scene of performance

AYANE is a music group composed by 8 woman graduated from the Tokyo University of Arts, department of traditional Japanese Music.

The purpose of the group is to revitalize the tradition of the Japanese classic music genre Nagauta and to promote it abroad.

Nagauta developed as background music of Kabuki during the Edo period and also as an original style of music: Nagauta itself has evolved independently as a music genre.

Kabuki and Nagauta were the town people’s leisure art during the Edo period. During the Meiji era both became the favorite performing arts of the high society. In recent years Kabuki has been recognized as one of the Japanese classic art and has been identified as one of the unshakable status of Japanese culture.

Nagauta is a difficult genre to comprehend for modern societies but needs to be taught and presented in its original and pure structure though, through innovative ways.

Despites its complexity, in hearing Nagauta, we are able to perceive its ancient tradition based on the natural cycle of the four seasons; we can see it as the representation of the simplicity of life.

The 2020 Olympic Games will be held in Japan. The word O-M-O-T-E-N-A-S-H-I, selected at the final conference of the International Olympic Committee in 2013, has been officially accepted and will be promoted around the world as Japan Motto for the Olympic Games.

In Japan we have several World Culture Heritages and Heritage Sites. Last year Washoku (Japanese Cuisine) was registered as one of the Intangible Culture Heritage of Japan. Recently, through media and internet, Washoku has been introduced to the world and many foreigners have come to Japan to enjoy it.

scene of performance

We think that now is the time to introduce Nagauta to the young Japanese and to foreign people. Also not only Nagauta, but Kouta and Hauta which are also aspects of the traditional Japanese music. We would like to explain the easy words instead of the original difficult Edo words, this way young people and the foreign communities could easily understand the meaning of the story of Nagauta and of other traditional Japanese arts.

Nagauta and other genres are accompanied by Japanese musical instruments such as Shamisen, Fue, Taiko, positioned in the back ground while Japanese dance is performed in the front. With the harmonization of the music and its typical Japanese dance style, Nagauta creates the beautiful color sense of Japanese aesthetics. In such a stream of times-going we really hope that all our Japanese traditional arts of music will gain a new understanding in the modern world.

In the world, the Flamenco in Spain, the Opera in Italy, the Hula dance in Hawaii, each country creates its original art circumstance and we are also eager to put Nagauta on such a position in Japan.

We are now confronted with the lack of successors for the traditional Japanese music. Education would come from the traditional solid customs of the teaching way of the masters and of their pupils: a challenge nowadays for the young pupils who wish to continue the ancient tradition of Japanese music art.

We think that we should preserve the “traditional aspect” but also change the unfavorable learning-system in this field. Now young people are increasingly becoming interested in the culture of the Edo period and we do hope that many young people and foreign communities will become familiar with our precious culture of Nagauta. Please come up to Kotone world and enjoy Nagauta.