Zeami's Talks on Sarugaku
Erika de Poorter
This work is a translation by author Dr. Erika de Poorter of the important Sarugaku dangi (‘Talks on Sarugaku’), a collection of comments by the actor, playwright and critic Zeami (1363-1443) as recorded by his son Motoyoshi. Sarugaku is the original term for Nō, the classical Japanese theatre of which Zeami is the founding father. The is generally considered as
belonging to Zeami’s transmitted writings (densho), but more specifically it forms part of his treatises on Nō (Nōgakuron). In addition to two letters and a number of Nō plays, 21 of Zeami’s writings are known today. These writings were been secretly preserved by a few families, and are also called hidensho (‘secretly transmitted writings’) or hiden (‘secret traditions’). These
secret texts were discovered and published from 1908, with the last of Zeami’s treatises coming to light in 1956. The Sarugaku dangi is a unique source for the history of early Nō. The present translation, preceded by an extensive introduction on Zeami and his work, is directed at theatre
specialists with no knowledge of written Japanese, and is also intended as a reference work for Japanologists.