Nō Drama – Atsumori & Nonomiya Essay

Nō Drama – Atsumori & Nonomiya Essay

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Nō drama plays an important role in Japanese literature. It was an important entertainment in the old days. It also was significant in reflecting the Buddhist view of existence.1 Most of the Nō dramas were written according to popular novels or prose works. In this essay, I would like to introduce two Nō dramas, Atsumori and Nonomiya, as well as the respective sources references.
Atsumori is a Nō play written by Zeami. This is classified as the second category of Nō drama, which talks about warriors. The plot of this play is base on the Heike Monogatari, and the story happens in the late 12th century at Ichinotani, the place where Atsumori was killed by Kumagai no Jirō Naozane. In the Heike Monogatari, two large clans of Minamoto and Taira were fighting each other. Atsumori was a member of the Taira clan, while Kumagai was a member of the Minamoto clan. During the war, there was a battle occurred at Ichinotani. Kumagai eventually killed Atsumori when Atsumori was about to leave the region at the shore. Kumagai was sad because after cutting off Atsumori’s head, because he killed a gentle high-born person, who was as young as his own son. This incident had strengthened Kumagai’s will to become a monk.2
The Nō play of Atsumori starts after the incident. By that time, Kumagai had already become a monk named Renshō. He went back to Ichinotani in order to comfort the spirit of Atsumori. He met a group of young reapers at the place. A youth in the group claimed that he has a tie with Atsumori, and told Renshō to pray for the spirit of Atsumori. Renshō also asked a villager about Atsumori’s story, and he prayed for the spirit at night. Finally, Atsumori’s ghost came to Renshō. Atsumori no longer hate Renshō, and he asked Renshō to p...

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...forted. Same as Rokujō, even she was alive; she could not be enlightened or get release from the painful memory unless she realizes she is too attached to the world.
In conclusion, the Nō drama was important to Japanese people in that period in the way of Buddhism teaching, as well as entertainment. The dramas were written based on famous stories and tales. These works provided the dramas with backgrounds, settings, and characters. Even in nowadays, Nō dramas are popular in Kyōto, and it is a culture for people to go to the theatre to watch the Nō plays.

Works Cited

1. Encyclopedia of Japan: Nō http://www.jkn21.com.eres.library.manoa.hawaii.edu/body/display/
2. Visiting Historical Sites of Noh no.1: ATSUMORI
3. Noh Plays Database: Nonomiya

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