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[Thematic Exhibition] “Onstage Artistic Pursuits of Beauty in Nature — Wonders in Expression —”

The phrase kacho fugetsu means beauty in nature created by things such as flowers (ka), birds (cho), the wind (fu), and the moon (getsu). This expression comes from one line in Zeami's nohgaku theory book titled Fūshikaden, which states, "sophisticated qualities and acts are essential to noh." This line describes an elegant and atmospheric performance by a noble person, but at the same time, it also shows how kacho fugetsu is about a mind that stays close to nature by enjoying pastimes such as appreciating the beautiful flowers of each season, listening to the brisk chirps of birds, or finding mysteries in the lunar phases. Moreover, it even includes the history of how the expression, kacho fugetsu, has been used to describe artistic pursuits in creating poetry and music based on those natural subjects.

The ability to find beauty in forever changing and unstable nature and people is considered unique to Japanese people due to the country's markedly distinct four seasons. Likewise, stage performances can be viewed as a form of art that expressive fleeting beauty only able to be seen at that very moment. In other words, the act of creating and watching stage performances can be described as kacho fugetsu. Performing arts born in Japan and evolved from the early modern period to the present use a great deal of symbolic kacho fugetsu expression, adding colors to the stage. And arts-related documents show how vital these elements have been in supporting the stage. For example, stage equipment portrays moonlight, snow, lightning, mountains, oceans, flowers, and trees; costumes are designed with patterns of seasonal flowers; props contain designs of natural creatures such as birds and butterflies. Together, they express seasonal changes and the emotions of characters. But more than anything, actors working to incorporate those beauties into their onstage performances encompass the original spirituality of kacho fugetsu.

This exhibition shows the trajectory of stage creators and actors pursuing expressive beauty through documents, nishiki-e printings, dressing room designs, costumes, wigs, props, and stage pictures to admire kacho fugetsu as shown on stage.

We are currently living in an unprecedented time, threatened by the spread of infectious diseases. However, occasionally, we can derive comfort from nature by appreciating the colors of seasonal flowers and listening to the sounds of insects. I humbly hope this space provides a moment to discover and enjoy Japanese aesthetics expressed on stage.

Supervised by Yayoi Yoshida,
a professor at Ferris University

Dates October 2 (Sat), 2021 - January 27 (Thu), 2022
Hours 10:00-18:00
Closed December29 (Wed), 2021 - January 2 (Sun), 2022
Venue Information Exhibition room (first floor)
Visitor restriction Up to 25 people
※Admission Free