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Kyogen - Traditional Japanese Comic Theatre: “The Snail”


The Bridges series is directed by Dimitris Maragopulos

In collaboration with the Japan Foundation and the Embassy of Japan in Athens

In 2001 UNESCO designated the collective forms of Kyogen and Noh, known as Nogaku, as “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity”.

Kyogen, which literally means “mad words”, has its roots in 14th century Japan. It was developed in conjunction with noh theater, a more serious art form that was popular with the samurai class. Usually satirical, kyogen pokes fun at the samurai class while portraying the daily life of everyday Japanese. With simple costumes, few props and basically no sets, the actors on stage use colloquial language and exaggerated movements to tell their tales.

Yamamoto Kyogen Company was founded by Yamamoto Tojiro (1836-1902), who performed in Tokyo with the Okura school of kyogen during the late Edo period (c.1603-1868) and into the Meiji period (1868-c.1912). His son, Yamamoto Tojiro II (1864-1935), was instrumental in building the family's noh theater, the Suginami Nohgaku-do, which was completed in downtown Tokyo in 1911 and moved uptown in 1929. It still stands today, after surviving both the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and the WWII bombings, and is one of the oldest remaining noh theaters. The theater even entertained Charlie Chaplin in 1932.

Led by Noritoshi Yamamoto, Yamamoto Kyogen Company performs “The Snail” in Athens.

Yamamoto Kyogen Company:
Noritoshi Yamamoto
Noritaka Yamamoto
Takashi Wakamatsu
Rintaro Yamamoto