Noh TriviaQuestion and Answer

Question28 What is Hakama-noh?


Magnificent costumes and masks used in performances are among the enjoyable elements of Noh. However, there are plays which do not use any masks or costumes. These latter plays are not classified as “hitamen (without mask)” but performed in simple kimono with a crest and a pair of hakama, traditional trousers. Noh pieces in such a style are called Hakama-noh. Even under normal circumstances, performers perspire heavily when they are wearing such gorgeous costumes and masks on stage. It is all the more trying for a performer to perform a Noh piece in the extreme heat and humidity of the summer days in Japan.

Summer is originally the time to rest the masks and costumes. Therefore, Hakama-noh, which even became a word to signify summer, are often performed during this period. Also, the movement of shite (lead part), which is normally hidden behind the costumes, can be clearly observed in Hakama-noh performances. It will give the audience an opportunity to enjoy Noh from a perspective that is different from the typical style of performance.

(May 30, 2008)

illustration : Hiroko Sakaki

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