Nara Centennial Hall   Manyo Opera/Lab


Opera “Kentoshi” Photo by Toshiya Abe


The year 2016… It’s been 1300 years since Abe no Nakamaro went to Tang. Now, let’s talk about this story of friendship between envoys
This is a new performance by the Manyo Opera Lab, which explores the attraction of Nara’s art, culture and history and then presents them to audiences. An epitaph accidentally found in Xian, China in 2004 revealed a name of envoy that had not been recorded in historical sources. An epitaph is a small stone monument buried in tombs with the deceased. The epitaph of Sei Shinsei in Chinese (Fujii no Manari in Japanese) tells the life of an unknown envoy. The story mainstays are Abe no Nakamaro, a favorite of Emperor Xuan Zong who became a minister in Tang, Kibi no Makibi, who became a minister in Japan after serving in Tang twice, and Fujii no Manari, a Japanese envoy to Tang who died there when he was only 36 years old. The music will be performed with Naoto Otomo conducting. Several Nara citizens will participate in the play.


manyoopera_otomo manyoopera_mihara manyoopera_kobayashi manyoopera_hamahata manyoopera_ueno
Naoto Otomo (Conductor) Tsuyoshi Mihara
(Court Physician
for Emperor Xuan Zong)
Sara Kobayashi
(Yamato no iratsume)
Kenkichi Hamahata (Director) Makoto Ueno
(Original and script writer )


Manyo Opera/Lab
Title “Kentoshi Monogatari (The Tale of the Japanese Envoy to China) – Homage to unknown people”
Venue Dai (Large) Hall in Nara Centennial Hall (Nara Hyakunen Kaikan )
Performance dates October 1 (Sat.) and 2 (Sun.)
Doors open at 1:30 p.m. Performances start at 2:00 p.m.
Staff Composer: Toru Nakamura, Original and script writer: Makoto Ueno, Director: Kenkichi Hamahata, Costume: Chiyoko Yamaguchi, Scenography: Soichiro Murata, Assistant Director: Hayaki Kawata
Performers Abe no Nakamaro: Mitsuru Hiyori (10/1), Yoshifumi Taira (10/2)
Kibi no Makibi: Masashi Fukui (10/1), Tetsuhiro Yamashita (10/2)
Fujii no Manari (Sei Shinsei): Yasuhiro Nakajima
Yamanoue no Okura: Kyoya Tashiro (10/1), Akihiro Sato (10/2)
Prince Obito (Later, Emperor Shomu): Yasuhito Akimoto
Court physician for Emperor Xuan Zong: Tsuyoshi Mihara
Yamato no iratsume (female servant, Fujii no Manari’s lover): Sara Kobayashi
Utsusemi Gan-nin (only 10/2): Yasuyuki Kimparu (Shite-kata Kimparu school Noh actor)
Common People: Manyo Opera Lab Friends, Manyo Opera Lab Kids, Manyo Opera Kyoto Lab, and others
Music Performance Conductor: Naoto Otomo, Koto: Yuji Kikuou, Shakuhachi: Taro Matsumoto, Erhu: Makiko Naruo, Xiqin: Mika Li
Osaka University of Arts Orchestra
Profile Manyo Opera/Lab
Manyo Opera Lab began in the spring of 2011 as a project to explore the attraction of the arts, culture and history of Nara and disseminate them while  studying opera performance after the Acting Committee was created by Nara Hyakunen Kaikan and other involved groups.
Organized by Manyo Opera Lab Friends, a choir consists of citizen members, Manyo Opera Lab Studio which features music students and young performers, and Manyo Opera Lab Kids for children who take children’s chorus lessons at Nara Hyakunen Kaikan.
Official website 


Ticket Information
Admission – Special Seats: 10,000 yen, SS: 8,000 yen, S: 6,000 yen, A: 4,000 yen, B: 3,000 yen
*All seats may be reserved beforehand (including consumer tax), An additional 500 yen will be charged on the day of performance. Pre-school age children not admitted.
Tickets are now on sale
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