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Toka Festival Noh Performance (Itsukushima Shrine)

2020/04/16 - 2020/04/18

The Toka Festival Noh Performances are held annually over the course of three days, from April 16th-18th, on the Noh theater stage at Itsukushima Shirne. The festival began in response to the 1551 betrayal and murder of the Ouchi Clan at Tainei-ji Temple (at Nagato Yumoto Onsen) by their former retainer, Sue Harutaka. To avenge this betrayal, the samurai Mori Motonari fought and vanquished Sue at the Battle of Itsukushima (1555), after which Mori began these rituals in 1563. Kyogen noh performances from the Kita, Kanzen, and the Okura school are performed. (Kita-style Noh is performed on the 16th, the first day; Kanzen-style on the 17th, the second day; and Kita-style again on the 18th, the third day.) There is an account in the "Fusa-aki Chronicle" saying that in 1568, when the master of the Kanze school left the capital, "Excuse my getting straight to the point. A stage was built in the inlet, and a performance of the 9th Noh piece was performed, afterwhich the 10th piece was performed on a stage built at the home of Tanamori Fusa-aki." After the great Battle of Sekigahara, too, the Fukushima and Asano samurai clans took over power of the province from the Mori, and a magistrate of Miyajima was established directly under the province's control, developing Miyajima into a tourist destination. As the Meiji Period approached, with the start of a new historical period, the springtime Omiya Festival came to be called the "Toka Festival," and every year, for three days beginning on the 16th, ritual Noh theater performances were held at this festival. On the first and second days, Noh plays centered around the figure of an older man ("okina") will be performed first, and a number five Noh on the third day.

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