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Noh Performance at Hatomori Shrine 

on October 23, 2020

Hatomori Shrine, Tokyo, Sendagaya

Heikyoku (The Tale of the Heike): “Chikubu-Shima Moude”

In order to attack Yoshinaka, one of the most tough warriors of the Genji clan, the Heike sent a very large army of more than 100,000 solders. The deputy general of this army was Tsunemasa of the Heike clan who was a virtuoso of Biwa-lute. On the way to the battlefield, he dropped by a shrine on Chikubushima-island and played a secret piece of music in front of Benzaiten, a goddess of music. Then, a white dragon appeared and celebrated the future of the Heike clan.

 

Kyogen (Noh comedy): ”Busu”

One day, the master had to go out and he told his servants, Taro-kaja and Jiro-kaja, to be careful with the deadly poison, Busu, in the container in his room. Although they heard from the master that even the vapor of the poison could kill people, they got very curios to take a look at it. Fanning the poison, they removed the lid and looked into the container. What they found there was …

 

Noh: “Tsunemasa”                                    

Tsunemasa was a member of the Taira family who had spent some time in Ninna-ji Temple in Kyoto when young and was a renowned Biwa (Japanese lute) player. Before going to the battle to fight against the Genji, Tsunemasa left his Biwa, Seizan, with Gyokei – a monk at the temple.

However, he died young in the battle in Ichi-no-Tani Valley.

In order to console the Tsunemasa’s soul, people played music while his Biwa, Seizan, was offered before his altar.

As it grew late at night, it appeared as if the prayer to the Buddha invited the Tsunemasa’ soul and he started to tell how much he missed the nightlife in his old days and to play the lute.

But then, he was captured by the dreadful agonies in the Hell. Feeling ashamed to show himself suffering from the pain like torture, Tsunemasa’s ghost disappeared in the darkness.

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