Noh Performance ‘Funa-Benkei’


Malaysians have the rare opportunity to experience the 650-year-old art of Noh, and the genius of classical Noh performer Soichiro Hayashi, at a special one-night-only performance at Dewan Filharmonik PETRONAS this September.

The world’s oldest form of theatre, Noh was designated as a UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2008 in recognition of its intrinsic beauty and influence on various genres of the stage. Classically trained from childhood, Hayashi is the 14th-generation Noh master of the Hayashi family, one of only five extant traditional Kanze families in Kyoto.

The event is jointly organised by The Japan Foundation, Kuala Lumpur and the Embassy of Japan in Malaysia in celebration of the 60th anniversary since the establishment of Malaysia-Japan diplomatic relations.


Date & Time: Tuesday, 26 September, 8.30 p.m. (Doors open at 8 p.m.)
Venue: Dewan Filharmonik PETRONAS
Admission: RM80 for Adults, RM50 for Students and JFKL Library Members

Part 1 | Noh guidance
Part 2 | Noh performance ‘Funa-Benkei’

Ticket Purchase
Tickets are on sale now via phone at 03 2331 7007, online at or by visiting the Dewan Filharmonik PETRONAS box office.

Purchase of concession tickets can only be made at the Dewan Filharmonik PETRONAS box office (opens daily 10.30 a.m.6.00 p.m. except Mondays and public holidays). Please bring along your student/JFKL library card for verification.

Children of all ages are welcome to attend the event, but please be informed that there will be no intermission.


Mae-shite (first half lead) | Shizuka-gozen (Lady Shizuka)
Nochi-shite (second half lead) | The ghost of Taira no Tomomori
Soichiro HAYASHI

Tsure (companion to shite) | Minamoto no Yoshitsune

Waki (supporting cast) | Musashibo Benkei

Waki-tsure (companion to waki) | The followers of Yoshitsune

Ai-kyogen (interlude cast) | Boatman
Ippei Shigeyama


Small drum
Seiichi IIDA

Big drum
Hirotada KAMEI

Side bass drum
Mitsunori MAEKAWA

Yoshimasa KANZE
Hiromichi TAMOI
Chisato JUGE

Stage attendants
Hiroyuki MATSUNO
Saburota KANZE

Stage manager


Performing arts enthusiasts would not want to miss this opportunity to learn from Soichiro himself at a one-day session catered to anyone interested in Noh. No previous theatre or dance experience is necessary and people of all ages are welcome to apply.

Space is limited so register now by sending an email containing your name, age, and phone number to press[AT] with the subject header “Noh Workshop by Soichiro Hayashi”.

Date: Tuesday, 26 September
Time: 10 a.m. (approx. 1 hour 30 minutes)
Venue: Akademi Seni Budaya Dan Warisan Kebangsaan (ASWARA)
Participation: Free. Advanced registration is required.



The foundation of Noh was established in the 14th century. Bearing both religious and entertainment elements, it was performed at such varied places as temples, castles and riversides, attracting a great many spectators. Gradually, Noh became popular among politicians and the nobility in Kyoto, the capital city of the era, transforming into a performing art of exquisite elegance that has come to represent Japanese spirit and the aesthetic world. Most pieces are adapted from classic literature and revolve around the universal themes of gods and man, love and war, fate; thereby finding an audience of all ages even till today. The combination of well-trained movements, evocative music, ornamental masks, and refined costumes result in an immersive theatrical experience unlike any other.



In 12th century Japan, conflict erupted between the Heike and Minamoto clans. Although Minamoto no Yoshitsune contributed significantly to the annihilation of the Heike clan on behalf of his elder brother, Minamoto no Yoritomo, he was deposed for fear of vying for power.

The play begins with Yoshitsune going into exile to the far west of Kyoto with his retainer, Benkei, and other followers. His mistress, Lady Shizuka, initially accompanied the group, but had to withdraw from the arduous journey. Full of sorrow, she performed a dance praying for Yoshitsune’s safe return. Yoshitsune and company soon sailed out, but were struck by a violent storm and attacked by ghosts of the Heike clan who were killed in battle. Yoshitsune fought back valiantly while Benkei prayed, and eventually the deadly ghouls disappeared beneath the waves.

SOICHIRO HAYASHI | Shite (シテ方 / principal actor), Kanze school of Noh

© Atsushi Hitomi

Born in 1979, Soichiro is the 14th-generation Noh master of the Hayashi family, which belongs to Kyo Kanze Gokenya (The Five Kanze Families of Kyoto). He studied under his father, the 13th Noh master Kiemon Hayashi, and Kiyokazu Kanze, the 26th grandmaster of the Kanze School.

Making his stage debut at the age of three, he held his first independent showcase in 2012. In 2013, he founded Soichiro no Kai to produce his own performances. The next year saw him being selected for his hometown’s special encouragement programme for arts and culture.

In addition to serving as a local omonetashi (hospitality) ambassador, Soichiro also teaches Noh chanting and dance at studios in Kyoto, Tokyo, Okayama, and Tottori.

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