The Dynamics of Nyonin jōbutsu in Zenchiku’s Yōkihi
Honzetsu, Poetic Allusion, and Sacred Space
Medieval nō theatre is built upon honzetsu (source texts), which are drawn from the premodern Japanese canon and critical for dramaturgical structure and meaning. This study focuses on Zenchiku’s Yōkihi, a female-spirit play with an initial honzetsu of Chinese Tang the poem Changhenge that is further filtered through additional texts, primarily Heian-period narrative Genji monogatari. Therefore, examination of Yōkihi involves consideration of all relevant honzetsu cited within the play, their earlier Heian receptions, and subsequent medieval textual lives. The dramaturgical structure and language of Yōkihi, with its variations from these honzetsu, emphasise thematic concerns of existential isolation, karmic clinging, and sacred space as critical to feminine ontological and enlightenment status.