This program promotes Japanese culture by introducing "Noh", Japan's traditional performing art, in a way that can be easily enjoyed by anyone, not just aficionados of Japan. Noh employs various elements of theatrical expression, such as Noh masks and costumes.
The first installment of the program focuses on one such element, the characteristic manner of walking called "Hakobi", through the play, "Funa Benkei".
"Funa Benkei" depicts the sad parting of the real-life 12th century samurai, Minamoto no Yoshitsune, and his lover, Lady Shizuka, as well as Yoshitsune's fierce battle against the vengeful spirit of his arch-enemy whom he had defeated, named Taira no Tomomori. The dance performed by Lady Shizuka and the battle against Tomomori are the highlights of the play. Particularly in these scenes, the actors' characteristic gait expresses the characters' sentiments.
In fact, Noh theater is also called the "art of walking" for the smooth way in which Noh actors slide across the stage with their feet flat on the floor as a mode of expression. How do the dance and battle scenes convey Lady Shizuka's sorrow and Tomomori's rage? In this program, the show's MC, Tomoe Shinohara, and the contemporary dancer, Kaiji Moriyama, visit a Noh Theater to explore the secrets behind Noh expression and discover its appeal by focusing on the characteristic movement of the feet.