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Ai (アイ)

Ai, written with the kanji meaning “middle,” refers to the role of the kyōgenkata in Noh. Appearing as a temple god, village person, or attendant, the ai often recounts the history of the shite. The ai also performs other important roles such as appearing at the beginning of the play to prepare the sequence, or becoming actively involved in the progression of the sequence. The performance of the ai is also changed to accommodate more unorthodox performances of Noh, in which case it is known as the kaeai, or “changing ai.”

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