Kongo school (金剛流)

The Kongo 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. The current headman of the school is Hisanori KONGO. He is the only person who lives in Kyoto among the headmen of the five shite-kata schools.

This school originated from the Sakado-za, a group of sarugaku (the prototype of the Noh play) performers who worked for Horyu-ji Temple, and the founder of this school was Ujikatsu (also called Magotaro) SAKADO. The sixth generation named Masaaki (also known as Saburo) began to use the family name "Kongo." This school is also called 'Mai-Kongo' (literally, "dancing Kongo") because of their magnificent and elegant performance style, and they are also sometimes called 'Omote-Kongo' (literally, "mask Kongo") because this school owns a good many of masterpieces of Noh costumes and masks.

The seventh generation headman named Ujimasa KONGO, who was well known for his dynamic performance style, had a nickname 'Hana-Kongo' (literally, "nose Kongo"), and he was considered a restorer of the school. From the Muromachi period through the Edo period, however, this school had been in a weaker position than other schools, and they were the only school which did not publish their own Utai-bon (chant book) among the five shite-kata schools. The Kita school branched from the Kongo school in the early Edo period. Tadaichi KONGO was a great performer of the school who had been active from the end of the Edo period to the Meiji period, and he was well known for his special device of spider threads made of Japanese paper for the play "Tsuchigumo" (The Ground Spider).

The Sakado-Kongo family became extinct in 1936 due to the death of Ukyo KONGO. In the following year, 1937, Iwao KONGO, who was from the Nomura-Kongo family (also called Kyoto-Kongo family) which was the follower of the Sakado-Kongo family, assumed the position of the headman and succeeded to the head family of the Kongo school on the recommendation of the headmen of the other four schools.

The school produced some masters such as Kinnosuke KONGO and Yazaemon TESHIMA in modern times.

Relation to the Inoue school
Yachiyo INOUE the second, who was the head of the Inoue school of Kyomai (Kyoto dancing), learned the performance of the Kongo school, and introduced its elements to the Inoue school performance. In this manner, the Kongo school as well as Kuroemon KATAYAMA's family of the Kanze school (one of the shite-kata schools of Noh) has a close relation to the Inoue school. There have been some examples of a married couple of a Noh actor from the Kongo school and a dancer from the Inoue school.

[Original Japanese]