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  • Thumbnail for Noh stage, National Theatre, Tokyo
    Noh stage, National Theatre, Tokyo

    This is the Noh stage at the National Theatre in Tokyo, photographed after a performance in December, 2000. Off to the left, out of the photo here, is the bridge, the hashigakari , along which the actors (rarely more than three) enter the stage and exit the stage. Constructed of unpainted wood, probably hinoki cypress, without curtains or scenery, the stage design is rooted in the utter simplicity of Ashikaga aesthetics, which was, of course, extraordinarily sophisticated in its focus on essences. This type of simplicity is very difficult to achieve, as any artist will attest to. -- All noh stages are identical in size and configuration and all have only one permanent element of decoration -- the pine tree on the back wall of the stage, seen also, e.g., at the noh stage at Hiraizumi (image ecasia000005).