Hosho school (宝生流)

The Hosho school is one of the Nohgaku (the art of Noh) schools. There exist the shite-kata (actors who play leading characters) Hosho school and the waki-kata (supporting actors) Hosho school which is specially called Shimogakari Hosho school, and these are totally different schools. When people simply mention the 'Hosho school,' it generally refers to the shite-kata Hosho school.

In addition, there used to be the 'Hosho school' and the 'Hosho Renzaburo school' in the Otsuzumi kata (large hand drum players), but they were all restored to the Kanze school in 1986.


They are the second biggest school after the Kanze school. They emphasize Utai (the chanting of a Noh text) in their dignified performance style, and they are also called 'Utai Hosho' (literally, 'chanting Hosho') because of their unique chanting characteristics. The current headman is Kazufusa HOSHO, who succeeded to the head family in April 2008, and he is the 20th generation.

The founder of this school was Tayu HOSHO, who was the eldest brother of Kanami (a pioneering Noh playwright and performer who lived during the 14th century). This school was descended from the Tobi-za, which was one of the performer groups of the Yamato Sarugaku (medieval Noh farce which was developed mainly in Yamato Province). The Tobi-za then began to be called Hosho-za, named after Tayu HOSHO, who was the star performer of the group.

The Hosho-za worked for shrines and temples on Mt. Tonomine, the Kasuga Taisha Shrine (at Wakamiyamatsuri Festival), and Kofuku-ji Temple (at Takigi-Sarugaku, an outdoor sarugaku play performed during the night), and every generation of Tayu HOSHO served the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). In the Edo period, especially the fifth shogun Tsunayoshi TOKUGAWA liked the Hosho school so much that he told hayashi-kata (musical accompanists) of other schools to move to the Hosho school. Around that time, with the support of Tsunanori MAEDA, who was the load of the Kaga Domain, the Hosho school became dominant and took the place of the Konparu school in Kaga Province.

That group is called 'Kaga Hosho' at present, and they are still one of the most influential schools in the Hokuriku region.
The Hosho school still have some other regional branch schools such as 'Aizu Hosho,' 'Nanbu Hosho,' 'Sado Hosho,' and 'Kurume Hosho.'
The 11th shogun Ienari TOKUGAWA also loved the performance of the Hosho school, and Tayu-Tomoyuki HOSHO could have a large-scale performance of kanjin-Noh (Noh performances held to raise subscriptions for the construction of shrines or temples) in 1848 because of the prosperity of this school. This 15 day-long performance called 'Koka Kanjin-Noh' (Kanjin-Noh of Koka era) held outside the Sujikaibashi-mon Gate was the biggest and the last kanjin-Noh performance of the Edo period.

Kuro-Tomoharu HOSHO and Kintaro MATSUMOTO were Noh masters of this school who lived during the Meiji period. Also, many great performers who were trained in the Hosho school's performance appeared; for example, Nagashi MATSUMOTO, Kanesuke NOGUCHI, Kenzo KONDO, and Susumu TAKAHASHI. Izumi MIKAWA and Kennosuke KONDO are great performers of this school of our day.


The Hosho school of waki-kata was descended from the Shundo school, which was a branch waki-kata school of the Konparu school, and the Konparu school was included in Shimogakari (a generic name given to the Konparu school, the Kongo school, and the Kita school). Therefore they are also called 'Shimogakari Hosho-ryu (school),' 'Shimo-hosho,' or 'Waki-hosho' in order to distinguish this school from the shite-kata Hosho school. This school started when Gonshichi KONPARU, who later started to call himself Yugen, was assigned to the Hosho-za from the Shundo school by the order of the third shogun Iemitsu TOKUGAWA in the early Edo period. The second generation Shinnojo started to use the family name Hosho.

Arata HOSHO (also called Shin HOSHO) and Kenzo MATSUMOTO were masters of the Hosho school of the Meiji period. Shigeyoshi MORI and Yaichi HOSHO appeared after them. At present, masters such as Kan HOSHO and Tsuneyoshi MORI show great performances in and around Tokyo.

The current headman is Kan HOSHO, and he is the 12th generation headman.

Otsuzumi kata

The number of Noh actors at the Hosho school

According to the membership list of the Nohgaku Performers' Association issued in 2005, the number of the Noh actors who are at the Hosho school is as follows:

[Original Japanese]