Kanjin-Noh (Noh performances held to raise subscriptions for the construction of shrines or temples) (勧進能)

"Kanjin-Noh" refers to Noh performances which charged admission fees in order to raise subscriptions for the construction or the reconstruction of shrines or temples. The original purpose of kanjin-Noh gradually became weakened, and kanjin-Noh were held in order that Noh performers could make a profit afterward.

Summary
Noh performances held to raise subscriptions for religious purposes had already appeared in the early stages of Sarugaku (the prototype of Noh). It is confirmed that many kanjin-Noh performances were already held in the middle of the 14th century at the latest, during the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan). Since kanjin-Noh had a large audience, Kyoto was the major place for its performances when it began, and its stages were set up at the river bank of Kamo-gawa River or precincts of large-sized temples. Dengaku (ritual music and dancing performed in association with rice planting) was frequently selected for the program of a kanjin-Noh performance, and "Taiheiki" (The Record of the Great Peace) also described successful kanjin-Noh performances based on Dengaku.

As time went by, schools of the Yamato Sarugaku (Sarugaku developed mainly in Yamato Province) began to play a key role in kanjin-Noh, and one of their most famous performances was the play performed by Onami and his son Masamori KANZE at Tadasugawara, Kyoto in May 1464, which was sponsored by a Buddhist monk named Yoshimori (善盛) in order to raise subscriptions for the restoration of Kurama-dera Temple. There were some other well known kanjin-Noh performances of this period such as the play performed by Zenpo KONPARU at Awataguchi in 1505 and the play performed by Sosetsu KANZE at Gojo Tamatsukuri in 1530.

In the Edo period, kanjin-Noh became commercial performances by tayu (leading actors in Noh plays) of Shiza Ichiryu (a generic name given to major five Noh schools: the Kanze school, the Hosho school, the Konparu school, the Kongo school, and the Kita school) on the whole. Among them, the tayu of the Kanze school was the only performer who was allowed to have a special kanjin-Noh performance by the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) which could have only once in his lifetime, and this kanjin-Noh performance was called 'Isse Ichidai Noh' (literally, "a Noh play of one's lifetime"), 'Ichidai Noh' (literally, "one generation Noh"), or 'Gomen Noh' (literally, "approved Noh"). This kanjin-Noh performance was held for several days, and additionally, this brought a huge profit to the tayu because people in Edo were forced to buy tickets for this performance. The Hosho school also had this kanjin-Noh at the end of the Edo period. One of famous kanjin-Noh performances of this type is the kanjin-Noh performance played by Motoakira KANZE near Sujikai-bashi Bridge in Edo in 1750 backed up by the shogun, and this kanjin-Noh performance was held for 15 days. Such a long run kanjin-Noh performance had never been held before this. This long-run kanjin-Noh performance was approved by the bakufu because they took Motoakira's father and grandfather, who did not have Ichidai Noh during their lives, into consideration, and this performance represented his influence after all.

The following are major kanjin-Noh performances held during the Edo period.

1607: Inside Edo-jo Castle, by the Kanze school and the Konparu school
1624: Outside Saiwaibashi-mon Gate, by the Kanze school
1656: Outside Sujikaibashi-mon Gate, by the Kanze school
1687: At Honjo, by the Hosho school
1750: Outside Sujikaibashi-mon Gate, by the Kanze school
1816: Outside Saiwaibashi-mon Gate, by the Kanze school
1831: Outside Saiwaibashi-mon Gate, by the Kanze school
1848: Outside Sujikaibashi-mon Gate, by the Hosho school