The Fusion of Narration and Character Voices in Noh Drama. A Narratological Approach to Zeami’s God Plays and Warrior Plays


  • Akiko Takeuchi Hosei University



Japanese Literature


In medieval Japanese noh theater, narration is chanted on stage and often fuses with characters’ speeches. This paper aims to examine how this fusion affects the stage–audience relationship, first by applying theater semiotics and narratology, and then by analyzing specific cases in Zeami’s warrior plays and god plays. In god plays, the ambiguity of the addresser tends to be sustained, and the praise of the god’s benevolence is directly delivered to the audience by a voice that bears the authority of narration, while human-centered warrior plays usually minimize the intervention of the narrator. The study thus reveals Zeami’s careful handling of the narrative style in accordance with the plays’ socio-religious purposes.