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Shimotsuma Shōshin (下間少進)

Shimotsuma Shōshin lived from 1551 to 1616. He was a monk at Honganji and amateur Noh performer from the end of the Warring States era through the start of the Edo era. He also went by the names of Nakataka, Chūshi, Yōriyuki and Nakayasu. His legal name was Shōjō, and his performance name was Soshū. Shimotsuma was of the lineage of Honganji, and as he was skilled in diplomacy, was highly trusted by Oda Nobunaga, who promoted him to the highest level of the Buddhist priesthood, sōi, at the young age of 31. He got his start with Noh after rescuing the seriously injured Konparu-Dayu Gyuren, studying under Gyuren and learning all of the secrets of the Konparu school, performing even more than the great masters of other troupes, and writing his own works on Noh and katatsuke. According to Shimotsuma’s own performance record, Noh no tomechō, by age 66, in the 30 some years he had performed Noh, he had played in close to 1,200 plays. He taught Noh to some extremely famous people including Toyotomi Hidetsugu, even performing in typically forbidden area of the emperor’s palace, becoming the most famous amateur Noh performer of his time.

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