However, Noh is a little different from the plays we see on TV and in movies, in that Noh is mainly dance and music. The story is told through dance-like movements accompanied by vocal music called “utai” and instrumental music called “hayashi. Simply put, Noh is similar to a musical or opera.
Another characteristic of Noh is that it is a masked drama that uses masks called “Noh masks” or “Omote. Noh masks are worn by the actors who play the leading roles in Noh, called Shite-kata, and by those who assist the Shite-kata, and are used to portray superhuman beings such as old men, gods and Buddha, hermits, and ghosts. Shite-kata actors also wear masks when performing young women, old women, and boys. Masks are very important tools for actors to transform themselves into roles that are completely different from their normal selves. However, not all actors wear masks. The Waki-kata, who play real men, and the kyogenkata, who specialize in comical performances, do not wear masks.
Noh plays are performed on a special stage called the Noh stage. It consists of two spaces: the main stage, about 6 meters square, and a corridor-like “Hashigakari” extending from the main stage to the left, each of which has a roof. It is as if there is a house inside the building. Originally, Noh was supposed to be performed outdoors. In the modern era, however, Noh is more often performed indoors, where it is not affected by the weather, and this is how it came to be.
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Noh masks are a bit unique, but Noh is a traditional Japanese art form, more like a musical!
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