Noh

Oriental Adventures in Kara-Tur, the Eastern Realms.
The Book-House: Find Kara-Tur products.

Moderator: Cthulhudrew

Post Reply
User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
Posts: 24264
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Gender: male
Location: London UK
Contact:

Noh

Post by Big Mac » Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:21 pm

Page 55 of Oriental Adventures has Noh listed as a Court Proficiency. It is described as a "type of drama performed in some lands of Kara-Tur".

There is only about a paragraph about Noh.

There is a real-world Noh (from Japan) and I assume that the Kara-Tur Noh is pretty much identical to Japanese Noh. The Wikipedia article for Noh could probably be used to expand Kara-Tur's Noh a bit. This section about the origins of Noh is fairly generic:
Noh article on Wikipedia wrote:The word Noh is a borrowing from Middle Chinese nong 能 (cf. Mandarin néng), and means "skill", "craft", or "talent", particularly in the field of performing arts in this context. The word Noh may be used alone or with gaku (fun, music) to form the word nōgaku. Noh is a classical tradition that is highly valued by many today. When used alone, Noh refers to the historical genre of theatre originated from sarugaku in the mid 14th century and continues to be performed today.

Noh and kyōgen "originated in the 8th century when the sangaku (ja:散楽) was transmitted from China to Japan. At the time, the term sangaku referred to various types of performance featuring acrobats, song and dance as well as comic sketches. Its subsequent adaptation to Japanese society led to its assimilation of other traditional art forms."

Various performing art elements in sangaku as well as elements of dengaku (rural celebrations performed in connection with rice planting), sarugaku (popular entertainment including acrobatics, juggling, and pantomime), shirabyōshi (traditional dances performed by female dancers in the Imperial Court in 12th century), and gagaku (ancient music and dance performed in the Imperial Court beginning in 7th century) evolved into Noh and kyōgen.
I'm wondering how Noh might work in a land as large as Kara-Tur. If we ignore "China" and "Japan" in the history of Noh, what we end up with is a very popular art form, that has come into an Asian country from another Asian country and then become very popular with the rulers of that country.

So I guess that, in terms of Kara-Tur, the lands where performances of Noh are popular, might have cultures that are a bit more similar to Japan than other parts of Kara-Tur. Or maybe the parts of Kara-Tur that do not have Noh performances have got their own preferred art forms. (And I guess that some of them could be extrapolated from other parts of sangaku, like acrobatics or comedy sketches.)

Are there any later sources that explain which lands in the Kara-Tur area are known to have Noh performances?

Are there any 2nd Edition sources that tie in Noh with something like the Bard class?

Are there any adventures, based in Kara-Tur that include some sort of connection to Noh?
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and The Piazza's Google + community and follow The Piazza's Twitter feed so that you can stay in touch.
Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
Moderator of the Spelljammer forum (and administrator). My moderator voice is green.

User avatar
Cthulhudrew
Green Dragon
Posts: 4219
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 2:13 pm
Gender: male
Location: Long Beach, CA

Re: Noh

Post by Cthulhudrew » Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:07 pm

I would assume Noh originated in Kozakura, as that is the chief Japan analogue in Kara-Tur.

Nothing else about Noh that I am aware of in any OA products, but the comic nerd in me feels compelled to point out the excellent series of graphic novels by David Mack from the 90s (primarily) called Kabuki. The main villainous organization involved in the series is known as "the Noh," and its chief agents/assassins wear Noh masks.

The organization would translate very well to an OA setting.
Moderator of the Mystara and Greyhawk forums. My moderator voice is gray-green.
Image

User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
Posts: 24264
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Gender: male
Location: London UK
Contact:

Re: Noh

Post by Big Mac » Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:29 am

Cthulhudrew wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:07 pm
I would assume Noh originated in Kozakura, as that is the chief Japan analogue in Kara-Tur.
That sounds good. So I guess it would be about working out how (and maybe when) Noh was transmitted from land to land.

Is there any other nation that might serve as an older China-like place where the earlier sangaku might have come from (and morphed into Noh?

Are there any periods in Kara-Tur history, where the people of Kozakura took over other lands for a while? That might be a good way for parts of Kozakura culture (including Noh) to be left somewhere else.

Are there any parts of Kara-Tur that are especially resistant to the culture of Kozakura? Malatra springs to mind as a possible.

I think that if I can work out the nations that obviously have a similar culture to Kozakura, and the nations that obviously have a different culture to Kozakura, I can start to create a list that shows what lands do and do not have Noh. Then I would be left with the edge cases and could talk about those to make a decision.
Cthulhudrew wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:07 pm
Nothing else about Noh that I am aware of in any OA products, but the comic nerd in me feels compelled to point out the excellent series of graphic novels by David Mack from the 90s (primarily) called Kabuki. The main villainous organization involved in the series is known as "the Noh," and its chief agents/assassins wear Noh masks.

The organization would translate very well to an OA setting.
That sounds fantastic! That's a great way to involve Noh in plots. I guess that would translate as something similar to a thieves guild.
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and The Piazza's Google + community and follow The Piazza's Twitter feed so that you can stay in touch.
Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
Moderator of the Spelljammer forum (and administrator). My moderator voice is green.

Post Reply

Return to “Kara-Tur”