Kotei | Makura Jido — An Evening of Rare, Traditional Japanese Noh Theater Featuring Living National Treasure Akiyo Tomoeda
Thursday, December 1 through Saturday, December 3
Japan Society – 333 E. 47th Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenues)
Performance + Soirée Tickets: $95 / $76 Japan Society members
Performance Only Tickets: $72 / $58 Japan Society members
Prominent members from the Kita Noh School, including Akiyo Tomoeda, Living National Treasure designated by the Japanese government, perform works from noh theater’s classical repertoire: Kotei (The Emperor) and Makura Jido (Chrysanthemum Boy). As each story addresses themes of health—Kotei recounts the joyous of cure of disease, and Makura Jido celebrates longevity, Japan Society asked the Kita Noh School to bring these two pieces as a prayer to hasten the end of the pandemic.
Kotei (The Emperor)
Thursday, December 1 at 7:30 p.m.—Followed by a ticketed soirée
Saturday December 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Set in the Tang Dynasty in China, Kotei tells the story of the deity Shoki, who rescues the ailing Empress Yang Guifei and pledges his allegiance to Emperor Xuanzong.
Makura Jido (Chrysanthemum Boy)
Friday, December 2 at 7:30 p.m.—Followed by an artist Q&A
Also set in China, Makura Jido is about a boy who has joyfully lived for 700 years by drinking an immortal elixir from the dew of a chrysanthemum leaf. The boy reveals that the dew has created a pool in the valley, which has become the headspring for medicinal water.
Both programs are performed in Japanese with English supertitles. Before each program, short pieces in the traditional formats will show excerpts of noh plays, including Mai-bayashi, in which a performer without a costume or mask dances to live music; shimai, in which a performer without a costume or mask dances to chanting; and su-bayashi, featuring music only, performed by four noh musicians.
Princeton University Professor Thomas Hare will give a pre-performance lecture one hour prior to the start of each show. The lectures are free and open to all ticketholders.
To purchase tickets, please visit Japan Society’s website or call the Box Office at 212-715-1258.
Noh Movement Workshop
Saturday, December 3 from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
Learn the basic movements used in one of Japan’s oldest formalized theatrical traditions – noh. Led by members of the illustrious Kita Noh School, explore the genre’s physicality with a chance to move about the stage in actual noh masks and view the exquisite noh costumes used up close. Please note: This program is currently sold out, but Observer Tickets are available at https://www.japansociety.org/events/noh-movement-workshop/.
About Akiyo Tomoeda
Akiyo Tomoeda (noh shite) trained under legendary noh actors, the late Kita Minoru and Tomoeda Kikuo, and made his stage debut in 1947 with Kuruma Tengu Hanami. Tomoeda made his official noh theater debut in 1950 with Seiobo. Debut performances of significant pieces in the noh repertoire include Shojo-midare (1962), Dojoji (1965), Mochizuki (1697), Okina (1968), Shakkyo Hitori-shishi (1984), Sotoba Komachi (1997), Omu Komachi (2001), and Obasute (2004). Tomoeda’s first international appearance was in New York in 1964 under The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, followed by engagements in Washington D.C., Boston, and Chicago. He also performed abroad in the U.S. in 1974 and 1975, Norway in 1997, and South Korea in 2001.
In 1982 he received the distinction of Important Intangible Cultural Properties in 1982 and was designated a Living National Treasure by the Japanese Government in 2008. Tomoeda is a recipient of the 28th Ministry of Education of the Government of Japan Fine Arts New Face Award, the 45th Ministry of Education of the Government of Japan Fine Arts Award, the 16th Kanze Hisao Memorial Hosei University Noh Theater Award, the prestigious purple Ribbon Medal by Japanese Government, the Imperial Prize from The Japan Art Academy, and the Pola Foundation for the Promotion of Traditional Japanese Culture Award. In 2020, Tomoeda received The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette by the Japanese government. Tomoeda’s most recent performance for an American audience was in 2016 at Japan Society’s program, Treasured Noh Plays from the Desk of W.B. Yeats.