【Series】 Forum on Intangible Cultural Heritage First Forum: “Traditional Performing Arts amid COVID-19 Pandemic”

Presentation by Mr. OHTSUKI Bunzo, shite kata (main role) of Kanze (a school of Noh) [prerecorded]
Presentation by Mr. OKUDA Utanoichi, so performer

 The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage studies the impact of COVID-19 on intangible cultural heritage. It also collects information on related support, new initiatives, and related news in other countries. As a part of these efforts, the first forum of the series titled “Traditional Performing Arts amid COVID-19 Pandemic” was held in the seminar hall at Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties on September 25th, 2020.
 The forum was focused on the traditional performing arts, especially classical performing arts, which have been greatly affected since the onset of the pandemic. In the first half of the forum, we gave a lecture on the role that the “public sector” serves for traditional performing arts amid the pandemic. We also presented some topics from the standpoint of our organization which is engaged in studies and information gathering. In the second half, we took up two different genres of the traditional performing arts, Nohgaku (a form of classical Japanese dance-drama) and Hohgaku (traditional Japanese music by traditional musical instruments such as so, a traditional Japanese zither and shamisen, a three-stringed traditional musical instrument). Then, for each genre, current situations were explained from the standpoint of performers, organizers/producers, and preservation techniques which are indispensable in the traditional performing arts. This was a valuable opportunity to share difficulties amid the pandemic. In the round-table discussion that followed, the talk centered around “social integration” that the traditional performing arts need beyond each genre and role. Participants shared a common view that raising awareness of “social integration” of the traditional performing arts is critical for communicating the current situation accurately in order to receive proper support. It is also critical for promoting education and/or training in anticipation of an increase in demand.
 The video footage of this forum was released for free until November 3rd. We will publish a revised report with some additions online at the end of this fiscal year.

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