Ghosts of Warriors in Noh Plays

Warriors who appear as ghosts on the noh stage are generally related to the Genpei wars of the 12th century (Tomonaga and Tamuramaru are exceptions) and their stories are usually based on The Tale of the Heike (Heike monogatari). The plays are classified as second-category (nibanme mono) or "warrior-ghost" (shura-mono) plays in which the departed warriors enact battle memories. The general costume for these warriors is comprised of divided skirts, an underrobe, a broad-sleeved cloak, and a mask. When the titles of the plays are eponymous, only the clan name of the main character is given.

Warrior-courtiers (kindachi):
Chūjō or jūroku mask, chōken cloak, ōkuchi skirts, atsuita-karaori or nuihaku underrobe are standard.

Play Warrior's Clan
Warrior's Fate
AtsumoriTairaDefeatedA teen-aged warrior who plays the flute.
Ikuta AtsumoriTaira no AtsumoriDefeatedAtsumori's son appears.
No clear source.
KiyotsuneTairaDefeatedKiyotsune appears with his wife.
MichimoriTairaDefeatedMichimori appears with his wife.
Shunzei TadanoriTaira Tadanori DefeatedTadanori appears with his friend.
Shigehira Taira ExecutedA non-standard play which has been restored.
TadanoriTaira DefeatedA warrior concerned about his poetry.
Tomoakira Taira DefeatedA brave youth who dies for his father, Tomomori.
TomonagaMinamoto DefeatedWounded youth killed by his father.
Source: Heiji monogatari.
TsunemasaTaira DefeatedA warrior known for his lute playing.


Brave warriors (yūshi):
Heita mask, happi cloak, hangiri skirts, atsuita underrobe.

PlayWarrior's ClanWarrior's FateDescription
EbiraKajiwara Genta Kagesue? VictoriousSometimes wears warrior-courtier costume.
YashimaMinamoto no Yoshitsune VictoriousRetrieves his arrow from the sea.
TamuraSakanoue no Tamuramaru Victorious
Source: Konjaku monogatari and
KanehiraImai no Shirō Kanehira DefeatedBrother of the female warrior Tomoe.


Old warriors:
Old man's mask, happi cloak, hangiri skirts, atsuita underrobe

Play Warrior's ClanWarrior's Fate Description


Female warrior:
Young woman's mask; karaori robe in tsuboori draping, ōkuchi skirts.

Play Warrior's Clan Warrior's FateDescription
TomoeImai family, Tomoe GozenSurvivedIn service of Kiso no Yoshinaka.


Fierce Warrior:
Helmet-horns and black headpiece (kuwagata, kurogashira), Ayakashi mask, happi cloak, hangiri skirts, atsuita underrobe.

Play Warrior's ClanWarrior's FateDescription
IkarikazuchiTaira no TomomoriDefeatedSecond or fifth category. Kanze uses heita mask.
FunabenkeiTaira no Tomomori in Act IIDefeated and vengefulFifth category play.
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