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Nasuno

那須野

This is a piece of genre Sokyoku from the Yamada Ryû - 山田 School. This piece was composed for Koto by the person Yamada Kengyo.

History (Tsuge Gen'ichi):

Nasuno, composed in 1807 by Yamada Kengyo, the creator of the Yamada style Sokyoku, holds an important position among his works. The story of this piece is based on the no play Sesshoseki, a dramatization of an old legend about a huge stone at the Nasuno plain in Tochigi Prefecture (to the North of Tokyo). The stone, 'Sesshoseki,' was believed to kill not only human beings and animals who came in touch with it, but also birds that flew over it. The legend says that the stone was once a female fox devil, Tamamo-no-mae, that was shot to death in Nasuno.

Poem (translated by Tsuge Gen'ichi)

At the lair of the fox
Hidden by blooms
Of the wild chrysanthemum -
Dinning voices
Of myriad insects,
Reeds bending
To the night winds.
What a grim and fearsome scene!

In the wild fields
Burning passionately - fox fires (1)
Burning with memories,
Longing for the past -
Tamamo-no-mae,
Heedless of the dew
In the bush clover,
Her back to the moon,
Laments bitterly.

'For many years
The emperor
Favored me
When I was at court.
Our pledge
Of eternal love,
Our bed of
Plighted love -
I have
Never forgotten!
Alone, now
Alone, now
The rain of my bitter tears
Soaks my sleeve.

To tell my story -
In India I was
The wife of King Hanzoku,
The mistress of the Mound (2).
In China
I was called Pao Sze (3),
In Japan
I entered the service
Of Emperor Toba,
And came to be called
Tamamo-no-mae.
During a concert
At the Imperial Residence,
Early in the evening
Before the moon rose,
A sudden whirlwind
Blew up sand
And extinguished the lamp.
At that moment,
From my body
A ghostly light
Shown all around,
And the emperor
Fell ill.

A withered Paulownia leaf
Brought the autumn in;
The glory of yesterday has changed
To the uncertain flow of Tomorrow River.
Hiding from this sad world
In a deep basket-hat,
I left the capital behind me,
Traveled east
Past the barrier gate
Of Shirakawa,
And settled on
The Nasuno Plain.
Finally my fleeting,
Painful life
Was ended by
A pursuer's arrow head.

Transformed into
The Murderer Stone,
I now am shunned
By all the world.'
Her tears of hail fall
On the withered autumn reeds.

Her hair as disheveled
As the ghostly grass,
Ephemeral,
She has vanished from sight.

(1) Phosphorescent glow.
(2) King Hanzoku promised to build a mound using the heads of 1,000 kings as an offering to a pagan god; after collecting 999 heads he was converted to Buddhism and became a priest.
(3) Consort of Emperor Yu Wang of the Chou Dynasty.
(maebiki)

Rangiku no
hana ni kakuraru
yako no fushido
mushi no koe sae
wakachinaku
ogi fukiokuru
yoarashi ni
ito monosugoki
keshiki kana
(ai)
Nobe no kitsunebi
omoi ni moyuru
moyuru omoi ni
kogarete ideshi
tamamo-no-mae
hagi no shitatsuyu
itoi naku
tsuki ni somukete
uramigoto

Sugishi kumoi ni
arishi toki
kimi ga nasake ni
ikutose mo
hiyoku no toko ni
ennoo no
fusuma kasanete
chigirishi koto mo
mune ni shibashi mo
wasure wa yarade
hitori namida ni
kakochigusa
murete shioruru
sode no ame

Somo ware koso wa
tenjiku nite
hanazoku-taishi no
tsuka no kami
morokoshi nite wa
hoji to yobare
hinomoto nite wa
toba no mikado ni
miyazukae
tamamo-no-mae to
maritarunari
seiryooden no
gyoyuu no toki
tsuki mada idenu
yoi no sora
isago fukikoshi
kaze motsure
tomoshibi kieshi
sono toki ni
waga mi yori
hikari wo hanachite
terasu nizo
kimi wa gonoo to
maritamoo

Kiri no hitoha ni
aki tachite
kinoo ni kawaru
asukagawa
ima wa ukiyo wo
kakuregasa
miyako wo ato ni
minashitsutsu
seki no shirakawa
yoso ni nashi
nasuno no hara ni
suminarete
tsui ni yasaki ni
hakanakumo
kakaru kono mi zo
tsurakariki
(ai)
Sesshooseki to
yo no hito ni
utomaru koto to
narihateshi
namida no arare
ofi susuki
(ai)
Furimidashitaru
arisama ni
kiete hakanaku
narinikeri

Nasuno appears on the following albums

AlbumShakuhachiKotoShamisen

Kou Aoki Reibo II

Shakuhachi no Shinzui-Sankyoku Gasso - 04 Yamaguchi Goro

Tradition and Avantgarde in Japan


    The piece was written around 1800 by Yamada kengyo, the founder of the Yamada School, and it is considered one of his masterpieces. Nasuno represents the new style of koto music that Yamada created, in which the voice is placed in the foreground. In this case it is singing in the style of the narrative shamisen music (joruri), which is popular in Bunraku puppet theater and in kabuki theater. Yamada turned theatrical works into chamber music, and he was so successful at it that his school became the dominant koto school in Tokyo throughout the nineteenth century.

    Nasuno is based on an ancient legend that was already dramatized in earlier no theater, as well as in Bunraku and kabuki. The immediate source of the text is probably the no play Sesshoseki (The deadly stone). Sesshoseki is the name of a famous cliff in the Nasuno Heath, a wild, volcanic region-on the border between today's prefectures of Tochigi and Fukushima (north of Tokyo). It has long been believed that this cliff has magic powers, and all life that approached it was extinguished. Even birds that flew over it are said to have fallen dead to the ground. This is explained in the folktale as a consequence of the fact that the stone was once a female fox demon called Tamamo, who was killed by an arrow in Nasuno and turned into a stone.

    The association woman-demon-fox is a well-known motif through eastern Asia. In the dominant, largely masculine worldviews of both Confucianism and Buddhism the woman is the other, uncanny sex. She embodies earthly sensuality and sexuality, is dominated by violent emotions like passion, greed, envy, jealousy, and so on, that bind her to this world, and represents the yin principle, i.e., the dark and passive. All of this makes woman a demonic creature in the traditional thought of eastern Asia, one that can represent a deadly threat for the living even after she herself has died. The essence of the fox has always been interpreted as demonic and sensual/erotic. It is the fox who, in the form of a beautiful girl, offers itself to men and drains them of their life force so that the fox itself can live a long life of thousands of years.

    In Yamada's composition Nasuno the focus is on the memories and emotions of the main character-the beautiful, clever, and erotic court lady and "fox woman" Tamamo. A description of the uncanny atmosphere of the wild Nasuno Heath with its "foxfires"-that is, bluish phosphorescent lights that were once thought to be caused by fire-breathing foxes (2)-is followed by Tamamo's memories of a happy past spent living in India and China and finally as the lover of Emperor Toba in Japan (4). She bitterly complains of being driven from the imperial court when one dark night an unnatural beam of light, the Yin light of the moon, came out of her body and revealed her true essence as a "fox woman" (5). Banished from the human world she is forced to spend a miserable life in the wasteland of the Nasuno Heath. Killed by the imperial hunters, before whom she appeared as a fox (6) her spirit turns to stone, which thereafter struggles vengefully to exterminate all other life-a fate that causes Tamamo herself to suffer most of all (7).

    The song attempts to express the emotions depicted in a musically differentiated way, following the style of the narrative joruri style. This is achieved less through tonal modulations than through changes in tempo and the use of various vocal styles, ranging from narrative declamation to extremely cantabile intonations. The tonal framework is set throughout by the kumoijohi (a-b-d-e-f-a) and sansagari (e-a-d) tunings for both the koto and the shamisen. These tunings can create a festive and elegant mood or, as they do here, a gruesome atmosphere. The shamisen lute player also cries loudly syllables like iy6 and ha, which are meant to increase the drama of the music. It is striking that instrumental interludes are dispensed with almost entirely, which concentrates all of the attention on the story being told.

    Nasuno Transliteration
    (1) [Maebiki]

    (2) Rangiku no
    hana ni kakururu yako no
    fushidokoro

    mushi no koe sae wakachi naku

    ogi fukiokuru yoarashi ni

    ita monosugoki keshiki kana

    (3) [Ai]

    (4) Nobe no kitsunebi
    omoi ni moyuru
    moyuru omoi ni kogarete ideshi
    Tamamo no mae
    hagi no shita tsuyu itoinaku
    tsuki ni somukete uramigoto

    sugishi kumoi ni arishi toki
    kimi ga nasake ni ikutose mo
    hiyoku no toko ni en'ou no

    fusuma kasanete chigirishi
    koto mo
    mune ni shibashi mo wasure wa
    yara de
    hitori namida ni kakochigusa
    nurete shioruru sode no ame

    (5) Somo ware koso wa Tenjiku nite
    Hanzoku taishi no tsuka no kami

    Morokoshi nitewa Hoji to yobare
    Hinomoto nitewa
    Toba no mikado ni miyazukae
    Tamamo no mae to naritaru nari
    Seiryoden no gyoyu no toki

    tsuki mada idenu yoi no sora

    isago fukikoshi kaze mo tsure

    tomoshibi kieshi sono toki ni
    waga mi yori hikari o hanachite
    terasu ni zo
    kimi wa gono to nari tamo

    (6) Kiri no hitoha ni aki tachite

    kino ni kawaru Asukagawa

    ima wa ukiyo o kakuregasa

    miyako o ato ni minashi tsutsu

    seki no Shirakawa yoso ni nashi

    Nasuno no hara ni suminarete

    tsuini yasaki ni hakanaku mo

    kakaru kono mi zo tsurakariki

    (7) Sesshoseki to yo no hito ni

    utomaruru koto to narihateshi
    namida no arare hagi-susuki

    furimidashitaru arisama ni

    kiete hakanaku nari ni keri


    On Nasuno Heath
    Translation

    (1) [Prelude]

    (2) In wild chrysanthemums,
    hidden under blossoms,
    the fox's lair.

    Insects chirp indistinguishably from one another
    and the night storm rages through the reeds -
    what a terrible scene!

    (3) [Brief instrumental interlude]

    (4) The foxfire on the wild heath –
    they flame up passionately.
    Into the flaming thoughts steps
    Lady Tamamo -
    ignoring the dew on the clover and
    turning her back to the moon,
    she laments bitterly.
    Once long ago at the Court of Clouds -3-
    I enjoyed the emperor's love.
    In the marriage chamber always faithful
    together like mandarin ducks -4-
    under the covers, one on top of the
    other, an eternal bond was sealed.
    In her breast she never forgets one moment.
    Alone now in the tears of deep sorrow
    the sleeves soaked, like after a rainstorm.

    (5) Now, it is I, who in India was once
    the wife of Prince Hanzoku, the queen of the graves; -5-
    who was called Baosi in China; -6-
    and in the land of the sun [Japan]
    served the Emperor Toba -7-
    and here became Lady Tamamo.
    When the emperor entertained himself
    with music at the Seiryo Palace,
    the moon had not yet risen in the night sky.
    And as a gust of wind kicked up the sand
    and extinguished the lamp,
    a beam of light emerged from my body,
    and the emperor fell ill.

    (6) A withered leaf of the paulownia,
    and it was fall.
    From yesterday to today the Asuka
    River has transformed.

    Now hidden from the gaze of the world under a hat.
    I had to leave the capital [Kyoto] behind me.
    I passed the border station of Shirakawa
    and since then I have lived in the heath of Nasuno.
    Finally an arrow pierced my ephemeral form.
    Such is my life: filled with bitterness!

    (7) Into a "deadly stone," avoided by people,
    I have been transformed.
    Tears like hailstones on the reeds and suzuki grass.
    In disarray and confused her outward appearance.
    She has now disappeared, become nothing.

    -3- Metaphor for the emperor's court, which is removed from the world of ordinary people.

    -4- In eastern Asian literature mandarin ducks are a popular metaphor for marital fidelity.

    -5- The Indian prince Hanzoku is said to have been responsible for the murder of a thousand kings, whose heads he offered in a grave mound to the local divinity. It is said that his wife was ultimately responsible for this act.

    -6- Baosi (jap. Hoji) is the name of the concubine of the Chinese king You of the Chou Dynasty. When his empire was attacked and destroyed and he himself was killed, Baosi was blamed.

    -7- The Japanese emperor Toba reigned from 1107-23.

    Heinz-Dieter Reese
    (From the program of the Biennale Neue Musik Hannover 1999) Translation: Steven Lindberg

Yamada Kengyo o Utao Disk 3


Yamada Kengyo o Utao Disk 3


Yamada Kengyo o Utao Disk 3


Yamada Kengyo o Utao Disk 3


Yamada Kengyo o Utao Disk 3


Yamada Kengyo o Utao Disk 3


Yamada Kengyo o Utao Disk 3


Yamada Kengyo o Utao Disk 3


Yamada Kengyo o Utao Disk 3


Yamada Kengyo o Utao Disk 3


Yamada Kengyo o Utao Disk 3



The International Shakuhachi Society - 2017