Ikuta Atsumori

Ikuta Atsumori

Noh Less

Ikuta Atsumori

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Ikuta Atsumori (生田敦盛), sometimes known simply as Ikuta, is one of many Noh plays derived from the story of Taira no Atsumori, a young Taira clan samurai who was killed in the 1184 battle of Ichi-no-Tani. Taking place largely at Ikuta Shrine, near the scene of the battle, it centers on Atsumori's fictional son, who seeks to meet his father's ghost.

Plot summary

A monk opens the play, introducing himself as a disciple of famous priest Hōnen Shōnin, and explaining how Hōnen once found a baby boy in a box at the Kamo Shrine in Kyoto. The monk says that Hōnen raised the boy, and, that many years later, a young woman came forth revealing herself to be the boy's mother, and explaining that his father was Taira no Atsumori. As the boy now longed to see his father's face, Hōnen suggested that he should go to Kamo and pray there for a week.

The monk concludes his introduction by explaining that this is the last day of that week, and that he has come with the boy to Kamo once again, to pray. The boy then tells the monk that he had a dream while praying, in which a voice told him to go to Ikuta Shrine in order to see his father.

Traveling to Ikuta, the pair come upon a small hut, where they decide to ask to spend the night. The man in the hut explains that he is the ghost of Atsumori. Through the intervention of the Kamo kami, Atsumori explains, he has been granted by Yama, the lord of death, a brief opportunity to appear here in the mortal world, to meet his son. He...
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