NO : The Classical Theatre of Japan by Donald Keene with photographs by Kaneko Hiroshi and an introduction by Ishikawa Jun
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Tokyo, Japan ; Kodansha International Ltd., 1966. First edition. Hardcover. 311 pages ; illustrated ; 34 cm. Very good copy; no underlines or markings within the pages. Satisfaction guaranteed!
''The purpose of No is not to divert on the surface but to move profoundly and ultimately, to transcend the particular and touch the very springs of human emotions." (Donald Keene)
IN KEEPING with the spirit of Nö drama itself, this book is designed to present not a superficial scanning of its subject but a penetrating, comprehensive look into every important aspect ofJapan's classical theatre. The text is by Donald Keene, who, through his brilliant scholarship and numerous publications, has already made an outstanding contribution in introducing to the Western world the literature and theatre arts of Japan. Here he presents the most comprehensive account ofNö ever to appear, fascinating treatment of its history, its literary content, its music and dance, as well as a valuable critique on the aesthetic ideals of Nö—in short, all the information and background necessary for our appreciation of this ancient, yet timeless, drama. Also discussed and illustrated are Kyögen, the comic farces which intersperse the solemn, dignified Nö plays.
Kaneko Hiroshi, who has captured in hundreds of photographs the haunting beauty and mood of Nö, was not allowed the luxury of special lighting effects, posed scenes, or "retakes": the Nö drama reveals its inner power and pathos only when performed before an audience, on the unique stage that was created for its presentation. Certain of the priceless masks shown on these pages had rarely been photographed, and it is possible that permission will not be granted again, so sensitive are their ancient colors to light and temperature. In addition to scenes from the major Nö and Kyogen plays, Mr. Kaneko's photographs exhibit details of the stage, props, musical instruments, and magnificent costumes that are part of this impressive dramatic form.
That Nö has a universal appeal is evidenced by the interest it continues to gain outside Japan. As noted in the introduction by Ishikawa Jun, one ofJapan's leading novelists: "National frontiers never divide a Nö audience, and distinctions of East and West cannot exist in the hearts of those witnessing the art.