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The Study of Nho “Uneme” and Rain-making Ritual

Hyeon wook Kim 1

1국민대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Nho “Uneme” contains belief of Buddhism and Shintoism. In Nho “Uneme,” especially, Buddhism and Shintoism are connected through religious belief Ryuzin (竜神). This research has focused on Shintoism appeared in the “Uneme.” Ancient Japanese believed that a dragon is a ruler of rain and pleasing the dragon will make it rain. Based on their belief, the ancient Japanese held a ceremonial event for Ryuzin, praying for rain. During the ceremony of rain, people often performed dancing or singing. Nho is a performance that represents medieval period. Actors chose which Nho to play during the ceremony. “Amayorokobi Nho” was what they called and “Uneme” is one of “Amayorokobi Nho.” What were the reasons that Nho actors chose “Uneme” as part of “Amayorokobi Nho”? First, it is because “Uneme” has strong relation with “Ryuzin.” The main character in Nho “Uneme” is a maid in a palace, and she was called Uneme. Originally Uneme appeared as Shaman, and she was high in position. However, as time goes by, Uneme was treated as a maid in a palace. The Uneme, the main character, in Nho “Uneme” is who threw herself in a Sarusawa pond and ended her life after forsaken by the king. The Uneme ended her life by throwing herself into the pond but, resurrected as a Dragon and staying in Sarusawa pond. Ryuzin belief runs deep in Sarusawa pond and Kasuga shrine near the pond. The reasons Nho “Uneme” played as “Amayorokobi Nho” are “Uneme” was geologically based on a place where Ryuzin belief is widespread, and the main character was reborn as a dragon. Second, often lines in Nho “Uneme” contain water and rain. Continuous use of vocabulary such as under the sea, a surface of a lake, wave, or rain in Nho lines strongly visualizes water in the play. Lastly, Zyonomai, the dance Uneme beautifully performed contains shamanistic power which prays for rain. Uneme’s Zyonomai is analogous to Sendabunin or Shizukagozen dance which also had the shamanistic power of rain.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.