Atsumori (Noh play) (敦盛 (能))

"Atsumori" is the title of a Noh program, which belongs to the category of nibanme-mono (second-category play) and the subcategory of Kindachi mono (play featuring a courtier). It is written by Zeami as an arranged version of the chapter 'Atsumori no Saigo' (the Death of Atsumori) in Heike Monogatari (The Tale of the Heike). It is an elegant program in which chu-no-mai dances (medium-tempo dance) (oshiki-haya-mai dance [dance of male ghost] and otoko-mai dance [male dance]) are performed.

Mae-Shite (leading role in the first half): Grass-cutter
Ato-Shite (leading role in the latter half): TAIRA no Atsumori
Mae-Tsure (companion of Mae-Shite): Grass-cutter
Waki (supporting role): Rensho (Naozane KUMAGAI as a priest)
Ai (narrator): Villager

Drained from the first battle of the Genpei War (the war between the Minamoto clan and the Taira clan), Naozane KUMAGAI, a busho (military commander) of the Minamoto clan, becomes a priest and calls himself Priest Rensho. In August of autumn, Rensho visits Sumanoura Bay in Settsu Province for the purpose of offering prayers to the Buddha of TAIRA no Atsumori whom he had killed in the Battle of Ichinotani. There, he hears the sound of a flute and encounters men cutting grass. When Rensho asks them who was playing the flute, one of them tells him about the unfortunate history of the flute and asks Rensho to give ten Buddhist invocations. When Rensho asks the man why, he hints that he is an incarnation of Atsumori and then disappears. When Rensho is chanting sutra at night, the ghost of Atsumori appears to tell about the ups and downs of the Taira clan, performs a chu-no-mai dance with nostalgia for the final feast of the Taira clan, and reproduces the scene of his own death in the Battle of Ichinotani. Although Atsumori, on having finally found his enemy tries to take revenge on Naozane, he learns that Naozane has become a priest and as Rensho was dedicated to reading sutra and was no longer his enemy; the ghost of Atsumori disappears, leaving words that he and Rensho both be born as lotus ('ren' in Rensho's name means lotus) in Gokuraku Jodo (the Amida Pure Land).

[Original Japanese]