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Title:Rituals of the enchanted world: Noh theater and religion in medieval Japan
Author(s):Jelesijevic, Dunja
Director of Research:Ruppert, Brian O
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Oyler, Elizabeth A
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Mayer, Alexander L.; Toby, Ronald P.
Department / Program:E. Asian Languages & Cultures
Discipline:E Asian Languages & Cultures
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:This study explores of the religious underpinnings of medieval Noh theater and its operating as a form of ritual. As a multifaceted performance art and genre of literature, Noh is understood as having rich and diverse religious influences, but is often studied as a predominantly artistic and literary form that moved away from its religious/ritual origin. This study aims to recapture some of the Noh’s religious aura and reclaim its religious efficacy, by exploring the ways in which the art and performance of Noh contributed to broader religious contexts of medieval Japan. Chapter One, the Introduction, provides the background necessary to establish the context for analyzing a selection of Noh plays which serve as case studies of Noh’s religious and ritual functioning. Historical and cultural context of Noh for this study is set up as a medieval Japanese world view, which is an enchanted world with blurred boundaries between the visible and invisible world, human and non-human, sentient and non-sentient, enlightened and conditioned. The introduction traces the religious and ritual origins of Noh theater, and establishes the characteristics of the genre that make it possible for Noh to be offered up as an alternative to the mainstream ritual, and proposes an analysis of this ritual through dynamic and evolving schemes of ritualization and mythmaking, rather than ritual as a superimposed structure. Chapters Two through Five are analyses of four Noh plays, Kanawa, Dōjōji, Yamamba, and Hyakuman. This selection reflects my argument that a particularly efficacious form of Noh ritual is one that best responds to the liminal quality of the medieval worldview, and this is expressed through a specific way in which the main protagonist of each play is constructed as a ritualist and an object of ritual, and symbolically embodied in various incarnations of the character of demon - oni.
Issue Date:2016-08-11
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Dunja Jelesijevic
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-03-01
Date Deposited:2016-12

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