A Noh play called, “Resurrection of Christ” is very unique.
In principle, Noh plays are based on Japanese history or classic Japanese literature.
So, “Resurrection of Christ” is a heretical Noh play.
It was first performed in 1953.
The original author is a German missionary named Hermann Heuvers (1890 – 1977).
However, it hadn’t been performed since 1963.
After many years, in 2017, it was performed by Hosho Noh school in Vatican City, and it became a big topic.
On Christmas day in 2022, “Resurrection of Christ” was performed in Tokyo.
Fortunately, I got a chance to see this Noh play.
The story was simple.
After the death of Christ, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James visited his grave.
Then Christ appeared, and he danced with a white lily on his chest.
After that, Christ ascended into heaven.
I felt that this Noh play was similar to a Noh play called, “Toru”.
A Noh dance called, “Hayamai” was reminiscent of Toru.
The running time of “Resurrection of Christ” was relatively short compared to other Noh plays.
So, I think that many people, who aren’t interested in traditional Japanese arts, can enjoy it.
I learned a lot from “Resurrection of Christ”.
Dialogue with the spirit of a dead person is a basic concept in the world of Noh.
In most cases, Buddhism is deeply connected to the concept.
On the other hand, I think that Christianity has a strong affinity to the world of Noh in a religious sense.
Hermann Heuvers must have found a religious universality through seeing various Noh plays, and he expressed it through “Resurrection of Christ”.
Though he was a German missionary, he had a keen insight into traditional Japanese arts.
As a result, he proved that Christian precepts are representable even in classical Japanese arts.
I think that Hermann Heuvers produced “Resurrection of Christ” as a part of his missionary works in Japan.
However, I don’t think that he preached the precepts of Christ unilaterally from the viewpoint of a foreign missionary.
This Noh play indicated that he was considerate of the values of the Japanese people, and he tried to comprehend their culture.
His missionary works must have been a devout prayer that extended beyond the different religions.
I felt that it was the essence of “Resurrection of Christ”.
I’m not a Christian, but I unexpectedly, I now have a great Christmas memory through this Noh play.