Shinsaku-Noh (a Noh song written in and after Meiji period) (新作能)
Shinsaku-Noh refers to songs of noh which were written in and after Meiji period. From the historical view point, newly written songs in Edo period were called 'Shingi-Noh' or 'Shinsaku-mono' in those days, however, these are not called Shinsaku-Noh currently.
Almost of the songs of Noh which are currently played were written in Muromachi period and have been strictly selected until today.
These songs currently played have also been sophisticated continuously as to their stage-management, etc., in their long history and, using the words of the current Rokuro UMEWAKA, these songs as songs which have the degree of perfection which has been pursued to the limit being admired as 'diamonds each perfectly cut and polished' or 'beautiful jewels which have been repeatedly polished.'
However, there was also anxiety that a performing art, Noh would lose its vitality when only songs each having a very high degree of perfection were played as in those days, and, therefore, new songs were written and played in and after Meiji period.
For the Shinsaku-Noh in modern days, experimental stage-management that cannot be considered for the traditional songs is often tried and, for example, music by a pipe organ is used as the background music in addition to the hayashi-kata (a traditional music player group) in a work 'Garasha' and two melodies are simultaneously sung in a portion of jiutai (background chorus) in a work 'ABE no Seimei.'
As the stage itself, a traditional Noh-stage is not used however, use of a cross in the background of the stage instead of kagami-ita (the back board) ('Giselle') and stage-management to cause the shite (the main character) to be seen as if the shite enters and disappears in a mirror, using a special mirror ('ABE no Seimei') have been tried.
Subject matters of Shinsaku-Noh
Many of the classical literature works in and before Muromachi period were already employed by Noh works as their subject matters and, therefore, Shinsaku-Noh works employing 'the Tale of Genji,' etc., as their subject matters are difficult to create.
As to Shinsaku-Noh works created before World War II, many works employing the Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War, and the Pacific War as their subject matters were produced ('Takachiho,' 'Kaisen' (marine battle), 'Seiro-no-dan' (Story of Conquering Russia), 'Ko-gunkan' (Imperial battle ship), 'Uchiteshi-yamanu' (shooting goes on), 'Gyokusai' (to die in battle rather than surrender), etc).
After the World War II, some works were written employing foreign literature works as their subject matters such as 'Fountain of Hawk' written by Yeats. As to remarkable works, there are: 'Kurenai Tennyo' (deep-red heavenly maiden) which is a spin-off work from a cartoon 'Garasu no Kamen' (glass mask) by Suzue MIUCHI; 'Giselle' which is an adaptation of a modern ballet work of the same name; etc. Shinsaku-Noh has also employed some Japanese literature works as their subject matters such as 'Chieko-sho' (Chieko's sky) by Kotaro TAKAMURA and 'Eiketsu no Asa' (Morning of the Last Farewell) by Kenji MIYAZAWA.
Producers of Shinsaku-Noh
Yoshimaro DOKI, Kimiko TSUMURA, Minoru TAKENAKA, Masaki DOMOTO, Tomio INAGAKI, and so on, produced many Shinsaku-Noh works. Minoru KITA and Rokuro UMEWAKA, and so on, are famous as the performer.
Famous Shinsaku-Noh Works
Yume no Ukihashi (dreamy floating bridge)
It was premiered on March 3, 2000. The original work is a novel 'Kami' (hair) by Jakucho SETOUCHI who obtained the subject matter of this novel from Uji-jujo (The Ten Books of Uji) of the Tale of Genji. This work is one of the representative works of Shinsaku-Noh works written by Rokuro UMEWAKA and has been played for many times.
It is a different work from the 'Sanetomo' mentioned above. It was premiered in 1950 and the author was Yoshimaro DOKI. The shite actor on the premiere was Minoru KITA.