Definition of Noh in English:


(also No)


mass noun
  • Traditional Japanese masked drama with dance and song, evolved from Shinto rites.

    ‘a Noh play’
    • ‘‘There are other styles of drumming in Japan, such as the Noh or Kabuki theatrical styles, but they demand a more refined ear,’ says troupe spokesman Bob Ward.’
    • ‘He was inspired by Japanese Noh drama in his use of slow, stylized body movements.’
    • ‘The Japanese Noh was a drama of soliloquy and reminiscence, rather than one of conflict, in which the actor's stylized movements and stamping provided a rhythmic accompaniment to his narrative, with subjects taken from myth and legend.’
    • ‘Transfixed, Gilbert observes wool spinning, calligraphic lettering, and sword fighting, as well as performances of music, dance, and Noh drama.’
    • ‘What is most surprising in the film is Ono's voice, which not only mimics the whine of a fly in flight but also, according to Munroe, echoes the sound of the flute that punctuates every dramatic fluctuation in traditional Japanese Noh drama.’
    • ‘We also have the largest collection of Japanese Noh theater costumes outside of Japan.’
    • ‘The essence of all these plays is in the absolute starkness, as in Noh drama or Yeats.’
    • ‘Waley and Pound both undertook their translations of Classical Chinese poetry and Japanese Noh plays during the First World War.’
    • ‘Paul had a lively interest in Japanese culture and was a frequent guest in the Noh and Kabuki theaters.’
    • ‘The Japanese Noh also antedates many developments in contemporary theater, such as no scenery, symbolic use of props and the appearance of non-actors on the stage.’
    • ‘He has studied Noh and directed several film shorts.’
    • ‘For instance, a single production may feature actors from six countries, speaking in as many languages and performing in as many styles, from modern punk to Thai dance and Japanese Noh.’
    • ‘In modern Japan, directors like Ninagawa and Suzuki have tapped the energies underlying theatrical traditions of Noh and Kabuki to make Shakespeare texts seem both contemporary and international.’
    • ‘The display of Japanese Noh was brilliant in transcending some of the problems of negotiating form, costume, and performance.’
    • ‘It is said that Japan today lives with three classical performing arts - Noh, Puppet Theatre and Kabuki.’
    • ‘Mishima, whom Western countries know more as a novelist, wanted to be a dramatist first and foremost, as a great admirer of the classical tragedy as well as the traditional Japanese Noh play, from which he drew a good part of his inspiration.’
    • ‘‘The Cat and the Moon’ is a comedy about two beggars, one blind the other lame, which makes use of the techniques Yeats adapted from the Japanese Noh style of theatre.’
    • ‘This film is heavily influenced by the sparse sets and rigid character archetypes found in Japanese Noh theater.’
    • ‘The Japanese tradition of Noh theatre depends on a strong connection between dance and architecture.’
    • ‘The traditional dolls are commonly the personification of assorted Japanese characters, the Noh theater actors and actress, Kabuki players, and women in various activities that mainly reflect their femininity.’
    no, refusal, rejection, veto
    View synonyms

Noh dates from the 14th and 15th centuries, and its subject matter is taken mainly from Japan's classical literature. Traditionally the players were all male, with the chorus playing a passive narrative role