Hari-ogi (張扇)

Hari-ogi, also called Hari-sen, refers to a special fan that is made for the purpose of making noise by slapping something during Nohgaku theatre, kodan storytelling and rakugo (traditional comic storytelling) (Kamigata rakugo (traditional Japanese comic storytelling as performed in the Kyoto-Osaka region)). In many cases, the term 'Hari-ogi' is used in Nohgaku, and the term 'Hari-sen' is used in kodan storytelling.

The Shaku byoshi was used to keep the beat using Shaku (a plate shaped like a scepter) in ancient gagaku (ancient Japanese court dance and music), and as evidenced by the fact that old Joruri (dramatic narrative chanted in accompaniment to a samisen) also had the same kind of Ogi byoshi (fan rhythm), slapping the palm with a handheld instrument was the most widely and easily used way to use an instrument to keep rhythm before early-modern times in Japan. After early modern times, due to the drastic development and popularization of percussion instruments centered on Tsuzumi (hand drum), Ogi byoshi gradually lost its popularity. However, Ogi byoshi maintained through the use of the dedicated Hari-ogi still remains in many cases because it was easy-to-use.

In Nohgaku, Ogi byoshi is sometimes used as a substitute for Kotsuzumi (shoulder drum), Otsuzumi (hip drum) and Taiko (stick drum) for practice or moshiawase (run-through rehearsal), which is called Ashirai. Although this is just a simplified performance, it is used as an alternative method for playing instruments especially such as the Otsuzumi for which the preparation requires time. This is the best way to play instruments for Nohgaku which value pauses more than tones. Each specialist performs, while a master sometimes conducts Ashirai in practicing Utai (the chanting of a Noh text). Although Hari-ogi is not used, conducting Ashirai with Ogi byoshi is the usual alternative to Tsuzumi when Tsuzumi is broken on stage, and until the Edo period, jigashira (the leader of group reciters) controlled ji (reciters) by conducting Ogi byoshi in the performance of Su-utai (Noh lyrics without music).

In kodan storytelling, Hari-sen is used to signal a change in the scene or to augment a highlight by slapping a shakudai pedestal. It is used in Kamigata rakugo in a similar manner. Because of this, the saying that an improbable story which ignores historical facts 'was knocked out by the sound of a Hari-sen,' or 'sounded Hari-sen,' etc. came about.

Method of Ogi byoshi, and process of making Hari-ogi and Hari-sen

Hari-ogi in Nohgaku
Hari-ogi is made through the processes of dividing a normal fan into two parts, wrapping the whole fan in paper, then sticking leather or paper on the wrapped fan, and finally attaching a handle to somewhere on the kaname (pivot). Hari-ogi is used in pairs, and is used to slap the Hyoshi-ita (board to keep rhythm by slapping it) which is made of zelkova tree or the like.

Hari-sen in kodan storytelling or the like. Hari-sen is made through almost the same processes as Hariogi in Nohgaku, but, a comparatively large fan is made only for Hari-sen from the beginning. In some cases, Hari-sen is only made in the shape of a fan, which is created from pasted paper or the like. Basically, only one Hari-sen is used to slap the shakudai and kendai (book holder).

[Original Japanese]