Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Women and Noh : the historical development of Japanese Noh theatre as a masculine art
Author: Aoki, Ryoko
ISNI:       0000 0004 7659 7544
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2014
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Modern Noh performance developed during the Edo period under samurai patronage, and was then further solidified by male performers in the modern era. Although women did participate Noh was created over many centuries mainly by men and it is often therefore said that Noh practice is suitable only for the male physique. The founder of Noh, Zeami (13637-1443?) created Noh, but the Noh practised by Zeami has not been handed down to the present in its original form. Current Noh practice has developed to suit adult men who can perform Noh without significantly changing their voices or physical posture and who do not try to represent characters realistically, particularly women. Modern Noh discourse presents this as a natural development of Noh after Zeami’s time, although the style that supports it was consciously constructed under the Tokugawa and in the modern era. My thesis analyses the reasons for this male-centredness in Noh theatre and its consequences in the context of Japanese Theatre studies. I examine various factors comprising the power structure of Noh society and which exerts control over members and the style of performances. My data includes literature on Noh both ancient and modern, and interviews with contemporary performers, both men and women. The discourse that the influential Noh actor/writer Kanze Hisao (1925-1978) created through his re-interpretation of Zeami’s treatises to suit contemporary practice has had a great impact on modern Noh performers. Professional female Noh performers also try to represent Noh within the discourse in which Noh was constructed during the Edo samurai period and under the influence of modern male actors. Women strive to reach the same level and style as male Noh actors, and consciously do not emphasise their femininity. Finally, I construct a hypothesis about the future possibilities for female Noh performance and performance styles.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available