Zeami Motokiyo (世阿弥 元清; c. 1363 – c. 1443), also called Kanze Motokiyo (観世 元清), was a Japanese aesthetician, actor and playwright.

Acting Edit

Zeami was educated by his father, Kan'ami, who was also an actor. The father-son team established the Noh theatre. When Kan'ami's company performed for Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the Shogun of Japan, he asked for Zeami to have a court education in the arts. The Shogun took the boy as his lover, in the shudo tradition, in 1374.

After Zeami succeeded his father, he continued to perform and adapt his style into what is today Noh - a mixture of pantomime and vocal acrobatics.

Writing Edit

Scholars attribute nearly 50 plays to Zeami. Among them are the works Izutsu, Hagoromo (The Feather Mantle), Koi no omoni (The Load of Love).

In addition to writing plays and his major theoretical work, Fūshi kaden (風姿花伝)—also known as Kadensho (花伝書)—,[1] Zeami also wrote practical instructions for actors and established the Noh theatre as a serious art form. His books are not only instructions but also aesthetic treatises based on the spiritual culture of Japan.

Further reading Edit

Notes Edit

  1. The title of this book can be roughly translated as “Floral Message: How Does the Wind Look?”. The connotation is that you need to have sophisticated (flowery) skills, but the technique must not be ostentatious (they must be transparent).
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