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Okina-sarugaku (翁猿楽)

A kind of divine service classified in Noh, but not a genuine Noh play, called "Shiki-sanban" (or Okina). From the school of jushi-bashiri, this was performed in temples and shrines by conjurators before Noh was established. Okina-sarugaku is seen as as the highest accomplishment of sarugaku and was performed exclusively in ancient times by groups called "za," who included the Enmai, Yūzaki, Sakato and Tobi, with the role "Okina" taken by elder members called the "osa." When za had ritual services that included okina-sarugaku, Noh actor groups, including Konparu, Kanze, Kongō, and Hōshō, performed Noh plays. Controlled by the osa, the za were gradually outstripped by the actor groups, which carried out theatrical activities apart from ritual services. Most importantly, the Noh actor Kan'ami acquired power under the protection of the Muromachi shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, and performed Okina, which was originally the role of the osa. Subsequently, Okina came to be performed by Noh actors.

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