Every summer, Noh is played here on an outdoor stage specially built for this purpose, in the light of burning firewoods. It has some important meaning for the relationship between Korea and Japan.
400 years ago, it was probably meant to be an entertainment for the warriors, or to heighten their morale, or might be dedicated to the war-gods to lead them to a victory. But now, Noh of Nagoya Castle Site means a completely different thing . It is meant, I presume, to comfort the souls of the victims of the wars, and also to pray for the eternal peace between the two parties.

Master Otsuki and Master Shigeyama, such important characters in the contemporary Noh world, are returning guests of Yoyokaku, to our great honor.
They are also Takashi Nakazato's good friends, and Takashi is so generous to offer his friends a chance to see Noh at his house. Each year in early September, on the turf of Takashi's studio in Mirukashi, Karatsu, Master Otsuki  plays Noh, Master Shigeyama performs Kyogen, and Mr. Fujita's sharp sound of the bamboo flute cuts the moist air of late summer night into two, and when Mr. Okura's tense palm claps the small hand drum, the sound crawls up through the crevasse of the air and echoes five seconds later from the far top of the mountain behind the kiln . It is just overwhelming, and it doesn't seem real. It might be a Late Summer Night Dream!

Are you surprised if I say I believe in the Spirits of the land?  I do, because I am that type of Japanese woman, and I am more than sure that the Spirits are pleased with this offering of Noh performance. I believe that the Spirits of the victims of the wars of Hideyoshi would accept the condolences and regrets of their far descendants when Master Otsuki moves his sleeves gravely in a symbolized way of expressing sorrow.

The flower you see on the right is the National Flower of Korea, a kind of Hibiscus called Mugunghwa, of which the Chinese characters mean 'Eternity' or 'Infinity'.
Mugunghwa flowers bloom in the morning and die in the evening. It lasts only one day, but the next dawn other flowers gracefully open their eyes and they flourish during the long summer.
In this flower we feel the prayer of Korean people, and I hope Japanese minds will join in the wishes when they look up at the noble Mugunghwa flowers.

Thank you for visiting my site , and I hope to see you again next month.
                                                                                                          Yours,

                                                         
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