Honjoh School Risogaku Performance
August 11th 2005 National Theatre of Japan (Large Theatre)
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The Shamisen player and composer Honjoh Hidetaro composes modern music using traditional Japanese instruments. At a number of outside public performances, Honjoh Hidetaro, in collaboration with other artists, performed traditional Japanese folk music that was not confined to classic frame, and that crossed into various genres.

In this musical performance, Risogaku music based on Japanese classical and ethnic music was performed. Risogaku is the style of Honjoh School, it is designed to promote the development of Japanese folk music and to create individual development by combining modern music theory. Risogaku looks to recover the energy that was evident in the era of the formation of shamisen music. It is a new revolution of Japanese folk music that is full of vitality and energy.
Nakamura Jakuemon (who is recognized for his outstanding contribution to Japanese culture), performed and danced "Ai to Beni (Japan blue to crimson)", with music composed by Fujima Kanjuro. The stage for "Shunkan" was a collaboration of folk music and modern art, with moving sculptures designed by the renowned artist Ito Takamichi.

Date: August 11th (Thursday), the 17th year of Heisei
Meeting place: National Theatre of Japan (Large Theatre)

Special guest performance by Nakamura Jakuemon (recognized for his outstanding contribution to Japanese Culture)

Program: Risogaku (Ai to Beni / Yuki no Yamanaka / Kotobuki Yoshiwaraniwaka / Hana no Fuga / Shunkan etc.)

Organizer/Director: Honjoh Hidetaro
Members of Honjoh-Kai, Tokyo Public Performance
Sponsorship: Japanese Folk Music Foundation
Japanese Folk Song Succession and Development Group, Honjoh School, Honjoh-Kai
Production: Tachibana Music

To be televised on October 29th Saturday 13:00~16:40 NHK BS2 Broadcast. Saturday Theatre as part of the program, "Yamakawa Shizo's best seat in the House", between 15:30 - 16:40.


Honjoh School Risogaku Performance
August 11th 2005 National Theatre of Japan (Large Theatre)
(Click photo to view)

"Nagauta - Tojaku ni yosu"
Arihara Narihira left his lover in Kyoto, and he went on a trip to the east in spite of his will to stay with her. One night whilst traveling he was invited to the world of fantasy by the nymph Tojaku, whose gentle image appeared reflected in the surface of the water of the Yatuhashi. Arihara Narihira fell in love with Tojaku on that night. Along with the daybreak, the image of Tojaku faded, and Arihara was unable to realize his love. His loneliness deepened and his heart ached with longing. This Nagauta tune describes the figure of love and the unchanged admiration and the loneliness of the heart of Tojaku in both the far old days and the present days.
The work of Honjoh Hidetaro's teacher still plays in the depth of Honjoh Hidetaro's heart. He believes that this is the origin of Risogaku musical performance. Thanks for this occasion are given to the players Master Miyata Tetsuo and Master KineyaYasu.
"Risogaku Kotobuki - Yoshiwaraniwaka"
A long time ago in Nakamachi-cho, a low life woman put on white clean clothes on the first day of August called hassaku. She kneaded make-up for the festival of Kuroujyo-Inari that was the first stage of the festival from the first day of August till the last, but only if the weather is fine. It was the most gorgeous event as Tamagiku lantern in Yoshiwara. There was the atmosphere of the amorous world of Kuruwa, (the licensed pleasure districts) surrounded by lively sounds (the music of shamisen, koto and song), swinging deep red lamplight and fragrance of white make-up in the air. There was also a lion dance in Tekomai (A Women wears Man's make-up and leads the festival parade) comparing the behavior of the customer and Yujo.
"Risogaku for dancing - Amen no Tsuki (Rainy moon)"
Honjoh's hometown Itako lies in open country by the waterside with a pleasant and peaceful atmosphere. Iris blooms hide behind the grass leaves on a rainy moonlit night. "Ame no Tsuki (Rain Moon)" was produced to give the feeling of this scene. The melody of "Okesa" and the sound of Niko heard every now and then and bring a sense of familiarity to the music. "Ame no Tsuki" was produced in 1988. On the first stage, Shinozaki Masashi, violinist played Niko.
"Risogaku - Shunkan"
This composition was made in 1998, by the commission of the Japanese dancing promotion foundation. The intention was to produce a composition that incorporated recorded sound. Modern people live in a world overflowing with sound and this piece was created from such an environment. It was thought that recorded sound sources could be used as acoustic instruments. The tune was also produced for collaboration with Japanese dance on the stage of "Suodori (dance without costume)". Fortunately the production also had a chance to perform in the U.S.A. The tune can be considered to be the new performance form for the next generation of Japanese folk music and dancing. It was a triumphant performance at National Theatre of Japan, and was broadcast on NHK Television "public entertainments flower stage". It was also a performed in Germany.
"A Ryukyu dancing Risogaku musical performance - Sekidera Komachi for Ryukyu classical dancing"
Kenko Hoshi described and admires the great beauty of Komachi as "The color of the flower which withers away".
"Risogaku - Tsuki no Fune (Moon Boat) - for Shimasen and Shino Flute"
Sekigetuka and Kacho-Fugetu are both words for the beauty of Japanese nature. The moon and Flowers. The moon of Autumn are considered the best. The moon resides in fantasy, of shallow marsh lakes where colorless winds blow. This tune was produced for the Nagoya dance "Shin Torikaebaya Story" composed by Kamoshita Shinichi and danced by Nishikawa Sakon of Nishikawa School. The tune was performed by Shino Flute player Mochizuki Tahachi.
"Risogaku - Yuki no Yamanaka"
The snow night when the snow voice was heard. The snow falls without a sound. The movement of people is reflected in the snow light. We can feel sympathy for the low life women "Yamanaka Bushi", "To send, or to be sent" in Yamanaka-cho, Enuma-gun, Ishikawa Prefecture. In this image there is a beautiful melody. We can feel the strange power of marriage ties in an old spring village where Matsuo Basho, famous haiku writer of the Edo era stayed for a long time. The beautiful melody of this regional song was performed as modern Japanese music, the "flowing" music of Shamisen (Risogaku). Composed in 1969.
"Risogaku for dancing - Ai to Beni to (Japan Blue to Crimson)"
A young cotton worker fell in love with a girl who cam to play by the river. They met many times and were deeply in love. One sad day in the autumn the river was high and the bleached cotton cloth began to float away. The young man dived into the river but was caught in the strong currents and disappeared amongst its depths. This tune was once lost, but it was found in Doshi in Yamagata Prefecture. "Nagauta" dramatically describes the young man's struggle in the river water, and "Nagebushi" expresses the workings of a young woman's mind. In Satouta the music seems to come from some unknown source. In Performed in 1981, Shichikunotawagoto (revival and development), 17th Century "Shiminshakai no Uta" and "Ogochi Kashima Odori" the tune of rebirth from the bottom of the lake. This tune was produced for the study of the basic thinking of ethnic music in 1982.