Okura school (大倉流)
The Okura school is one of the schools of hayashi-kata (people who play hayashi, or the musical accompaniment) in Nohgaku (the art of Noh). There are otsuzumi-kata (large hand drum players) and kotsuzumi-kata (small hand drum players).
Kotsuzumi-kata of Okura school is a school of kotsuzumi-kata which performed exclusively as the accompanist of Konparu school.
Its founder is believed to be Gonuemon Michioki (権右衛門道意) OKURA, but it is thought that a person who actually established the basis of school was the second head, Choemon Nobuyasu, the adopted son of the third head of otsuzumi-kata, Toraie (Michitomo) NISUKE (二助虎家 [道知]). Nobuyasu, who turned from otsuzumi-kata and established his own school, was a master who actively performed in the Noh competitions called Tachiai Noh of the time. The school actively performed as the accompanist of Konparu school in the Edo period, and it used otsuzumi-kata of Okura school as ashirai tsuzumi (accompanying hand drum).
Its main bases of activity are Tokyo and Osaka etc., and over 20 players are registered with the Nohgaku Performers' Association. As it uses loose shirabeo (a set of ropes used for Kotsuzumi [a small hand drum], Otsuzumi [a large hand drum] and Shime-daiko [a rope-tuned drum]) and its tone quality is soft, it is difficult to distinguish the tone of "po" from the tone of "pu." Its another characteristic is a technique to diversify the tone quality by changing fingers for beating a drum. Ichiro KITAMURA, Hisashi UZAWA and Osamu KITAMURA are among masters in the early modern times. Current head of school is the 16th, Genjiro OKURA.
Otsuzumi-kata of Okura school is a school of otsuzumi-kata which performed as the accompanist of Konparu school.
After Doka (道加) OKURA, the third son of Zenchiku KONPARU, established a branch family, his son, the second generation head Kuro Yoshiuji established the school under the guidance of Nobumitsu KANZE. The third head, Toraie (Michitomo) NISUKE enjoyed Nobunaga ODA's favor, and the fourth head, Heizo Masauji and the fifth head, Genuemon Masayuki were successively allowed to use purple shirabeo. However, as Masayuki had no children, Niemon Nobumitsu, who was a grandson of the second head of kotsuzumi-kata Nobuyasu OKURA, inherited the position of the sixth head of school.
The school constantly performed ashirai tsuzumi for kotsuzumi-kata since then, and from the middle of Edo period, it received salary from the Owari Domain while residing in Nara. After the Meiji Restoration, the 15th head Shichizaemon joined Umewaka school by breaking the agreement of hayashi-kata and was deprived of the position of iemoto (the head of school). Since then, the iemoto of kotsuzumi-kata has served as the iemoto of otsuzumi-kata concurrently.
Its main bases of activity are Tokyo and Osaka etc., and some ten players are registered with the Nohgaku Performers' Association. Its number of tegumi (a rhythm pattern) is small and an ancient style remains in kakegoe (a call). As it had long been the ashirai tsuzumi of kotsuzumi-kata of Okura school, its tegumi is the most suitable one for the said school.