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FY2016 Arts Academy
Performance and Talk series
Perspectives on Japanese Traditional Arts vol.4

For the creators and curators of future artistic expressions

Performance and Talk series
Perspectives on Japanese Traditional Arts vol.4
Lingered in emptiness / Condensed in nothingness

Exploring the secrets of “ma” (intervals of time and space as an aesthetic concept) in the performance of shakuhachi, calligraphy and Noh

Perspectives on Traditional Arts is a project in series form which looks at the timeless, genre-crossing core of Japanese culture and beating heart of traditional performing arts of Japan. This event comprises performances and talks by practitioners who are breaking new ground in the world of traditional culture and arts.

Young artists, producers and leaders of cultural enterprises in various arts fields encounter the core value of Japan’s traditional culture in order to gain insights for future new creations.

The 4th event in the series focuses on “emptiness” and “nothingness” which are characteristic to Japanese culture, and how these give substantial meanings to what is outwardly “void”. It explores the essential points of difference with Western art by looking at the means of “ma” expression in Komuso shakuhachi, Noh drama and calligraphy.
In traditional Japanese arts, content is not fully explained and information given is deliberately limited, leaving things up to the sensitivity and imagination of the listener or viewer — but why? Experience for yourself the invisible entity lingered in “emptiness”, and think about the mechanism concentrated in “nothingness””, which produces energy in a void. Explore the seed of traditions which is connected to the present, and reconsider the value of tradition worth communicating to the world.

*Session will be held in Japanese.


1. Lecture

-“Ma” in shakuhachi playing techniques (Kohei Matsumoto)
-“Komi” — underlying principles of the internal body and breath in Noh performance (Shingo Ko, Noboru Yasuda)
-Margins and blank spaces (Mohri Suzuki)

2. Roundtable

Shingo Ko, Mohri Suzuki, Kohei Matsumoto, Noboru Yasuda, Takeo Funabiki (moderator)

3. Performance

-Noh recitation and Kotsuzumi: “Hachinoki” and “Yashima” (Noboru Yasuda, Shingo Ko)
-Shakuhachi and shodo (calligraphy) performance (Kohei Matsumoto, Mohri Suzuki)

Free admission (Reservation required, 150-person capacity (to be decided by lottery if oversubscribed)


Young performing artists, producers, and leaders of cultural organizations in various arts fields such as theater, choreography and music, people in art-related work.

Entry requirements

After participation is confirmed, applicants must fill out and return a questionnaire of 2 or 3 questions as requested by the organizer (please return by email within one week after the event).

Application deadline

12pm, Friday November 4, 2016
*In the case of oversubscription 150 people will be chosen by lottery.
*Please see below for how to apply.
*All applicants will be notified of the results by email on Tuesday November 8.


Shingo Ko (Noh performer / Kotsuzumi shoulder drum, Ko school)

Mohri Suzuki (calligrapher)

Kohei Matsumoto (shakuhachi player)

Noboru Yasuda (Noh actor / Waki supporting actor, Shimogakari Hosho school)

Takeo Funabiki (Professor Emeritus of Cultural Anthropology, University of Tokyo)

*Guest lineup subject to change

Reservation and inquiry


Email: perspective4[at]momo-company.jp
*Please change the [at] in this address to @
*Please give the subject header as “4th Session reservation” and in the main body of your email please state the following:
(1) Name
(2) Telephone number
(3) Occupation (field, organization, title etc.)
(4) Age
(5) What interests you most about the contents of this event (reasons for applying)
(6) That you agree to the entry requirements (write “I will return the questionnaire after taking part in the event”)

*One application per person
*Any personal information is strictly controlled and will only be used in connection with providing details for this event

*Those confirmed as participants on the day will be sent a questionnaire of 2-3 questions by email. Please return with any comments after the event. Please note content may be published anonymously on Arts Council Tokyo’s website.


Perspectives on Japanese Traditional Arts office
TEL: 050-5309-4081 (Weekdays, 11:00-17:00)

Requests and precautions

  • Be sure to contact us in advance by telephone or email in the event of cancellation. Capacity is limited so your cooperation is appreciated.
  • Photographic, film and audio content of the event recorded by organizers will be posted online at a later date. Please note some of the audience may appear in the material.


Please see WATERRAS COMMON website


WATERRAS COMMON HALL (2-101 Kandaawajicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo)
2-minute walk from Shin-Ochanomizu station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line)
3-minute walk from Ochanomizu station (JR)
2-minute walk from Awajicho station (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line)



Organized by
Arts Council Tokyo (Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture)
Program supervisor
Noboru Yasuda

Arts Academy