Dojoji (Non-Western Part 2)

26 Apr

For my second Non-Western blog I decided to write about the noh play Dojoji by an unknown author.  I have included the 5th and final section of the play below. If you wish to watch the play from the beginning, you can find parts 1-4 on Youtube.

Gojoji is a very popular Noh play. The play was said to have been traditionally written by Kan’ami but this is unsure. The year it was created is also unknown. The earliest known form was in a Buddhist collection of stories called Honcho Hokke Reigenki in 1040. There are many variations of the story and it is performed differently in theatres. Dojoji has also been adapted for kabuki theatre. The video the I have included is a kabuki variation. This play is one of the only ones that use a very important prop (the bell).

The play is about the temple of Dojoji. For many years the temple did not have a bell and the play is about a great day that a new bell is being risen. For some reason that I cannot find an explaination for, women were not allowed to attend this service of the bell being risen. That being said, a female dance approached the gate and dances in order for the servant to let her attend. As she dances, she strikes the bell viciously. While standing underneath of the bell, it comes crashing down on top of her.

The servants are then yelled at and told the story of what had happened to the previous bell. Many years before, a priest from the north would take trips to the shrine of Kumano, stopping by the steward’s house each time, bringing gifts for the steward’s daughter. She very quite fond of the priest and wanted to be his wife when she got older. Jokingly, her father told her some day this would really happen. She did not realize that this was a joke and one year demanded the priest for his hand in marriage. He snuck out of the house when he saw that she would not take no for an answer.

He crossed the river to Dojoji and asked them to hide him, which they did, under the bell. The girl ran after him, but not being able to cross the river, became angry and transofrmed into a giant serpent and swam to the temple. She coiled around the bell and set it on fire, burning the priest to death.

After hearing the story, the servants resolve to perform an exorcism of the woman’s spirit. With great difficulty, they then lift the bell and the deamon jumps out from underneath of it. Using prayer and their rosaries, they then succeeded in driving the serpent away. She jumps into the River Hitaka and disappears.

I chose this work because I lived in Japan for six years and am still very amazed with the story telling and ways of the Japanese. I have also taken kabuki dancing classes as a young child and thought that this was an interesting story and play.

Work Cited

Hana-no-Kai. 2005. Photograph.

Kyō-Kanoko Musume Dōjōji 【京鹿子娘道成寺】 5/5. Dir. Osbourn15. Youtube. 12 Oct. 2010. Web. 26 Apr. 2011. <;.


2 Responses to “Dojoji (Non-Western Part 2)”

  1. dannerak May 9, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    Awesome choice! I really like Asian art as well. My wife is from Korea and I have spend quite a bit of time in Seoul and Busan. Great analysis and break down of the play. I feel like I know the story without even seeing it. Great Job. I feel that you have all that is necessary here to receive top marks on this assignment.

  2. moocow April 1, 2015 at 3:32 am #

    neat, just happened to be off on a google search about this, and yours was a different explanation of the story that i’ve seen elsewhere. shame your site’s old (and takes work to make) it looks fun to read

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