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Book: Exploring Shinto

Chapter: 8. Shinto Spaces and Shinbutsu Interaction in the Noh

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.39488


Drawing on religious, ritual, and literary origins, the Noh theatre developed as a unique performance art and literary genre, incorporating Shintō-related mythology and Buddhist spirituality. In this paper two Noh plays, Yamamba and Nonomiya, are analyzed as case studies for how performative, literary, geographical, and ritual space overlap in mutual re-inscriptions of Buddhist and Shintō cosmologies. These two plays are particularly useful for such inquiry as they exemplify, respectively, two most prominent ways in which Shintō space is materialized: a distinguished shrine and its surroundings, and an open natural space (a mountain) understood to be residence of kami, while their shite (the leading protagonists) are an extension and embodiment of this space, eventually themselves becoming sites for the religious interplay taking place.

Chapter Contributors

  • Dunja Jelesijevic (Dunja.Jelesijevic​ - djelesijevic) 'Northern Arizona University'