• 2008/2009 Season
  • Nue


Sakate Yoji takes on the mythical creature nue in various forms in this new play inspired by the Noh play "Nue". This creature appears in "The Tale of Heike" and it is described as having the head of a monkey, the body of a raccoon dog, the legs of a tiger, and a snake instead of a tail. It is said to cry like a White's Thrush, and some legends have it as being a raiju (thunder beast). The word "nue" actually means White's Thrush, so this creature was originally nameless, "an unknown beast that cries like White's Thrush". However, in the present day, this name is more often associated with this mythical creature. According to "The Tale of Heike", toward the end of Heian period, Emperor Konoe of Japan became sick after having terrible nightmares every night due to nightly visits by a nue to his Seiryoden palace. The story says that the samurai Minamoto no Yorimasa staked-out the roof one night and fired an arrow into the cloud, out of which fell a dead nue. As a reward for eradicating the nue, Yorimasa received the Shishio (lion king) sword from the Emperor. The Noh play "Nue" is said to be written by Zeami and its clear theme and structure, as well as the authenticity of the story based on "The Tale of Heike" all could point towards this as being Zeami work. There is also a theory that this was written near the end of Zeami's life. If that is the case, then the depiction of the vanquished in "Nue" may reflect Zeami's state of mind at the time.

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