NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/6/18


能面 大童子 Noumen Oodouji Noh Mask Dai-doji

Jp En

The Dai-doji mask is often used to portray a man with spiritual power. It is characterized by stern eyebrows with the knots between them and glaring eyes, which express strength and mysteriousness. The Dai-doji mask has more round face than the normal Doji mask. It has more strong countenance. As it is has too strong an individuality, it is used for special roles such as a man before transforming himself into Shutendoji, who was 8 feet tall, ate human meat and drank human blood, and was finally killed by Minamoto no Yorimitsu. In this play of “Oeyama,” Shutendoji represents the commoners of the time, who were suffering from poverty and striving for their survival in spite of the prosperity enjoyed by the nobility.
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2007/6/4


能面 顰 Noumen Shikami Shikami Noh Mask

Jp En

Shikami (wry face), written 顰 in kanji and also written “獅噛” (the grimacing face of “shishi “, a legendary creature) or “歯噛” (grimace) in old times, is a wooden Noh mask categorized as a fierce god in Noh theater.
The mask exhibits horrifyingly well a ferocious moment of a shishi with its mouth open and a demonic grimace.
“Shikami” is the derivation of a word, “shikamettsura” (a wry or frowning face) used today.  The mask is quite popular, appearing in a number of plays including Ooeyama, Momijigari and Tsuchigumo.
Shishi is a legendary lion like animal that has been passed down since ancient times and is regarded as sacred, and in some cases, a symbol of evil.
Some might think that it’s cynical or even comical to think that by a human actor putting the mask on and playing shishi, he becomes awed and feared by the audience. In fact in Kyougen Theatre, animals are mostly used to make scenes funny.
Yet, once an actor appears on the stage with this mask on, he instantly turns into an object of fear and audiences become captivated by the story.
This shows Japanese people are fascinated by awesome and fearsome figures.
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"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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