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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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- Spring '13