Kyoto Shimbun 2013.4.21 News

Dynamic "Horakuwari"
"Mibu Kyogen" Performance Starts

Spring performances of "Mibu Kyogen," traditional comedic plays, designated as an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property of Japan, started on April 21 at Mibu-dera Temple in Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto. Audiences gave a big round of applause for the popular act, "Horakuwari," in which about 1,100 "Horaku," or unglazed plates, were dynamically thrown off the roughly three-meter-high stage.

Mibu Kyogen is a dedication rite for the temple's Dainembutsu-e ceremonial gathering. It is said to have been created approximately 700 years ago by Engaku, a Buddhist monk who used pantomime shows to explain the teachings of Buddha in an easy-to-understand manner. It has 30 acts.

Horakuwari is a story about a conflict between a drum seller and a plate merchant over who opened their respective stall first. It teaches the world of only right and wrong where punishment comes if you try to beat someone in unfair ways. The program is performed every spring, and this year it will also be performed in autumn.

The performance started at 1:00 p.m. with the "Kan-den-den" music played using hand-held brass gongs, drums and Japanese flutes, to which masked performers danced wordlessly with humorous movements. The audience cheered excitedly when the drum seller threw off the highly-piled stacks of Horaku at the end of the performance.

There will be five Kyogen performances each day until April 29. The program changes day by day, but Horakuwari is performed first every day. On the last day, there will be an evening performance. There is an admission fee.

(translated by Galileo, Inc.)

Photo= Performers throw off about 1,100 "Horaku" piled on the stage (April 21, Mibu-dera Temple, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto)