Sometimes, culture is one step ahead of politics. In 1994, the united city of Berlin and the Japanese capital Tokyo entered into a city partnership. Already in 1983, Berliner Festspiele, the precursor festival of Musikfest Berlin, had outlined these prospects: Their focus topic was “Japan and Europe”. The festival took stock: In the 1980s, an interest in Far Eastern cultures, ideas, artistic creation and especially in Japanese tradition, had been at a hitherto unknown intensity, at least in the western part of the city. This was promoted by the fact that Japanese artists, and composers and musicians in particular, had chosen Berlin as their first or second residence and that they themselves started to reflect on their cultural origins. As early as 1985, the festival “Horizonte”, dedicated to non-European cultures, presented the forms and many facets of Japanese theatre – and Théâtre de Soleil from Paris integrated Far Eastern stage arts into their guest performance of 1991. At the 1993 festival, performances of Nō-theatre were a central focus.
For the anniversary of this city partnership, which has now been in place for 25 years, the ensemble has returned to Berlin. It will present three main forms of Nō: the cultic dance form, Kyōgen-comedy and the dramatic Nō play; forms of theatre, a sensibility of sound and (musical) dramaturgy that had a broad impact on the European scene of contemporary music.