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Question132 What role does the fan play in Noh performance?

illustration

There are a number of patterns with a fan that express different meanings in Noh performance. With "Kazashi-ōgi," the actor grasps the pivot of the fan with the right hand, and holds it up over his head; this action suggests a distant view. When the "Tsuki-no-ōgi" pattern is used, the actor puts an open fan on his left shoulder, and looks up to the right. In "Hane-ōgi," the actor holds the outer rib of the opened fan with his left hand, places it on his right shoulder and moves it rapidly forward. This motion depicts the release of an arrow, while doing it softly expresses the flow of a nymph's feather mantle. In the "Yūken " pattern, the fan is swept up and down in a wide motion, expressing a cheerful feeling.

The fan plays a range of descriptive roles. In one scene, it may express the character's feelings in a sensitive way, or items such as a drinking cup or an ink brush. In another, it will depict elements such as wind or waves. Watch a play thinking of the fan's expressions and you will become immersed in the world of Noh.

(October. 15 2014)


illustration : Hiroko Sakaki
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