An Evening of Open Air Noh Performances in Komaki

ByRay Proper
Sep 28, 2016

An Evening of Open Air Noh Performances in Komaki

Noh PerformanceThe origins of Takiginoh, or noh plays held in the open air illuminated by firelight,  can be found in rites from Shinto or Buddhist memorial services and is said specifically to have begun with a mysterious prayer practiced by a shaman at the Syunie of Kofukuji Temple in Nara in 869. In the modern era, many tourists attend the now famous Takiginoh of Kofukuji Temple, held in May.

Locally to Nagoya, in Komaki-Yama, the Takiginoh Festival started in 2005 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the incorporation of Komaki City.  It is said that one of Nagoya’s most famous historical figures, Oda Nobunaga, was fond of the “Kouwakamai dance,” and performed “Atsumori”  himself, so we assume that many Noh plays were performed many times for his entertainment in the Komakiyama Castle, which Nobunaga built more than 450 years ago.

The festival will reproduce the mysterious beauty of Noh and its timeless nature among the remnants of Oda Nobunaga’s ancient fortifications.

Takiginoh at Mt.Komaki Historical Park 2016

Saturday, September 17, 2016
Doors Open at 16:00
Performance start at 18:00
Venue: Komaki-Yama Shiseki Kouen ( Mt.Komaki Historical Park) (map)
Free Admission


16:00: Doors open
17:45: Torch-lighting Ceremony
18:00: Kanze School’s Noh~Hagoromo「羽衣」 (The Celestial Feather Robe)
19:00: Izumi School’s Kyogen~Jishaku「磁石(じしゃく)」 (The Human Magnet)
19:40:  Kanze School’s Noh ~Tshuchigumo「土(つち)蜘蛛(ぐも)」( The Ground Spider)
20:30: End


  • In case of rain being forecast the performance will be moved to the Civic Center. (- In case of rain during the performance, the program will be canceled.)
  • Before the start of the torch-lit Noh Theater, there will be Shimai performances by the City Noh Theater Federation and Nagoya Municipal Meito High School students.
    Hosted by Komaki City, the Komaki City Board of Education and executed by the Komaki Torchlight Noh Theater Execution Committee Inquiries: Cultural Promotion Section TEL 0568-76-1188 (on the day of the event: TEL 0568-72-2101).
  • Photos and video prohibited.

Synopses of the plays

Noh play「羽衣(はごろも)」 “The Celestial Feather Robe”

One spring morning, a fisherman named Hakuryo sets out to go fishing with his companions and finds a beautiful robe hung on a pine branch at Miho-no-Matsubara. When he attempts to take it home to be a family heirloom, a celestial maiden appears and asks him to return the robe to her. At first, Hakuryo refuses to return it. However, he is moved by the celestial maiden, who laments that

she cannot go home to heaven without it. He therefore decides to give her the feather robe in return

for seeing her performance a celestial dance. As the celestial maiden in the feather robe performs the dance, which describes the Palace of the Moon, she praises the beauty of Miho-no-Matsubara in spring. She eventually disappears in the haze, beyond the peak of Mount Fuji.

Kyogen play Jishaku「磁石(じしゃく)」“The Human Magnet”

A Country Man comes to the capital to find a new home because he has had a fight and cannot return to his home town. A Seller of human beings offers to find him a job. The Seller takes the Country Man to a tea shop, and since he says he is sleepy, tells him to lie down and sleep because they will spend the night there.

The Human Seller, thinking the Country Man is asleep, sells him to the Tea Shop Owner who promises to pay him over the back fence at dawn, then he also lies down to sleep.

The Country Man, only pretending to be asleep, hears the whole conversation, and not only runs away, but receives the payment for himself over the back fence before he goes.

The Human Seller wakes up later, and sees the Country Man has escaped. He tries to get his pay anyway, but the Tea Shop Owner says he has already payed. The Human Seller realizes what has happened, borrows the Tea Shop Owner’s sword, and goes out to search for the Country Man whom he soon runs into on the road.

The Country Man, thinking fast, threatens to swallow the sword pointed at him. When asked how that is possible, he explains that he is a Magnet from Magnet Mountain and that he drinks metal. The Human Seller begins to sheathe the sword in order not to lose it, and the Country Man begs him not to because he will die.

The Human Seller sheathes the sword and the Country Man pretends to die. The Human Seller regrets having killed him, lays the sword down beside him, and shouts at him to come back to life. The Country Man jumps up, grabs the sword and chases the Human Seller off

Noh Play Tsuchigumo 「土(つち)蜘蛛(ぐも)」(The Ground Spider)

Act 1

Minamoto no Raiko (a famous samurai warrior of the 11th century Heian Era) has been in poor health and has been sick in bed for several days.

A serving woman called Kocho came to ask after his health and brought some medicine from Tenyaku no Kami (the Director General of the Medicine Office). As Raiko was feeling ill, Kocho said that the samurai would get better if he received proper medical attention. She said a few words of comfort and left him.

Then, a Buddhist priest suddenly appeared standing in the corner of the room before Raiko knew it. The priest approached Raiko and asked, ”How are you feeling?” The priest soon revealed that his true nature was that of the spirit of a spider. The spider threw a thousand strands of web at him.

Raiko slashed at the spider with the sword at the head of his bed. He thought certainly that his slash would have quite an effect on the spider, but it disappeared. (Intermission)


Raiko soon told the bizarre tale to Hitori·musha, his bodyguard, who hurried to the scene as soon as he heard of the incident.

As the samurai found that there were a lot of bloodstains around the area, he made up his mind to trace the bloodstains and hunt down the evil creature. He armed himself and started off with his men. After discovering the spider’s dwelling, they worked together to force the cave open.

The ground spider came out and threw webbing which annoyed the warriors, but in the end the ground spider that caused Raiko’s illness was slashed down.

Image by : Public Domain 

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