Rear Stage

The rear stage (ato-za) is where the stagehand (kōken) sits during the performance. From here the kōken observes the performance, assists with costuming, delivers props, cues forgotten lines for amateur performances or child actors, and follows the performance, prepared as an understudy in case something happens to an actor while on stage. The kyōgen chorus also sits and sings from the rear stage during the performance of short dances (kōmai). Additionally, if the play requires music, the musicians (hayashi) will also sit in this area, and always in the same configuration: (from left to right), the taiko (drum), ōtsuzumi (hip drum), kotsuzumi (shoulder drum) nōkan (flute).

A polished wooden stage has vertically placed boards stretching from the front to the back pillars, where the boards switch to a horizontal alignment
The floorboard of the mainstage run perpendicular to those of the rear stage make the two spaces easy to distinguish.
Kongō Noh Theatre, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto. Photo credits: Deigo Pellecchia