Essay about Noh Drama

Essay about Noh Drama

Length: 1631 words (4.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In the same way Japanese poetry often alludes to or derives from the canon of poetry that precedes it, noh plays are often based off of classical Japanese literary sources that form the framework for the play’s themes and moral message. Many of these plays reference poems from revered anthologies, such as the Shinkokinshū, within the play’s dialogue, but it is the monogatari or tales that provide the foundation for certain noh plotlines because of their vast array of character references and plotlines. These tales are the primary sources of information for two plays in particular written by the famous Japanese playwright Zeami: Atsumori and Matsukaze. The warrior-play Atsumori draws from the famous war epic The Tale of Heike to further an anti-war message grounded in the original text, as well as to further explore Buddhist themes of attachment and karmic ties. Matsukaze draws its origins and background from Murasaki Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji and Ariwara no Narihira’s The Tales of Ise for location, tone, and themes of longing in order to juxtapose the Buddhist duality of attachment and detachment from this world.
Zeami’s Atsumori directly utilizes the characters of Kumagai and Atsumori from “The Death of Atsumori” in The Tale of Heike as the central characters (waki and shite respectively) of the play. Having these established characters and their well-known background story allows for the play’s storyline to move in a different direction from the original text in terms of a message and meaning. The original Atsumori text in The Tale of Heike focuses on the contrasts between the characters of Kumagai and Atsumori in terms of class and refinement, as well as the Buddhist theme of non-violence and salvation through prayer in the...


... middle of paper ...


...se emotions as a foundation for a Buddhist message on attachment. In the end of the play, Matsukaze is unable to forsake her love for Yukihira, while her sister Murasame finally recognizes the madness in their pining and leaves her sister behind, detaching from the world and her own passionate longing.



Works Cited

Narihira, Ariwara. “The Tales of Ise.” Anthology of Japanese Literature. Ed. Donald Keene. New York: Grove Press, 1955. 67-71.

Watson, Burton and Haruo Shirane. “The Death of Atsumori.” The Tales of Heike. Columbia University Press, 2006. 11 April 2011.

Zeami. “Atsumori.” Japanese Nō Dramas. Ed. Royall Tyler. London: Penguin Books, 1992. 37-48.

Zeami. “Matsukaze.” Japanese Nō Dramas. Ed. Royall Tyler. London: Penguin Books, 1992. 183-204.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Izutsu or The Well-Cradle by Zeami

- Among the most classic Japanese Nō dramas is none other than Izutsu, or “The Well-Cradle” as often translated in English. Written by Zeami who is perhaps the most influential playwright to the Nō Theater, Izutsu was composed around the late 14th century during the Muromachi Period in Japan. In comparison with other Nō plays, it is relatively simple in nature as there are only three roles that need to be played—shite, waki, and ai—and the story is very characteristic of the typical Nō drama (Araki and Brazell, 143)....   [tags: Noh drama, Zeami, Isutzu]

Powerful Essays
1195 words (3.4 pages)

Hanajo or Lady Han by Zeami Essay

- Hanajo or Lady Han was undoubtedly written by the Noh playwright, Zeami. It is classified as fourth-category or yonbamme-mono Noh play. When compared to other literary works Hanajo can be equivalent to a ballad, rhyme, anecdote, and melody. As a ballad, Hanago’s problem of endlessly waiting for her lover, Yoshida, is considered to be an anecdote. The name Nogami, the inn (where Hanago lives and works) is considered to be poetry because its name suggests a “romantic sorrow”. Lastly, the melody of the of play is Chinese, which is due to the fact that, at one time the play was received and developed by painters and poets in China....   [tags: noh play, noh drama, karma]

Powerful Essays
1470 words (4.2 pages)

Essay about Hanjo by Zeami

- One of the defining characteristics of the Japanese is their outstanding ability to assimilate foreign culture, refine it and then transform it into something completely unique. Perhaps the best example of this is Noh drama which became popular in the 14th century during Japan’s so-called medieval period. Noh, which can be translated literally as ability, represents the historical culmination of Japan’s literary tradition which began with the importation of Chinese poetry during the Heian period....   [tags: Japanese Noh Drama, Hanjo, medieval period]

Powerful Essays
1695 words (4.8 pages)

Zeami´s "Masterpiece amongst masterpiece": Izutsu or The Well-Cradle Essay

- Izutsu or The Well-Cradle in English title refers to the railing round the mouth of a well. In this story, the well is right outside of the young boy and the young girl’s houses. They often measured their height against the well-cradle. The well bonds two of them together since their early childhood. They had their most precious times around the well where they played, talked, and shared their feelings there. When they grew up into a young man and a young woman, they found out their love is deeply rooted towards each other and so get married....   [tags: Yugen, Zeami, noh play, noh drama]

Powerful Essays
1669 words (4.8 pages)

The Japanese Noh Theatre Essay

- Japan is known for its unique gardening style, their diverse plants, their food, and their beautifully woven tapestries. Yet, most do not know about the history of their drama. Japanese Noh theatre is one of the most precise and prestigious art forms. It has been this way since the fourteenth century when Zeami first created Noh theatre. Zeami’s most famous plays, such as Kinuta, are still performed today. Japanese drama has not changed much since the fourteenth century because it has made a lasting effect on the culture....   [tags: Japanese history, influence on drama]

Powerful Essays
1471 words (4.2 pages)

Influential Japanese Playwrights Essay

- Vengeful ghosts, evil demons, and people turned to animals. These are all features of a typical Japanese Noh play. The battles for power in medieval Japan are responsible for inspiring the creator of the noh genre in Japanese theater. The noh theater is interesting and colorful with an assortment of masks and costumes carefully crafted to represent the character they represent (Noh). Many of the great plays written by playwright Zeami Motokiyo, the most highly regarded of all in the genre, inspired many and helped make noh a success (World 114)....   [tags: noh theater, Japanese history]

Powerful Essays
1130 words (3.2 pages)

The Legend of Yamata-no-Orochi Essay

- Like the slow elegant footsteps of a crane and the silence of a leopard, the Japanese Mai dances use careful steps and solemn gestures. This type of dance is used in the fourteenth century Japanese Noh plays. Japanese Noh plays are inspired by their ancient deities such as Susano-o in the play The Legend of Yamata-no-Orochi and focuses on elaborate costumes. Japanese noh may have originated from the Chinese nuo rites (Tian 343). “The Chinese nuo rite had long been practiced in Japanese temples, shrines, and fields where noh was born and developed” (Tian 343)....   [tags: muromachi period, japanese noh plays]

Powerful Essays
1149 words (3.3 pages)

Essay about Reflection on Mask Unit

- The second unit in the drama course at Jarvis is all about masks, how to make them and how to act in them. This unit is probably one of the most enjoyable units of drama because it combines hands on activities with drama. Masks are a very important piece of art in many plays and live shows. Using masks during a show enables the actor to become more than one character, and enhances their ability to act by letting them experience different personalities. Masks in the theatre are also used to express and reinforce the character and the story, create a distance between the actor on stage and the character of the story....   [tags: Drama]

Powerful Essays
1090 words (3.1 pages)

Essay on What is drama? The Collins dictionary describes drama as a serious

- What is drama. The Collins dictionary describes drama as a serious play for theatre, television or radio. Introduction ============ What is drama. The Collins dictionary describes drama as a serious play for theatre, television or radio. Drama is enjoyed today as much if not more than in when it was invented. Everyone around the world in some time in their lives has relied on drama to bring pleasure, fear and entertainment. Millions of people have become famous and have earned their living through bringing drama to the public through the silver screen and through the small screen....   [tags: Drama]

Powerful Essays
1361 words (3.9 pages)

Drama Portfolio Essay examples

- Drama Portfolio When I entered the stimulus room my initial reactions were that it had been created in a way that it made you think about what was going on within each section of the room. For example none of the objects were straightforward and simple to figure out. A lot of the items were symbolic and had multiple meanings such as the mirror in the past section could mean a change of appearance or reflecting on the past. The room was divided into three different sections, past, present and future....   [tags: Drama]

Free Essays
705 words (2 pages)