|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.
"In order to understand the Flower you should first observe a flower blooming in nature, and then understand this as a metaphor for the principle of the Flower in all things."
"If it is hidden, it is the Flower; if it is not hidden, it is not the Flower."
About the Author
WILLIAM SCOTT WILSON was born in 1944 and grew up in Florida. He had his first taste of Japan in 1966, when he joined a three-month kayak trip up the coast from Shimonoseki to Tokyo. This eye-opening journey, beautifully documented in National Geographic, Wilson's fascination with the country and prompted him to devote his subsequent studies to its language, culture, and history.
Wilson completed his first translation, the classic martial arts philosophy text Hagakure, while living in an old farmhouse deep in the Japanese countryside. Hagakure saw publication in 1979, and two decades later was prominently featured in Jim Jarmusch's movie Ghost Dog. Wilson's other translations include The Book of Five Rings, The Life-Giving Sword, The Unfettered Mind, Eiji Yoshikawa's historical novel Taiko and Ideals of the Samurai, which has been used as a college textbook on Japanese history and thought. He is also the author of The Lone Samurai, the recent bestselling study of the life of legendary swordsman Miyamoto Musashi.
Traveling frequently to Japan for research and pleasure, Wilson currently lives in Miami, Florida.