KABUKI GLOSSARY (M~N)
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Machiai Jaya
 

The machiai jaya were establishments with rooms for rent for a short time where visitors and courtesans could amuse themselves.

In Japanese: 待合茶屋

Machi Bugy˘
 

The machi bugy˘ were samurai officials of the Tokugawa Shogunate in the Edo period. They were not daimy˘. Most of them were hatamoto. They were the central public authority in the Japanese urban centers. They had to manage a wide range of administrative and judicial responsibilities and their role was an mix of chief of police, magistrate, and mayor. In the city of Edo, they were 3 machi bugy˘: the kita machi bugy˘, the minami machi bugy˘ and the honjo machi bugy˘ [more details].

In Japanese: 町奉行

Machidoshiyori
 

"Generally translated as "city elders", these were high-ranking city officials during the Edo Period charged with assisting the machi bugy˘. In Edo their duties included transmitting laws and decrees issued by the Tokugawa shogunate to residential quarters, collecting various taxes, investigating issues related to petitions submitted by commoners, and laying out new residential areas on land reclaimed from T˘ky˘ Bay. Machidoshiyori were not salaried but received grants of land from the Sh˘gun, which they were free to rent out. They also received grants and loans. The position of machidoshiyori was hereditary. After the 1610s, there were three city elder positions in Edo claimed by the Naraya, Taruya and Kitamura families." (Roman Cybriwsky in "Historical Dictionary of T˘ky˘")

In Japanese: 町年寄

Machi Musume
 

A townsfolk daughter.

In Japanese: 町娘

Maegami
 

A forelock.

In Japanese: 前髪

Maibayashi
 

An abbreviated style of . It literally means "dance and music".

In Japanese: 舞囃子

Makie Sakazuki
 

A traditional gold lacquer work sake cup.

In Japanese: 蒔絵盃

Mamako
 

A stepchild.

In Japanese: 継子

Mamako Ijime
 

Stepchild bullying.

In Japanese: 継子いじめ

Mamemaki
 

A traditional practice done in households, shrines or temples for the day of the Spring festival (setsubun). Fortune beans (fukumame) are thrown out the door while people say Oni wa Soto, Fuku wa Uchi (literally "Demons out! Luck in!").

In Japanese: 豆まき

Maneki-age
 

Prior to Ky˘to's year-end kaomise Kabuki performances at the Minamiza, traditionally held from the 30th of November to the 26th of December, there is the annual maneki-age, an event where huge wooden boards called maneki kanban are raised. The boards feature the names of Kabuki performers appearing in the show and they are placed over the front of the Minamiza on a huge takeyarai.

In Japanese: まねき上げ

Maneki Kanban
 

A huge wooden board with the name of a Kabuki actor written on it in black ink. These name boards are traditionally roofed, rectangular cypress planks that are roughly 1.8 meters long and about 30 centimeters wide. They are traditionnaly made in a temple. The calligrapher soaks his brush in special ink mixed with sake for the purpose of purification and glossing, and he/she writes the names with strong strokes in kanteiryű-styled calligraphy.

In Japanese: まねき看板

Man'en
 

An imperial era in Japanese history which started the 18th day of the 3rd lunar month of 1860 (the 8th of April 1860 in the western calendar) and ended the 19th of the 2nd lunar month of 1861 (the 29th of March 1861 in the western calendar). The 2 eras before and after Man'en were Ansei and Bunkyű.

In Japanese: 万延

Manji
 

An imperial era in Japanese history which started the 23rd day of the 7th lunar month of 1658 (the 21st of August 1658 in the western calendar) and ended the 25th day of the 4th lunar month of 1661 (the 23rd of May 1661 in the western calendar). The 2 eras before and after Manji were Meireki and Kanbun.

In Japanese: 万治

Man'y˘shű
 

The Man'y˘shű is literally the "Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves". It is the oldest existing collection of Japanese poetry, compiled sometime after 759 during the Nara period. This famous and revered anthology contains poems ranging from 347 to 759 [more details].

In Japanese: 万葉集

Marubashi Chűya
 

Marubashi Chűya (???~1651) was a 17th century r˘nin from Yamagata, and instructor in martial arts and military strategy, most famous for his involvement in the 1651 Keian Uprising which sought to overthrow Japan's Tokugawa Shogunate [more details].

In Japanese: 丸橋忠弥

Maruhonmono
 

Kabuki dramas adapted from the puppet theater (Ningy˘ J˘ruri) [=> gidayű ky˘gen].

In Japanese: 丸本物

Mashiba Hisayoshi
 

The Kabuki role name of Hashiba Hideyoshi during the Edo period. Because of strict Shogunate censorship, the playwrights had to change the names. However, the changes were quite light and the audience had no problem to understand who was who.

In Japanese: 真柴久吉

Matatabi
 

A wandering gambler.

In Japanese: 股旅

Matatabimono
 

Drama depicting the adventures of a wandering gambler.

In Japanese: 股旅物

Matsu
 

The pine tree.

In Japanese:

Matsubamemono
 

N˘ drama or Ky˘gen ( farce) adapted for Kabuki, using a giant pine tree backdrop (matsubame in Japanese) as the main stage setting.

In Japanese: 松羽目物

Matsubara
 

A pine grove.

In Japanese: 松原

Matsudaira Ch˘shichir˘
 

Matsudaira Ch˘shichir˘ Nagayori was said to be the son of Tokugawa Tadanaga. After the sad death of his father (forced to commit seppuku by his elder brother), Ch˘shichir˘ lived an adventurous life among the commoners in Edo or ďsaka.

In Japanese: 松平長七郎

Matsukaze-murasamemono
 

Dramas or dances, which deal with the two famous salt-making sisters Matsukaze and Murasame, who both fell in love with the same man, the courtier Ariwara no Yukihira (818~893), an exile at Suma. This story, along with several of Yukihira's poems from famous compilations, form the basis of Kan'ami's (1333~84) play, which was entitled "Matsukaze" and in which the ghosts of Matsukaze and Murasame wait at Suma beach for Yukihira's promised return, cherishing his outer cloak and cap left as keepsakes.

In Japanese: 松風村雨物

Matsunaga Hisahide
 

Matsunaga Hisahide (1510~1577) was a 16th century daimy˘ in the Yamato province. His history is quite complex with lots of fighting, alliances and sudden changes of alliance depending on the turn of the ongoing war. Main events in his life were the 1565 rebellion with the Miyoshi clan against Ashikaga Yoshiteru, his defeat against Oda Nobunaga, whom he started to serve, in 1568, his brief alliance with the Miyoshi clan against Oda Nobunaga in 1573 followed by his return to the Oda side and his final defeat against his former master in 1577. Defeated by Oda Nobunaga in his own castle, Hisahide committed suicide and ordered his head destroyed to prevent it becoming a trophy. He was accused of the destruction of the famous T˘daiji temple in Nara and, because of this infamy, he became a villain in dramas [more details].

In Japanese: 松永久秀

Matsunoo Taisha
 

The Matsunoo Shrine (jinja). A famous Shint˘ shrine in Ky˘to, which is located at the far western end of Shij˘ Avenue (first construction started around 700) [more details].

In Japanese: 松尾大社

Matsuri
 

A festival sponsored by a local shrine or temple. It usually features a procession of portable shrines, which serve as vehicle for deities.

In Japanese:

Matsushimaya
 

Guild name (yag˘) for the actors Kataoka Nizaemon, Kataoka Gat˘, Kataoka Roen, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Kataoka Ainosuke, Kataoka Kamez˘, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Kataoka Takatar˘ and Kataoka Shinnosuke.

In Japanese: 松島屋

Mawaributai
 

A revolving stage.

In Japanese: 回り舞台

Megatakiuchi
 

Literally "wife revenge". The Tokugawa legal code gave the samurai husband, who was victim of adultery, the right to do a "wife revenge" (megatakiuchi), usually by murdering both his wife and her lover.

In Japanese: 女敵討

Megumi
 

Literally the Me group (me is one of the syllables of the Japanese Hiragana syllabary). The Megumi was one of the 48 firefighting brigades in Edo. The tobi of this group became famous because of a spectacular street brawl in 1805 against a group of sum˘tori. This brawl, which was called Megumi no Kenka, became the subject of the Kabuki drama "Kami no Megumi Wag˘ no Torikumi".

In Japanese: め組

Megumi no Kenka
 

A big fight between a group of sum˘tori led by Yotsuguruma Daihachi and a group of tobi belonging to the Megumi brigade. It happened in the 2nd lunar month of 1805 near the Shiba Shinmei Shrine.

In Japanese: め組の喧嘩

Meifu no Kuni
 

The Netherworld.

In Japanese: 冥府国

Meiji
 

In Japanese history, the Meiji period is an imperial era which started the 8th day of the 9th lunar month of 1868 (the 23rd of October 1868 in the western calendar) and ended the 30th of July 1912. The 2 eras before and after Meiji were Kei˘ and Taish˘.

In Japanese: 明治

Meiji Ishin
 

The Meiji Restoration. A series of events which restored the imperial power in Japan in 1868. The Restoration led to enormous changes in Japan's political and social structure, and spanned both the late Edo period and the beginning of the Meiji period [more details].

In Japanese: 明治維新

Meiji-ishinmono
 

Kabuki dramas which dramatized events related to the Meiji Restoration.

In Japanese: 明治維新物

Meireki
 

An imperial era in Japanese history which started the 13th day of the 4th lunar month of 1655 (the 18th of May 1655 in the western calendar) and ended the 23rd day of the 7th lunar month of 1658 (the 21st of August 1658 in the western calendar). The 2 eras before and after Meireki were J˘˘ and Manji.

In Japanese: 明暦

Meisho
 

Meisho are sites in Japan which are famous for their associations with specific poetic or literary references [more details].

In Japanese: 名所

Meisho Edo Hyakkei
 

Literally "One Hundred Famous Views of Edo". It was a famous series of prints made by Utagawa Hiroshige I (1797ľ1858). The prints were first published in serialized form during the second half of the 1850s, with Utagawa Hiroshige II completing the series after Utagawa Hiroshige I's death. It was tremendously popular and much reprinted [more details].

In Japanese: 名所江戸百景

Meiwa
 

In Japanese history, the Meiwa period is an imperial era which started the 2nd day of the 6th lunar month of 1764 (the 30th of June 1764 in the western calendar) and ended the 16th day of the 11th lunar month of 1772 (the 10th of December 1772 in the western calendar). The 2 eras before and after Meiwa were H˘reki and An'ei.

In Japanese: 明和

Meitei
 

The Chinese Ming Empire.

In Japanese: 明帝

Mekake
 

A concubine, a mistress.

In Japanese:

Men
 

A mask.

In Japanese:

Menoto
 

Literally a wet nurse. In fact, a menoto was more than a wet nurse for the aristocracy. The big clans used to employ women of high birth to raise and educate their children. In the menoto system, the child was often taken away from his/her real mother and trusted to the menoto to be brought up separately. It used to be accepted as the right way to raise children.

In Japanese: 乳人

Meoto Iwa
 

The two "wedded" rocks in Futami-ga-Ura, which are considered to be male and female and are named Izanagi and Izanami. They represent the primal couple in Japanese traditional history. According to the legend, they gave birth to all the Japanese islands [more details].

In Japanese: 夫婦岩

Meshitsukai
 

A servant.

In Japanese: 召使

Mi
 

One of the twelve signs of the zodiac (jűnishi). Mi is the sign of the snake.

In Japanese:

Michiyuki
 

A dance interlude, which is part of a Kabuki drama. It generally depicts two young lovers on the way to commit suicide or two travelling characters with a romantic implication attached to their journey. Some famous michiyuki are frequently performed independently from their drama ("Yoshinoyama"). Others are the only surviving scene of a forgotten drama ("Kasane").

In Japanese: 道行

Midaidokoro
 

The official wife of a Sh˘gun or a highest-ranking nobleman.

In Japanese: 御台所

Midori
 

A Kabuki program made up of an act from a historical play (jidaimono), a dance number (shosagoto) and a realistic play (sewamono).

In Japanese: 見取

Mie
 

An action-crystallizing self-contained dramatic pose performed by a tachiyaku actor.

"The mie has a motionless quality about it; it is the climax to all preceding movement. It may be likened to the curve of a shooting star through the sky, there is a bright flash but the flash is the apex in an arc of light, which to the eye rises and fades with even speed. This is the quality which is so important in a mie, it must merge in the action which precedes and follows without any apparent effort. It is unquestionably a difficult art to acquire and one which was practised far more in former times than it is today. According to many Japanese critics the real art of the mie has been lost and modern actors fail to get the quality of continuity in their action. Whether this is so or not, it remains a dramatic technique which appeals with its na´vety of exaggeration" (A. C. Scott in "The Kabuki Theatre of Japan").

"Mie poses are struck at moments of heightened tension and, like a picture or a sculpture they present to the audience in physical form a powerful crystallization of emotion (Paul M. Griffith)".

In Japanese: 見得

Migawari
 

The substitution of one person for another.

In Japanese: 身替り

Migawarimono
 

A scene or a drama with a substitution of one person for another. "Dramatic pathos is often created by substituting one's child for that of one's Lord, either as an act of penance or as an unsolicited gesture of loyalty." (from "The Kabuki Handbook")

In Japanese: 身替り物

Miidera
 

The Miidera is a famous Buddhist temple located at the foot of Mt. Hiei, in the city of ďtsu, in Shiga Prefecture. It was founded in 672 and was formally called Onj˘ji [more details].

In Japanese: 三井寺

Mikawaya
 

Guild name (yag˘) for the actors Ichikawa Danz˘, Ichikawa Ginnosuke and Ichikawa Momotar˘ [more details].

In Japanese: 三河屋

Mikisho
 

A temporary Shint˘ shrine built in each neighborhood for a matsuri, where the sanctified sake of the gods (miki means literally god-sake) is kept and where carriers of omikoshi stop and often share a meal.

In Japanese: 神酒所

Miko
 

A shrine maiden.

In Japanese: 巫女

Mimosusogawa
 

The old name of the Isuzu River flowing in Ise.

In Japanese: 御裳濯川

Minakuchi-juku
 

Minakuchi-juku or Minakuchi-shuku. The 50th (from Edo) of the 53 shukuba (post station) on the T˘kaid˘. 445.7 km from Edo and 45.5 km from Ky˘to [more details].

In Japanese: 水口宿

Minami Machi Bugy˘
 

One of the three machi bugy˘ in the city of Edo. Literally the South machi bugy˘. His official residence was physically to the south of the official location of his counterpart, the kita machi bugy˘.

In Japanese: 南町奉行

Minamoto Mitsunaka
 

Minamoto no Mitsunaka (912 ~ 997) was an important warrior and Court official of the Heian period and the father of Minamoto no Yorimitsu. He was also known as Tada no Mitsunaka or Tada no Manjű (Manjű being the Sino-Japanese reading of the ideograms for "Mitsunaka"). Tada was the name of a place in the province of Settsu, where Mitsunaka settled when he retired [more details].

In Japanese: 源満仲

Minamoto Sanetomo
 

Minamoto no Sanetomo (1192~1219) was the third Sh˘gun of the Kamakura Shogunate from 1203 to 1219. He was the son of Minamoto no Yoritomo and H˘j˘ Masako [more details].

In Japanese: 源実朝

Minamoto T˘ru
 

Minamoto no T˘ru (822 ~ 895) was a poet and a stateman of the Heian period. He was said to be the model for Hikaru Genji in the novel "Genji Monogatari" and his ghost became the main character in the N˘ drama "T˘ru" [more details].

In Japanese: 源融

Minamoto Yoriie
 

Minamoto no Yoriie (1182 ~ 1204) was the first son of Minamoto no Yoritomo, the first Sh˘gun of the Kamakura Shogunate. His mother was H˘j˘ Masako, the daughter of H˘j˘ no Tokimasa. He was the second Sh˘gun of the Kamakura Shogunate from 1202 to 1204. Seriously ill, he wanted to name both his younger brother Minamoto no Sanetomo and his son Ichiman to succeed him. He plotted against his powerful father-in-law H˘j˘ no Tokimasa and was defeated. He was forced to abdicate and was finally assassinated. He was indeed succeeded by Minamoto no Sanetomo but his younger brother was just a puppet in the hands of the H˘j˘ clan [more details].

In Japanese: 源頼家

Minamoto Yorimitsu
 

Minamoto no Yorimitsu (948 ~ 1021) was the first important warrior in the Minamoto clan. Son of Minamoto no Mitsunaka, he served the regents of the Fujiwara clan, taking the violent measures the Fujiwara were themselves unable to take. He was also called Minamoto no Raik˘ (Raik˘ being the Sino-Japanese reading of the ideograms for "Yorimitsu"). He featured in a number of famous legends and tales, including the legend of Kintar˘, the legend of Shuten D˘ji, and the legend of Tsuchi Gumo (the spirit of the Ground Spider). He was usually accompanied by his four legendary retainers, known as the shitenn˘ (The Four Guardian Kings) [more details].

In Japanese: 源頼光

Minamoto Yoritomo
 

Minamoto no Yoritomo (1147~1199) was the first Sh˘gun of the Kamakura Shogunate from 1192 to 1199 [more details: wikipedia/samurai-archives].

In Japanese: 源頼朝

Minamoto Yoriyoshi
 

Minamoto no Yoritomo (998~1075) was the head of the Genji clan and the victor of the Zenkunen war [more details].

In Japanese: 源頼義

Minamoto Yoshiie
 

Minamoto no Yoshiie (1039~1106) was a warlord of the late Heian period. He was the victor of the Zenkunen and Gosannen wars. He was also called Hachiman Tar˘ [more details].

In Japanese: 源義家

Minamoto Yoshikata
 

Minamoto no Yoshikata (1126 (?) ~ 1155) was a Genji warrior of the late Heian period. He was the second son of Minamoto no Tameyoshi and the father of Kiso no Yoshinaka. He was killed at the battle of ďkura by his nephew Minamoto no Yoshihira the 14th of September 1155. His son, named Koma˘maru at that time, safely escaped to Kiso with the help of warriors like Hatakeyama no Shigetada or Sait˘ no Sanemori. He was never called Kiso but, as his son took this name, in Kabuki Yoshikata was also called Kiso Senj˘ Yoshikata or Kiso no Yoshikata.

In Japanese: 源義賢

Minamoto Yoshitsune
 

Minamoto no Yoshitsune (1159~1189) was a general of the Genji clan in the late Heian and early Kamakura periods. He was the son of Minamoto no Yoshitomo and Tokiwa Gozen. He was the younger brother of Minamoto no Yoritomo, the first Sh˘gun of the Kamakura shogunate. Yoshitsune's name in childhood was Ushiwakamaru. He was a great and popular warrior of his era [more details].

In Japanese: 源義経

Mino
 

Old province, which corresponds grosso modo to the central and southern part of the current prefecture of Gifu. It was also called N˘shű.

In Japanese: 美濃

Mirin
 

A rice wine with a lower alcohol content and higher sugar content [more details].

In Japanese: 味醂

Misemono-goya
 

A freak show or sideshow in a wooden stall.

In Japanese: 見世物小屋

Mitate-e
 

The portrayal of actors in imagined or fantasy roles which they never in fact played.

In Japanese: 見立絵

Mitsugumi Sakazuki
 

A traditional set of three large sake cups.

In Japanese: 三組杯

Miuke
 

The action which was taken by the customer of a courtesan to pay off her debts during the Edo period. It was a legal way to redeem her so that she no longer needed to work as a courtesan.

In Japanese: 身請

Miura Yoshimura
 

Miura Yoshimura (??? ~ 1239) was a samurai at the service of the Kamakura Shogunate. He killed his own brother Miura Taneyoshi, who had rebelled against H˘j˘ Yoshitoki, on a battlefield in 1221.

In Japanese: 三浦義村

Miuri
 

This term can roughly be translated as "selling oneĺs body". In the Edo period, it was not uncommon for a woman or a daughter to sell herself to a brothel in order to help her family (either merchants or samurais) in difficult times. This is a common element in many Kabuki plots.

"Ces moyens extrŕmes sont moins ressentis comme infamants que comme dÚcisions hÚro´ques permettant de satisfaire jusqu'au bout aux vertus cardinales de la morale confucÚenne : respect du pŔre et du mari" (Pierre Faure in "Le Kabuki et ses Úcrivains")

In Japanese: 身売り

Misakiza
 

The first name of the Kanda Gekij˘, from 1891 to 1915.

In Japanese: 三崎座

Mishima-juku
 

Mishima-juku or Mishima-shuku. The 11th (from Edo) of the 53 shukuba (post station) on the T˘kaid˘. 113.5 km from Edo and 377.7 km from Ky˘to [more details].

In Japanese: 三島宿

Mishima Kabuki
 

Kabuki dramas written by the writer Mishima Yukio (1925-1970). The two most famous ones are "Iwashi Uri Koi no Hikiami" (1954) and "Chinsetsu Yumihari Zuki" (1969).

In Japanese: 三島歌舞伎

Miyaji Shibai
 

Kabuki performances stages in the precincts of temples or shrines.

In Japanese: 宮地芝居

Miya-juku
 

Miya-juku or Miya-shuku. The 41st (from Edo) of the 53 shukuba (post station) on the T˘kaid˘. 350.2 km from Edo and 141 km from Ky˘to [more details].

In Japanese: 宮宿

Miyazono
 

One school of music in Kamigata, which was created by a disciple of Miyakoji Sonohachi, who was himself a disciple of Miyakoji Bungonoj˘. He took the name of Miyazono Sonohachi in 1762 and held it up to 1766, when he became Miyazono Ranb˘ken. This style is also called Sonohachi.

In Japanese: 宮薗

Miyoshiya
 

Guild name (yag˘) for the actor Kamimura Kichiya.

In Japanese: 美吉屋

Mizuiri
 

A scene in a Kabuki drama in which the hero uses real water on stage, immersing himself in a barrel or a big bucket full of water. The best example is the mizuiri scene of "Sukeroku".

In Japanese: 水入り

Modori
 

The move from bad to good for a character, a villain at the beginning of the play who repents of all his bad deeds at the end. Committing ritual suicide or mortally wounded by a character on the good side, he reveals to the audience that he has secretly accomplished some good deeds leading to the salvation of the heroes of the play. He dies as a noble-hearted character. The best example is Igami no Gonta in the "Sushiya" scene of the classic "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura".

In Japanese: 戻り

Momiji
 

The maple leaves in Autumn.

In Japanese: 紅葉

Mon
 

A family crest.

In Japanese:

Mongaku
 

Mongaku (1139 ~ 1203) was the buddhist name of the warrior End˘ Morit˘. He was a famous priest of the Shingon school. He was also called Mongaku J˘nin (Saint Mongaku). He was said to turn to religion after having accidentally killed his lover Kesa Gozen (this story was integrated in some Kabuki plays or dance-dramas). Exiled in Izu in 1180, he met the head of the Genji clan Minamoto no Yoritomo and incited him to revolt against the Heike.

In Japanese: 文覚

Monju Bosatsu
 

Manju Bosatsu is in Japanese the bodhisattva Manjusri associated with transcendent wisdom in Mahayana Buddhism [more details].

In Japanese: 文殊菩薩

Monogatari
 

An important scene in a Kabuki drama in which the leading character tells the story of past events, with words or in mime, using only his fan to describe some actions. A famous example of monogatari is the one made by the warrior Sait˘ Bett˘ Sanemori in the "Sanemori Monogatari" scene of the epic drama "Genpei Nunobiki no Taki".

In Japanese: 物語

Mono-urimono
 

Kabuki dance or drama in which the leading character is a street peddler, selling for example moxa ("Uir˘ Uri"), dumpling ("Dango Uri"), fermented soja ("Natt˘ Uri") or Bonito ("Katsuo Uri").

In Japanese: 物売物

Mon Yaburi
 

Gate-breaking.

In Japanese: 門破り

Monzen
 

Temple town; the neighbourhood around a temple.

In Japanese: 門前

Moritaza
 

One of the 3 most famous Edo theaters (Edo Sanza) [more details].

In Japanese: 守田座 (森田座)

Moriyoshi Shinn˘
 

Prince Moriyoshi. Also called Prince Morinaga or ďt˘-no-Miya. Born in 1308, he was the son of Emperor Godaigo. He was accused by Ashikaga Takauji of a plot to overthrow his father, imprisoned in Kamakura and beheaded the 12th of August 1335 [more details].

In Japanese: 護良親王

Morokoshi
 

The old word for China in Japanese during the Edo period.

In Japanese: 唐土

Mottoi
 

A traditional paper string used to tie the topknot of a chonmage hairstyle. Another possible and common reading for this word is motoyui.

"In ancient times, a braided cord or hemp string was used, but during the Edo period a type of paper string called a mizuhiki" began to be used for tying the topknots. Motoyui were made in a long process that involved braiding thin strips of paper together, drying them in the sun, polishing them with rice powder and finally giving them a lustrous finish using glutinous-rice powder. Motoyui were once essential everyday items and what's more were only used once. Even today when tying hair in the traditional Japanese hairstyle the hair is said to not sit properly without a motoyui." (source: Ishikawa prefecture website)

In Japanese: 元結

Mugen no Kane
 

The legendary Bell of Hell. The person who strikes this bell becomes immensely rich in this world but will go directly to hell after his/her death to suffer eternally. In Kabuki, many dances were created based on this legend and in association with the world of courtesans, always desperately helping their lover in need of money and ready to sacrifice themselves by striking the Bell of Hell. Nowadays, the only surviving mugen no kane scene is part of one act of the epic drama "Hirakana Seisuiki", commonly called "Mugen no Kane" or "Kanzaki Ageya".

In Japanese: 無限の鐘

Muk˘jima
 

It literally means "the island on the other side". Muk˘jima is located on the opposite bank of the Sumida River from Asakusa. In the Edo period, rice was cropped and gold fish were raised in Muk˘jima. There were many second houses for the feudal lords. Nowadays, it is also famous for its 650 cherry blossom trees blooming in spring on the banks of the Sumida River.

In Japanese: 向島

Muk˘ Ry˘goku
 

A popular entertainment district in Edo.

In Japanese: 向両国

Muromachi Jidai
 

The Muromachi era. A period of Japanese history that marks the governance of Japan by the Ashikaga Shogunate, officially established in 1338 in Ky˘to by Ashikaga Takauiji, the first Ashikaga Sh˘gun. It ended in 1573 when Ashikaga Yoshiaki, the 15th and last Ashikaga Sh˘gun, was driven out of Ky˘to by the warlord Oda Nobunaga [more details].

In Japanese: 室町時代

Murui
 

A very prestigious rank in a hy˘banki. Possible translation: unequaled.

In Japanese: 無類

Musume
 

A daughter.

In Japanese:

Musumegata
 

An actor specialized in musume roles.

In Japanese: 娘方

Nadai (1)
 

Special actor status setup during the Meiji era and awarded to actors who were considered by their elders as "fully-fledged", enabling them to play more significant roles. Nowadays, it is a very difficult exam for Kabuki actors, in theory mandatory for the stars' sons but some do not care (need) to take the exam, open to actors after 10 years of training and stage appearance.

"There are three ranks of nadai: ˘nadai, chűnadai and hiranadai (major nadai, middle nadai and ordinary nadai). Major Kabuki roles are played by ˘nadai, while the supporting roles are played by chűnadai. The kind of roles an actor plays is determined by the status of his family. The actors who play the main roles, the ˘nadai, are the bosses of the Kabuki world; [...] The chűnadai are below them in rank, and then the hiranadai. Although there is no formal way of separating these ranks, this is the way that actors think about the status of Kabuki actors." (Nakamura Mataz˘ in "Kabuki Backstage, Onstage")

The minor actors who are not nadai are called nadaishita ("below nadai") and make up the bottom league of Kabuki actors.

In Japanese: 名題

Nadai (2)
 

In the Edo period, a nadai was the owner of the right to organize Kabuki performances in Kamigata. Just like the zamoto in Edo, the circle of nadai in Ky˘to or ďsaka was limited to a few families, who transmitted their names and rights from father to (adopted) son, especially in Ky˘to. Here are a few names: Shioya Kuroemon (ďsaka), ďsaka Kuzaemon (ďsaka), ďsaka Tazaemon (ďsaka), Fukunaga Tazaemon (ďsaka), Matsumoto Nazaemon (ďsaka), Miyako Mandayű (Ky˘to), Hoteiya Umenoj˘ (Ky˘to), Hayagumo Ch˘dayű (Ky˘to), Kameya Kumenoj˘ (Ky˘to) and Ebisuya Kichir˘bŕ (Ky˘to).

In Japanese: 名代

Nagabakama
 

Traditional long trailing hakama (trousers).

In Japanese: 長袴

Nagauta
 

Literally "long song". One of the most important schools of traditional music:

"When the shamisen was first used in the Kabuki, probably sometime before 1650, the music played was a type of Kouta. These short songs, however, were found to be insufficient for the extended dances that were being developed. Longer pieces were written, and by around 1740 a new, mature form of Nagauta was created which had all the lyricism of the shorter forms plus the sustaining power of the more narrative music. After the time of the first Kineya Kisabur˘ (early eighteenth century), many of the earlier forms of Kabuki music and the older styles of Nagauta were absorbed into this one form. The fame of Nagauta and the Kineya clan of musicians spread side by side through all the theatres." (William Malm in "Japanese Music and Musical Instruments")

"Nagauta was created entirely to meet the requirements of the Kabuki theatre and became a musical style which served a number of purposes on the stage. A notable feature of its development lay in the fact that it received a great deal of inspiration from the music of the theatre and the y˘kyoku, vocal music of the , was adopted into Nagauta, but was used with the shamisen, an instrument completely foreign to the orchestra. The latter, known as hayashi, consisted of kan or flute, taiko, a drum beaten with two sticks, kotsuzumi, a small drum played on the shoulder, and ˘tsuzumi, a slightly larger drum played at the waist. These instruments were taken into the orchestra with the shamisen and the special music they gave rise to marks Nagauta apart from all other styles. Nagauta may be described as the general purpose music of the Kabuki theatre. It is popular for dance plays but it serves many other needs as well." (A. C. Scott in "The Kabuki Theatre of Japan")

In Japanese: 長唄

Naginata
 

A traditional Japanese weapon, which looks like a halberd. The traditional weapon for ashigaru or warrior monks.

In Japanese: 薙刀

Naimaze Ky˘gen
 

A Kabuki drama which twists together separate narrative strands belonging to different sekai.

In Japanese: 綯交ぜ狂言

Nakai
 

A waitress.

In Japanese: 仲居

Nakama
 

A fellow, a companion, an associate, a comrade, a footman, a partner, ...

In Japanese: 仲間

Nakamuraya
 

Guild name (yag˘) for the actors Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke.

In Japanese: 中村屋

Nakamuraza
 

One of the 3 most famous Edo theaters (Edo Sanza) [more details].

In Japanese: 中村座

Nakanoch˘
 

Nakanoch˘ was the main street in Yoshiwara, along which were many brothels.

In Japanese: 仲の町

Naka no j˘
 

An intermediate rank in a hy˘banki. Possible translation: superior in the middle class.

In Japanese: 中ノ上

Naka no j˘-j˘
 

An intermediate rank in a hy˘banki. Possible translation: superior - superior in the middle class.

In Japanese: 中ノ上上

Nakasend˘
 

An alternate trade route to the T˘kaid˘, running from Nihonbashi in Edo to Sanj˘ ďhashi in Ky˘to. This road was 534 km long and there were 69 Stations [more details].

In Japanese: 中山道

Namerigawa
 

The Nameri river. A river flowing in Kamakura, from the Asaina Pass in northern Kamakura to the beach in Yuigahama [more details].

In Japanese: 滑川

Naniwa
 

The old name of ďsaka.

In Japanese: 浪速 / 難波 / 浪花

Naniwa Tachigiki Mukashi Banashi
 

An actor hy˘banki published in ďsaka in the 11th lunar month of 1686.

In Japanese: 難波立聞昔語

Nanzenji
 

The Nanzenji is an important Zen Buddhist temple in Ky˘to, which was established in 1291 [more details].

In Japanese: 南禅寺

Nanz˘in
 

A buddhist temple located in the 1st district of Takada in the Toshima Ward in T˘ky˘. It was oringally built during the Muromachi period.

In Japanese: 南蔵院

Naozamurai
 

Literally the honest samurai. This was the nickname of Kataoka Naojir˘ (1793~1832), who started his career in evil as doing menial offences and ended as an Edo outlaw. He was one of the 6 tenp˘ rokkasen.

In Japanese: 直侍

Nara Kaid˘
 

An old highway in Japan linking ďsaka to Nara through Makioka and Ikoma.

In Japanese: 奈良街道

Narikomaya
 

Guild name (yag˘) for the actors Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Fukusuke, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Kanjaku, Nakamura Shinobu and Nakamura Tamatar˘ [more details].

In Japanese: 成駒屋

Naritaya
 

Guild name (yag˘) for the actors Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and Ichikawa Shinz˘ [more details].

In Japanese: 成田屋

Nassho
 

A buddhist temple office (for receiving offerings or donations).

In Japanese: 納所

Nasuno-ga-Hara
 

The Nasuno Heath, a wild and volcanic region on the border between today's prefectures of Tochigi and Fukushima.

In Japanese: 那須野原

Natsu
 

Summer in Japanese.

In Japanese:

Natsu Ky˘gen
 

Literally "summer play". Kabuki dramas staged in summer during the Edo period. Most of the stars were not casted because of the hot weather. They were either off or on tour in Ise, Miyajima or any other cooler place. These summer productions allow young actors to perform leading roles. It was also a good opportunity to feature midair stunts (keren), ghost stories (kaidanmono) and real water (honmizu). The members of the audience used to welcome ghosts or water on stage to cool themselves down. In addition to this cooling effect, ghost plays were also staged in summer because it was the season of the famous Bon festival celebrating the annual return of the departed souls. "Yotsuya Kaidan", "Tenjiku Tokubŕ" or "Okuni Gozen" are good examples of natsu ky˘gen.

In Japanese: 夏狂言

Ne
 

One of the twelve signs of the zodiac (jűnishi). Ne is the sign of the rat.

In Japanese:

Negishi
 

Negishi, also known locally as Uguisudani, was a village located six kilometers north of Nihonbashi, the bridge which was considered as the center of Edo. As it was close to the Sumida River, the pleasure quarter of Yoshiwara, the districts of Asakusa, Honjo and Ueno, Negishi became a famous place for artistic retirement or retreat.

In Japanese: 根岸

Neko
 

A cat.

In Japanese:

Neko S˘d˘
 

A family dispute (s˘d˘) and a cat (neko). The cat is always a demon cat with magical powers, which took possession of one human, hiding his real identity during day time and transforming into a monster evil cat at night.

In Japanese: 猫騒動

Neko-s˘d˘mono
 

Kabuki or puppet dramas dealing with neko s˘d˘.

In Japanese: 猫騒動物

Nezumi
 

A rat, a mouse.

In Japanese:

Nibanme
 

The second section of a Kabuki program during the Edo period [more details].

Nibanme has also the meaning of sewamono.

Synonyms: nibanmemono, nibanme ky˘gen.

In Japanese: 二番目

Nidaime
 

The 2nd generation; the 2nd holder of a name; the 2nd actor in a lineage.

In Japanese: 二代目

Nigatsud˘
 

Nigatsud˘ is one of the important structures of the T˘daiji temple in Nara. It is on the hillside of Mount Wakakusa [more details].

In Japanese: 二月堂

Nihon Zutsumi
 

The Nihon Embankment. One of the 100 famous views in Edo.
"The traveller could get to the Yoshiwara overland, but the most common way was to be taken by boat, alight at the San'ya Ditch, then walk or be carried to the Great Gateway along a pathway called the Nihon Embankment; originally nihon was written to mean 'two paths', denoting that it need not be trodden single file, but this was later rewritten with the meaning 'Japan'. The embankment was raised above marshland, with water visible on either side, on clear nights reflecting the moon (the planet of yin). The traveller then turned left and went down a hill called Clothing Slope (Emon-zaka) into the lower, wetter world of the well-clad female, finally crossing into the moated Yoshiwara across more water. It was conventional to depict the Nihon Embankment not only in moonlight (which is how it would have been viewed, since the quarter was only visited by night) but also in the rain - that is, sodden with the elementary force of the yin."
(Timon Screech in "Sex and the floating world: erotic images in Japan, 1700-1820")

In Japanese: 日本堤

Nikai tokoyama
 

Literally "second floor hairdresser". Hairdresser specialized in female roles wigs.

In Japanese: 二階床山

Nimaime
 

Actor specialized in the roles of handsome and refined young lovers, often performed in the wagoto style.

In Japanese: 二枚目

Nimaime Sakusha
 

A second-ranking playwright (sakusha).

In Japanese: 二枚目作者

Nimochi
 

A porter; a luggage bearer.

In Japanese: 荷持

Ningy˘buri
 

A way of acting which imitates the exaggerated motions of the puppets. A stage assistant, dressed as a puppeteer, is behind the actor and gives the illusion that he is handling the puppet.

In Japanese: 人形振り

Ninj˘
 

The human feelings [=> giri/ninj˘].

In Japanese: 人情

Ninj˘bon
 

A genre of illustrated romantic fiction in 19th century Japan.

In Japanese: 人情本

Ni-no-Kawari
 

Literally the "second change". The new year program in ďsaka and Ky˘to during the 18th century. It was the second program produced after the kaomise. The title usually started with the word keisei, as a veiled reference to the old days shimabara ky˘gen.

In Japanese: 二の替り

Nippon Daemon
 

A famous thief in Kabuki (most notably "Shiranami Gonin Otoko"). This role was modelled on the real thief Nippon Saemon.

In Japanese: 日本駄右衛門

Nippon Saemon
 

A notorious thief, born in 1719 and executed in 1747. He was the leader of a gang with more than 200 thieves, who were active mainly in the ďmi province, around the T˘kaid˘. He was the model for the Kabuki thief Nippon Daemon.

In Japanese: 日本左衛門

Nirami no Mie
 

This is the traditional mie of the Ichikawa clan, which is used in important k˘j˘ (shűmei). The word nirami comes from the verb niramu, which means "to glare at". At the beginning, Kamigata katakiyaku actors used to glare to the audience with eyes rolling over in their sockets. Ichikawa Danjűr˘ I decided to use this technique for himself when he was on tour in Ky˘to in 1693/1694. Here is the method for a nirami no mie: the actor has to remove one arm from his outer sleeves, take with his left hand a small wooden tray holding a ceremonial scroll, close the fist of his right hand and put it on his chest, rest one knee on the ceremonial red carpet, then strike his terrifying glaring mie at the audience. It is said that if you can catch the actor eyes, you won't catch any cold during the coming year.

In Japanese: にらみの見得

Nishiki Yoten
 

One of the five main yoten costumes. The nishiki yoten is an upper class warrior and his costume is a rich gold brocade. The most lavish of the yoten designs, it is fringed with a heavy ropelike gold braid that sways furiously when he executes a step. A good example of nishiki yoten is Sat˘ Masakiyo in "Ehon Taik˘ki".

In Japanese: 錦四天

Nisshű
 

==> Hyűga

In Japanese: 日州

 

N˘ is a major form of classical Japanese musical drama that has been performed since the 13th century. The ideogram for means "skill" or "talent". It is written Noh in most of western books but we do prefer N˘ [more details].

In Japanese:

Nobushi
 

A wandering warrior.

In Japanese: 野武士

N˘shű
 

Old province, which corresponds grosso modo to the central and southern part of the current prefecture of Gifu. It was also called Mino.

In Japanese: 濃洲

N˘shű
 

Old province in Japan, which grosso modo corresponds to the northern part of the Ishikawa Prefecture in Japan, including the Noto Peninsula. It was also called Noto [more details].

In Japanese: 能州

Noto
 

Old province in Japan, which grosso modo corresponds to the northern part of the Ishikawa Prefecture in Japan, including the Noto Peninsula. It was also called N˘shű [more details].

In Japanese: 能登

Noto-no-Kami Noritsune
 

==> Taira Noritsune

In Japanese: 能登守教経

Ningy˘ J˘ruri
 

The fusion of two arts into one: puppetry (ningy˘ or ningy˘ shibai) and chanted narrative (j˘ruri). It is also commonly called Bunraku.

In Japanese: 人形浄瑠璃

Nunobiki no Taki
 

The Nunobiki Falls. A set of waterfalls near downtown K˘be. The Nunobiki Falls are considered as one of the greatest "Divine Falls" [more details|A print at the British Museum].

In Japanese: 布引の滝

Nuno-zarashi
 

Nuno-zarashi is not the name of a particular dance, but rather a technique seen in Kabuki and traditional Japanese dance, which involves the waving about of two long strips of cloth in the air so as not to let them touch the ground. The performer usually wears high geta clogs. It is based on the idea of women washing cloth and then bleaching it in the sun, hence nuno (Ĺclothĺ), and sarasu (Ĺto expose to the airĺ). This technique is seen, for example, in the 18th century onnagata dance "Sarashi Sanbas˘" and in such 19th century works as "Sarashime" (also called "ďmi no Okane") and "Echigo Jishi".
(P. Griffith 8/2012)

In Japanese: 布晒し

Nureba
 

A love scene in a Kabuki drama.

In Japanese: 濡れ場

Nuregoto
 

Synonymous with nureba; style and techniques used by an actor portraying either a young man or a young woman in a love scene (nureba).

"The word for love scene in the Kabuki is nuregoto, which means, literally, "moist business". In a curtain speech at the Ichimuraza in Edo just after permission to erect a roof had been received, the leading actor said, 'Hereafter we will not do any more love scenes (nuregoto), for we have received permission to put up a roof." (Earle Ernst in "The Kabuki Theatre")

In Japanese: 濡れ事

Ny˘b˘
 

A wife role.

In Japanese: 女房

Nyogo no Shima
 

Literally the women-protecting island. An imaginary island in Japanese legends said to be populated only with women. A man setting foot on this island was not able to return easily in Japan as he was claimed by the women living on the island. Another possible reading is Nyogo-ga-Shima.

In Japanese: 女護島

 
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