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...
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...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.
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.
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