Social Sciences and Media Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara, Isla Vista, CA 93117
Lady Hotoke in Ishikawa Prefecture: Manuscripts, Oral Legends, Heritage Sites
by Roberta Strippoli
State University of New York, Binghamton
Kaga Province (present-day Ishikawa Prefecture) is the setting of Hotoke no hara (Hotoke’s Field or Buddha’s Field), a Noh play that provides a sequel to the story of the performers Giō and Hotoke narrated in Heike monogatari. In the Noh play Lady Hotoke, a former lover of the Taira leader Kiyomori, appears as a ghost to a group of traveling monks and urges them to pray for her salvation. The play has inspired a number of stories about Hotoke’s life and death in Kaga Province, which circulated both orally and in written form, and whose popularity peaked in the Tokugawa period. Some of these stories are contained in two engi narratives that accompany two statues still preserved locally, one of Lady Hotoke, and one of the Buddha Amida.
This talk will explore the legends of Lady Hotoke found in Ishikawa Prefecture and their connection with the Noh play, statues, and heritage sites. The sacred nature of the statues and of the sites amplifies the religious content of the Noh play, in which spirit pacification is performed and salvation is granted not only to Lady Hotoke, but also to the plants and insects of Hotoke’s Field.