This week, we trace the evolution of Noh theater over the course of the careers of its famous founders: the father-son acting duo Kan’ami and Zeami.

Sources

Varley, Paul H. “Cultural Life in Medieval Japan” in The Cambridge History of Japan, Vol 3: Medieval Japan

Fenollosa, Ernest, and Ezra Pound. The Noh Theater of Japan.

Kuritz, Paul. The Making of Theater History.

A Japan Times article on women in Noh theater.

Media

The video below gives you some sense of what a performance looks like, and what kusemai dance in particular is. The whole channel has some good stuff too.

A noh stage in Tenjin Shrine inside Miyajima Shrine on Itsukushima. The stage dates back to the mid-1500s and was constructed by the patronage of a warlord of the Mori clan.

A modern Noh stage.

The pre-performance dedication ceremony for a Noh play being performed at Kasuga Shrine in Nara.

A performance of the play Atsumori at the University of British Columbia. I believe the character on stage is Kumagai Naozane (the shite role).

Three pictures of one mask (of a young woman). This gives you an idea of how expressive the mask is when viewed from different angles.