Noh Drama Criticism: Origins And Development - Essay

Masaru Sekine (essay date 1985)

SOURCE: Sekine, Masaru. “The History of Noh.” In Ze-ami and His Theories of Noh Drama, pp. 19-44. Gerrards Cross, England: Colin Smythe, 1985.

[In the following essay, Sekine traces the development of Noh drama, paying special attention to Zeami's interpretations of some of the aspects of the art form.]

The Noh theatre, now six hundred years old, can be studied today not only in its own right but as an introduction to and explanation of Japanese culture in a wider sense. The Noh, with all its emphasis on tradition, repetition, and the temporary, translucent beauty of hana, the supreme aesthetic achievement of this form of drama, can tell us a...

(The entire section is 9542 words.)

Mikiko Ishii (essay date spring 1994)

SOURCE: Ishii, Mikiko. “The Noh Theater: Mirror, Mask, and Madness.” Comparative Drama 28, no. 1 (spring 1994): 43-66.

[In the following essay, Ishii discusses the development of Noh over 600 years, discussing its origins, use of mirror imagery, stagecraft, portrayal of characters, use of masks, and recurrent theme of madness.]

Noh is often misunderstood as a frozen theatrical tradition only, a relic of antiquity, or a suitable subject for a scholarly study of medieval culture in Japan. However, ever since it was first developed and refined as an independent dramatic form it has never ceased to be performed. Unlike the English mystery plays that have been revived...

(The entire section is 9882 words.)