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The Saishoukai “The Sound of KABUKI music affecting a heart” Performance in Montenegro

  • Organization : The Saishoukai Foundation for Hougaku-Hayashi Research Institute
  • Section : International project
  • Type of Grant Program : Single
  • Art Forms : Japanese Traditional Art


This Japan-Montenegro friendship project was designed to convey the appeal of traditional Japanese kabuki music and dance to the people of Montenegro, and to contribute to mutual understanding, musical creativity and development in the two countries. Before this project, Montenegro had not hosted any full-scale performances of Japan’s traditional performing arts, and Montenegrins had not been shown or taught about the instruments or had any hands-on experience of them. This project provided a valuable opportunity for them to connect with Japanese culture.

The main performance took place at the Montenegrin National Theatre. Footage of the performance on national television proved very popular. In order to make it easy for audiences unfamiliar with the language, producers devised and incorporated special visual effects on stage. The elaborate staging offered a visual experience of Japan: along with a joint stage appearance by Montenegro’s Karate group “Buducnost” and a performance of Nihon Buyō (Japanese dance), audiences were treated to projections of ink paintings connected to the music, and on-stage clothes racks decorated with long-sleeved kimonos.

•Kabuki-Hayashi Suite “Kodo” (performed with Montenegro’s Karate group “Buducnost”)
•Yamada-school koto “Hana no tera”
•Shamisen Instrumental music “Nagare”
•Kabuki Buyō (Kabuki dance) “Shakkyo”
•Encore: “Kamiarai”

The University of Montenegro hosted a lecture, concert and workshop on Kotsuzumi, Fue, Nihon Buyō and Shamisen. These events conveyed the appeal of Japanese musical instruments like the Ōtsuzumi, Kotsuzumi, Taiko, Fue, Shamisen and Koto as well as Japanese dance to a large audience, which included university students and performers of Western musical instruments. At the workshop that followed the lecture, excited participants showed great interest in the Japanese traditional instruments and dance they were experiencing for the first time. At the end of the workshop, participants gave an on-stage ensemble rendition of the traditional Japanese folk song, “Sakura.”

A short program was performed at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Kotor, Podgorica. Kotor is an ancient city surrounded by ancient castle walls, so the concert venue presented various restrictions, but the program below made use of the beautiful acoustics of this atmospheric church. The proximity of the seats to the stage meant that the audience was able to experience captivating Japanese musical instruments at close quarters. The final performance ended on a relaxing note as musicians had photographs of themselves and their instruments taken with audience members.

•Yamada-school koto “Hana no tera” (with Nihon Buyō or Japanese dance)
•Shamisen Instrumental music “Nagare”
•Japanese Fue solo “The sky of Kotor” (incorporating well-known Montenegrin folk songs)
•Traditional Japanese folk song “Sakura” (with Nihon Buyō or Japanese dance)

main performers and staffs:
Mochizuki Hikojuro, Oku kieko, Ashino Takao, Mochizuki Hikokyo, Mochizuki Sakijuro, Tosha Seisho, Mochizuki Hikotaki, Kineya Rokutano, Imahuji Masajuro, Imahuji Tatsuichiro, Sasaki Chikano, Asaka Mamiko, Azumaji Kanama, Wakayama Tomiro, Kineya Katsueiji, Yoshizumi Kotaki, Kiriyama Takashi, Uehira Teruyo


The Saisyoukai Foundation for Hougaku-Hayashi Resaerch Institute
This organization was established for the purposes of preserving/handing down and popularizing hogaku-bayashi music, and exploring and researching new forms of hogaku-bayashi based on the standards of techniques and sensibilities cultivated by our ancestors throughout the music’s long history. The foundation’s concerts have featured new commissioned works in addition to classical music styles such as Nagauta and Kiyomoto.
The foundation has also endeavored to incorporate visual effects including dance and video images in their performances and “disseminate hogaku-bayashi music in an accessible way.” Last year’s concerts also presented new works with Chinese and Korean instruments. The foundation has also published Nagauta scores (“Goro” and “Tsurukame”).


E-mail: kyongkyong@icloud.com


University of Montenegro, Podgorica, Montenegro,
Montenegrin National Theater, Podgorica, Montenegro,
Church of the Holy Spirit in Kotor, Podgorica, Kotor