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Geisha Culture and Arts for Use at

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Noh - Lyrical Drama

The Noh - had its beginnings in 712 A.D. and 720 A.D. when the Kojiki and Nihongi were written.

At that time, there was the Kagura, a pantomimic dance, still performed to this day at Shinto Festivals.

The myth of its origin goes like this...

The Sun Goddess was oh so disgusted with the pranks of her brother Susa-no-wo that she confined herself to the rock-cave of heaven and left the world in darkness. So the gods gathered themselves in the dry bed of the River of Heaven (the Milky Way), to lure her out of her retirement. They caused Ame-no-Uzume (the Terrible Female of heaven) to dress herself in a most fantastic manner and then to stand on an inverted tub. As she stamped upon it, a hollow sound rang out and thus lured the Sun Goddess from hiding.

There were many pantomime performances such as this. When dialogue was added, the Noh performances were the result. The Noh date from the 14th century. At first they were purely religious and intended to extol the chief dieties of the Shinto religion. Noh were under the special patronage of the Shoguns - just as Tanka found favour in the courts of the Mikados.

The Yokyoku Tsuge contained 235 Noh scripts and 93 of these were assigned to Se-ami Motokiyo. He was one of the official managers.

The primary objective of the Noh was to extol piety.

Poetry was significantly used to carry out this objective. Pillow words, parallelism and pivot words were tools of the trade. The Noh were not notable for significant drama.

The Takasago was probably the best known and finest of the Noh plays. It is rendered on its own page as taken from the open source resource on line that we are using for one of our textbooks in this site. Please go to this link now and read it..... The Takasago

If you are interested in learning more about Noh, here are a few places where you might start that journey:

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