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Campus Now

Autumn Issue (Jul. 2013)


Masks from throughout Asia gathered at Waseda

Holding of the Exhibition of Asian Theatre Masks and the Aizu Mask Festival

The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum held the “Exhibition of Asian Theatre Masks” from June 7th to August 4th. The festival featured a comprehensive display of numerous masks which were actually used in ceremonies and performances in countries such as China, Korea, India, Indonesia and Mongolia (see photograph). Actors wearing the mask did not perform through their own interpretations; rather, it is said that they were actually possessed by the gods during their performances. Museum visitors were enthralled by the rich expressions of these masks which emitted a powerful spiritual feeling.

The Aizuyaichi Museum held the “Aizu Mask Festival” from June 24th to August 4th. This period was selected to overlap with the “National Mask Festival,” which is held on New Britain Island, Papua New Guinea, every July and features tribe members wearing masks. The masks displayed at the Papua New Guinea festival are all unique and allow visitors to enjoy the diverse spirituality of the southern islands (see photograph on right). Many visitors could be seen wandering slowly throughout the exhibition, almost as if they had lost track of the time and daily life.

Masks with a variety of expressions

Called awan in the local language, this mask is worn by men of the Iatmul tribe during ceremonies and dances.