Essay on Tadanori by Zeami Motokiyo

Essay on Tadanori by Zeami Motokiyo

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Zeami Motokiyo, one of the best-known nō writers, is the author of Tadanori. The setting is in Suma during the season of autumn. Tadanori is considered a warrior play, shura mono, because the story deals with a warrior who died in battle. This, however, is the not the main focus of the drama. Due to his untimely death and the defeat of the Taira clan, Tadanori’s spirit lingers on in the world for wanting a poem to be in an imperial anthology with his name as the author. He struggles with this and thus ask the wandering monk to help him fulfill his dreams and to pray for him as well.
The cast in Tadanori is as follows: the monk is the waki, the companions are the wakizure, the old man, who is the unidentified Tadanori, is the maeshite, the villager is the ai, and lastly Taira no Tadanori is the nochijite. This list and order follows the sequence of a typical nō. It generally starts with a travelling monk who meets an interesting character. The monk would then notice a symbolic object, which in this case was the Young Cherry Tree. Next the background information would be given by a person such as a villager. Finally the monk would meet and discover the identity of the wandering ghost in need of prayer.
Tadanori’s jo-ha-kyū contains the intro jo, three ha’s, and a kyū. This is typical arrangement in nō dramas. The jo starts from the beginning of the play with the background information about the monk up until the old man appears. From there on is where the first ha begins. The second ha is when the villager comes along and talks to the monk about the story of the Young Cherry Tree and the significance behind whose grave it belonged to. When the villager leaves and Tadanori appears, Tadanori talks about his desire and reason wh...

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... the blossoms” and again when “the flower again shall seek his root.” I thought then perhaps although the main story was about the monk helping Tadanori, Tadanori also helped the monk. At the start of the story the monk states that he was “one who no longer loves even blossoms” meant that he no longer loved poetry. On the next page though I thought it was strange how he said, “let us rest awhile and look at the cherry blossoms”. “These blossoms, O monk, drew you on to seek lodging here, because I wished that you should hear my tale.” Although Tadanori did it for his own reasons, in the end, it showed the monk that he could not leave poetry (266-267, 271,276).

Works Cited

Tyler, Royall. Japanese Nō Drama. New York: Penguin Books, 1992. Print.
Watson, Burton. The Tales of Heike. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006. N. pag. Web. 15 Apr. 2011.

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