Tokyo exhibition showcases traditional Japanese performing arts

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Visitors look at a display during a press preview of “The World of Traditional Performing Arts” exhibition at the Tokyo National Museum in Taito Ward, Tokyo, on Thursday.

A special exhibition showcasing traditional Japanese performing arts opened Friday at the Tokyo National Museum in Taito Ward, Tokyo.

“The World of Traditional Performing Arts” exhibition introduces kabuki, bunraku puppet plays, noh and kyogen, gagaku court music and kumi-odori dance — all of which are designated as intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO — through costumes, props, musical instruments, model stages and other items.

Old films and video footage related to those art forms are also being shown, including “Momijigari” (Autumn Leaves Viewing), which is the oldest film in Japan, dating back to 1899 and starring kabuki actors Ichikawa Danjuro IX and Onoe Kikugoro V, and a gagaku concert performed by musicians from the music department of the Imperial Household Agency’s Board of the Ceremonies.

The exhibition, which is being held at the museum’s Hyokeikan building and runs through March 13, is a part of the Japan Cultural Expo and the Tsumugu project to promote traditional Japanese culture. It is organized by the Cultural Affairs Agency, The Yomiuri Shimbun and other entities.

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