Public Noh Performances of the Late Edo Period: Slideshow

Subscription Noh put on by the Head of Hōshō School

Click the image below for a slideshow of images from the Kanjin nō no zu scroll.


Illustrations from Kōka kanjin nō no zu (GloPAD Series 50). Text by Steven G. Nelson, Research Archives for Japanese Music, Ueno Gakuen College.

These illustrations provide a pictorial record of the Kanjin noh performance held by the head of the Hōshō school of noh in Kōka fifth year (1848) at a specially-built theatre near the Kanda River, north of the present imperial palace in Tokyo. This type of performance, licensed by the Tokugawa Shogunate was generally limited to the heads of the Kanze school, who were permitted to hold such performances only once in each generation. The performance recorded in this source is one of only two exceptions to this general rule: another performance of kanjin noh by the head of the Hōshō school was held in the Jōkyō fourth year (1667). The Kōka year-period performance was held from February to May on fifteen days, attracting as many as five thousand people on the fourteenth day, the day of the largest attendance.

The original version of the Kanjin nō no zu was drawn by Saitō Gesshin (1804-1878), probably at the time of the performance, when he was 45 years old. This copy (Ueno Gakuen), apparently very similar to the original, was drawn by an unknown copyist, probably in Ansei third year (1856).

 For a version of the two Koka Kanjin scrolls with larger magnification go to the Nogami Memorial Noh Theatre Research Institute of Hoosei University. At the top of pages are the entire scrolls, which read from right to left and serve for navigating.
For a virtual version in Second Life, go to:

Go to GloPACGo to GloPAD (database)