Nō drama

views updated May 17 2018

Nō drama (Jap., nōgaku, nohgaku; ‘skill music’ or ‘skill entertainment’). A highly sophisticated dance, music, dramatic form with important religious connections to all the religions of premodern Japan (from c.14th cent. when most plays in the classical repertoire were written).

Nō attained its classical form through the work of Kanʾami Kiyotsugu (1333–84) and his son, Zeami Motokiyo (1363–1443), who also wrote a number of treatises concerning the art of Nō. Many of Zeami's aesthetic categories and his conception of artistic discipline are linked with Buddhist notions and practices. Plays are roughly classified into five categories: (i) god plays, (ii) warrior plays, (iii) woman plays, (iv) madness plays, and (v) demon plays. The plays are typically dramatizations of pilgrimages or journeys to temples, shrines and other sacred places.

No drama

views updated Jun 11 2018

No drama Form of Japanese theatre that developed between the 12th or 13th and the 15th centuries. It was influenced by Zen, and the actors were originally Buddhist priests. The plots were taken chiefly from Japanese mythology and poetry. With little character or plot development, the No play seeks to convey a moment of experience or insight. It is highly stylized and uses masks, music, dance and song. No was central to the development of Kabuki theatre.