Volume 21 Number 11 February 26, 2020

Knowing Noh and ‘Nō-ing’ English through Intercultural Performing Arts

Kim Rockell
Komazawa University, Japan

Citation: Rockell, K. (2020). Knowing Noh and ‘Nō-ing’ English through Intercultural Performing Arts. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 21(11). Retrieved from http://doi.org/10.26209/ijea21n11.


This paper takes the form of a detailed report discussing the development, rehearsal and presentation of a short English language Noh-style play performed by Japanese university students in 2018–2019. It shares students’ perceptions in response to the flow of rehearsals and performances, which were documented with ethnomusicological fieldwork methods. Music and drama are increasingly recognized internationally as effective vehicles for language education and in this case the aspiration to master ‘a tool of global communication’ is coupled with local sensibility and an important Japanese heritage tradition. Contemporary cyber-culture immersed Japanese youth sometimes express little interest in traditions such as Noh. This project prompted a greater appreciation of traditional Japanese culture amongst such students. The benefits of regular practice of the declamatory speech that is basic to Noh chanting was also found to be particularly beneficial to students’ confidence with spoken English.

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