• Japanese: 百万 (Hyakuman)

Hyakuman is a Noh play of the madwoman type (fourth category), with the famous kusemai dancer Hyakuman as the lead (shite) character.

In the play, Hyakuman has been driven mad by her distress after her child goes missing. She travels to Seiryô-ji in western Kyoto, where an annual prayer to Amida is being held. There, she offers a dance to the deity as a prayer for the safe return of her child.

In earlier versions of the play, this dance was the Jigoku no kusemai (Dance of Hell), a dance already extant as its own separate piece in the kusemai. This dance reenacted or represented four of the Six Realms (rokudô) of Buddhist existence. At some point, however, a new and different dance became the standard one performed in this play. In the new kuse section of the play, the dance represents Hyakuman's distressed mental state as she travels from Nara to Kyoto searching for her child. Zeami claims credit for this revision.

As she dances at the temple, her child, who is among the crowd, recognizes her and the play ends with their reunion.

The play incorporates elements from an earlier play, Saga no dainenbutsu no onna monogurui (Madwoman at the Great Nenbutsu Chanting at Saga), which fell out of the repertoire before or during Zeami's time.[1]


  • Shelley Fenno Quinn, Developing Zeami, University of Hawaii Press (2005), 58, 60.
  1. As evidenced by the fact that he writes "Hyakuman, which used to be Saga monogurui no kyôjo" in his Sandô (1423). Thomas Hare, Zeami Performance Notes, Columbia University Press (2008), 162.