Japanese Plays: Classic Noh, Kyogen and Kabuki Works (Tuttle Classics)

Japanese Plays: Classic Noh, Kyogen and Kabuki Works (Tuttle Classics)

A.L. Sadler

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 4805310731

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Classic Noh, Kyogen and Kabuki Works

Nothing reflects the beauty of life as much as Japanese theater. It is here that reality is held suspended and emptiness can fill the mind through words, music, dance, and mysticism. A.L. Sadler translates the mysteries of Noh, Kyogen, and Kabuki in his groundbreaking book, Japanese Plays. A seminal classic in its time, it provides a cross section of Japanese theater that gives the reader a sampler of its beauty and power.

  • The power of Noh is in its ability to create an iconic world that represents the attributes that the Japanese hold in highest esteem: family, patriotism, and honor.
  • Kyogen plays provide comic relief often times performed between the serious and stoic Noh plays. Similarly, Sadler's translated Kyogen pieces are layered between the Noh and the Kabuki plays.
  • The Kabuki plays were the theater of the common people of Japan. The course of time has given them the patina of folk art making them precious cultural relics of Japan. Sadler selected these pieces for translation because of their lighter subject matter and relatively upbeat endings—ideal for a western readership. More linear in their telling and pedestrian in the lessons learned these plays show the difficulties of being in love when a society is bent on conformity and paternal rule.

The end result found in Japanese Plays is a wonderful selection of classic Japanese dramatic literature sure to enlighten and delight.

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Brian Friel: Plays 1














carry weapons for taking life. SAKON: Oh, and does Buddha dislike taking life? PRIEST: Why, of course he does. SAKON: Well, explain the matter to me then. PRIEST: Certainly. Recluses must observe the five prohibitions: of taking life, of stealing, of impurity, of lying, and of drinking intoxicants, and of these Buddha particularly emphasized the first. SAKON: Look here, priest. Your head may be shaven, but there is a lot you don’t know. There are texts that allow taking life. For instance,

something to say to him. TARO: I will, sir. Hi! Hi! Jiro Kwaja! JIRO: What now? Am I called? TARO: Yes; come at once! JIRO: At your service, sir. MASTER: Today I am going out, so I want you to look well after everything at home. JIRO: Indeed I will. We both will see that everything is safe. MASTER: No, no! Today—I have my reasons for it—I want you to stay in that inner room alone, and there keep watch. JIRO: I don’t quite understand. Were it not better if we both looked after things

an inclination of his body. Hands it to the headman.) JUICHIBEI: This too will not be needed by His Excellency. FIRST DRUM-MAKER: Oh, dear. Well, it can’t be helped, I suppose. (Takes his drum from the headman with a rueful look.) KEMMOTSU: Is that all? We must have submitted nearly a hundred drums for His Excellency’s inspection. JUICHIBEI: No, Your Honor. The two apprentices of Abo Kambei, Sannosuke and Sutezō, have still to come. KEMMOTSU: Well, where are they? Let us see their work.

came to the Kurahashi River with the two boxes in my hand, a disgraceful thought came into my mind and I slipped into the hut by the ferry and there, in the half darkness, I hurriedly changed the drums, and so I handed them to His Excellency. And all I did by this wretched fraud was to punish myself, for so I reversed the kindness that Sutezō meant to do me and put the drums just as they were in the first place. But Sutezō of course knew nothing of this and thought the one in the white box was

You’ll consent then, won’t you? RAIZAN: “Why surely it is the samurai who came before. KO-FUJI: And how differently he speaks now. ARIMURA: You may well think it strange, but I quite realize now that my conduct of a while ago was really outrageous. And if Raizan Dono had not been so kind as to stop me I should have certainly cut Ko-fuji down and then had to expiate it by cutting myself open. The life of a samurai is not his own. He must be ready at any moment to sacrifice it for his lord if

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