The Nō Plays of Japan


Read by Expatriate

Noh (Nō), or Nogaku—derived from the Sino-Japanese word for "skill" or "talent"—is a major form of classical Japanese musical drama that has been performed since the 14th century. Developed by Kan'ami and his son Zeami, it is the oldest major theatre art still regularly performed today. Traditionally, a Noh program includes five Noh plays with comedic kyōgen plays in between, even though an abbreviated program of two Noh plays and one kyōgen piece has become common in Noh presentations today. An okina play may be presented in the very beginning, especially during New Year celebrations, holidays, and other special occasions. Noh is often based on tales from traditional literature with a supernatural being transformed into human form as a hero narrating a story. Noh integrates masks, costumes and various props in a dance-based performance, requiring highly trained actors and musicians. Emotions are primarily conveyed by stylized conventional gestures while the iconic masks represent the roles such as ghosts, women, children, and old people. Written in ancient Japanese, the text "vividly describes the ordinary people of the twelfth to sixteenth centuries." These translations are done by renowned scholar Arthur Waley, a remarkable self-taught master of both Chinese and Japanese, who is often regarded as the most important transmitter of East Asian culture to the West in history. - Summary by Wikipedia (edited by Expatriate) (5 hr 49 min)

Chapters

Introductory Notes 36:52 Read by Expatriate
1.1 Atsumori (Seami) 13:02 Read by Expatriate
1.2 Ikuta (Zembō Motoyasu) 8:58 Read by Expatriate
1.3 Tsunemasa (Seami) 8:19 Read by Expatriate
2.1 Kumasaka (Zenchiku Ujinobu) 13:59 Read by Expatriate
2.2 Eboshi-ori (Miyamasu) 17:34 Read by Expatriate
2.3 Benkei on the Bridge (Hiyoshi Yasukiyo) 8:05 Read by Expatriate
3.1 Kagekiyo (Seami) 14:40 Read by Expatriate
3.2 Hachi No Ki (Seami) 18:34 Read by Expatriate
3.3 Sotoba Komachi (Kwanami) 15:02 Read by Expatriate
4.1 Ukai the Cormorant-Fisher (Enami no Sayemon) 9:58 Read by Expatriate
4.2 Aya no Tsuzumi (Seami?) 10:18 Read by Expatriate
4.3 Princess Hollyhock (Zenchiku Ujinobu?) 14:52 Read by Expatriate
5.1 Kantan (Seami?) 14:44 Read by Expatriate
5.2 The Hōka Priests (Zenchiku Ujinobu) 14:48 Read by Expatriate
5.3 Hagoromo (Seami) 12:26 Read by Expatriate
6.1 Tanikō (Zenchiku) 8:38 Read by Expatriate
6.2 The Pool Sacrifice (Seami) 8:55 Read by Expatriate
6.3 Early Snow (Zembō Motoyasu) 5:09 Read by Expatriate
6.4 Haku Rakuten (Seami) 13:40 Read by Expatriate
7.1 Summaries, Pt. 1 14:16 Read by Expatriate
7.2 Shunkwan (Seami) 11:09 Read by Expatriate
7.3 Summaries, Pt. 2 13:43 Read by Expatriate
7.4 Summaries, Pt. 3 12:52 Read by Expatriate
8.1 Farce: The Bird-Catcher in Hell (Esashi Jūō) 5:45 Read by Expatriate
Appendices 22:50 Read by Expatriate