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UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Special Exhibition
The World of Traditional Performing Arts
Kabuki, Bunraku, Noh and Kyogen, Gagaku, Kumi-odori



This exhibition has been cancelled.
From Tuesday, March 10 to Sunday, May 24, 2020, the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan Arts Council, Tokyo National Museum, National Center for the Promotion of Cultural Properties, and the Yomiuri Shimbun will jointly hold a special exhibition of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), “The World of Traditional Performing Arts—Kabuki, Bunraku, Noh and Kyogen, Gagaku, Kumiodori.”
At this unprecedented exhibition, learn about Japan’s five performing arts that are on UNESCO’s Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage—Kabuki, Bunraku, Nogaku (Noh and Kyogen), Gagaku, and Kumiodori—all at once!
The exhibition will be held as a part of Nihonhaku (Japan Cultural Expo) and the TSUMUGU Project to promote, restore, and preserve the beauty of Japan’s art, which the Japanese Government is pursuing in the lead-up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. It will be held as a large-scale project linked to the opening ceremony of Nihonhaku in 2020. In line with Nihonhaku’s overarching theme of “Humanity and Nature in Japan,” the exhibition will close in on the notion of Japanese beauty through the Japanese traditional performing arts of Kabuki, Bunraku, Nogaku, Noh and Kyogen, and Kumiodori, which are on UNESCO’s Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The exhibition spaces will feature recreations of the stage scenery used in performances to produce the realistic ambience that is unique to these traditional performing arts. There will also be regular demonstration performances by professional performers on some of the stages. Precious videos of performances at the National Theatre of Japan will also be screened. Items that were actually used in performances will be on display, including shozoku robes and other costumes, musical instruments, and stage props. There will be interactive displays where visitors can dress up like Kabuki actors, as well as talk sessions and workshops by artisans who support the performers and the performances. These programs will allow anyone unfamiliar with these traditional performing arts, such as international visitors and younger generations of Japanese, to enjoy these art forms by looking, listening, and touching.
This is the first exhibition ever that will give visitors a real, up-close experience of five of Japan’s Intangible Cultural Heritage-listed traditional performing arts at one time.

Exhibition Structure
Chapter 1: Kabuki (Stage: Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura, nishiki-e (brocade picture), costumes, musical instruments, stage props, etc.)
Chapter 2: Bunraku (Stage: Honcho Nijushiko, kendai (lectern), shamisen, Bunraku puppets, costumes, stage props, performance photographs, etc.)
Chapter 3: Nogaku (Noh stage: Izutsu, Noh masks, Kyogen masks, Noh costumes, Kyogen costumes, tsukurimono (stage props), pictures, etc.)
Chapter 4: Kumiodori (Stage: Mekarushii, Nido Tekiuchi (Revenge of the Two Boys), bingata curtain, bingata costumes, stage props, etc.)
Chapter 5: Gagaku (Stage: Genjoraku Samai, Kasane shozoku robes, Ban-e shozoku robes, Ryoto shozoku robes, Chigomai shozoku robes, dadaiko drum, etc.)
* Ainu culture and folk performing arts will also be presented.

Enjoy traditional performing arts by looking, listening, and touching


Nihonhaku (Japan Cultural Expo)

With the aims of building momentum for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 and increasing the number of foreign tourists to Japan, the Japanese Government is rolling out Nihonhaku (Japan Cultural Expo) around the nation, promoting Japanese culture and arts that embody beauty of Japan and communicating their diverse and universe charm.

The TSUMUGU Project

The TSUMUGU Project: Promoting, Restoring, and Preserving the Beauty of Japan’s Art, a public-private joint initiative of Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs, Imperial Household Agency, and the Yomiuri Shimbun, was launched in November 2018 with the aim of passing onto future generations the beauty of Japan, such as fine arts and crafts of the Imperial Court, national treasures, and important cultural properties, etc., and communicating them to the world.

March 10 – May 24, 2020
■Hours 9:30-17:00 *Until 21:00 on Fridays and Saturdays (Last entry 30 minutes before closing)
■Closed:Mondays (Except March 30 and May 4, 2020)
Hyokeikan, Tokyo National Museum