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Japan-Korea performing arts collaboration: modern Noh work “Bokonka/Manhanga” performance project
한일 예능단체 협동에 의한 창작 노 작품『망한가』공연 프로젝트

  • Organization : The Tenrai-Noh-no-kai
  • Section : International project
  • Type of Grant Program : Single
  • Art Forms : Japanese Traditional Art


The ninth Tenrai-Noh-no-kai performance offered a staging of the modern Noh play, “Bokonka/Manhanga” by the late Tomio Tada (Emeritus Professor of immunology at Tokyo University). The production was a collaboration incorporating the traditional Japanese performing art of Noh with the Korean “farmers’ music” tradition of Nongak/Pungmul. The principal role (shite) in “Bokonka/Manhanga” is the wife of a young Korean man who was forcibly taken to Japan in the 1930s when Korea was a Japanese colony, and who eventually died after forced labor at a coal mine in Kyushu.
The years pass, and the wife, now an old woman, reads a letter by the young Korean man which is brought to her by a Japanese monk, remembers the past, and dances. In this project, Kanji Shimizu, a Noh actor who has frequently been involved in performances of “Bokonka/Manhanga” since its premiere in 1993, played the shite, and was also in charge of directing.This was the first time ever a Noh work has been performed as a collaboration between Noh and Korean farmers’ music, and it was highly significant that this production of “Bokonka/Manhanga” took place with Japanese and Korean performing arts, and generated stage arts-based exchange. The performance also highlighted the unique qualities of the traditional performing arts of kyogen and farmers’ music, performed alongside “Bokonka/Manhanga.” Organizers also held a total of seven workshops on a wide range of themes aimed at enhancing the general public’s experience and appreciation of the performance.

제9회 텐라이노의 모임에서는 故·타다토미오(도쿄대학 명예교수, 면역학)의 창작 노 작품『망한가』를 일본 전통예능인 노와 한국의 전통예능인 농악 단체의 협동에 의해 무대에 올렸다. 이 작품의 주역(노에서는 “시테”라고 함)은, 조선이 일본의 식민지지배 하에 있었던 1930년대에 일본으로 강제 연행되어 큐슈 탄광에서의 강제 노동 끝에 돌아가신 청년의 아내다.
세월은 흘러 노인이 된 아내는 일본의 스님이 갖어온 남편의 편지를 읽고서 젊은 시절을 떠올리면서 춤을 춘다. 1993년의 초연이래,『망한가』작품 공연에 관여해 온 노 배우 시미즈칸지가 이번 공연 사업에서는 주역과 연출을 맡았다. 일본 노와 한국의 농악이 공동으로 노 작품을 연행한 일은 역사상 처음이며 한일예능단체의 협동에 의해 『망한가』가 상연되어 교류가 이루어진 것은 뜻이 깊다. 공연 당일에는 『망한가』작품과 함께 일본 전통예능인 쿄겐이나 농악도 공연되어 각자의 특징이 들어나기도 했다. 공연에 앞서 깊이 있는 감상을 위해 일반인 대상 워크숍을 다각적인 테마를 설정하여 전7회에 걸쳐 개최했다.


The Tenrai-Noh-no-kai
The Tenrai-Noh-no-kai is a performance ensemble comprising Noboru Yasuda, a waki-kata (supporting actor in Nohgaku), Satoshi Tsukitaku, a hayashi-kata fue-kata (Noh flutist), and Kyogen actor Kentaro Okutsu. With the aim of exploring the significance and possibilities of Nohgaku (Noh and kyogen) in the modern age, the group held its first performance in 2010 for the purpose of bringing Nohgaku and its pleasures to a larger audience and had racked up nine performances by the end of 2021. The Tenrai-Noh-no-kai has been widely praised for its attempts to rediscover Nohgaku from a unique perspective, and its ability to communicate and promote the art form. The group also characteristically holds multi-session and multi-themed workshops before and after a production.


Kentaro Okutsu
The Tenrai-Noh-no-kai


National Noh Theatre, Shibuya City, Tokyo