Nomura Shiro (野村四郎)

Shiro NOMURA (1936 -) is a currently active Nohgakushi (Noh actor) playing shite (the principal roles) of Kanze-ryu school. Emeritus professor of Tokyo University of Arts. President of The Association for Japanese Noh Plays. Auditor of Kanze Kai Association. Director of Tessenkai (Tessen-kai Nohgaku association).


He was born in Tokyo as the fourth son of Manzo NOMURA, the sixth, who was kyogen-kata (a comic actor) of Izumi-ryu school. While all other brothers became Kyogen (farce played during a Noh cycle) actors, he, who was seeking the path to be a Noh actor, was apprenticed to Motomasa KANZE, the 25th, in 1952, and underwent training under Hisao KANZE.

In 1955, he performed shite (a main role) in "Shunzei Tadanori" (Tadanori SHUNZEI) for the first time, and he became independent in 1962. Since then he has played an active role as shite-kata (an actor playing main roles) of Kanze-ryu school, and become a pillar of the Nohgaku society.

He presented the performance of Nohgaku in Europe, the United States, India and other countries and contributed to the promotion of Noh plays in abroad. As a part of his duties to be assumed as a member of the Kanze-ryu school, he has been engaged in fostering young Noh actors, undertaking research and education of Noh as a professor at the Faculty of Music of Tokyo University of the Arts, giving lectures on Noh dramas at University of Washington, University of Hawaii, and so on.

While he energetically performs various pieces of Noh music such as unknown classics, master pieces or reproductions. He is also active in innovative activities such as composing music, choreographing dances, and performing new pieces of Noh dramas, as well as performing jointly with Japanese and western music players in different fields and with Noh actors of other schools. In 2006, he received the Award of the Japan Art Academy.

1955: Performed shite in "Shunzei Tadanori" for the first time. 1962: Became independent and since then he has been active as shite-kata. 1978: Became a member of The Association for Japanese Noh Plays, designated as the general holder of Important Intangible Cultural Property. 1987: Awarded the Arts Festival Excellence Awards of Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs for the performance of "Motomezuka" (The Sought For Grave) by Nomura Shiro no kai (workshop presided by Shiro NOMURA). 1994: Awarded the Minister of Education Award for Fine Arts. 1998: Awarded Shiju Hosho (the medal of honor with purple ribbon). 2003: Awarded the 25th Hosei University Noh Drama Prize in Memory of Hisao KANZE. 2006: Received the Award of the Japan Art Academy, Fiscal Year 2005 (the 62nd) for his theater activities of recent years.

Main stages
Noh music pieces, unknown classics, master pieces or reproduction
"Shojo Midare" (The Disorderly Tipster Sprite), "Ishibashi" (stone bridge), "Dojoji" (Dojo-ji Temple), "Koi no omoni" (The Burden of Love), "Kinuta" (instrumental pieces of koto music), "Yashima daiji" Yashima Daiji (one version of "Yashima" [Ya-shima Island], called "daiji" [Important]), "Sagi" (heron), "Sotoba Komachi" (ONO no Komachi on the Stupa), and "Omu Komachi" (ONO no Komachi's parrot answer poem).

"Miwa Seino" (Kanze-ryu school's version of "Miwa" [deity of Mt. Miwa]), "Higaki" (Cypress fence), "Obasute" (The Old Woman Abandoned in the Hills), "Basho Hyojogaeshi" (a version of Basho [a Basho tree] arranged in hyojo [a tone of Japanese ancient music], different from normal tone, in Noh music), "Kiso Gansho" (Kiso's prayer) and others.
New Noh dramas
"Sanetomo" (great general Sanetomo) (original book was written by Kyoshi TAKAHAMA), "Minasoko no Kan" (yearning for the bottom of water) (original book was written by Soseki NATSUME).
Joint performance with Japanese music players of different fields
"Kumano no Monogatari" (the tale of Kumano), "Somon" (romantic exchange of poems), "Taketori Monogatari" (the tale of bamboo cutter), "Kenji Uchu Mandala" (Mandala of the cosmos by Kenji MIYAZAWA), and "Susano" (Susanoo, a deity of Japanese Mythology).

"Utakatari Sumida-gawa" (The Sumida-gawa River dance accompanied by own Noh songs) (performed by 'Utakatari Sannin-no-kai' (the workshop of Noh dance accompanied by own Noh songs) formed with Sakitayu TOYOTAKE and Naoya MURA).

"Aoi no Ue" (Lady Aoi) (with the koto music of Yamada-ryu school), and others.
Joint performance with Noh actors of other schools
"Sumida-gawa" (with the Hosho-ryu school), and others.
Staging and performance in operas
"Urashima" (original work was written by Shoyo TSUBOUCHI) and "La Favola d'Orfeo" (composed by Claudio MONTEVERDI)

"Noh wo irodoru monyo no sekai" (Noh design as adornment) written by Shiro NOMURA and Tetsuro KITAMURA (Hinoki Shoten: December 1997) ISBN 4827909458

Members of the Nomura family
His first son Masashi NOMURA is a Noh actor for shite-kata of Kanze-ryu school. He is a brother of Man NOMURA, Mansaku NOMURA and Mannosuke NOMURA, all of whom are kyogen-kata (Kyogen actors) of Izumi-ryu school, and Mansai NOMURA, the second, Manzo NOMURA, the ninth, and Manroku NOMURA, the second, are his nephews.