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Friday, Aug. 24, 2007

CONTEMPORARY NOH

The one about the stonemason who finds a princess

Makiko Sakurai, a shomyo (Buddhist chant) vocalist, will present a contemporary noh play at Kyo Ou Ji Temple in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward on Aug. 25. Titled "Kaguyahime (The Shining Princess)," the play, with a script penned by Sakurai, is an adaptation of "Taketori Monogatari (The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter)," a work of prose from the early Heian Period (794-1185).

News photo
Jiro Sakuma (left) and Makiko Sakurai appear in "Kaguyahime (The Shining Princess)."

The story centers around a supernatural girl found by an old stonemason and raised as his daughter. The girl becomes a spiritual medium, carrying out the work of a deity. She becomes engaged to a prince, only for him to die before they can marry.

A flurry of men court the girl, but are rejected. Finally, she is told by the stonemason that she must become the lover of a king from Nara, the capital city, so that she and other women dedicated to the deity will fall under his protection. Resisting this idea, the heroine, together with other women, chooses a darker fate.

Sakurai will take the two main roles in the play, as well as playing the ryuteki flute used in traditional court music. She will be accompanied by Jinya Imai, a tsutsumi (hand-held drum) player, and Jiro Sakuma, singing ji-utai (noh lyrics). Noh masks made by Hideta Kitazawa will be used.

Performances of "Kaguyahime" will start at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Aug. 25 in the main hall of Kyo Ou Ji Temple, across from Ushigome Yanagicho Station's East Exit on the Toei Oedo subway line.

Advance tickets are ¥2,000 (¥2,500 on the day). For more information, call the temple at (03) 3341-1314.



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