Concert / Performance

Japanese Nō Theatre in the Philharmonie

Visiting : Tokyo

The ensemble of the Umewaka Kennōkai Foundation Tokyo will present three main genres of classical Nō-Theatre on this evening: the cultic dance play, Kyōgen comedy and the dramatic Nō play. The latter’s specifics of music, choreography and dramaturgy have had a lasting influence on European art and music.

Old gardener in the Nō play “Koi no omoni”

Old gardener in the Nō play “Koi no omoni”

© Umewaka Kennōkai, 1993

Past Dates

17:30 work introduction
Evening programme Nō-Theater 03.09.2019 (, 4.3 MB)

Nō – Fascination of Minimalism
Lecture by Dr Annegret Bergmann
Thursday, 22 August 2019, 19:00
Venue. Japanese-German Center Berlin
Free admission, registration required
 Further information

Sometimes, culture is one step ahead of politics. In 1994, the united city of Berlin and the Japanese capital Tokyo entered into a city partnership. Already in 1983, Berliner Festspiele, the precursor festival of Musikfest Berlin, had outlined these prospects: Their focus topic was “Japan and Europe”. The festival took stock: In the 1980s, an interest in Far Eastern cultures, ideas, artistic creation and especially in Japanese tradition, had been at a hitherto unknown intensity, at least in the western part of the city. This was promoted by the fact that Japanese artists, and composers and musicians in particular, had chosen Berlin as their first or second residence and that they themselves started to reflect on their cultural origins. As early as 1985, the festival “Horizonte”, dedicated to non-European cultures, presented the forms and many facets of Japanese theatre – and Théâtre de Soleil from Paris integrated Far Eastern stage arts into their guest performance of 1991. At the 1993 festival, performances of Nō-theatre were a central focus.

For the anniversary of this city partnership, which has now been in place for 25 years, the ensemble has returned to Berlin. It will present three main forms of Nō: the cultic dance form, Kyōgen-comedy and the dramatic Nō play; forms of theatre, a sensibility of sound and (musical) dramaturgy that had a broad impact on the European scene of contemporary music.


Zeami Motokiyo (1363 – 1443)
Shōjō – Midare / Sō no mai (The Ghost of the Rice Wine)
Cultic Nō dance play
In the version with midare dance, executed by two performers

Anonymous (17the century)
Kaminari (The Thunder God)
Kyōgen intermezzo

Zeami Motokiyo (1363 – 1443)
Koi no Omoni (The Burden of Love)
Dramatic Nō play


Umewaka Manzaburô III main performer
Ensemble of the Umewaka Kennōkai Foundation Tokyo

Performance as part of the European Tour 2019 (Zurich – Basel – Cologne – Berlin) on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Japan Cultural Institute in Cologne and 25 years of town twinning Tokyo – Berlin.

An event of Berliner Festspiele / Musikfest Berlin and The Japan Foundation / The Japan Cultural Institute in Cologne in collaboration with the Japanese-German Center Berlin

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