Actors (especially Trevor) read this, which I just found:Actors may also be present on stage even when they are not actively participating in the stage action. By convention the //waki//, seated at his pillar in front of the chorus, does not see or hear the shite's first entrance scene. In many plays the waki has no actions after the first or second scene of the second act, yet he remains on stage through the play paying no attention to the shite's performance;5 he keeps an expressionless face, sitting as motionless as possible and staring straight ahead. -KatieZeami Motokiyo (c.1363-c.1443)
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Arguably the greatest playwright of Japanese Noh theatre, Zeami’s involvement in the art form began from birth. Zeami’s father, Kan’ami Kiyotsugu (c.1333-c.1384) was a leader of one of the four main theatre in Japan and was considered a tremendous innovator who contributed to the current state of Noh. Kan’ami “emphasized the rhythmic nature of the musical accompaniment, developed greater use of mime acting, and correlated dance and musical elements more closely with a dramatic plot” (Worthen 141). As a child, Zeami began his training by performing small rolls in Kan’ami’s productions and was quickly regarded as a child prodigy. Zeami especially impressed the shogun (military dictator of Japan) Yoshimitsu, and soon after the two became very close friends (and lovers). Zeami’s relationship with Yoshimitsu not only saved Kan’ami’s troupe but also helped his own plays to be produced throughout Japan.
After Kan’ami passed away, Zeami at age twenty took over the leadership role of the troupe and acted as its “resident playwright,” stage director, and his plays’ protagonist (shite) -and it soon became the most influential in Japan. “Kan’ami’s innovations were explored and formalized by Zeami, who wrote or revised more than 100 of the 241 plays that make up the Noh repertoire and described the philosophical, aesthetic, and practical goals of Noh performance in several theoretical essays” (Worthen 141). During the peak of his career Zeami wrote the “Fushi kaden” (c.1418), which was a type of manual for his successors and other theatre practitioners written in order to preserve the high standards of Noh.
Toward the end of his life Zeami was greeted by unfamiliar hardship and sadness. Yoshimitsu, before his sudden death, would soon break ties with Zeami and favor a rival Noh actor. Zeami, after the death of his wife, the marriage of his daughter, and the flight of his son to a secluded monastery, also unexpectedly lost his favorite son and successor Motomasa to illness. In 1434, Zeami (while seventy-two years old) was banished from Kyoto to Sado Island. The government left no written explanation for his banishment. Before his banishment, Zeami was able to pass on the “Fushi kaden” and other manuscripts to his son-in-law. It is unknown when, where, and how Zeami died, but it is assumed that he died of natural causes on Sado Island when he was eighty-one years old.



Why This Play Then?
Zeami’s possible inspiration for writing “Lady Han”
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Ban Jieyu (or Pan Cheih-yu; in Japanese Han Shoyo)
Ban Jieyu was a concubine of Chinese Emperor Cheng (Emperor Ch’eng Ti of the Han Dynasty) in the late first century B.C.E. Her name is actually a pseudonym meaning “Lady of Handsome Fairness,” – this was the highest rank of concubine; her real name was never known). Ban Jieyu was a literate and smart woman of letters. She gave the emperor two sons, yet both died a few months after they were born. Emperor Cheng soon became enamored by other women and promoted some of them to the same position that Ban Jieyu held, and soon after she began to fall out of favor with the Emperor. Soon after, one of the newly promoted women accused Ban Jieyu of practicing witchcraft and an inquisition followed. Emperor Cheng, however, upheld Ban Jieyu’s protest over the accusation and rewarded her with gold. Ban Jieyu realized that she was in danger as long as she was in the Emperor’s palace, and thus she reluctantly decided to offer her services in another palace. Ban Jieyu felt that Emperor Cheng had abandoned her and left her to dwell in sadness in a deserted palace. After Emperor Cheng died, however, Ban Jieyu tragically, yet faithfully served at his imperial tomb until she too passed. She did not receive a royal burial and instead was laid to rest in a community cemetery.
Self-Commiseration, arguably Ban Jieyu’s best poem speaks of her virtue and her sadness after being abandoned:
Newly cut white silk,
Clear and pure as frost and snow.
Made into a fan for joyous trysts,
Round as the bright moon.
In and out of my lord’s cherished sleeve,
Waved back and forth to make a light breeze.
Often I fear the arrival of the autumn season,
Cool winds overcoming the summer heat.
Discarded into a box,
Affection cut off before fulfillment.
[In the poem] Ban Jieyu comapes herself to an autumn fan discarded after the summer heat. The expression ‘autumn fan’ came to mean a discarded lover.”


Zeami on “Flowering”

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“The seed of the flower that blossoms out in all works of art lies in the artist’s soul. Just as the transparent crystal produces fire and water…a superb artist creates a moving work of art out of a landscape within his soul. It is such a person that can be called a vessel. Make numerous things the vessel of the universe, and set it in the spacious, tranquil way of the void. You will then be able to attain the ultimate of art, the Mysterious Flower.”
-Zeami’s Kadensho, explaining the artist’s role
To “flower,” or present the mysteries of the cosmos, noh actors indicated various visual and auditory symbols with their bodies and voices. Two are were involved: music and dance, and three forms: monomane, yugen, and hana.
Monomane: “A thorough personification of a being that one is endeavoring to portray…Here it is the spirit that counts. A mere external imitation of an object would make the result “masterless” while by “feeling it with heart and soul to make it one’s own,” we would have the outcome mastered.
Monomane thus suggested imitation of the essence of an individual. [The actors] sought a balance between portraying a particular individual and communicating the universal essence of that person.
Yugen was what lay beneath the surface symbol. It became synonymous with elegance and gracefulness rather than with its original meaning of lonesomeness. It is an adorning technique to bring the representative movements of monomane to perfection.
Hana, symbolized by flowers, is the spontaneous adaptation of a particular performance for each particular audience. Whereas monomane and yugen were regular and consistent, hana changed.
“…You must understand the reason why they have used the symbol of the flower for hana, As every kind of plant and flower blooms at its proper time in the four seasons, people think it is beautiful because they feel it is blooming as something fresh and rare. In the art of No the point at which the audience feels this freshness and rarity will be the interesting part to them…No flower can remain in bloom forever. It gives pleasure to the eye because it’s bloom has been so long awaited. In the art of No it is the same, and a shite must know first of all that hana is a thing which is constantly changing. To change its style, not always keeping to the same one, will make the audience more interested.”
Monomane, Yugen, and Hana did not tell a story but evoked emotions and moods.
Every movement and intonation followed a specific rule…Symbolic, quintessential actions worked by implication: a simple step became a journey, a lying kimono presented an ill-person, a stab at a hat completed a revenge, a downward glance presented tears, a lifted hand produced weeping, Action was slow and deliberate. Each step and gesture, carefully measured, sought economy of movement and complete restraint. Noh actors understand the symbolism of their actions.


Source: The Making of Theatre History

(Page 1 of 2)
As young men in Noh families opt for secure office jobs, women are stepping in to fill their roles.
When Yoko Layer began her apprenticeship in Japan's venerable world of Noh theater five years ago, she knew she was up against 650 years of male domination. But the tall and tenacious 38-year-old, who trained for years as a Method actor in Tokyo and Seattle, says she has found her way back to her Japanese roots with Noh—despite being a woman. "A few male Noh actors have told me outright that if women are in Noh, it's not Noh theater," she says. "I wanted to ask them, 'Then why do you have so many female students?' But I just kept quiet."
Today there are more women than ever practicing Japan's ancient form of theater. Originally designed for the ruling elite in the Middle Ages, Noh is built on sacred Shinto practices and uses richly brocaded costumes and masks to tell the stories of fallen warriors, heroines, demons, madwomen, and magical deities. The 14th-century lyrical passages are recited in rhythm with highly stylized movements, paced by a penetrating flute, drums, and a resonating chorus of eight. Among the 250 ancient plays still performed, the most famous include Lady Aoi, based on the 11th-century novel The Tale of Genji, and The Feather Mantle, about a celestial dancer.
About 200 women are registered professionals, members of the 30 to 50 patrilineal family troupes that compose the five Noh schools. But unlike most of their 1,200 male Noh colleagues, who debuted on the stage at about 4, many of these women have trained only since their 30s. Their wider acceptance has corresponded largely to the country's faltering economy, beginning in the early 1990s. Noh theater has been plagued by a decline in students and a lack of patronage, and as young men in Noh families have begun to opt for secure office jobs over family tradition, women have stepped in to fill their roles. The move mirrors Japanese women's entry into other traditionally male fields, including politics and train conducting.
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Opportunities for women have followed economic crises and social change throughout Noh's history. During the Edo period (1600–1868), when Noh flourished with the support of the Tokugawa shogunate, women were banned from publicly performing Noh as part of a government crackdown on individual freedom and morality. But during the Meiji Restoration in the late 1800s, when Noh actors were stripped of their patronage, women returned to the stage. Finally, in 1948—newly defeated in World War II and reeling from Western pressures—Japan allowed its first officially recognized professional woman Noh actor, Kimiko Tsumura.
Newsweek Article: October 16, 2009 “Should Women Be Allowed in Japan's Noh Theater?" Noh Go As young men in Noh families opt for secure office jobs, women are stepping in to fill their roles. When Yoko Layer began her apprenticeship in Japan's venerable world of Noh theater five years ago, she knew she was up against 650 years of male domination. But the tall and tenacious 38-year-old, who trained for years as a Method actor in Tokyo and Seattle, says she has found her way back to her Japanese roots with Noh—despite being a woman. "A few male Noh actors have told me outright that if women are in Noh, it's not Noh theater," she says. "I wanted to ask them, 'Then why do you have so many female students?' But I just kept quiet." Today there are more women than ever practicing Japan's ancient form of theater. Originally designed for the ruling elite in the Middle Ages, Noh is built on sacred Shinto practices and uses richly brocaded costumes and masks to tell the stories of fallen warriors, heroines, demons, madwomen, and magical deities. The 14th-century lyrical passages are recited in rhythm with highly stylized movements, paced by a penetrating flute, drums, and a resonating chorus of eight. Among the 250 ancient plays still performed, the most famous include Lady Aoi, based on the 11th-century novel The Tale of Genji, and The Feather Mantle, about a celestial dancer. About 200 women are registered professionals, members of the 30 to 50 patrilineal family troupes that compose the five Noh schools. But unlike most of their 1,200 male Noh colleagues, who debuted on the stage at about 4, many of these women have trained only since their 30s. Their wider acceptance has corresponded largely to the country's faltering economy, beginning in the early 1990s. Noh theater has been plagued by a decline in students and a lack of patronage, and as young men in Noh families have begun to opt for secure office jobs over family tradition, women have stepped in to fill their roles. The move mirrors Japanese women's entry into other traditionally male fields, including politics and train conducting. Opportunities for women have followed economic crises and social change throughout Noh's history. During the Edo period (1600–1868), when Noh flourished with the support of the Tokugawa shogunate, women were banned from publicly performing Noh as part of a government crackdown on individual freedom and morality. But during the Meiji Restoration in the late 1800s, when Noh actors were stripped of their patronage, women returned to the stage. Finally, in 1948—newly defeated in World War II and reeling from Western pressures—Japan allowed its first officially recognized professional woman Noh actor, Kimiko Tsumura. But there is nothing gender--specific about it. Unlike the all-male casts of Kabuki, with actors clearly playing feminine roles, there are very few distinctly feminine and masculine gestures in Noh. Masks and costumes identify the gender. "In Noh, it doesn't matter if men play women's roles or women play men's roles," says Richard Emmert, a prominent American Noh actor and teacher who founded the U.S.-based Theatre Nohgaku. "This is what many people misunderstand about Noh. For women, the chorus is the problem." Singing in the chorus requires a rich, harmonious baritone, which few women can muster. But there is nothing gender--specific about it. Unlike the all-male casts of Kabuki, with actors clearly playing feminine roles, there are very few distinctly feminine and masculine gestures in Noh. Masks and costumes identify the gender. "In Noh, it doesn't matter if men play women's roles or women play men's roles," says Richard Emmert, a prominent American Noh actor and teacher who founded the U.S.-based Theatre Nohgaku. "This is what many people misunderstand about Noh. For women, the chorus is the problem." Singing in the chorus requires a rich, harmonious baritone, which few women can muster. Some women Noh pros are trying to teach them. Professional Noh actor and teacher Youko Yamamura, 61, is well known for her disciplined and successful voice-method training that focuses on controlled breathing. She teaches her students, mostly females ranging in age from 10 to 82, how to create that deep, resonant sound favored in Noh. "You can't turn a violin into a cello," she says. "And in Noh women should not copy men. But they can learn to express themselves in a profound way as a human being." Mika Koyasu, 30, who discovered Yamamura on the Internet in 2007, says her teacher has changed her life. An office worker during the week, Koyasu transforms into an artist during her weekend lessons. "I don't know if I have enough talent to become a professional Noh actor, but I really want to continue training," she says. Lack of opportunity is a powerful obstacle to women Noh practitioners. "It's difficult to improve one's technique if you don't have the chance to perform onstage," says Masako Tomita, 67, a professional Noh actor and a teacher for 35 years. Tomita appears onstage only once or twice during her troupe's yearly performances, while some male actors can appear up to 10 times. Like the men, she has endured years of strenuous dancing, singing, instrumental practice, and egoless devotion within a strict hierarchy. "I've learned to store my strength in my pockets, but I need to keep creating more pockets," she says with a smile.
The question remains how far women can succeed in Noh. Some people think the tradition should change to accommodate women. "Women need to make their own Noh style and design their own plays," says Noh actor and teacher Yasunori Umewaka, 53. "So far, women have been imitating the men's movements, and this has been accepted, but it's still different." Umewaka admits that a women's Noh revolution will take years. Many men and women alike prefer the traditional form, and resistance remains strong. "It's up to women to change this," he says. "It's the only way for them to be truly successful in Noh." Yoko Layer is certainly doing her part. She hopes to use her art to bring comfort to her struggling compatriots. "Japanese are going through a tough time," she says. "There are so many suicides now. If I could combine the egoless Noh style with Western-style Method acting, it could be a powerful healing experience for audiences." Umewaka says Layer may be just the kind of role model that Noh needs. "For women in Noh, a gifted leader needs to emerge," he says. "Perhaps someone like Yoko Layer, who young people can look to and say, 'She's cool.'"


Jo-ha-kyū
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Zeami used Jo-ha-kyū to describe the primary structural principles underlying performance (indicating the full course of a play or a full day’s performance. Jo, literally “preface,” refers to the opening of the play and is generally characterized as smooth and even. Ha means “break” and indicates a change in tone from the jo as well as the main body of development of the play’s theme. Kyū means “fast” and is the play’s finale or climax. Zeami came to see jo-ha-kyū as a universal organizational principle for all things existing in time and applied the term not only to the play as a whole but also to individual songs, spoken passages, and even to the enunciation of individual syllables of a given text. This same concept has been applied to kendo, a Japanese martial art based on sword fighting (jo-ha-kyū dictates the rhythm of an attack: slow, extremely fast, and then abruptly slow, but still forceful).
In Zeami’s opinion, if the kyū is too long, the play probably won’t turn out well. In performance, it is the ha that should last a long while. In the ha, one offers up the full variety of performance, so the kyū usually should be devoted exclusively to the climax.


Shite
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Shite, which means “doer” or “performer,” is often used by Zeami to mean “actor.” In , it has come to mean the central actor in a play, and Zeami sometimes intends it in the latter meaning as well.

Waki

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As Zeami uses the term most commonly, waki is the name for the secondary role in a play. This role is generally that of a priest, wondering through the country to see what he cane see. The waki comes on stage at the beginning of a typical play to announce who he is and to set the scene for the appearance of the main character, the shite. The waki’s interaction with the shite is essential to the play and usually reaches a high point in a dialogue in the later “sections” of the play.


Yūgen
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The word yūgen has a long history in Japanese aesthetics, with antecedents in both Chinese philosophy and religion. In the late twelfth century, yūgen became a central term in poetics, designating a mysterious and dark profundity not apparent on the surface of a poem but crucial to its understanding. Zeami adopts the term first to characterize the aesthetic attractions of rival troupes from Omi seems to use it for an elegant, romantic, formal, and largely visual beauty. He lays a claim on yūgen into the style of his and related to troupes which primarily had been known for dramatic imitation (monomane).



Ai-Kyōgen
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An ai-kyōgen is an actor or, alternatively, a part of a performance performed by the actor. If the latter, ai-kyōgen refers to the text and performance during the interval between the first and second acts [in our case, before the first act] of a typical play. During the interval, the shite leaves the stage and, usually in dialogue with the waki, explains the circumstances leading to the appearance of the shite in the first act of the play. The ai-kyōgen actor sometimes recounts the events of the first act of the play and sometimes recounts the events of the play and sometimes delivers a narrative explaining why the shite has appeared. He deliver his lines in a variety of medieval Japanese that is more colloquial than the language typically used by the shite and waki. In some cases, the ai-kyōgen consists of a play within a play, which may be comical. Zeami calls the ai-kyōgen an okashi (comic).


Excerpts from Zeami’s Transmitting the Flower Through Effects and Attitudes (the Fushikaden) 1400-1418
風姿花伝
Zeami’s text consists of seven different books or chapters. The first three discuss training throughout the actor’s life, the roles the actor should have at his command, and questions about how to prevail in competitive performance.

Notes on Training Through the Years
“A beginning in this art comes at about the age of seven. In training at this age, there is always something a child does on hiw own that shows where his talents lie. He should be allowed to follow such natural inclinations, whether they be toward Dancing, Sparring, singing, or just the raw display of energy.



“[At twelve or thirteen] anything he does, since he is a child, will entail yūgen. At this stage, those things the child can do easily should be made the flower of his performance, and the main emphasis should be on his technique. His movements should be exact and his singing understandable syllable by syllable; his basic gestures in the dance should be instilled precisely; and great care should be given to his training.
“[At seventeen and eighteen you will basically undergo puberty and lose all of your dramatic and physical charms, which will be quite disheartening. Just don’t worry about it too much; it’ll pass].
“[At twenty-four to twenty-five] people may be excessive with praise, and you might mistake yourself for a fully accomplished actor. This is very dangerous. Your achievement at this time is not the true flower. It is a flower born of youth and the freshness that spectators see in you. Someone with a discriminating eye will recognize this fact…Should you mistake this temporary flower for the true flower, you will fall even further from that real flower…If you overestimate your level of achievement, even the flower once attained will wilt away. Take care to understand this well.
“[At thirty-four to thirty-five] your ability to perform is at its highest peak at about this time…By this time, if you should fail to gain the recognition of the powerful and remain unsatisfied with your portion of fame, then no matter how expert you may be, you should realize that you have not yet reached the fullest flowering of your art….This is the time for you to take account of what you have learned in the past and to set some guidelines for your direction in the future.
“[At forty-four to forty-five] Even if you have achieved the recognition of the powerful and become enlightened to a serious understanding of the art, all the same you had better find yourself a good waki…[because of your old age] don’t break your neck—and let the waki show off the flower of his performance, holding back your own so as to support and harmonize with his.
“[At fifty and beyond…] my father passed away… when he was fifty-two years old, but on the fourth of that month [that he died] he offered a performance…that was particularly beautiful and was appreciated by high and low alike. Because he had attained the authentic flower, it held fast in his performance without scattering, even until the tree was old and the branches few. To my eyes, this is proof that the flower remains in his old bones.”

On Dramatic Imitation
The Woman
“…As for the look of a “madwoman,” she should hold a fan or a branch of leaves or flowers ever so gently. She is to wear her robe and trousers very long, even stepping on them, and her bearing should be gentle. Moreover, her face won’t look good if she directs her gaze upward, but if she looks down, that will detract from her appearance from the back. If she holds her head up straight, it is unfeminine.”
The Role Without A Mask
There’s hardly reason to expect that you should physically resemble every such character, but nonetheless some people try to do a facial impression of the character, altering their own features to that end. This is not at all worth watching. You should imitate the general movements and carriage of the character in question. You should make no attempt to imitate the facial expression of that character but to maintain your own expression.”
The Deranged
These characters afford the most consistently interesting performances in our vocation. Since there are many types of derangement, anyone who aims to master the vocation should exhibit versatility. This problem demands long and hard consideration.
“Of greatest difficulty are those whose derangement has been caused by separation from a parent or because of the search for a lost child, by being abandoned by a husband or left behind as a widower. If a good actor fails to distinguish the mental state of one from another but simply reacts with a uniform derangement, he will not create excitement among the spectators. If it’s a question of derangement on account of anxiety, then that anxiety should be the primary aim of your portrayal, and you should think of the derangement as a flower; when you then throw yourself into the derangement, it will be sure to create excitement in the audience and much interest in the performance.
“There is, of course, no question that you should dress appropriately for the performance of a deranged role. But since the role is, after all, of someone with deranged sensibilities, you may demonstrate this conspicuously in your dress, in accordance with time.
“There is something else you should be aware of, even when performing the role of a deranged person…Unless you reflect the derangement in your facial expression, it won’t be persuasive. But if you contort your face without the skill of the master performer, certain parts of the performance will be unsightly. Indeed, you could say that this is one of the ultimate achievements of dramatic imitation.”
“On knowing the flower of secrecy: When you keep it secret, it’s the flower. Unless you keep it secret, it cannot be the flower… For instance, if everyone knew the flower is merely what is fresh, as these oral instructions explain, then, before an audience of people who would be expecting to see something fresh, even if you were to perform something fresh, they would not likely perceive it in their minds as particularly fresh and exciting. It becomes the flower for the actor precisely because the viewers do not know that it is the flower. Instead, the viewers just see the actor and think that he is surprisingly interesting, and the fact that they are not conscious of this as the flower in itself becomes the actor’s flower. To just this extent, then, the plan to evoke the unexpected excitement in people’s minds—this is the flower.


Source: "Zeami, Performance Notes" Translated by Thomas Hare


Glossary
Proprietress: (or Okami, Japanese for “wolf,” implies a kimono-dressed woman who controls a large enterprise) An inn’s proprietress is always a woman. She expects her female employees to be not only able to properly serve guests, but also to learn the skills of the tea ceremony. “The challenges of the job are clearly understood and appreciated by the proprietress. She knows that her workers commonly have sad marriages and suffer various misfortunes. It is often said that the female workers at an inn have dark pasts. Otherwise, why would they seek such work?” The proprietress, before every evening, will personally assign each worker to a group of guests. The proprietress and her inn would thus accrue money by charging the guests for the services her yujo agreed to provide. “Women’s work is also more complicated, because they have to work as a team. One person’s mistake will affect the others, and the guests’ complaints can lead to conflict within the group. How the women perform relates directly to the reputation of the inn’s service…”
“The mastery and sophistication of the workers and proprietress in the art of sincere hospitality are often referred to as being filled with heart, spirit, will, or mind. This concept is central to the Japanese sense of self.”

Yujo: (also known as asobi) are young female workers who work in inns. “There is a tale among several in Buddhist literature of the 13th and 14th centuries that depict asobi as penitents seeking Buddha’s mercy.” Yujo were seen as both pleasureful entertainers and dangerous threats to an ordered patriarchal society.
“Observers of recent times as well as of the past have wrestled with the problems of distinguishing ‘prostitutes’ from the casually promiscuous, from ‘courtesans’ who might not have offered sex indiscriminately or for direct payment.” While sex was not commercialized in 14th century Japan, it was not uncommon for sex to be solicited by asobi to guests who asked for or demanded it. In Japan there as well existed a gift/barter system of economy that still had not yet been phased out. Thus it was very common for prostitutes to receive gifts, rather than cash, from sexual partners. There are also many theories that asobi were descendents of or were actual sacred shamans that possessed magical powers.”
“Compared to medieval Christian censure of prostitution, this Buddhist criticism of the asobi’s sexual activities seemed fairly mild. Only a few texts branded the women as deliberate wrongdoers, and rather than focusing on the sex trade as a degraded occupation, most argued that the asobi themselves must be suffering and offered particular religious solutions for their pain.” Some asobi took vows to become nuns so as to achieve rebirth and paradise. Thus, since Buddhists regarded prostitution as forgivable, the government did very little to outlaw it.

Nogami in Sekigahara-cho, Fuwa-gun, Gifu Prefecture: (prefectures are like states –Japan has 47 of them). Fuwa-gun is a district (U.S. equivalent to a county). Sekigahara-cho is a town (township equivalent). Nogami is the village within Sekigahara-cho. The entire prefecture is located in Chubu, which is the central region of Japan’s Honshu Island (pictured below, shaded).
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Shimogamo Shrine: is an important Shinto sanctuary in Kyoto. It is one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan. Overview: “Located on the southern banks of the Kamo river, Kamomioya-jinja both reflects and inspires Kyoto City. Even its common name is a product of the city. “Shimo-,” meaning lower, and “-gamo,” after the city’s central river, yields the familiar Shimogamo. The creator and guardian of the city, Kamotaketsunomi-no-mikoto, is enshrined in the main sanctuary of the shrine, along his daughter Tamayorihime-no-mikoto, a mythical figure with her own repute. Together these deities welcome and protect all who visit the shrine, from Kyoto and beyond.” Myth: “The ancestor of the Kamo clan, Kamotaketsunomi-no-mikoto, is said to have descended to earth on the grounds of Mt. Mikage, a mountain east of Kyoto. According to Shinto beliefs, this god metamorphosed into the three-legged deity of the sun, Yatagarasu. In this form, he led the legendary first emperor of Japan, Jimmu, throughout the Kyoto countryside and finally settled at the future site of the Shimogamo shrine. This great god’s daughter, Tamayorihime-no-mikoto, attended to her ritual duties on the shrine grounds. One day while purifying her body in the Kamo river, she saw an arrow floating downstream. Unknowingly, she picked up the arrow, placed it on the shore, which before her eyes turned into a beautiful god. Shocked and smitten, she married the god and begot a child. Her son took on another avatar of the Shinto arrow, as the thunder god. Worshipped at Shimogamo’s sister shrine, Kamigamo, the thunder god Wakeikazuchi is said to have all the power of thunder when it impregnates the land with life. His mother’s legacy is therefore one of productive marriage and parenting.”


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Tadasu no-mori:This lush, green mori or forest is a hallmark of Shimogamo shrine. Its name is so ancient that its history is uncertain; Tadasu may mean either delta or justice. The forest is situated at the river delta, promoting its verdant growth. Yet this forested delta is more than the mere crossroads of rivers. Its neighbors are said to have come to the forest to adjudicate their own conflicts in a system of community justice. Perhaps the name Tadasu is a double-entendre meant to encompass both possibilities. Its trees have been famous throughout the shrine’s history. The delicate flowers of the plum trees and the aromatic blossoms of the cherry trees have inspired many visitors. The acclaimed artist Korin Ogata (1658-1716) immortalized the plum trees in his folding screen Red and White Plum Flowers, now a national treasure. The most famous cherry tree is a specimen of Yama-zakura, or mountain cherry tree, that stands in front of the vermillion gate of the forest. The forest today spans over 12 hectares and is well protected by both national and international measures. The Tadasu-no-mori Foundation protects this natural environment and educates community members about the forest on April 29th, Green Day in Japan. It is a National Historic site, a Natural Heritage site, and a U.N. World Cultural Heritage site of its own right.”

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Mitarishi Brook: (also known as Mitarashi River) it weaves around the Shimogamo Shrine. “On the Day of the Ox (18 days before the first day of autumn), the Mitarashi Pond becomes the stage for a ritual uses the river’s ‘powers’ to protect visitors from disease and disasters.”
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Mount Fuji: “Mount Fuji (Fujisan) is with 3776 meters Japan's highest mountain. It is not surprising that the nearly perfectly shaped volcano has been worshipped as a sacred mountain and experienced big popularity among artists and common people. Mount Fuji is a dormant volcano, which most recently erupted in 1708. Note however, that clouds and poor visibility often block the view of Mount Fuji, and you have to consider yourself lucky if you get a clear view of the mountain. Visibility tends to be better during the colder seasons of the year than in summer, and in the early morning and late evening hours.”
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Shirakawa Barrier: (Shirakawa no seki) is situated in a park to the south of the city, and is believed to be the site of the ancient barrier between the unconquered north and the capital region of Kanto to the south.
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Kasuga Moor: Based on the translation, it is unclear which “Kasuga” is being referred to here. Most likely, Kasuga was a small village that neighbored Nogami, in Mino Province.

Ashigara, Hakone, Tamatsushima: The deities (Shinto) are the incarnations of Buddhist divinities. These gods were all associated with preserving the ties between men and women.

Kibune and Miwa: two of the twenty-two Shinto shrines ranked highest by the Imperial government. They were partially chosen due to their proximity to the capital of Kyoto. Both Kibune and Miwa are located on mountains north of Kyoto. The Kibune shrine, which is 1500 years old, is pictured below:
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Palanquin:
Martin Clunes http://www.amazon.com/Martin-Clunes-From-Doctor-Who-ebook/dp/B00A5FEFHY
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