The Hosho School (Waki-kata [supporting actors]) (宝生流 (ワキ方))

The Hosho school is a style of Waki-kata in Nohgaku. It is also called the Shimogakari Hosho school ('Shimohosho,' 'Shimoho' or 'Wakiho' for short) to differentiate from the Shite-kata (main roles) Hosho school. After the Meiji period, Waki-kata schools lost their positions. As a result, the Hosho school became the largest school.

Origin
It has started the latest among Five styles of Waki-kata. The school is founded by branching off from the Shundo school (Konparu-school zatsuki [working in the theater]), as a part of favorable treatment to the Hosho school by Tsunayoshi TOKUGAWA. Therefore the Hosho school still leaves a performance style of shimogakari that has an influence of the Konparu school, though the Hosho school is a zatsuki of kamigakari Shite-kata.
This is the origin of another name, the 'Shimogakari Hosho school.'

Directly after the Meiji Restoration, when protection of Daimyo family (feudal lord family) was lost, the school was in hard straits like other Waki-kata. However Shinsaku HOSHO, the eighth familyhead, did not leave Tokyo and continued En-noh (performing a Noh play) activity. His son Arata HOSHO (the tenth familyhead), Arata's son-in-law Yaichi HOSHO and Shigeyoshi MORI were actively involved as master dancers. Also the school had support from an intellectuals from the Iyo-Matsuyama Domain (such as Nobuyoshi IKENOUCHI and Kyoshi TAKAHAMA), who had strong foundation as Su-utai (Noh lyrics without music) instructor since the Edo period. Moreover, such reasons led to the Hosho school monopolizing Waki of En-noh, in Tokyo. These circumstances enabled the school to maintain strong influence on Waki-kata in present days.

Characteristics

The school is known for practicing Su-utai instruction enthusiastically, and the fact was reflected on literatus, such as Kyoshi TAKAHAMA, Hekigoto KAWAHIGASHI and Soseki NATSUME, being fond of the school. Presently, it is the only school of Waki-kata that publish their own Utai-bon (chant book).

The distinction of the performance style is that it has little shimogakari like antique feel but focuses more on Waki like prosaic expression. The school also has an established reputation on elegance of Utai (the chanting of a Noh text).