The Flowering Spirit: Classic Teachings on the Art of Nō
"In the Fūshikaden are reflected the primordial religious sentiments of the Japanese, the poetic standards of the aristocracy, Zen Buddhist philosophy, and the warrior class ideals from one of the most creative periods in Japanese history."
—from the Introduction
The actor and playwright Zeami (1363-1443) has been described by Donald Keene as "the greatest figure in the history of Nō." As well as astonishing masterpieces for the theories of the art of Nō. These were initially secret teachings that were later coveted among the upper echelons of the samurai class, and only reached the general public in the early twentieth century.
The Fūshikaden is the best known of these treatises, and is just as relevant today as it was six hundred years ago. Not only does it provide practical instruction to actors, likening the actor's art to a flower, but it also offers valuable teachings on the aesthetics and spiritual culture of Japan, as well as a philosophical outlook on life.
In The Flowering Spirit: Classic Teachings on the Art of Nō, William Scott Wilson accompanies his translation of this classic text with a comprehensive introduction describing the historical background and the main features of Nō. He also includes a new translation of one of Zeami's most beautifully written plays, Atsumori, a poetic and moving account of the death of an elegant young warrior, and the redemption of his soul through the prayers of the older seasoned warrior who took his life.