Skip to main content
Riken no Ken--Zeami's Theory of Acting and Theatrical Appreciation
Monumenta Nipponica (1987)
  • Michiko Yusa
E concept of riken no ken, literally, 'the seeing of detached perception', is considered by noh specialists to be one of the most important contributions of Zeami Motokiyo, 1363-1443, to theater art. In his commentary, Nose Asaji confesses, 'I am irresistibly drawn to this phrase riken no ken. Zeami was one of those people who boldly create new terms. Creation of new terms implies the birth of new ideas, ideas previously unknown and unthought, in the minds of human beings.' Nishio Minoru describes riken no ken as a concept pointing to a universal standpoint common to all highly creative activities and calls it 'Zeami's great discovery' and the crystallization of 'the height of aesthetic consciousness.'
  • Zeami Motokiyo,
  • Riken no ken
Publication Date
Fall 1987
Publisher Statement
Published by Sophia University
Citation Information
Michiko Yusa. "Riken no Ken--Zeami's Theory of Acting and Theatrical Appreciation" Monumenta Nipponica Vol. 42 Iss. 3 (1987) p. 331 - 344
Available at: