Minazukibarai (Purification in June) (Noh play) (水無月祓 (能))

Minazukibarai is a Noh play. A writer of the play is regarded as Zeami in most cases. It is a happy-ending story: A man and a woman who fell in love with each other but broke up meet again at the Nagoshi no harai (Annual Shinto ritual of purification) of Kamomioya-jinja Shrine.

As for a writer of this Noh play, Zeami's name is written in his "Goon" (Five Sounds) as if he was a writer, and the name of 'Misogi-gawa River' identified as this music is seen also in his "Goongyokujojo" (Various Matters Concerning the Five Modes of Musical Expression). However, in "Nihyakujuban Utai Mokuroku" (Catalog of 210 numbers of Noh theater lyrics), it is regarded as Yasukiyo HIYOSHI's work.

In the Edo period, it was not performed except for a few occasions, but recomposed at the end of the Edo period, now in 2006 it is performed only by the Noh kanze-ryu school.

It is a Noh play for summer which deals with a love romance between a prostitute of Murotsu of Harima Province and a man who lives in Shimogyo district of Kyoto, and also has a highlight scene of insanity, introducing a historical event at Shimogamo-jinja Shrine.

Structure of the Play

Formerly it seemed to be performed in a two-stage formation but now it is performed in a single-stage formation without intermission. The Noh starts with a scene that a man of Shimogyo appears and hears on his way to visit Shimogamo-jinja Shrine that a young woman is inviting visitors to try chinowa kuguri (passing through a hoop made of kaya grass [plants of sedge family]) at Nagoshi-no-harai festival which is going on at the shrine.

Noh shite (a main role): a woman of Murotsu
Noh waki (a supporting role): a man of Shimogyo
Nohkyogen: a local man

A man of Shimogyo appears and says as follows.
I met a prostitute of Murotsu in Harima Province and returned to Kyoto after promising to marry her, and after for a while I sent for her but heard that she was not there.'
I'll visit Kamo-no-myojin Shrine and pray to see her again.'
Just then a local man came so he asked, 'Is there anything new recently?'
The man answers, 'A young woman dressed like a shrine maiden invites visitors to try chinowa-kuguri (passing through a hoop made of kaya grass [plants of sedge family]) at Minazuki Harai festival.'
In a while he arrives at Shimogamo-jinja Shrine and there appears the young woman. Looking like a mad woman, she has a cogon grass ring in her hand and yudasuki (cotton cord used to tuck up the sleeves of a kimono) on her shoulders.
The woman sings, 'I came up to Miyako following my sweetheart.'

She shows insane looks, singing 'As I'm here with the God who lives in Tadasu-no-Mori forest, I'm sure I can meet my sweetheart again.'
The local man says, 'It is that woman that I talked about earlier.'
The man of Shimogyo talks to her, 'I want to hear the story of Nagoshi no harai.'
The woman tells the story followed by chorus of Noh-jiutai (Noh chorus), 'They say that those who perform Nagoshi no harai in June can live longer than their 1,000-year lifespan.'

She puts on eboshi (formal headwear for court nobles) offered by the man and begins to dance to the tune 'I'll meet my sweetheart at this place where the River Kamo joins.'
The dance comes to the climax and she falls down when the Jiutai sings, 'Walking along the shore to Kamo Shrine with a heavy heart, I fell down and wept.'

Seeing it, he notices, 'This is a weakened figure of my wife who I parted from.'
Answering it, she says, 'Is the voice my sweetheart's?'
I feel as if I'm dreaming and just excited.'
The Noh play ends with a jiuta saying, 'Falling on their knees and praying to the God of the Tadasu-no-Mori forest, the two of them returned home together, believing it was the God's sake that he could know chastity of the prostitute of Murotsu.'

[Original Japanese]