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Posted by on in Japanese culture

能の世界 The world of Noh













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★Kanji with hiragana









★English Translation


The world of Noh

I went to the National Noh Theater to watch a Noh play.
I have watched Noh plays on television before but it was the first time for me see one on a proper stage.

  This time's program was “Tadanori” and “Dou Jou Ji”.

“Tadanori” is a story about a person named Taira no Tadanori who died in the battle between the Minamoto clan and the Taira clan. He had written a Tanka poem which was included in anthology compiled by an  enemy general, however in order to disguise who had read it, it was attributed to an anonymous poet.
 The story goes that he felt dispointment over this turn of events, so he became a ghost and appeared to a travelling Buddhist priest and made him tell the tale of his disappointment and the battle until his death.

“Dou Jou Ji” is an implacable tale of the unrequited love of a young girl. The boy that she loves, runs away to a temple named Dou Jou Ji, so the girl turns into a poisonous snake and chases after the boy, finally in the end she burns and kills him along with the hanging temple bell in which he is hiding. It is a slightly scary story, but this story has an interesting stage direction which features a temple bell hanging on the Noh stage. 

Watching Noh theater after you have understood the subject of the story can be really interesting. On top of this, I could read the lines of the play from a pamphlet while watching the play so I could clearly understand what was being said. Until now I hadn't been to see a play before because it looked difficult to comprehend, but using this opportunity as a starting point, I would like to go and see other programs in the future.



★This week's vocabulary


能(のう)    Noh; the Noh play[drama]

世界(せかい)    the world

ちゃんとした    proper

舞台(ぶたい)    stage

演目(えんもく)    a program

源平の戦(げんぺいのいくさ)    a battle between the Minamotos(Genji) and
                                        the Tairas(Heike).

平忠度(たいらのただのり)    Taira No Tadanori (1144-1184.3.20)

和歌(わか)    waka; tanka; classic Japanese poem 31-syllable

歌集(かしゅう)    a collection of tanka [poems]

武将(ぶしょう)        a general; a military commander

詠み人知らず(よみびとしらず)    anonymous ( it is not known who composed
                                               this tanka )

幽霊(ゆうれい)        a ghost

僧(そう)        a Buddhist priest; a bonze

思い(おもい)        an emotion; sentiment

叶わなかった(かなわなかった)    unrequited

執念(しゅうねん)    spite; a deep attachment

毒蛇(どくじゃ)        a poisonous snake

釣鐘(つりがね)        hanging bell in the temple

演出(えんしゅつ)    direction

これを機会に(これをきかいに)        taking this as an opportunity

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