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Opening Talk: 'Sumidagawa'

Noh Reimagined

Fri 21 Jun

Opening Talk: 'Sumidagawa'

Noh Reimagined


Kohei Kawaguchi shite actor, Kanze School
Moderator: Jason James OBE Director General of the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation.

Ahead of the evening’s main event, a performance of ‘Sumidagwa’ in Hall One, join us for a discussion about the play between Noh performer Kohei Kawaguchi and Jason James, Director General of the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation.

Sumidagwa (Sumida River), written by Kanze Motomasa (c. 1394 – 1432), the eldest son of Zeami Motokiyo (c.1363 – c.1443), stands as one of the most renowned Noh plays of all time.  It is a story about a mother whose son has been kidnapped. The mother embarks on a journey which ends in despair as she finds that her son died a year previously. The play famously inspired Benjamin Britten to compose Curlew River.

Jason James, Director General of the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, is joined in conversation by Noh artist Kohei Kawaguchi, who has recently performed the role of the mother in Sumidagawa. Together they will examine the secret of the play’s timeless popularity, relevance, and artistic impact.

This event is free for tickets holders to the performance of ‘Sumidagawa’ in Hall One, on a first-come, first-served basis due to limited capacity (you can simply show your Hall One ticket to our staff at the event).

The event will last for approximately 40 minutes. 

About the speakers

Kohei Kawaguchi  – shite actor, Kanze School
Born in 1976 in Tokyo, Kohei Kawaguchi is the eldest son of the manga artist Kaiji Kawaguchi. Fascinated by Noh during his studies at Keio University, Kawaguchi decided to pursue the path of Noh. He became an apprentice of the 56th Umewaka Rokuro (Umewaka Minoru Rosetsu) in 2001. He made his debut on stage with a fukkyoku (revival) Noh play Goma. After he became independent, Kawaguchi performed important roles including central roles in Okina, Sakkyo, Shojomidare, and Dojoji.

Jason James 
Jason James OBE has been Director General of the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation since October 2011. Having been fascinated by Japan on a choir tour at the age of 13, he chose to read Japanese Studies at King’s College, Cambridge, where he was a double scholar (academic and choral). Subsequently he worked for many years in the financial industry, mostly specialising in Japanese equities. From 2007-2011 Mr. James was Director of the British Council in Tokyo. Jason’s interest in Japan is broad, covering the economy, financial markets and tax, as well as Japanese literature and arts, and the relationship between the UK and Japan.

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.

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Date:Fri 21 Jun
Start time:6pm (Doors: 5.30pm)
Venue:St Pancras Room
Availability:Sold out

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