International Workshop for editing the English-Language Noh Encyclopedia
Day 1 / Thursday, July 23
13:00-13:10 Yamanaka Reiko, “Opening Remarks and Keynote”
13:10-13:50 Paul Atkins, Takeuchi Akiko,“Structure of Noh”
13:50-14:50 Monica Bethe, Takakuwa Izumi, Yamanaka Reiko,“The Performance of Noh”
15:00-15:40 Patrick Schwemmer, Nakatsuka Yukiko, “Play Summaries”
15:40-16:20 Yokoyama Tarō, “Noh and Modern Intellectual History”
Day 2 / Friday, July 24
10:00-10:40 Tom Hare, Takahashi Yūsuke, “Noh and Religion”
10:40-11:20 Tamamura Kyō, “The Theory of Noh”
13:30-14:00 Miyamoto Keizō, “The History of Noh”
14:00-14:40 Barbara Geilhorn, “Women in Noh”
14:50-16:20 Noh Today: Diego Pellecchia, “Noh Theatre Amateurs – A Comparative View”
Michael Watson, “The Training of Noh Actors and Beyond”
Yamanaka Reiko, “The Performance form of modern Noh”
16:40-18:00 Discussion, Future Plans, Google Community
We held a two-day workshop in Conference Room A on the twenty-sixth floor of Boissonade Tower, Hosei University, Ichigaya Campus. The workshop was attended by fifty-nine people in total.
This project aims to compile a new English-language encyclopedia of Noh that prioritizes the needs of scholars, students, and performers abroad. The encyclopedia will include short essays in order to contextualize the information listed in the glossaries. This workshop was the extension of the individual editorial meetings held in 2013. This time, the purpose was the presentation and discussion of plans for each section and consultation concerning editorial policy. These presentations were the result of collborative work on each topic by teams of Japanese and non-Japanese researchers, who reported on their work and discussed it with the room. The result was a lively exchange of opinions regarding editorial and writing policy which promises to ensure the quality of the final product.
An English“ Encyclopedia” of Noh?
Thomas Hare (Professor of Comparative Literature at Princeton University)
At the end of July, at the Nogami Memorial Noh Theater Research Institute of Hôsei University, a group of noh scholars of diverse origins met to plan an encyclopedia of noh drama. Although it may seem elementary, let’s examine the choice of the words “encyclopedia” and “noh” in this context, to see what sorts of challenges the project faces.
An early topic of conversation was what sort of reference work this one should be. Would it be a “dictionary,” a “reference source,” a “guide,” . . .? –– all these terms seemed to impose an intellectual approach that didn’t correspond well with the aims of the group. In the end, we chose “encyclopedia,” in the hope that such a claim will not only encourage broad coverage of our topic, but also allow entries to vary formally as seems appropriate to their content. We aspire to a diverse readership. We hope noh scholars will be among our readers, of course, but we also want to provide a resource for other scholars of Japan and for actors and performers around the world, whether they have a Japanese connection or not. Entries will be undertaken in most cases by pairs of scholars, one working in the Japanese academic world, another from elsewhere, in many cases from the English speaking world, but also from other important centers of noh studies.
Other references for noh in Western languages are out of date. They were written before recent developments in noh scholarship and performance, and could not, of course, take account of those developments. They also belonged to a different age intellectually; in our project, we will direct attention to fields of study that were not prominent in noh studies for long stretches of the past century. We plan to consider the role of women in noh, for instance, much more fully than has been done in a Western language reference work before. We are also urged on by how much better noh performance is understood around the world than it was when those earlier references were written. There is a new audience ready for a deeper engagement with the art.
Our early consideration of the word “encyclopedia” at the research workshop was paired with a somewhat belated discovery that we hadn’t fully decided what we meant by “noh.” Of course the original planners of the project had considered carefully how to approach many aspects of noh performance, history and criticism, but the question of where kyogen belongs in our project wasn’t settled until later in our discussions. It seemed impossible to ignore kyogen in any encyclopedia of noh –– kyogen has not only been a critical partner to noh historically, but kyogen performances today attract an enthusiastic and growing audiences (audiences that should be interested in noh as well!).
By the same token, however, we didn’t feel we would be able to deal with kyogen in as much detail as noh, largely because there are fewer documents relating to kyogen in the early centuries of the two arts. (Whereas noh has had its own amanuenses since the early fifteenth century, the transmission of the performance tradition in kyogen was more exclusively by word of mouth.)