About this same time, Honda was attending a performance of Matsukazé at the Osaka Nō Theater in Tennoji-Dogashiba at the invitation of a colleague fond of performing Nō chants himself. It was a production featuring Kanesuké Noguchi from Tokyo as shité with Yazo Tamura assisting him as waki. The theatre stood upon the eastern slope of Uemachi Hill between Tennoji and Osaka Castle. This had been a section of fine villas at the beginning of the Taisho period and was still a secluded area containing high-walled mansions. One of these functioned as a Nō theater under the auspices of the Sumitomo family.
Most of the guests were merchant princes, and Honda recognized many of them. As for the famous actor, the harsh-voiced Noguchi, Honda's colleague had warned him beforehand that, although his intonation might sound like a goose being strangled, Honda was not by any means to laugh. And he predicted that, ignorant of Nō though Honda was, once the play was underway he would suddenly find himself emotionally aroused.
Although Kanesuké Noguchi wore the mask of a beautiful young woman, his voice had nothing that would recall a woman's charms. It was a voice that made one think of the rasping together of rusty, discolored metal. Furthermore, his recitation was broken by interruptions, and his style of chanting seemed to be tearing the beauty of the words to shreds. But despite all this, the mood inspired was like the outpouring of a dark and ineffably elegant mist, like the sight of a moonbeam shining into a corner of a ruined palace to fall upon a mother-of-pearl furnishing. Because the light passed through a worn and ravaged bamboo blind, the elegance of the shattered fragments shone all the more.
Gradually, then, his harsh voice became far from irritating. Rather, one had the feeling that only through this harsh voice could one for the first time become aware of the briny sadness of Matsukazé and the melancholy love that afflicts those in the realm of the dead.
Yukio Mishima, Runaway Horses, pages 209-11.
Compare: George Bernard Shaw at the Noh; Clara Whitney at the Nō; Botchan on Noh Chanting; A.B. Mitford Sums Up the Nô; Sylvia Townsend Warner Listens to a Noh Play; Noh Chanting Annoys Tsuda; Nō and the Cat's Ears.