Attire for Noh Play

This time, I'd like to write about Noh Shozoku (能装束), the attire for Noh (能, a form of classical Japanese musical drama) play.

In the era of Kan ami and his son Ze ami (観阿弥・世阿弥, the frontier of Noh play in the Muromachi period), simple daily clothes were used for the play and there was nothing gorgeous about it. However, as time goes by, Noh Shozoku became gradually deluxe and showy, and has reached the level of Japanese traditional craft work today.

In old times, Noh was regarded as must knowledge and skill for Samurai (侍) soldiers. It is said that many Daimyo (大名, feudal lords) collected many luxurious Noh Shozoku spending a lot of money, in order to show their loyalty to the Tokugawa shogunate (徳川幕府) that they do not save their assets for Muhon (謀反, a rebellion).

In the Noh play, each actor's attire makes distinction between male, female, saint, ogress, elderly person, Samurai, and Ryujin (竜神, a dragon god). In addition, Noh actors play roles other than human, such as ghosts or evil splits, by putting on masks called Noh men (能面).

Even among Japanese, many of us have no experience of viewing Noh play, and hesitate to try. However, if you are a kimono lover, you'll realize that the beauty of Noh Shozoku is so entrancing. In fact, Noh shozoku is referred to as a great compilation of Japanese Monyo (文様, a traditional pattern) since there are so many kinds of Monyo woven or dyed on Noh Shozoku fabrics.

Why don't you try viewing Noh play and pay attention to the attire? That's a privilege for us, Kimono lover ladies.

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