Last Update 10/2/2018
First Upload 2/3/2017
Introduction to Noh
Noh depicts deep inside of human mind obsessed with sorrow, anger, regret, desire, bliss, etc. in relation to karma or destiny. Emotions of characters are expressed by dance with smooth motions, subtle gestures and simple ensemble of instruments and recitations so that the audiences can stretch their imagination further. However, Noh is difficult to understand even for Japanese people since it was established for highly cultured people 600 years ago and is recited in old Japanese language. Therefore some outlines and verses are introduced here in English for Japanese literature lovers in the world.
- The renowned Heike warrior Kagekiyo has been exiled to the province and now lives off charity of neighbors feeling miserable. He finally gets relieved from his obsession through his narration about the battle at Yashima to his daughter.
- Sarasvati and the dragon deity show the vow to rescue all living creatures from sufferings in the mild and peaceful spring scenery of Lake Biwa and Chikubu-shima Island.
Makura-Jido (Jido of the headset)
- This Noh play describes the story set in ancient China, featuring the character of mysterious Jido, who once served Emperor Mu of the Zhou dynasty.
Matsukaze (Wind through the pines)
- Although a profound tension of love is expressed, this play feels the refined and restful taste suitable for the third group Noh.
Yoroboshi (Worn out Monk)
- The contrast is highlighted between the visible real world and the mental scenery that reflects the inner nature of human.
- The thought put into this play to celebrate the eternal happiness of married couple has been widely beloved by Japanese people and a part of the Takasago verses is a standard chant in the wedding ceremony today.
- Shakkyo (Stone Bridge)
- The spectacular and auspicious Noh play situated in ancient China, featuring unique Shishimai dance.
- One of the representative plays of Shura-noh written by Zeami, which depicts the afterlives of worriors who spent the most of their lives in battles.
- The auspicious and happy piece of Noh play based on the legend of Ceresterial Maiden in Miho-no-Matsubara, featuring the elegant and glorious dance.
- One of the outstanding masterpieces of Noh, which is known for Ranbyoshi steps in dance.
- Aoi no Ue (Lady Aoi)
- The story was taken after Genji Monogatari but no romantic scene is described in Noh.