Hagoromo, the Japanese stage play which combines the use of masks, movement and music with actor Yamai Tsunao

Hagoromo, the Japanese stage play
which combines the use of masks, movement and music
with actor Yamai Tsunao

On the occasion of the exhibition “Jisou. In Tayga Abe’s sedimented time”, on May 10 at 6 pm in the Sala dei Notari of Palazzo Priori in Perugia, the traditional Japanese show was held with the presence of the famous leading actor Yamai Tsunao, master of the Komparu school of Noh, the traditional Japanese performing art that combines the use of masks, movement and music.
The project included the joint performance of Japanese sculptor Tayga Abe and actor Tsunao Yamai who performed in front of Abe’s sculpture.

The performance was then repeated on May 12 at the Academic Hall of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music in Rome

Born in Yokohama, Japan in 1973, BA in Literature from Kokugakuin University, Tsunao Yamai studied under Nobutaka Kombaru (79th Generation Head of Komparu School), Yasuaki Komparu (80th Generation Head of Komparu School), and Noriko Tomiyama . Heishirou Umemura, an artist of the Komparu School of Noh, is Yamai’s grandfather.
Lui started the first phase of Noh at the age of 5 and the first lead role of “Shite” at the age of 12. He has performed “Shite” (lead role) in notable pieces, including “Midare”, “Shakkyô”, “Mochizuki”, “Dōjōji”, “Okina”, “Shozon” and “Ataka”.
Tsunao Yamai is dedicated to promoting Noh and “Japanese hearts and minds”, convinced that Noh is one of the greatest art forms in the world. He often presents Noh plays, workshops and talks for beginners and performs at junior schools in Japan. He performs internationally and collaborates with different artists.

Noh is a Japanese art and entertainment form in which actors perform with traditional masks, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003 together with Kabuki and Bunraku and is considered one of the major Japanese performing arts.
It is a type of cultured entertainment and to fully understand the events staged, a profound knowledge of literature and religion is needed.
In complete contrast to the bare and spartan scene, the actors dress in flamboyant clothes and wear picturesque masks.
The mask has a mediating function and can embody superior entities: Noh theatre, with its order of consecutive dramas, offers us an overall vision of life. Unlike Western theater where we are often faced with a specific problem, in Noh we have a complete representation of human existence.

ARS MAGISTRIS met the actor Tsunao Yamai on the occasion of his performance in Perugia to deepen his knowledge

Your choice to perform in Italy, where does it come from?
It was born from the collaboration with the Japanese sculptor Tayga Abe who is currently exhibiting in Perugia, until May 28, with the patronage of the Municipality of Perugia and the Japanese Embassy.
There will therefore be two shows, one on May 10 in Perugia and the other on May 12 at the Vatican.

What expectations do you have from this experience in Italy?
There is a great similarity between Italian and Japanese culture, the way of feeling art, a very ancient, deeply rooted cultural and historical heritage and I am convinced that Italy will appreciate the Japanese theater show. It is a show that is difficult to understand, very religious and spiritual in which, through the mask, one wants to reach a connection with the divine.

What message does he want to spread through his show?
I would like to spread a universal message of peace, harmony and happiness for every human being.

What are the future projects?
In October in Japan there will be a theatrical performance on Shakespeare adapted to Noh theatre, the aim is to unite Eastern and Western culture, precisely because I believe in sharing, peace and harmony among all.


Paola Dongu | PD&Associati


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