Kyogen Women Want Gender Equality in Japanese Performance Arts
Junko Izumi, the first professional female Kyogen performer
Tokuro Miyake, the second professional female Kyogen performer
15:00-16:00 Wednesday, December 7, 2022
Language: The speech and Q & A will be in Japanese with English interpretation
Noh theater, like many other Japanese arts, has been dominated by male performers since women were banned from the stage nearly 600 years ago. However, sisters Junko Izumi and Tokuro Miyake, are determined to change the status quo. They are the first and the second female professional performers of Kyogen ("mad words" or "wild speech"), which is a comic theater usually performed during the intermission of a Noh play.
For the past 50 years, Izumi and Miyake have tried to pave the way for professional female kyogen performers. When they were young girls, their grandfather, Motohide Izumi, the 19th generation head of the Izumi school of Kyogen, along with their father, began training them as professional performers without regard to their gender. Male Kyogen (and Noh) performers neither warmly welcomed this idea nor openly opposed it. Although the situation has not changed much in the past 50 years, the Izumi school continues to be the sole organization of its kind in Japan that offers gender-equal performances.
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