ASIA212Varley

Fought largely in kyoto and its environs the nin war

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Unformatted text preview: shall be re-born together On one lotus-seat. “No, Rensei is not my enemy. Pray for me again, oh pray for me again.”29 Another type of theatre, which developed in the shadow of nò, was kyògen (mad words). One kind of kyògen served as an interlude between the scenes of a nò play, during which a rustic or person of the locality appeared and, in words much more understandable than the frequently difficult language of nò, gave additional background information about the region and the leading characters of the play. 120 The Canons of Medieval Taste Other kyògen were written as separate skits of a comical or farcical nature and were often interspersed on the same programs with nò plays, partly to provide relief from the unremitting gloom that pervades nearly all of nò. The humor of these independent kyògen was very broad and slapstick. Many skits were based on situations in which clever servants outwitted their daimyo masters. Some scholars have sought to interpret such kyògen as proof that the lower members of society held strong class antagonisms against their superiors in medieval times. There were indeed many instances of social unrest in the medieval age, but it is doubtful that the antics of kyògen reflected true “class antagonisms.” Kyògen were produced to entertain and, although occasionally attacked by puritans as irreverent in tone, they were appreciated by audiences from all stations of life, including the daimyos and other people derided in them. Other artistic pursuits of the Kitayama epoch included linked verse, the tea ceremony, and monochrome painting. But these are more appropriately discussed in the context of the second great cultural phase of the Muromachi era, which occurred during the time of Yoshimitsu’s grandson, the eighth Ashikaga shogun Yoshimasa (1436–90). Yoshimasa became shogun in 1443 at the age of seven and at a time when great forces of upheaval, from peasant uprisings to quarrels among unruly daimyos, were at work throughout Japanese society. Even the strongest of shoguns would have been hard-pressed to hold together the delicately balanced Ashikaga hegem...
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