”Hiroshi Sowa, Naoyasu Sowa, Koryu Kozutsumikata” Masters of Music Accompaniment

”Hiroshi Sowa, Naoyasu Sowa, Koryu Kozutsumikata”
Masters of Music Accompaniment

Making Contact with Kozutsumi

Nakata learns how to hit a kozutsumi. Lifting a kozutsumi on one shoulder and striking it with a nice sound, ”pong”. Nakata tries as well and hits it with his hand, but is unable to produce a nice vibrating sound like Hiroshi Sowa. Kozutsumi is a traditional musical instrument essential to Noh and other traditional Japanese art. It is quite different to a wood-made drum that uses drumsticks, but is a lacquer coated cylinder with horse skin covers, tied with strings called ”shirabeo” on both sides. The tone is adjusted by pulling on this ”shirabeo”, which would tighten or loosen the horse skin. The structure is simple and more the so it relies on skill and intuition to play.

Kozutsumikata Affects Stage Production

Today, we had the opportunity to talk to Living Treasure Hiroshi Sowa and his grandson, Naoyasu Sowa. Nakata finds out that Naoyasu Sowa had been on stage playing the kozutsumi during the dedication performance to Kasugataisha which Nakata had been watching during his visit to Nara. Hiroshi Sowa still appears on stage as a member of the musical performers. On stage, he strikes his kozutsumi and calls out, ”Yoh!”, He explains how he changes his tone of voice for each production, as each scenes require different expression, ”He explains, ”For us professionals, there is not one performance that we regret. Regret is a word that does not exist for us.” Hiroshi Sowa’s son, also Naoyasu’s father, Masahiro Sowa currently performs in Tokyo as a performer, and simultaneously teaches kozutsumi at the National Noh Theater and the Tokyo University of Arts to nurture successors.

Conveying the Attractiveness

Sowa too strives to spread knowledge and nurture successors to kozutsumi in between their performances. They have numerous students, young and old, beginners and veterans, across the country in their ”practice workshops”. Information regarding the ”practice workshops” are uploaded on the homepage that Sowa has, called the ”Petite Kodo”. The naming is interesting. ”Kodo” is taken from the So was’ first generation ancestor, Kodo Sowa. ”Petite” is taken from the French word meaning cute. In fact there is more to this, as kozutsumi has a musical scale, which is ”Pu” and ”Tite” and these 2 notes that Naoyasu cherishes, happen to be where the word ”Petite” derives from. How cute the names of these two notes sound. That itself makes you feel closer and familiar to traditional art. Traditional art should be enjoyed, being rid of tension.


Kozutsumikata Koryu Sowa Hiroshi, Sowa Naoyasu
579 Masuyacho Sasayamachi Oohiyanishiiru, Jokyo-ku, Kyoto
URL http://www.p-kodou.com/