In this course we study four major forms of pre-modern Japanese drama: Noh, Kyogen, Kabuki and Bunraku. These dramatic forms have close relation to other aspects of Japanese culture, especially literature and music, and give voice to a wide range of human experience within the context of an intricately articulated body of conventions, with surprises. No knowledge of Japanese is expected. We will devote a significant portion of our time to studying performances on DVD and/or VHS. We will learn about the history of Japanese drama, its aesthetic values, its relation to other arts, its inspirations in Buddhist and Shinto belief.