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Question6 What kind of roles are played as kokata (juvenile actor) ?

In Noh plays, kokata, or juvenile actors, are mainly played by children in shite families. What is interesting is that the term kokata does not always refer to a child's part. For example, in "Funa-Benkei" and "Ataka," Minamoto no Yoshitsune (an adult warrior) is performed by a kokata. What can be the reason? One reason is that Noh plays lay stress on their leading parts shite.

In "Funa-Benkei," the leading role in the first half of the drama is Shizuka Gozen (Lady Shizuka), so if Yoshitsune is played by an adult actor, the audience may not be able to focus on Shizuka's performance.

In a highlight scene in "Ataka," the audience may feel a lot more pity for Yoshitsune tactfully beaten by the leading role of Benkei, thus kokata will give a successful dramatic effect.

Most of the time, the role of the Emperor are played by kokata. This may be because it is considered that innocent children actors will increase the roles' sacredness.


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