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The Noh Ominameshi: A Flower Viewed from Many Directions

118 Ominameshi
Edited by Mae J. SMETHURST, Coedited by Christina LAFFIN
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In an important and unique contribution to the study of noh, this volume includes, for the first time, essays on the subject of one noh play written by scholars from both sides of the Pacific Ocean in their own language, Japanese or English (with a summary of each contribution translated into the other language also included). The essays show some of the breadth and depth that is available for the study of Japanese literature and drama both in Japan and abroad. Japanese scholars Amano Fumio, Nishino Haruo, Takemoto Mikio, and Wakita Haruko join with actor Uzawa Hisa and American scholars Monica Bethe, Steven Brown, Susan Klein, William LaFleur, Susan Matisoff, Carolyn Morley, Mae Smethurst, and Arthur Thornhill, to interpret the noh Ominameshi, all from the vantage point of their own analytical approaches. The intent is to provide the reader with more than just an introduction to the variety of ways of studying noh in general by focusing on one particular play and analyzing it closely and from many directions.

The volume includes a preface and introduction plus 19 color and 4 black-and-white illustrations; one less literal and one more literal translation of the noh accompanied by the Japanese texts; and contributions interpreting Ominameshi in the light of medieval commentaries, the ai-kyogen, new historicism, gender studies, legends surrounding the history of the play's setting, the etiology of the graves of the two principal characters, poetic usage, other plays on the subject of ominameshi, the religious background and meaning, authorship, structure, performance, costumes and masks.  The volume concludes with reflections on the performance of the play by Uzawa Hisa in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during the conference out of which the book developed. | 362 pages  


  • Illustrations and Photo Reproductions
  • Contributors
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction by Mae J. Smethurst
  • Translations of Ominameshi: Translation of Ito Masayoshi's edition of Ominameshi by Steven T. Brown Translation of Sanari Kentaro's edition of Ominameshi by Mae J. Smethurst

Articles in English and Japanese followed by Summaries in Japanese and English, respectively:

  • Turning Damsel Flowers to Lotus Blossoms: Ominameshi and Medieval Commentaries by Susan Blakeley Klein
  • A Woman's Journey Through Hell: Ominameshi Seen from the Perspective of the Kyogen Interlude by Carolyn A. Morley
  • Ominameshi and the Politics of Subjection by Steven T. Brown
  • The Foundations of Ominameshi Legend and the Noh Ominameshi by Wakita Haruko
  • Vegetation from Hell: Blossoms, Sex, Leaves, and Blades by William R. LaFleur
  • Flowering in Wild Profusion: Ominameshi in the Context of Other Plays by Susan Matisoff
  • The Tempered Light of Hachiman: Wako Dojin in Ominameshi by Arthur H. Thornhill III
  • Was the Author of Ominameshi Komparu Zenchiku? by Nishino Haruo
  • Ominameshi, a Reading: Toward an Understanding of the Author's Intent by Amano Fumio
  • The Utai in the Fourth Section of Ominameshi by Takemoto Mikio
  • Ominameshi and Considerations of Costume and Mask by Monica Bethe
  • Reflections on Participating in the 1997 Ominameshi Conferences by Uzawa Hisa
  • Appendix: Ito Masayoshi, ed. Ominameshi
  • Appendix: Sanari Kentaro, ed. Ominameshi
  • Index

  • MAE J. SMETHURST is Professor of Classics and East Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh.
  • Christina LAFFIN is Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Premodern Japanese Literature and Culture at the University of British Columbia.

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