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ちょうりょう 張良 



A noh play by Kanze Kojirō Nobumitsu 観世小次郎信光 (1435-1516) based on an old Chinese legend about Chōryō, who receives a secret military treatise for picking up a dropped shoe.


Category: Two-act, fifth category play


==Shite: old man

==Nochi-jite: Kōsekikō

==Waki: Chōryō

==Kyōgen: Chōryō’s subordinate

==Tsure: Kannon (Goddess of Mercy)

Setting: Kahi, a province in Kan (Han) China.

Props:Two platforms representing a bridge, shoe


Chōryō, while on his way to meet a mysterious old man whom he encountered in a dream, tells the story of how in his dream he helped put on the old man’s shoe upon his demand. After Chōryō has respectfully done so, the old man arranges for a meeting and promises that he will then hand over a secret treatise of military training to Chōryō. Upon arrival Chōryō finds that the old man is already there. After being chided for his tardiness, Chōryō is told to go back and meet the old man again in five days’ time.

The kyōgen, one of Chōryō’s subordinates, enters and retells the story. He introduces the old man as Kōsekikō, who wants to help the Kan emperor, Kōso, win his battle by giving Chōryō who is the Kan emperor’s minister a secret military treatise.

In Act Two, Chōryō appears with more elaborate costumes and carries a sword. Kōsekikō, too, dons a more formal outfit and carries with him a scroll. Chōryō’s final test is to retrieve the old man’s shoes from the river where a giant dragon-like creature awaits him. Chōryō bravely pulls out his sword and the creature gives in. Upon receiving his shoes, Kōsekikō hands Chōryō the secret treatise and explains that the creature in the river is actually Kannon, who was testing Chōryō’s sincerity and will become his Guardian Deity from now. With that final disclosure, Kōsekikō returns to the high mountains and turns into a large, yellow boulder.

Lim Beng Choo