Message from Udaka Tatsushige

On the occasion of the 4th Tatsushige no Kai I performed the play Tanikō, set in the world of Mt. Kazuraki asceticism. The event was sold out, also thanks to the participation of two important guests, Asamura Tomonobu and Nishino Hatsuo. Once again, I would like to express my gratitude to all of those who attended the performance.
For the fifth Tatsushige no Kai, I have been granted permission by the grandmaster of the Kongō school to perform Dōjōji, one of the most challenging plays in the nō repertory. Dōjōji is part of a small group of plays which, when performed for the first time, express the advancement of an actor on their artistic journey. Therefore, this performance has a particularly special meaning for me. To celebrate this event, I have prepared a special program with various performances centering on “a variety of bells”.
Thanks to the continued support of those who have attended to the Tatsushige no Kai series from the beginning, and of all those I have met in my life as a nō performer, I have been able to realize this performance of Dōjōji. Currently, I am concentrating on daily practice practicing daily in the hope of meeting everyone’s expectations. I look forward to seeing all of you on July 14th 2019.

Udaka Tatsushige


Commentary: Diego Pellecchia

Shimai Kane-no-dan

Shite: Kongō Hisanori
Chorus: Imai Kiyotaka, Teshima Kōji, Udaka Norishige, Yamada Isumi

Kyōgen Kane-no-ne

Tarō Kaja: Shigeyama Sennojō
Master: Shigeyama Shime
Arbitrator: Maruishi Yasushi
Stage Assistant: Shigeyama Motohiko
Intermission (30 minutes)


Shite: Udaka Tatsushige
Waki: Kobayashi Tsutomu
Waki-tsure: Arimatsu Ryōichi, Oka Mitsuru
Flute: Sugi Shintarō
Shoulder drum: Sōwa Kōdō
Hip drum: Taniguchi Masatoshi
Stick drum: Maekawa Mitsunori
Ai-kyōgen: Shigeyama Sengorō, Shigeyama Chūzaburō
Kyōgen assistants: Shigeyama Motohiko, Yamaguchi Kōdō, Shimada Hiromi, Masuda Hiroki
Stage assistants: Udaka Michishige, Hirota Yukitoshi, Yamada Isumi
Chorus: Teshima Yazaemon, Matsuno Yasunori, Taneda Michikazu, Imai Tatsunori,
Teshima Kōji, Shigemoto Masaya, Udaka Norishige, Ono Yasuhiro.
Bell attendants: Kongō Tatsunori, Teshima Yukihiro, Sōmyō Tadasuke, Mukai Hiroki, Yugawa Ryō
The performance is expected to finish around 17:00.
Light refreshments will be served in the lobby after the performance (for about 30 minutes). Please join us if your time allows.


(Dance and chant excerpt from the nō play Miidera)

The general theme of this event is “bells”. The Japanese word for “striking a bell” is tsuku, associated with the word tsuki, “moon”, a symbol of buddhist enlightenment. In the play Miidera, from which the Kane-no-dan section is extracted, the words konoyo ichirin miteri, seikō izure no tokoro ni ka nakaran (“tonight’s full moon / its pure light shines on all things”), allude to the Buddhis concept of all-encompassing mercy symbolized by the moon.


A famous poet was pondering on verses he had composed: “The moon slowly rising above the mountains by the sea shines through the clouds”. Before sleeping, he faced the full moon and cleared his mind. Suddenly, the following words came to his mind: “tonight’s full moon / its pure light shines on all things”. Ecstatic to have found the right words to express his feelings, he climbed to the top of a temple tower and struck its bell. When bystanders took him to task for his behavior he replied that he had been driven mad by poetry.
This anecdote is quoted in the play Miidera, in which a mother in search of her missing child reaches Miidera Temple (in present-day Ōtsu city, east of Kyoto). The temple monks realized that the woman must have gone mad because of the moon, just as the famous poet had, and allow her to strike the bell.


This comic play is set in Kamakura (south of present-day Tokyo). There are many temples in this city, each with different bells… so many that one could spend an entire day comparing their sound. Though it seems such an easy thing to do, I wonder why today we have lost the ability to focus on just one thing at a time. Just for this moment, let’s forget about our everyday worries and enjoy the comparison of the sounds of the bells of Kamakura!


The story of this play centers on a play on the words kane (which may mean “metal”, but also “bell”) and ne (which may mean “sound” and also “cost”). A samurai living close to Kamakura wants to have a decorated sword made for his son, and orders his servant to go to the city and inquire about the cost of metal fittings. However, once the servant reaches the city, all he does is visit various temples to hear the sound of their bells… What happens then, when the servant   returns home?


The play Dōjōji features the largest property used in nō, representing the temple’s bell. The highlights of the first half of the play the are the ranbyōshi and kyū-no-mai dances, and the kane-iri sequence, in which the main actor, in the role of a female dancer, jumps into the bell. In the second half the same character reappears in the form of a monstrous serpent, and fight against a group of monks who try to repel her. For an actor, the first time performing the main role in Dōjōji takes on the symbolic meaning of becoming full-fledged actor. Since they are young, actors join in performances of Dōjōji as chorus members or bell stage assistants. I have experienced the extreme tension of being on stage during this play, thinking “one day I will be there”. Finally, my time to perform Dōjōji has come.


The bell tower of Dōjōji temple in the province of Kii (present-day Wakayama prefecture) has long been without a bell. It is announced that a ceremony for the hanging of a new bell will be held, though no women will be allowed to attend it.
A female dancer (shite) appears at the temple gate. The servants (ai-kyōgen) guarding the entrance warn her that no woman is allowed to enter the temple grounds. However, promising she will show them an interesting dance, the woman persuades the servants to let her in. As she dances, the woman climbs the bell tower. Then, making sure that the servants have fallen asleep, she makes the bell drop, disappearing inside it.
When the accident is revealed, one of the temple monks (waki) tells how, long ago, a mountain priest visiting the Kumano shrine would stay every year at a lord’s house in Manago. The lord used to tease his daughter saying that one day the priest would marry her. At that time the daughter was just a child, and easily fell into believing what her father said. One day, during one of the priest’s visits, the daughter pressed him to marry her. Startled by the request, the priest escaped to Dōjōji, where the monks decided to hide him under the temple’s bell. Frenzied, the woman ran after the monk until she reached the Hidaka River, which she could not cross. There, she turned into a monstrous snake and swam up to Dōjōji. Soon she found the bell under which the man was hiding, coiled around it and, spitting fire from her mouth, she burned the man to a crisp. The monk realizes that this story must be connected with the visit of the mysterious dancer who is now hiding within the bell.
As the monks from Dōjōji join forces and pray intensely, the bell rises and the woman, now transformed into a monstrous snake, appears from inside it. After a fierce battle the monks manage to drive away the monster, who once more disappears into the Hidaka River.

Tickets & Access

The 5th Tatsushige no kai - DOJOJI
Noh Performance by Tatsushige Udaka


Time and date

14 July 2019 (Sunday) from 14:00 (doors open at 13:00) 


Place and access

The Kongo Noh Theatre
Karasuma Ichijō-agaru Ryūmon-cho, 590
Subway Karasuma-Imadegawa (K06), South Exit (n.6). Walk South 300m.
No parking is available - please use the parking within the Gosho Imperial Gardens.


For tickets and further information

Ticket sale opens on 15 April 2019 (Monday) from 10:00

Tatsushige no kai office
080-4243-7440  (Mon-Fri 10:00-16:00 / Japanese and English)
WEB Reservation

Search from the top page "竜成の会" (* In Japanese-language only)



All seatings are reserved
□ Special seats / 20,000yen (with a CD and a small gift)  Sold out
□ First class / 15,000yen  Sold out
□ Second class / 10,000yen  Sold out
□ Third class / 8,000yen  Sold out
Parents & children (two people)/ 8,000yen  Sold out
□ Next generation seats / 4,000yen  Sold out
First class box (1 to 5 people) / 75,000yen  Sold out


*Refunds are not available.
*At the door tickets subject to availability. 
*Audio and video recordings of the performance, including photographs, are strictly prohibited.Please switch off your mobile phone before the performance. 


CD with lyrics and contemporary Japanese text.

You can enjoy the performance at a deeper level if you are familiar with the lyrics in advance. We will send the CD along with your ticket purchase. Cost: 1000yen.

Child care service

We have arranged a child care service for children aged 1~5. The fee is between 2000 and 3000yen.
For more information please contact the Tatsushige no Kai office. Click here >

Seat guide 

Front seats area 

Seats facing the front of the stage. 

Special seats 

36 premium seats close to the front of the stage, for those who wish to feel the tension of the stage. Booking this seat you will receive a small gift.

First class seats 

You are able to see all the stage from the front to the hashigakari bridgeway. Sitting here allows you to see clearly all that happens on stage. 

Box seats 

Box at the back of the stalls. Each box accommodates up to five people. You can enjoy the performance with your friends. Only 3 boxes are available.

Side area 

This kind of seats are unique to a Noh theatre. From here you can enjoy the performance as if you were ‘behind the scenes’.  

Second class side seats 

From these seats you can feel the depth of the stage as you would not from the front.  Professionals usually watch performance from these seats -  recommended to those who want to focus on the movement of the actors. 

Third class side seats 

Seats at the back of the side area. Relax and enjoy the performance… sitting here you don’t have to worry if you fall asleep! 

Middle area 

Watching the performance from here you will understand the importance of the pillars, guiding the actor whose view is severely restricted by the mask. These are the cheapest seats, though they provide an unexpectedly interesting view.   

Third class middle seats 

These are the cheapest seats among those close to the stage. Sitting here provides a sense of three-dimensionality unique to the noh stage.  

‘New to Noh’ seats 

We have reserved these seats for the next generation of noh fans. If this is your first time to the noh theatre, or if you are interested in the performing arts in general, these seats are for you.  

Balcony area 

Seats in the balcony facing the front of the stage. These seats are cheaper now, but used to be the seats for the aristocrats. 

Parents and children seats 

You can book one of these if you come with a +6 year-old son, daughter or grandson, granddaughter. All the balcony is reserved for these seats, so you can sit back and enjoy the performance.



Tatsushige no kai office