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
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.
in N˘gaku is in decline among young people.
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.