Sengoku Horizon

Look towards the Horizon

The Warring States Period: Fierce warlords fought for control of Japan, and many would perish. When a warrior falls, where does the passion they once held go? Possibly into something dear such as a favorite weapon or heirloom. These heirlooms have been labeled as “relics”, and those that carry them are labeled as “Scions." Recently more and more of these special relics have been activating, signaling the start of a great change as ancient power meets the modern world!

Now For The Local News, 06/01/2018 The Chinese delegation have now arrived at the city of Edo. Making friends and learning about Edo Culture is their current aim! In other news it is also time for the school dance event! Please bring your characters along!

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 Noh Theater 101
Nobuyumi
 Posted: Nov 21 2017, 04:00 PM
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MUSIC I HERE

The three would hear the Noh Theater music long before they arrived to the third floor class room. It was the sound of wood flutes and light drums. It was certainly dramatic and one had to wonder if a play was going on in the room at this very moment.

As the students entered they would see Kono-sensei sitting on her legs holding a fan as the music played behind her. She had on a classic Noh mask. As her head was down the mask looked sad, like it was hiding it's heartbreak. As a drummer hit a loud note she suddenly pointed the fan directly at the three students. With her head suddenly raised the mask looked dramatic and shocked!

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"Siiittttt" she said in an almost opera like voice, before pointing the fan at three prepared cushions on the floor in front of her. The third floor rooms at the top of the school all felt like small, intimate tea rooms. Though that was because these rooms usually got used by staff holding meetings, and very small lesson and mission planning.

"Whhaattttt, do you all know, about Noooohhhhhhhhhh" she said dramatically. As she said it she raised the fan in the air to her left. The fan was beautiful black lacquer color. The paper of it was plain and white.

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Alida
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Azai Nobuyori
The stuck up clan lord who defends the people.

Tagami Yumiko
The adorable poet girl who hates war.

Katayama, Masato
A strategist bent on changing the world.
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Alida
 Posted: Nov 22 2017, 08:47 AM
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The loud music on the other side of the door made her hesitant in entering. Was she late? Suishoku checked her phone and found that she was right on time so why the music playing? Slowly she opened the door a crack to peer inside. Cushions were laid out and a small stage of sorts. In the shadows just outside of the light were some musicians. Rather than on a larger stage, the class was taken to the third floor in the more traditional rooms. Three cushions were laid out with a lone actor before them.

She turned her phone silent and entered to take a seat in the furthest cushion as the others joined one by one. Only three people will be in this lecture. Suishoku wondered about who they were but her eyes were glued to the stage and the lone actor. Their head tilted downward where it was hard to see their face. It soon snapped upwards and beckoned the students to sit and join the procession. The voice sounded like Kono-sensei's if not for the mask and elongated tone making it a bit less obvious for her.

The first question opened the floor to what the students even know at all about Noh. Suishoku didn't know a lot of the subject either beyond two things. "All the actors only where masks," she replied when given time to. "And that the shows are pretty expensive." Comparing a Kabuki ticket to a Noh ticket was it easier to see the price difference, hence why she's never actually sat through a Noh performance before than at least one or two Kabuki plays back home.

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Elite year, Yuubae Suishoku__Honda Mikazuki, 2nd year
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Matsushina
 Posted: Nov 27 2017, 03:21 AM
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Kana can hear music from the hallways, a trademark of a specific kind of play. She tried to imitate the tune with her humming as she makes her way; it seems that she wasn't late as she saw a student entering the room in front of her, where the class she was supposed to attend was meant to be held, apparently. She entered shortly after, inside the room the music seemed to be louder. And what she saw was a scenery that was not foreign to her, a small stage, she swiftly moved to one of the cushions prepared for the attending students.

She looked around only to see that only she and one other student was there. She's adjusting her sitting, as to sit comfortably in the cushion she picked, slightly away from the other student in the room. She seems familiar and it took her a while to realize who she is, it was Suishoku-san; her senior, a student who received support from her family. It was nice to see that she's around still, Kana thought she'd have graduated.

"What I know is that, um, Noh is based on tales from traditional literature...With a supernatural being transformed into human form as a hero narrating a story". She looked down as if to hide her embarrassment,

That's all she knows, a rather meagre knowledge of Noh.

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Nobuyumi
 Posted: Nov 30 2017, 10:53 PM
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As the teacher dramatically asked the students what they knew of Noh two of the two answered, with the third student being a bit too intimidated and taken back by the dramatic start of the class to speak.
Suishoku was the first to answer
"All the actors only where masks," she replied when given time to. "And that the shows are pretty expensive." said the girl. Next of course was Kana
"What I know is that, um, Noh is based on tales from traditional literature...With a supernatural being transformed into human form as a hero narrating a story." She looked down as if to hide her embarrassment. At this time a third student entered and took a seat behind the two girls. To which Kono-sensei quickly gave Kana a sign in sheet to pass around before starting her talk.

"Now then. As you can all guess this is an informal extra class. Thus why we had only three sign up spots. I just want to take a minute to politely talk about noh theater. You both hit the nail on the head about the basics of noh." she said as she took off her mask and put it on the floor between her and the students as she sat down so as to be at their eye level.
"Have any of you been to a Noh play before? Can you name any off the top of your heads? Unfortunately they can be quite expensive to attend. This is due to Noh being considered an extremely upscale type of performance compared to say, Kabuki, or a movie. The actors of Noh plays are extremely well trained and usually come from very long lines of actors." and with that handed all three of them their own Noh mask.

"Look over the mask. Have it face you then slowly tilt it up and down forward and away from you. The position of a mask can completely change the look of it's face from sad, to angry, to joyful. With such a simple mask, so many advanced expressions can be displayed. Even more so simply based on the type of music playing at the time. This subtle but deep expression is in direct contrast with the loud, outwardly expressions in Kabuki."

Fairy
Alida
Matsushina

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Azai Nobuyori
The stuck up clan lord who defends the people.

Tagami Yumiko
The adorable poet girl who hates war.

Katayama, Masato
A strategist bent on changing the world.
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Alida
 Posted: Dec 1 2017, 03:02 PM
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She took the make and held it as advised. Forward, titled back, sideways, close; all these directions to watch the light shift over the features. A curious design that made her touch the cheek and brow structures to find that these were more defined in a way. They arced a bit more forward where the actor didn't have to tilt their heads too much or snap too hard to achieve the lighting effect needed. A few degree turns of the head and elation and shift to a scheming glint.

"I wonder why Kabuki didn't adopt the mask usage. You'd think it would be cheaper than applying layers of dynamic make-up and foundation," Suishoku would comment before trying to hold the make before her but slightly away from her own face while trying to adopt the similar movements Kono-sensei did in greeting them. "Not only would the makeup be expensive but so would the costumes and stage props. A higher cost would balance out the needed funds but why would the more simple style of Noh end up with the highest ticket cost?"

As she mused about the whys that this was how things are and the difference of class between the two actors of the theater did she note how the princess of the Maeda made a point about something. Suishoku had to recognize a child from her own ruling clan's family to some degree despite hardly interacting with the girl before beside the scarce few meetings the two happened to share the same room together. Their two social classes were that far apart and all. Being a Scion only allowed to Suishoku to be in the same room as the younger girl than seeing her from afar in a parade. The lack of full knowledge about Noh from her left one to wonder if the Maeda weren't that interested in Noh or if Noh is more something better appreciate by adults than youths. Still, it was all comforting to be in the same boat.

"Hmm, but can't say I know much about Noh or popular actors. I just assumed it was something more appreciated by adults this whole time since only the rich or noble could go see them."

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Elite year, Yuubae Suishoku__Honda Mikazuki, 2nd year
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Nobuyumi
 Posted: Dec 11 2017, 10:39 PM
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As the students seemed interested in the Noh masks Suishoku gave her thoughts on the art.
"I wonder why Kabuki didn't adopt the mask usage. You'd think it would be cheaper than applying layers of dynamic make-up and foundation," Suishoku would comment before trying to hold the make before her but slightly away from her own face while trying to adopt the similar movements Kono-sensei did in greeting them. "Not only would the makeup be expensive but so would the costumes and stage props. A higher cost would balance out the needed funds but why would the more simple style of Noh end up with the highest ticket cost?" at her words the teacher made sure to have her mask on and turned the mask so that it appeared to be smiling at Suishoku.
"Hmm, but can't say I know much about Noh or popular actors. I just assumed it was something more appreciated by adults this whole time since only the rich or noble could go see them." the girl finished.

The teacher then removed her masked and smiled at all three students. She pondered Suishoku' words as the other two students kept studying the masks at various angles.
"That is because unfortunately Noh is stopped in tradition in a different way than Kabuki. Kabuki is for the common man and about bright expression. Noh keeps a more....personal element. A more serious tone to it that couldn't properly be portrayed with Kabuki's bright and loud displays. Thus with Noh you get a deeper history, and deeper, more serious tradition. Which causes not only more serious displays, but higher ticket prices as well. This is both a blessing and a curse as it keeps Noh from most common people, which is unfortunate, but also keeps Noh on a special pedestal within our history and culture."

Then she turned the Noh music back on, but to a lower volume and said.
"To understand Noh, one must understand that the majority of our culture is brought over from ancient China. Noh theater, sciences, arts, much of it came from the mainland as China spread it's influence across Asia. This influence arrived in the form of "nang" also called "neng" which in Chinese means "skill" or "craft". It is an old term for performers."

Then she made a display with her hands of a great journey, showing the journey of Noh from China to Japan.
"On theory is that Noh originated from outcastes struggling to claim higher social status by catering to those in power, namely the new ruling samurai class of the time. The transferal of the shogunate from Kamakura to Kyoto at the beginning of Muromachi period marked the increasing power of the samurai class and strengthened the relationship between the shogunate and the court. As Noh became the shogun's favorite art form, Noh was able to become a courtly art form through this newly formed relationship. In 14th century, with strong support and patronage from shōgun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, Zeami was able to establish Noh as the most prominent theatre art form of the time. Though there is no way to be sure of this."

"Can any of you think of other things we have adapted from China? Do you think that if the imperial court and shogunate liked Kabuki more than Noh then Noh would be cheaper and be more widely enjoyed like Kabuki is?"


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The stuck up clan lord who defends the people.

Tagami Yumiko
The adorable poet girl who hates war.

Katayama, Masato
A strategist bent on changing the world.
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Alida
 Posted: Dec 12 2017, 02:24 AM
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"I suppose," Suishoku sighed with her mask lowering a bit thanks to a loosened hold on the sides. Its brow and forehead casting a gloomy shadow over it's grinning face. It didn't make much sense for the least costing production to be the most and highly selective. That is, till it was all made sense in that Noh plays gained popularity and favoritism. When a higher class have a preference then the reference and pressure of maintaining that status comes with it. There was no longer surprise in her voice when it was all made so clearly. Kabiku would then give raise in the status of the people's flashy and colorful stage and Noh for the rich and privileged.

"In what way do you mean a more personal element and deeper meaning? What do patrons of Noh plays walk away with in seeing one and what would Noh usually talk about unlike re-tellings of recent events turned into plays?"

Having never seen one, Noh began to seem like the black and white movies of plays compared to colored Kabuki. Both were fairly old though in today's times with an older style of writing that could require some level of translation. So far did Suishoku come to understand the visual difference thanks to these masks and the less vibrant stage Kono-sensei sat upon who shared its origins from China. A lot of things tend to get borrowed from China when someone went overseas and returned with new ideas or so was the gist of it.

"Um," the writing system was the most obvious in the room so what else could have been. "housing structure??" She asked since they seemed similar enough at a glance. "Well, it has been shown before that whoever is popular at the time will clearly be the most expensive and whoever isn't has to adapt to gain the local favors no matter highly esteemed these skilled actors are. If it's something the noble people will like then the nobles will likely do whatever they can to ensure what they like isn't sullied."

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Elite year, Yuubae Suishoku__Honda Mikazuki, 2nd year
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Nobuyumi
 Posted: Dec 16 2017, 12:30 PM
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As the other two students nodded along with Suishoku and gave their own answers about what parts of Chinese culture had been brought to Japan the teacher responded to Suishoku's previous question about patrons of Noh plays compared to Kabuki.
"Kabuki, is bright. It is loud. In many ways it lacks subtle meanings because it isn't suppose to have then. Noh plays, leave a lot more to be implied. If one simply watches a Noh play and takes it as is, they will not gain much from it. Noh is slow, subtle, and gives the viewer time to reflect upon what is happening on stage." she said as she slowly put the Noh mask back on.
"Kabuki, emotions are displayed on one's sleeve." she said slowly as she raised her kimono sleeve.
"In Noh, emotions are displayed, gradually." with that she slowly lowered her arm while gradually titling her head downwards to show a different emotion represented by the Noh mask before taking it off. It was a small demonstration but hopefully would get her point across well enough.

"The main reason for the cultural difference between Noh and Kabuki is actually because of the Edo period from roughly 1620-1900. During the Edo period Noh continued to be an aristocratic art form supported by the shogun, the daimyō, as well as wealthy and sophisticated commoners. While kabuki focused on new and experimental entertainment, Noh strived to preserve its established high standards and historic authenticity and remained mostly unchanged throughout the era. To capture the essence of performances given by great masters, every detail in movements and positions was reproduced by others, generally resulting in an increasingly slow, ceremonial tempo over time. In a lot of ways Kabuki has changed a lot since it's first performances. Noh, actively strives, to stay the same. So the experience and attention to detail noh players need is extraordinary." she explained.

"In truth it also means that learning Noh properly, and being able to perform in public, takes decades longer than Kabuki which tends to be more free form. Many people practice Noh for decades before they are allowed to publicly perform in Edo."



Fairy
Alida
Matsushina

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Azai Nobuyori
The stuck up clan lord who defends the people.

Tagami Yumiko
The adorable poet girl who hates war.

Katayama, Masato
A strategist bent on changing the world.
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Alida
 Posted: Dec 21 2017, 09:03 AM
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"How long would Noh performances usually take since they are more drawn out?"

Knowing that their art was a bit slower to purposely allow the audience time to soak in each movement and reflect on them was rather considerate of a theater trope but from what it also sounded like, Noh was starting to seemingly sound like a drawn out lecture by performance.

"Are there schools of Noh in Edo?"

This intrigued her as some Kabuki actors could be young if their art has been kept in family. To hear that Noh required a longer educational practice made it sound as though the actors in Noh would be more in their late 30s or 40s to be on a real stage for their first time at the earliest. Her provided mask rested in Suishoku's lap as she adjusted her legs to keep them from falling asleep on the pillow mats.

Considering now that the lifetime of the actors are almost at their mid-life point before doing performances, Suishoku scratched her cheek on this. "So if the actors take so long to perfect their craft then how are the families sustaining themselves if a main stage performer in their family passes away?"

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Elite year, Yuubae Suishoku__Honda Mikazuki, 2nd year
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Nobuyumi
 Posted: Dec 25 2017, 08:52 AM
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"How long would Noh performances usually take since they are more drawn out?" Suishoku asked. Kono-sensei slowly raised, then lowered her fan.
"A Noh performance consist of roughly three parts and will usually last a total of 3 hours. This of course includes the intermission." she said slowly before turning her body a bit for the next question.

"Are there schools of Noh in Edo?"
Was the next question. Kono-sensei smiled and nodded.
"Yes. Edo has a long history of Noh schools. Some could even consider Edo Bugei to be one in fact. Though, your other question, Noh families are quite famous and span generations. Should a performer suddenly pass away it is not uncommon for an elder family member to adopt an apprentice, who while not an actual family member, would carry on the family's name and style of performance. Even though every Noh play is, in theory, the same, how they are performed is very different. Some families are known for slower movements and deeper voice performances, while others are known for slightly more body movement and deep expression. Some are also known for extremely skilled stage design compared to others." she explained. It was strange to tell the difference in theater troupes but she hoped that the students would understand how each play could be differently interpreted and represented in spite of being the same story.

Sadly most of the students seemed more content to listen than ask questions. Thus Kono-sensei went on to the biggest part of the lesson.
"Now, In Noh plays, various roles exist!

[b]Shite:
Shite is the main protagonist, or the leading role in plays. In plays where the shite appears first as a human and then as a ghost, the first role is known as the mae-shite and the later as the nochi-shite.

Shitetsure: The shite's companion. Sometimes shitetsure is abbreviated to tsure, although this term refers to both the shitetsure and the wakitsure.

Kōken: are stage hands, usually one to three people.

Jiutai: is the chorus, usually comprising six to eight people.

Waki:performs the role that is the counterpart or foil of the shite.

Wakitsure: or Waki-tsure is the companion of the waki.

Kyōgen:interludes during plays. Kyōgen actors also perform in separate plays between individual Noh plays.

Hayash are the instrumentalists who play the four instruments used in Noh theatre: the transverse flute (笛 fue), hip drum (大鼓 ōtsuzumi) or ōkawa (大皮), the shoulder-drum (小鼓 kotsuzumi), and the stick-drum (太鼓 taiko). The flute used for noh is specifically called nōkan or nohkan (能管)

A typical Noh play always involves the chorus, the orchestra, and at least one shite and one waki actor."[/b]

she was quite proud of her thorough explanation.
"Do these roles interest any of you?" she already had it set in her mind that she would soon end the class with arguably the most important aspect of Noh, Jo-ha-kyu.


Fairy
Alida
Matsushina

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Azai Nobuyori
The stuck up clan lord who defends the people.

Tagami Yumiko
The adorable poet girl who hates war.

Katayama, Masato
A strategist bent on changing the world.
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Alida
 Posted: Dec 30 2017, 08:52 AM
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"Could you explain more about the Kyōgen?"

The moment that role came up, Suishoku patiently waited for the rest to be read off before asking about this one. It wasn't so clear to her as the rest whom had individual roles that were a bit obvious such as the main character and support character and vice versa to the stage hands. Although the orchestra was a surprisingly larger number than expected, how she worded it had Suishoku confused on what did the teacher mean.

"Are you saying there are multiple Noh plays happening at once?"

One play alone sounded like a stretch for several hours of sitting and listening. Nobles must have a lot of patience and trained legs to have not gone numb after the first twenty minutes. Suishoku couldn't think of which did the teacher meant since she rarely saw Noh plays being advertised as multiple plays at once, just one singular theater piece. Were there plays happened during intermission? The same play happened but in a different viewing venue cause the room was too small? Did they just wander off to the a separate play all together? This didn't some clear to her and it made her pause to wonder why have these extras as part of the Noh cast.

"If there are separate plays going on then why can't there be two groups to handle their own individual plays? What do they do when they're not doing their plays but not being stage hands?"

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Elite year, Yuubae Suishoku__Honda Mikazuki, 2nd year
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Nobuyumi
 Posted: Jan 2 2018, 03:30 PM
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"Could you explain more about the Kyōgen? Are you saying there are multiple Noh plays happening at once?" Suishoku's request was a simple one as the teacher smiled.
"So, Kyōgen is a comedy of sorts. It is usually performed between Noh plays to lighten the mood and sort of "reset" the audience. Like having a glass of water between tasting two types of wine. When you go to see a noh performance you will see one play, then a kyogen interlude, then another play. Sometimes even two others. It can be very difficult for the theater troupe, but that is part of why training for Noh performances is so intense. The performers must have great stamina, memories, and stage presence. As well as the ability to take on multiple roles over the course of several hours." she explained.

"Now, I want to end this introduction by talking about the most important concept in Noh. Jo-ha-kyū. Joh-ha-kyū is a concept of modulation and movement applied in a wide variety of traditional Japanese arts. Roughly translated to "beginning, break, rapid", it essentially means that all actions or efforts should begin slowly, speed up, and then end swiftly. This concept is applied to elements of the Japanese tea ceremony, to kendō and other martial arts, to dramatic structure in the traditional theatre, and to the traditional collaborative linked verse forms renga and renku The concept of jo-ha-kyū dictates virtually every element of Noh including compiling of a program of plays, structuring of each play, songs and dances within plays, and the basic rhythms within each Noh performance. Jo means beginning, ha means breaking, and kyū means rapid or urgent. The term originated in gagaku, ancient courtly music, to indicate gradually increasing tempo and was adopted in various Japanese traditions including Noh, tea ceremony, poetry, and flower arrangement.

Jo-ha-kyū is incorporated in traditional five-play program of Noh. The first play is jo, the second, third, and fourth plays are ha, and the fifth play is kyū. Each play can be broken into three parts, the introduction, the development, and the conclusion. A play starts out in a slow tempo at jo, gets slightly faster at ha, then culminates in kyū. This concept is vital in Noh plays."
she explained.

"I wish i could demonstrate for you all but sadly I'm not sure how I can. Thus, I would like you all to go back to your dorms after this and watch a Noh play I have loaded on to the school website. Watch it twice. Once just to see it, then again, breaking down mentally how it has a start, a middle, and an end. Would you all mind doing this for me? Do you have any final questions in regards to Noh? I realize this was a short but intense lecture. However, the lecture itself can also be considered as Joh-ha-kyū." she asked.

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Alida
Matsushina

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Azai Nobuyori
The stuck up clan lord who defends the people.

Tagami Yumiko
The adorable poet girl who hates war.

Katayama, Masato
A strategist bent on changing the world.
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Alida
 Posted: Jan 12 2018, 01:22 PM
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“None sensei,” she answered with a shake of her head. “This has been fascinating enough to hear and to get to see a Noh play like this at all is a treat.” It wouldn’t be the same as attending one but even a recording offered off the website is something. “What sort of play will we be watching?” Knowing ahead of time wouldn’t hurt.

Asking what the play would be was her last question till class was dismissed. She thought about the concept of Jo-ha-kyu in its parts of what it could relate to. Beginnings were easy and the stirring build up would be like events or whatever lead to the peak moment of the day but the ending came abruptly to end it swiftly, swiftly as the teacher put it. Since there isn’t so much an epilogue then Suishoku deduced that it could be just to the ending of that peak moment to what gave way afterwards like a decided end of an argument.

Having an idea in mind, Suishoku bowed to Kono-sensei in thanks for the class. Above all else, she can now also see why the performance is too difficult for the drama department to officially replicate in comparison to Kabuki. The standards were both that strict in their ways.

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Elite year, Yuubae Suishoku__Honda Mikazuki, 2nd year
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Nobuyumi
 Posted: Jan 20 2018, 10:34 AM
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(OOC: Last Round of Posting)

“What sort of play will we be watching?” Suishoku asked, the other two students also looked at their sensei curiously. Their enthusiasm couldn't help but make Kono-sensei smile.
"The two play sets you will watch are "Dōjōji" and "Matsukaze". Two very famous plays that I think all three of you will find fascinating. Oh, as a gift, I hope you three will enjoy beautiful noh masks." and with that she put a large case in the middle of the room with many beautiful Noh masks ranging from snow white to dark tan.
"Please just take one each." she said with a smile.
"Also, thank you for attending my special class." and with that she gave a polite bow.

Kono-sensei had clearly enjoyed the lecture. After all as a member of the art based Kono-clan she had always loved Noh. The Kono-clan mostly crafted artistic pieces such as mats, pottery, and silk screens, however they also had a an appreciation for fine arts. Kono-sensei didn't want the students to feel as though they had been deprived growing up so she decided best not to mention how much plays she had seen in her lifetime. The number, however, was quite staggering.


Fairy
Alida
Matsushina

--------------------
Azai Nobuyori
The stuck up clan lord who defends the people.

Tagami Yumiko
The adorable poet girl who hates war.

Katayama, Masato
A strategist bent on changing the world.
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Alida
 Posted: Jan 24 2018, 09:08 AM
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"Dōjōji" and "Matsukaze"? It is a free video showing so it wasn't as though anyone would turn that down unless they want to be outright rude. She bowed again in thanks and would have left with the videos to go grab the nearest vending machine before watching if not for one final thing. The girl adjusted her legs and tapped her thighs to wake them up after a long lecture as Kono-sensei mentioned to the center of the room. A wooden case was brought out before them. By the size of it would this case be more like a chest. The aids opened it up to reveal many masks that were similar to the ones each student held and very different in style.

"Really?" Suishoku asked unintentionally rhetorically as her eyes loomed over to the old many mask with the wispy beard. He looked so jolly with his grinning face but then seeing the blue oni mask had her intrigued by it's more pronounced features and coloring. Her hand went over to pick up this mask as her choice to hang somewhere in her room. The thought of it suddenly starting a few people was amusing enough to try.

"I choose this one. Thank you for having us here today, Kono-sensei."

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Elite year, Yuubae Suishoku__Honda Mikazuki, 2nd year
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