Mansaku-no-Kai Kyogen Company

The Mansaku-no-Kai Kyogen Company was founded by Mansaku NomuraⅡ, and is now led by Mansaku and his son, MansaiⅡ―members of an illustrious theatrical line that boasts a 250-year history .
Since the company’s first tour abroad to the Paris International Theater Festival in 1957, Mansaku has been a pioneer in sharing the art of Kyogen with international audiences, giving performances and lectures throughout the world.
Continuing his father’s mission, Mansai not only performs Kyogen extensively, but is also committed to exploring further possibilities of Kyogen as a contemporary performing art.
Mansaku Nomura is a Living National Treasure of Japan.
Two members of Mansaku-no-Kai―Mansai Nomura and Yukio Ishida―are designated Holder of Important Intangible Cultural Property: Nohgaku.

About Kyogen

Along with Noh, Bunraku, and Kabuki, Kyogen is one of the four representative classical theater arts of Japan.
Kyogen is a form of medieval popular comedy which arose in the Kyoto area contemporaneously with Noh in the early 14th century.
Rather like Italian Commedia dell’arte, it started as a crude impromptu theater with no fixed texts or identifiable authors.
By the mid-14th century, however, it had become customary for Noh performers to program Kyogen pieces in between five of their own plays.
As a further sign of integration, the main Kyogen actor also played the role of “ai” (“comic relief”) in the middle p art of Noh play.

To combine two contrasting theater forms was a wonderful idea.
While Noh focuses on meditation and memory, sin and salvation, Kyogen positively affirms human nature, utilizing “humor” exquisitely.
In the Muromachi era (14th-15th century) Kyogen and Noh performances attracted audiences in the thousands, mixed in terms of ages, class, and gender.
The close-knit origins of the two traditions are paralleled in Shakespeare’s use of tragedy in the midst of comedy, the aim of both being to show people as they really are.
Although close associations between Kyogen and Noh are still maintained, Kyogen’s growing popularity has led to an ever greater number of independent performances.
This is largely due to accessibility of the form―a happy consequence of the simplicity of plot and characters, the vocal clarity of speech, the expressive style of acting, and the brevity of performance time.
Add to this a rich repertory of more than two hundred plays, and it is not hard to explain the recent emergence of several Kyogen actors of great fame.

縁者の紹介 野村万作


Mansaku Nomura is a Living National Treasure of Japan.
Born in 1931 as the second son of the late Manzo Nomura VI, who was also a Living National Treasure, he studied Kyogen under his grandfather, Mansai Nomura I and his father, Manzo.
At the age of three, he made his stage debut in the role of Little Monkey in Utsubozaru.
He studied Japanese literature at Waseda University.
Since graduation, Mansaku has been an outstanding leader in the Kyogen world and has brought new ideas into the art form.
Along with such important traditional Kyogen pieces at Tsurigitune, his representative works include Pierrot Lunaire, Shigosen no Matsuri (“The Rite of Meridian”) by Junji Kinoshita, and Shukoh with Zhang Ji qing.
His recent directing credits include The Braggart Samurai, based on Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, which toured to Hong Kong and Adelaide.
He has extensively led Kyogen workshops throughout the world since 1957.
Workshops at U.S. universities include those given at University of Washington, University of California at Berkeley, and University of Hawaii as a visiting professor.
After recent performances abroad at Piccolo Teatro di Milano, Chang An Grand Theater in Beijing, and National Theatre of Korea, Mansaku is happy to return to the Kennedy Center where he had performed during the JAPAN! culture+hyperculture festival in 2008.
Mansaku Nomura has garnered numerous awards, including the Asahi Prize, Grand-prix of Art Festival run by the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan, Tsubouchi Shoyo Prize, Kinokuniya Theatre Award, and awards from the Japanese government, including the Purple Ribbon Medal and the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette.



Born in 1966, Mansai NomuraⅡstudied under his father ManskauⅡand his late grandfather ManzoⅥ (both Living National Treasures of Japan).
He made his stage debut at the age 3.
His stages go far beyond that of traditional Kyogen and Noh actors’―he also playes the title roles of such Greek tragedies or Shakespearean plays as Oedipus directed by Yukio Ninagawa, Hamlet directed by Jonathan Kent.
He also starred in such a hit Japanese movies as Ran by Akira Kurosawa and Onmyoji by Yohjiro Takita.
Beside his exuberant acting career, he is committed to direct plays that merge the classics and the contemporary, east and west, and his talent is always attracting attentions from public and critics.
Beside The Kyogen of Errors that toured to London Globe Theatre in 2002 and the U.S. in 2005 and 2008, his directing credits include Macbeth, Kuni-nusu-bito (from Richard Ⅲ), Yabu no Naka (In a Thicket), Kagamikaja(Mirror Servant), Atsushi (from the late Atsushi Nakajima`s Sangetsuki and Meijinden) which brought him Asahi Performing Arts Award and Kinokuniya Theatre Award 2005 for his direction and composition.
He has received National Arts Festival New Artist Award, and The Ministry of Education’s Art Encouragement Prize for New Artists.
He is Holder of the important Intangible Cultural Property: Nohgaku.
He has been the Artistic Director of Setagaya Public Theatre since 2002.
He most recently starred in The Floating Castle(Nobou No Shiro), a film directed by Isshin Inudo and Shinji Higuchi was released on 2012.

Mansaku-no-kai Kyogen Company: Results of tours abroad