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Significant Things in the Noh Theatre

1. Noh Masks
The Noh Masks are one of the most important things in the Noh Theatre. The masks are made out of wood from the Hinoki tree. Noh masks are very significant in many ways because they show emotion and what role the character is playing. These masks usually are worn by the main actor, shite. At times, the waki (the secondary actor) may wear a mask to if necessary. The masks describe or represent females, males or non human characters such as demons, and ghosts. Many types of masks are designed to show lots of emotions like sad, happy, depressed and afraid. The rarest masks are not held in the Museums in Japan, instead they are held in Noh Schools. These masks are so precious that they are only taken out on special occasions. This is because they are very old and ancient. That’s why I find the Noh theatre masks important.



2. Props
The most common used prop in the Noh Theatre play is the fan. It is carried by every performer in the play, no matter what role you are. The chorus singers and musicians may carry a fan in their hand when entering the stage or tuck the fan in their obi (a belt). Many different plays have characters that hold swords, and many other props. When the fan is used in Noh plays, sometimes a fan may mean or represent any other hand held prop. So that mean a fan can mean a sword or a small bell. When props other than fans are used they are introduced by stage attendants who achieve a similar role to the stage crew. These props are significant because without them a Noh play wouldn’t have any meaning. If the Noh play never used a mask, then how are the actors supposed to show they’re emotions, because a mask show one solid emotion, while a human’s emotion can just change in a matter of seconds. Some examples of props are a pole, a bell, a boat, a bamboo hat, a fan and a long sword.


3. Costumes
I find that the costume in Noh Theatre is very stylized and plays a huge role in Noh acts and drama. The costumes are worn by all the actors including the shite, and waki. The costumes are very beautiful and have a meaning. An example is that thunder gods would have hexogons on their clothes, while snakes have triangles on their costumes to represent scales. Costumes for the shite are very complicated and heavy. It is so heavy that it can weigh about 25 kilograms (55pounds). The costumes in the Noh theatre are important because they help create the characters. Without costumes a play or presentation will look boring and plain. Costumes are also very important because they show and represent what the story is going to be about. You also know that who ever has a more stylized costume means that they are the main role or very famous/rich.



4. Hayashi-kata
If you translate Hayashi-kata from Japanese to English it would mean Noh musicians. The Hayashi Kata is a group of 4 people that are in charge of Noh music. The Noh musicians are very important because without music the Noh act wouldn’t have any rhythm to it. There are four different instruments that are used in the Noh Theatre which include the flute, the small hand drum, the large hand drum, and the regular kind of drum that is placed on the ground. Altogether these four instruments are called shibyoshi. Each instrument is played by a professional musician (one that is from Hayashi Kata). This skill is passed on by on generation after another. Some schools of Hayashi Kata that still exist are Isso, Morita, and Fugita, Ishii and Kanze. You can find the Hayashi Kata at the back of the stage behind the actor. These are some of the reasons why Hayashi-Kata is important.

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