• Author: Zeami (attr.)
  • Japanese: 屋島 (Yashima)

Yashima is a Noh play of the second category ("warrior plays"), generally attributed to Zeami. Based on episodes from the Tale of the Heike, it focuses on the character of Minamoto no Yoshitsune and the 1185 battle of Yashima.

A special version of the kyôgen interlude, known as Nasu no katari ("the story of Nasu"), is sometimes performed, relating the legend of Nasu no Yoichi knocking down a fan from the mast of an enemy ship with a single arrow. This story of Nasu no Yoichi's famous feat is otherwise absent from the play's narrative.

Themes & Construction

The play relates many of the most famous incidents within the battle of Yashima, but in a different order from the chronology presented by the Tale of the Heike. In the Tale, Satô Tsuginobu's death takes place first, followed by Nasu no Yoichi's knocking a fan off the enemy ship, followed next by an encounter between Mionoya Jûrô and Taira no Kagekiyo, and finally by an incident in which Yoshitsune drops his bow. In the play, however, the encounter between Mionoya and Kagekiyo is presented first, Tsuginobu's death afterwards, and the dropped bow last, with Nasu no Yoichi omitted.

Plot Summary


  • Royall Tyler, Japanese Nô Dramas, Penguin Books (1992), 329-343.