Noh TriviaQuestion and Answer

Question5 What does "hiraki" mean?

If you become familiar with Noh art, you might start to recognize the word "hiraki" used in the program occasionally. This means that a well-trained actor, whose skills reach a certain level, performs a special program with the permission of the grand master of the school he or she belongs to.

Dojoji is one such drama to which the word "hiraki" is often applied in its program, as the piece requires esoteric and difficult skills such as ranbyōshi (a special dance that the shite performs with the small hand-drum) and kane-iri (the performance of jumping in under a falling bell). Successfully performing these "rites of passage" brings the actor recognition as a full-fledged Noh actor.

Besides Dojoji, two other dramas, Shakkyo and Ran, involve peculiar dances and thereby require the permission of the grand master for the first public performance. It is therefore called "hiraki" as well.


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