The structure of nô as a theatrical art as well as its aesthetic character have been analyzed in a variety of ways. However, most of these analyses have lacked a certain perspective regarding the essence of nô as written by Zeami – in other words, the character of all nô plays, as represented by his works. What was missing was an un- derstanding of nô as poetic drama.
Poetic drama in this case refers to a form of theater almost indifferent to the idea of representing the world by depicting the opposition of individuals (or individuals against society) or the conflict within a human being. It is a drama based on a particular world- view through which the playwright realizes his vision on stage. Nô is an integration of the literary, aesthetic, philosophic and religious trends in the theatrical arts during the time of its earliest formation, in Zeami’s lifetime (1363?-1443?).
This paper attempts to read into Tôru, a work that represents Zeami’s aesthetic sensibilities, from such a standpoint. What becomes evident from such analysis is that Tôru, while based on the apparently simple emotion of nostalgia, incorporates a variety of ideas within it to realize its meaning as a “poetic world” on stage. Current nô research needs, in this author’s opinion, this kind of dramatic analysis based on a rigorous explication of the text.
The basic proponents of Japanese revenge drama in the Edo period (1603-1868) are examined in terms of Chikamatsu Hanji’s (1725-83) joruri (bunraku) piece: Travel Game while Crossing Iga (Igagoe dochu sugoroku, 1783).The paper treats the following aspects: revenge plays deriving from a masterplot; the status of revenge in this period; the dramatization of revenge; revenge and journeying; stationendrama; a comparison with another play based on the same masterplot, Horse Charge while Crossing Iga (Igagoe norikake gappa, by Nagawa Kamesuke, 1776); revenge and monetary society; the ethics of the merchant class; and expressionism linked with highly melodramatic situations.