W. B. Yeats,
The Cat and the Moon

by Shigeyama Sengoro Family in Japanese kyogen style
Japanese translated by Tetsuro Sano
Directed by Kaoru Matsumoto

Blind Beggar: Sengoro Shigeyama XIV
Lame Beggar: Shigeru Shigeyama
The Saint: Kaoru Matsumoto

A Blind Beggar with a Lame Beggar on his back, goes toward St Coleman’s Well hoping to ask the Saint of the Well to cure their disabilities. They have compensated for each other’s physical insufficiencies for over 40 years. When they arrive at the holy well, they hear a saint’s voice asking them to make any wish they desire….

W. B. Yeats described how he wrote this particular play as what Japanese people called “Kiogen.”

Using a folktale near Thoor Ballylee, Yeats’ residence in Galway, Yeats follows the tradition of kyogen to contribute something quite unique to this production.

The Cat and the Moon, 2015. Photo: Kobe Gakuin University.

Lafcadio Hearn, Sengoro Shigeyama XIV,
Chin ​Chin Kobakama

by Shigeyama Sengoro Family in Japanese kyogen style
Directed by Sengoro Shigeyama XIV

Woman: Hiromi Shimada
Man: Moriyuki Yamashita

A beautiful maiden from a wealthy family is married to a famous samurai warrior. While growing up, she was surrounded by a multitude of servants who took care of her every whim. She did not have a care in the world and so became incredibly lazy. However, since her husband comes from a poor family without servants, she has to take care of everything herself now. One night while her husband is away to fight in a battle, she hears a strange sound. Peeking into a room from where the sound comes from, she discovers small fairies in the shape of samurai dancing and singing! From that point onwards, every night the fairies reappear. She is so frightened that the moment her husband returns, she asks him to drive them out. When the husband strikes at them with his sword….

A traditional Japanese kyogen,
Kaniyamabushi [Crab Warrior Priest]

by Shigeyama Sengoro Family

Mountain Priest: Sengoro Shigeyama XIV
Servant: Kaoru Matsumoto
Spirit of a Crab: Shigeru Shigeyama

A mountain priest, after finishing his training, is returning home with his servant. On his way, he passes by a place known as Crab Swamp. Suddenly, the sky darkens, and a strange creature appears, announcing the following riddle:

“Two eyes in the air. A shell never touches the ground. Two big legs. Eight small legs. Moving right and left. I am a playful spirit.”

Realizing that it might be the spirit of a crab, the servant strikes it with his staff, but, he is then pinched on the back of his ear. The priest who is furiously chanting prayers, tries to separate the two, but he too has his ear pinched….

A Traditional kyogen, Kani Yamabushi [Crab Warrior Priest]. Photo: Halca Uesugi.