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No and Kyogen in the Contemporary World

James R. Brandon

Publication Year: 1997

How do classical, highly codified theatre arts retain the interest of today's audiences and how do they grow and respond to their changing circumstances? The eight essays presented here examine the contemporary relevance and significance of the "classic" No and Kyogen theatre to Japan and the West. They explore the theatrical experience from many perspectives--those of theatre, music, dance, art, literature, linguistics, philosophy, religion, history and sociology.

Published by: University of Hawai'i Press

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pp. vii-viii

This book contains selected essays originally presented at the international conference, “ and Kyògen in the Contemporary World,” held on the Mânoa campus of the University of Hawai‘i, from 4 to 6 May 1989, and interviews with two master actors of Japanese theater, one a specialist in , the other an expert in kyògen. One of the special...

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pp. ix-x

The phrase “the world of ” has often been invoked to denote a closed and sometimes exclusive domain. However, in this book it connotes quite the opposite. The conference on from which this collection of essays comes was an extraordinary occasion. It brought together an international and multilingual group of scholars, practitioners, and...

PART I: Values of and Kyōgen in Contemporary Society

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pp. 3-18

The simultaneous processes whereby performing arts preserve their current nature while at the same time they adapt to altering circumstances were basic to this conference. Participants in the conference provided provocative ways of viewing the creativity of Japan’s classic theater as well as considering how received knowledge has been...

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Expanding Nō’s Horizons: Considerations for a New Perspective

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pp. 19-35

Japanese often speak of as having been “perfected” or “consummated” (kansei sareta) by Kan’ami Kiyotsugu and Zeami Motokiyo. For some reason, perhaps due to prejudice in my own Western cultural upbringing, I always find this expression slightly disagreeable. It seems to suggest that there is no need for new developments or new...

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Yūgen after Zeami

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pp. 36-64

Of all the aesthetic ideals associated with , surely yûgen is the most widely recognized and admired by contemporary critics and students. However, a careful reading of Zeami’s treatises reveals relatively few passages that directly address or define yûgen. It has been left to scholars to piece together the evidence, and to audiences to savor...

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The Waki-Shite Relationship in

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pp. 65-89

One of the first things one learns about n

PART II: Adaptation of and Kyōgen to Contemporary Audiences

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pp. 93-110

The essays in Part II consider certain aspects of the adaptations that have occurred over the centuries in the art of nò-kyògen. In his essay, Nagao Kazuo interprets the long history of as a series of “misunderstandings” or “misconceptions” (gokai) whereby performers attempted to recover an unknown (and unknowable) past. Misunderstanding of...

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A Return to Essence through Misconception: From Zeami to Hisao

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pp. 111-124

Japan has two major forms of classical theaters— and kabuki. is a theater of medieval Japan and roughly corresponds to the Muromachi period (1338–1574) while kabuki is a theater of the Edo period (1603–1868). Although they share some similarities, these two theater forms are in most respects quite different from each other. One...

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pp. 125-141

With a body of detailed dramaturgical literature, a well-established and canonical repertory, and a carefully pedigreed community of acting families, all dating back to the fifteenth century, n

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Dialogue and Monologue in

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pp. 142-153

With an inundation of decorative speech, Oscar Wilde’s end-of-the-century play Salome exalts functional aestheticism. Within this play, the heroine Salome dances the famous dance of seven veils and in Richard Strauss’ opera Salome (1907), she does the same. Nonetheless, one does not say the actress or the singer is “dancing” the part of...

PART III: Encounters with the West

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pp. 157-171

The previous essays and discussions clearly show that throughout the history of and kyògen, performers and producers have never considered their arts to be static or isolated from the world around them. The tastes and interests of successive generations of Japanese patrons and audiences—clergy, samurai, and commoner—encouraged, indeed...

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Experiments in Kyōgen

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pp. 173-182

It is impossible for a ky

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Contemporary Audiences and the Pilgrimage to

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pp. 183-201

In terms of both national and international significance, the n

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Teaching the Paradox of

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pp. 202-209

Why I left my country and my work to teach n

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Pidgin-Creole Performance Experiment and the Emerging Entre-Garde

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pp. 210-242

These thoughts are based on over a decade of experience as a theater student, director, and producer in Japan. It is a subjective assessment stemming from a personal confrontation with the issue: How can non- Japanese artists genuinely, deeply comprehend and utilize the great power and beauty of Japanese n


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pp. 243-249

E-ISBN-13: 9780824863753
Print-ISBN-13: 9780824818104

Publication Year: 1997

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Subject Headings

  • Kyōgen -- Congresses.
  • Nō -- Congresses.
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