Zeami Research Site

Biography of Zeami
Zeami was probably born in 1363 south of the erstwhile capital Nara, perhaps in Yûzaki, not far from the venerable and ancient temple complex, Hôryûji. His father, Kannami, was the head of a troupe of players of sarugaku (the ancestor of noh) and was related to several of the leaders of rival troupes in the Yamato area. Kannami was a successful actor and played to appreciative audiences far from home as well as nearby in Nara. His troupe was obliged to appear in certain official performances at religious institutions annually in Nara. Kannami's troupe caught the eye of important officials in the capital Kyoto, to the north, and in 1374, he was called upon to perform before the young shogun, Yoshimitsu. This was likely the occasion when Zeami first came into contact with his most important patron, the shogun himself.

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