The Hannya mask shows complicated emotions mixed with anger and sadness
“Aoi no Ue” is a masterpiece in terms of Noh plays.
The ”Hannya mask” (female demon mask) is well known as the most representative Noh mask, and it is used in Aoi no Ue.
This is because it was believed that women could be demonized through a jealous rage.
The Hannya mask is used as a symbol of the female demon.
In Aoi no Ue, Lady Rokujyo is demonized by deep-seated jealousy.
The Hannya mask looks very scary.
If young children see that resentful look, they will cry.
On the other hand, the Hannya mask makes me feel deep sorrow.
The mouth of the Hannya mask is wide open and ripped at the corners. In addition, it has some fangs.
That mouth is very characteristic, and it gives the impression of anger.
But take a good look at the Hannya mask because it has a sad look in its eyes.
The Hannya mask shows complicated emotions mixed with anger and sadness.
I think that the sadness may be the essence of anger, especially in the case of jealousy.
When I focused on the sadness behind the anger, I thought I was able to realize the profound charm of Aoi no Ue.
In Aoi no Ue, a Noh actor and Noh chorus express Lady Rokujyo’s jealousy through Noh chanting.
Lady Rokujyo is easily hurt even though she is so full of pride.
She unexpectedly transforms into a demon because of a broken heart, but she continues to love Hikarugenji.
So she just has to feel strong hate toward his legal wife.
A Hannya mask expresses her inner conflict very well.
I always have empathy for Lady Rokujyo.
By the way, in a Noh play, negative emotions, such as jealousy, are expressed poetically through Noh chanting.
I think that is one of the virtues of a Noh play.