A playhouse located in Kumamoto – ”Yachiyoza”

A playhouse located in Kumamoto -

Experience high quality performance art at ”Yachiyoza”

”Yachiyoza” was built in 1910 by business people living in Yamaga called ”danna-shu (gentlemen).” The building conveys the traditional style of playhouses from the Edo era.
Many famous artists came from all over Japan to perform at ”Yachiyoza” which was the focal point for people to enjoy high quality performance art such as ”kabuki” and ”shingeki”. In 1988, it was designated as a National Important Cultural Property, and came to be known across the country.

Traditional building with attractive design

There is a ”hanamichi” walkway on the left. The ”masuseki” located in the middle is a tatami box seat for eight people where patrons sit on cushions. The wooden partitions are called ”ayumi-ita” and vendors walked on it selling ”sake”. ”Sajikiseki” is on the right. There are very few columns so as not to block the view to the stage.
A variety of pictures adorn the ceiling, but they are all ads. The colorful ads on the ceiling were reproduced based on dozens of original drawings that were found at the time of reconstruction. Every effort was made to restore the original ambience when repairs were being made. The ads in the ceiling advertising are also based on original drawings.

Overcoming crisis

At that time, Yachiyoza was a symbol of wealth and used classic Edo era styles. However, during its history of over 100 years there were times when it faced the possibility of closure. In the 1940’s, different forms of entertainment appeared such as movies and television, and Yachiyoza fell behind the trends.
”For a period of time, Yachiyoza was closed down due to a lack of patrons. Yachiyoza fell into ruin with holes in the roof, but members of a local senior citizen’s group who used to frequent Yachiyoza as children, collected funds to repair the roof. This activity caught the attention of young people who supported their efforts.” We were told by one of the playhouse staff.
Thanks to their efforts, it was designated as a National Important Cultural Property in 1988. There used to be 6,000 to 7,000 playhouses in Japan at one time, but there are only 20 remaining. Yachiyoza is one of the few that have survived.
”Chiyo ni Yachiyo ni.” It is our hope that the wishes of the local people can be continued for 1000 years and 8000 years.


1499 Yamaga, Yamaga-shi, Kumamoto
URL http://www.yachiyoza.com