Konparu Zenpo

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  • Born: 1454
  • Died: 1532?
  • Other Names: 金春八郎元安 (Konparu Hachirou Motoyasu, or Konparu Hachirou Gen'an)
  • Japanese: 金春禅鳳 (Konparu Zenpou)

Konparu Zenpô was a Noh actor and playwright, the third head of the Konparu school of Noh. He is known chiefly as the pioneer of furyû Noh, a form emphasizing dramatic tension and visual effects over the intrinsic aesthetics of form and lyrics emphasized by Zeami.

This style is visible in his plays, five of which remain in the active repertoire today, and in his treatises on drama. Zenpô is also known to have been quite active in the elite cultural circles of his time, participating in renga poetry, kemari, incense competitions, tea ceremony, and ikebana.

Life and Career

Zenpô was the grandson of Konparu Zenchiku, founder of the Konparu school, and son-in-law to Zeami Motokiyo, who is generally credited with being the founder of Noh. He is said to have made his stage debut alongside Zenchiku.

His plays tend to include greater dramatic tension, slightly larger casts, and more elaborate sets than earlier Noh plays; their plots also feature livelier action and less contemplative or emotional introspection. The Kanze school plays of his contemporaries Kanze Nagatoshi and Kanze Nobumitsu feature many of these same elements. Scholars began in the 1960s to call this form furyû Noh.

In contrast to those of Nobumitsu, the plays of Zenpô and Nagatoshi have not remained popular down through the ages, and many have fallen out of the repertoire. Beng Choo Lim credits this to their experimental nature, and deviation from the subtle and contemplative aesthetic of earlier Noh, which retained, or regained, orthodox status in later periods.[1]


Selected Works


  • Beng Choo Lim, "Performing Furyû Nô: The Theatre of Konparu Zenpô," Asian Theatre Journal 22:1 (2005), 33-51.
  1. Lim, 49n19.