Kita school (喜多流)

The Kita school is one of the shite-kata (actors who play leading characters) schools of Noh in Nohgaku (the art of Noh), which is one of the Japanese traditional performance arts.

This school appeared in the beginning of the Edo period, and they were descended from the Kongo school. Shichidayu KITA, who was a favorite actor of Hidetada TOKUGAWA, founded this school. Shichidayu was adopted by Yaichi, who was the tayu (headmaster) of the Kongo school, and he succeeded to the position of the headmaster of the Kongo school, but he handed over the position of the tayu to Shokichi (also called Ukyo), who was a biological son of Yaichi, after Shokichi came of age. Subsequently, he was allowed to establish the Kita school backed up by Hidetada TOKUGAWA and Iemitsu TOKUGAWA in the Genna era, and the school ranked next to the yoza (literally, 'four schools,' representing major four noh schools: the Kanze school, the Hosho school, the Kongo school, and the Konparu school). They are currently the smallest school among these five schools.

Their performance style was described as "samurai-fashioned," "simple," and "dynamic," and their style was adopted by daimyo (Japanese feudal lords) in many domains such as the Tsugaru Domain, the Sendai Domain, the Mito Domain, the Hikone Domain (the Ii family), the Kishu Domain, the Hiroshima Domain, the Matsuyama Domain, the Fukuoka Domain, and the Kumamoto Domain (the Hosokawa family). After the Tokugawa shogunate was collapsed, the school faced with the threat of extinction for a while, but the school eventually survived because of a great performer named Roppeita KITA (the 14th generation), who appeared during the crisis. Former feudal lords from the Asano family, the Ii family, the Todo family, and the Yamauchi family also supported the school, and other local Noh actors of the Kita school made efforts to maintain the school.

Minoru KITA, Tokuzo GOTO were great actors of this school of the Taisho and the Showa periods, and after them, other masters such as Kikuo TOMOEDA, Akiyo TOMOEDA (Kikuo and Akiyo are father and son), Kikuo AWAYA, and Akio SHIOTSU appeared from this school.

Internal troubles
The Kita school, whose current headman is Roppeita KITA (the 16th generation), is currently disconnected with the school's shokubunkai (gathering of a school's occupational branch family). The shokubunkai has called themselves Kita-ryu Shokubunkai and developed their own activities separately from the Kitakai (literally, "Kita group"), which is operated by the head family, since 1998. Additionally, the head family ended up in court for a conflict over apportionment of the property left by the previous headman, and they were sentenced to sell inherited costumes and masks and apportion the proceeds of the sale among the family members of the deceased at the first and the second trials. In 2006, they were sentenced to apportion actual articles among the family members based on estimated values of these articles at the Supreme Court.

[Original Japanese]