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Tsue (杖)

Many canes are used in Noh and Kyōgen plays. These are for direction, not for supporting the performer’s body. Bamboo is the primary material used, with a beautiful section of the appropriate type cut to a length suitable for the performer. There are various types of canes used in different plays: old man canes, used for “Yoro” and “Tadanori”; blind character canes, for “Yoroboshi” and “Semimaru”; ghost canes, for “Utō” and "Fujito"; old woman canes, for “Sekidera-Komachi” and “Sotoba-Komachi(aka Sotowa-Komachior Sotowa-Gomachi)”; and kase-zue (a cane with a split section that reaches the ground), for “Yamanba”. The handling of the cane has been handed down according to the piece and the role; impressive forms include placing the cane in front of the performer to take a rest. Non-standard canes include kongō-zue (an octagonal or square white wooden cane possessed by scholars and pilgrims), for “Ataka”; and uchi-zue (a cane that demons, long-nosed goblins, dragon gods and others utilize for magical powers), for “Aoinoue” and “Dōjōji”. Kyōgen also features several types of canes: demon canes, blind character canes, and hayauchi-no-tsue (canes for an urgent messenger). Among them, the cane for “Tsuri Gitsune” has a unique past practice, with visits made to Shōrinji Temple in Sakai, Osaka Pref., where the Hakuzosu Inari is enshrined, to pray for use in the play of the sakame-dake that grows in the precincts.

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