The Importance Of Traditional Arts In Japan

1037 Words5 Pages
From their eccentric music and sophisticated cuisine to their multiple examples of exciting pop culture, Japan is often renowned for its characteristic and traditional arts. Over the course of history, specifically during the Middle Ages, these arts began to thriving, and they continue to thrive to this day. The events in history surrounding these arts are correspondent to how these arts are put together, from literary techniques to borrowed concepts from other nations. Upon the wake of the Muromachi period in Japan, many art forms flourished in the nation; of these, the Noh theatre play, Kinuta, exemplifies the art of ritualism borrowed from Chinese dynasties. This time in Japanese history, from 1336 to 1573, is normally referred to as the Muromachi or Ashikaga period, and was a prosperous time for the nation’s culture. Some say that this is because of political disintegration. The former Emperor of Japan, Go-Daigo, struggled to stay in power against the Kamakura bakufu, who succeeded in overthrowing him (Wallace). This caused two warring courts to emerge from 1336 to 1392: the Northern and Southern Courts. Literature from this era, “Essays in Idleness” by Yoshida Kenko, for example, generally expresses distaste for the rise of a warrior-ruled society. The shoguns, also known as the Ashigaka clan, which ran the nation, were questioned of their legitimacy. To increase their authority, they supported a cultural renaissance by attending plays and creating art (Wallace). The succeeding arts during this time were borrowed from Chinese Song, Ming, and Tang dynastic affairs (Wallace). Yoshimitsu, the reigning shogun in 1401, accepted a relationship with the Chinese that allowed Japan to acquire silk, books, coins (Wallace). Chinese lit... ... middle of paper ... ...tion and works that came before it and Kinuta is no exception. Chinese Tang music is specifically noted to have assisted the origination of Japanese theatre as a whole (Tian 343). Noh theatre was also influenced by the world around it. In a time of political chaos, the leaders of the country turned the peoples’ attention to popular cultural upbringings; Noh’s success and popularity in its origin was largely due to patronage from shoguns (Tian 356). Shoguns Takauji and Yoshitsune were well-known supporters of Noh, and Yoshitsune was a close friend of Zeami himself (Wallace). Even into the Tokugawa period (1600-1867), Noh was the official entertainment of the samurai class, an honorable society in Japan (Magill 2422). These instances in Japan prove not only that culture and tradition have an effect on the media, but ultimately that the world surrounding us does, also.
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