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N˘gaku Theatre

Japan

The N˘gaku theatre dates back to the 8th century and evolved incorporating various artistic forms such as acrobatics, song, dance and comic impersonations. Today, N˘gaku is the main tradition of Japanese theatre. The plays, often inspired by traditional literature, incorporate masks, costumes, props and dance.

Ntgaku Theatre - Japan.jpg (173095 bytes)N˘gaku encompasses two types of theatre : the N˘ and the Ky˘gen. In the N˘, supernatural heroes become human to tell a story. Masks represent, for example, ghosts, women, children and old men. Ky˘gen relies on comic dialogues, for which scripts are written in a medieval oral language.

Threats:  Interest in N˘gaku is in decline among young people.

Action plan: The N˘gaku has been designated an Intangible Cultural Property since 1957 and is thereby protected, along with its traditional artists. The Japanese government provides financial support and training for N˘gaku theatre actors. A system for recording the performances is planned.