Tools Give Life to Kabuki and Noh: “DO-GU LABO” Saves Japanese Traditional Arts
Did you know that the presence of Kabuki, one of the most famous traditional performing arts in Japan, is at risk? It’s NOT because they suffer from a lack of performers – it’s because they are running out of stage tools.
With society changing, many of these stage tools now rely on the hands of just one craftsman each. If this one craftsman dies, the stage tool will also die. And eventually, Kabuki may die out as well.
To help protect these stage tools, one lady stood up and took action. Ms. Tamiko Tamura, a freelance journalist, heard from many of her interviewees about the serious situation of Kabuki. To make matters worse, no one knew how to solve this problem.
That’s when Ms. Tamura decided to establish “DO-GU LABO for Japanese Traditional Performing Arts.”
What made her take this big step?
Ms. Tamura herself learns Nogaku Theatre. As she researched more about Noh, she found out that it also faces the same problems as Kabuki. Right now, at “DO-GU LABO”, Ms. Tamura works to preserve the stage tools that are used in Kabuki and Nogaku Theatre.
How does “DO-GU LABO” Help Out?
Ms. Tamura’s “DO-GU LABO” tries to save stage tools through the following:
1. Creating a “Red List of Endangered Stage Tools of Traditional Performing Arts”
2. Developing a New Production Route
This is when Ms. Tamura came into play. She searched for craftsmen who had knowledge on traditional textile dying, and went back and forth communicating between the tokoyama and the craftsmen. As a result, she recovered the kanoko after one year.
3. Recruiting Craftsmen
4. Keeping Craftsmanship Alive
What should We Do to Save Traditional Performing Arts?
There are many actors trying to save Kabuki and Nogaku Theatre, but the situation still seems grave. Ms. Tamura told us that we should all work together, but each in our own way.
In hopes of recovering these stage tools, Ms. Tamura continues to spread the word. Her passion and clear vision to save tools give all of us hope in the world of traditional performing arts: there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel, and Ms. Tamura helps us see that, one step at a time.
*Kanoko: A type of accessory used to put on the Kabuki actor’s wig.
[via Greenz.jp written by Felix Sayaka]