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Supernatural Beings from Japanese Noh Plays of the Fifth Group

161 Supernatural Beings
Chifumi SHIMAZAKI and Stephen COMEE
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This long-awaited volume presents the fifth and final category of Noh plays, often called kiri-nō, or “ending Noh,” because they are staged last in a formal performance. This group comprises fifty of the most active and exciting of all plays in the Noh repertoire. The shite include deities, ghosts, or living humans, as well as a plethora of supernatural beings such as tengu (strange long-nosed creatures), monstrous creatures, demons, and fiends. The fifth-group Noh with such shite are all supernatural or visional. None of them is totally realistic. These ghosts, deities, and monsters sometimes appear to attack men, sometimes to help them, and sometimes just to tell their stories. Dividing the plays into seven subgroups according to structure, the authors fully analyze their dramatic characteristics. The book includes line-by-line translations of eight Noh representing all of the subgroups, together with the Romanized original Japanese texts, detailed introductions, and running commentaries. | 410 pages 


  • Prefaces & Acknowledgments
  • Notes on the Pronunciation of Noh Language
  • Plan of a Noh Stage
  • Introduction to Fifth-Group Noh
  • The Plays
  • Kuzu
  • Matsuyama Tengu
  • Kurama Tengu
  • Shōkun
  • Kumasaka
  • Kuruma-zō
  • Nue
  • Adachigahara
  • Appendixes 
  • 1. Fifth-Group Noh Currently in the Repertories of the Five Noh Schools
  • 2. List of Poems Quoted in Fifth-Group Noh

Glossary of Technical Terms | Selected Bibliography | Index 


  • “The great advantage of Shimazaki’s translations is that an English reader now has the wherewithal to begin to decode these beautiful works;... a labor of love and careful scholarship.” —Journal of Asian Studies

  • Chifumi SHIMAZAKI, expert on classical poetry and Genji, was a translator, university lecturer, and script writer who had studied Noh as a performing art under leading Noh actors and musicians for more than fifty years.
  • Stephen COMEE, served as official translator for H.I.H. Prince Takamado, works as special consultant to the Japan Foundation, and has also studied Noh, both as a performing art under leading Noh actors and musicians and as an academic discipline, for almost forty years. He is now a semi-professional Noh actor living near Tokyo and lecturing and performing worldwide, as well as a fully ordained Vajra Master (ajari) in the Shingon sect.

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