Onoe Ukon, standing, and Mochizuki Satasuke perform at Natadera Temple, Komatsu, Ishikawa Prefecture.

New travel experience created from a performing arts perspective

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Nobody Knows is a project to develop a new form of tourism that combines folk performances handed down in local regions and performances from professional traditional performing arts at Japan Heritage sites all over the country. It is organized by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, government of Japan, Japan Arts Council, Japan Council of Performers Rights & Performing Arts Organizations as a Japan Cultural Expo project.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, online programs where visitors can enjoy the history and culture of local regions and traditional performing arts live are available instead of tours to the sites. Enjoy a trip to experience the charms of hidden areas and Japanese traditions.

Currently, two special videos are being presented.

One is “The Changing Seasons - Flowers, Birds, Wind and Moon” in Komatsu City, Ishikawa Prefecture. Discover the charm of the region through folk performances and cultural resources. The second is “Tracing the life of Minamoto no Yoshitsune with three traditional performing arts.” Please take a look at the crosstalk between Nambu Kagura, Noh and Japanese dance recorded at Chuson-ji Temple, which is associated with Minamoto no Yoshitsune.

Here is a brief introduction to the two video programs.

“The Changing Seasons - Flowers, Birds, Wind and Moon”


Tosha Suiho performs at Natadera Temple.

The seasonal changes within the flow of time in Komatsu, Ishikawa Prefecture, are expressed here through Japanese dance and music, using traditional instruments such as kokyu (Japanese violin), flutes (shinobue and nohkan) and hogaku bayashi (traditional Japanese percussion).

Through performing arts, the program sheds new light on the rich cultural assets of the region. Kabuki actor Onoe Ukon dances and narrates. He said in a radio program he hosted that he wanted to perform in a work choreographed by Japanese dancer Hanayagi Genkuro. The result is a dignified performance at Natadera temple.

The video was also filmed at Ataka, a checkpoint which was key to the kabuki "Kanjincho" story. It is a spot that traditional performing arts fans must visit at least once. Komatsu’s rich cultural resources are seen in the video along with stone materials, Kutani ware and a thin fabric called “Organza” developed by Suncorona Oda, one of the world's leading textile companies which also has a factory in Komatsu.

Online video date: Until March 31, 2022.

Fee: Free Channel: NOBODY KNOWS YouTube

URL: https://nobodyknows.tours/event2021-05.html 

"Tracing the life of Minamoto no Yoshitsune with traditional performing arts - Nambu Kagura, Nogaku, Nihonbuyo” 

Nambu Kagura performs at Chusonji Temple.

"Minamoto no Yoshitsune,” one of the greatest and the most popular samurai warriors of Kamakura era (1185 to 1333) and of Japanese history. Yoshitsune deserved credit for success in the battle against the Taira clan led by Minamoto no Yoritomo, his older brother, after he was under the protection of the Oshu-Fujiwara clan. But he came into conflict with his brother, and he was expelled to Hiraizumi. It is said that he committed suicide there.

Yoshitsune has not only been performed in “Azumakudari" (Descending East of Japan, Hiraizumi from Kyoto) at the "Spring Fujiwara Festival” held every year in Hiraizumi Town during Golden Week (early May), but also in Noh, Kabuki, and Nihonbuyo.


Minamoto no Yoshitsune also is an essential theme in Nambu Kagura around Hiraizumi. This crosstalk features some experts:

  • Yoshida Seiki and Abe Hiroki, performers of "Magisawa Kagura", one style of the Nambu Kagura.
  • Sasaki Tamon, a Kita style Noh performer, who is closely related to the Chusonji Temple.
  • Hanayagi Genkuro, a Japanese classical dancer.

They talk about Yoshitsune as they give demonstrations of their art.

The discussion is led by Sho Asano, a Tsugaru shamisen player, who has a strong interest in local performing arts including folk songs. Through performing arts, the video unravels Yoshitsune’s history to Hiraizumi and the richness of his expression.

Online video date: Until March 31, 2022

URL: https://nobodyknows.tours/en/event2021-03.html 

For more information on Nobody Knows, visit https://nobodyknows.tours/

© Japan Today

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