Old Abbot of Dojo-ji Temple
Young Woman (the spirit of Kiyohime, also
a Snake Demon)
This play is based on the legend concerning Dojo-ji Temple in Wakayama Prefecture. The daughter (Kiyohime) of a feudal lord falls in love with a monk (Anchin) at Dojo-ji. This faithful priest does not respond to the affections of Kiyohime. He escapes and hides in the temple bell. Kiyohime assumes the shape of a serpent, wraps herself around the bell and melts it.
When a new bell was cast, women were prohibited entry to the Temple. Monks gathered for the installation ceremony. A young woman (the spirit of Kiyohime) wishes to dance for the commemoration of the new bell. She rushes into the bell and disappears. The astonished priests lift the bell to discover her spirit in the body of a huge dragon/snake.
The synosis of the Noh Play Dojoji can be
This pantomime, based on the above legend,
centers around the comic routine of the two
Two monks bring in a new bell and struggle to hang it. The old Abbot reminds them that no women are allowed in the temple. A beautiful young woman comes to pay homage to the bell. Struck by her beauty the monks allow her entry. In appreciation she dances for the monks. The monks join her but become overpowered by the "vapors" she releases, putting them to sleep. The courtesan's dance reflects the rice farmer's yearly cycle, scattering seeds, planting seedling and finally harvest. A costume change reveals her as a demon/ snake. She jumps into the bell and it falls to the ground, waking the monks. The monks try to raise the bell but it is too hot to touch. The Abbot returns and prays at the bell. As the bell lifts into the air, the demon rushes out at the abbot but his power of prayer is stronger. She is foiled and fades away.