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A Study on the Characters of <Shozon>

  • 日本硏究
  • 2013, (35), pp.327-347
  • Publisher : The Center for Japanese Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Japanese Language and Literature
  • Published : August 20, 2013

LEE YUN JI 1

1고려대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Minamoto no Yoshitsune(1159-1189) is a medieval Japanese commander who was responsible for the three victories that helped the Minamoto clan(also known as the Genji) defeat the Taira clan(also known as the Heike) during the Genpei War. He has long been a popular figure in Japanese literature and culture due to his tragic life. And his life coined a new expression still used in Japan―Hogan-biiki(sympathy for Hogan; by extension, sympathy for the underdog)―meaning “sympathy, admiration, respect for a tragic hero.” It was responsible for the growth of the Yoshitsune legend and the idealization of its protagonist. The story of Yoshitsune has been fictionalized, romanticized, mythologized in a number of plays and novels. Many of the literary pieces that Yoshitsune appears in are legend rather than historical fact. It includes plenty of apocryphal episodes, especially about Yoshitsune’s early childhood and last years of his life. Folk literature and storytellers over the centuries have portrayed Yoshitsune’s life story, with Noh plays seem to be based on quotations from various medieval sources. The playwrights of Noh adapted a rich legacy of source materials for their own purposes. In this paper, in order to see how they transformed the historical imagination into legendary heroes, I reviewed the characters and their traits in 〈Shozon〉 with the theatrical side of Noh.

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