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Noh: ‘Kinuta’

Noh Reimagined

Sat 22 Jun

Noh: ‘Kinuta’

Noh Reimagined

For the closing event of Noh Reimagined 2024, we present a performance of Zeami Motokiyo’s final and greatest play – a tragedy that portrays the agony of a wife who believes she has been abandoned by her husband, leading to her death and subsequent suffering in hell. However, due to her husband’s love she is saved, and the play concludes with a sense of dignity.

Kinuta refers to a wooden or stone block used for pounding cloth to make it soft and bring out its lustre. The rhythmic beating of the kinuta is associated with the nightfall of late autumn nights and the solitude of an abandoned wife, as well as the fading love of the husband.

Zeami received much acclaim for establishing the style of dramaturgy called Mugen Noh, which involves dream states or visions intersecting with the present. This is represented in Noh plays such as “Izutsu (Well-Cradle)”.  However, the older Zeami made another breakthrough in ‘Kinuta’ by combining Genzai Noh, which deals with events in real world, and Mugen Noh.  In Kinuta, the wife appears on stage in the opening scene and dies at the end of the first part of the play.  The first part of the play is in the style of Genzai Noh. She then reappears as a ghost in the second part, representing reality.

During Zeami’s era, Noh plays were shifting from the popular portrayal of “oni” (demons) to focusing on characters with inner struggles, which appealed more to the culturally educated class and gained support from the warrior class. In Kinuta, Zeami portrays these “demons of the heart” without outward anger, emphasizing the inner turmoil and delusions of humanity.

Event Schedule:

Kinuta Pre-concert talk: 25 minutes
Interval: 20 minutes
Noh Kinuta performance: 75 minutes

About the Pre-Concert talk

Prior to the performance of Noh Kinuta, a young Noh performer, Yasuki Kobayakawa (shite actor, Kanze School) from a highly gifted Noh family, and Dr. Alan Cummings, an authority in Japan studies at SOAS University of London, will talk about the masterpiece and the performance of the evening.


Shizuka Mikata, wife/the ghost of the wife (shite)
Seigo Mikuriya, husband (waki)
Yasumitsu Kobayakawa, Yugiri a maid servant (tsure)
Gasho Yamanaka, jiutai chorus
Kohei Kawaguchi, jiutai chorus
Yasuki Kobayakawa, jiutai chorus
Yasuhiro Sakoh, nohkan flute
Tatsushi Narita, kotsuzumi shoulder drum
Tetsuya Yamamoto, otsuzumi hip drum

Read the synopsis for Kinuta provided by ‘Noh Plays Database’ 

The performance will last approximately 2 hours including interval 

About Noh Reimagined  

Curated and produced by Akiko Yanagisawa (Mu Arts) in partnership with Kings Place, Noh Reimagined festival unwraps the art of Noh, the iconic theatrical tradition that originated in fourteenth-century Japan.

Click here to view all events.

Date:Sat 22 Jun
Start time:7.30pm (Doors: 7pm)
Venue:Hall One
Availability:Sold out

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