One-tenth of the plays in the current nō repertoire retell stories of Chinese origin or feature a Chinese character, raising the role of China in nō theatre. Through a close reading of the two plays, Sanshō (The Three Laughers) and Hakurakuten (Bai Letian), this paper proposes that one major reason for the staging of China is to voice sociopolitical comments. Although both plays feature well-known Chinese literati, they demonstrate contrasting treatment of the foreigners. Such polarity in the portrayals of the Chinese reveals the different presentation of China in response to the changing sociopolitical climates in medieval Japan.
Asian Theatre Journal – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Sep 26, 2007