The No plays have traditionally been associated with the Shogunate government which came to power in the 14th Century. In the 16th Century with the rise of Kabuki theatre, No became almost exclusively a court entertainment which was submitted to the harsh scrutiny of connoisseurs of that art. No resembled a ritualistic ceremony whose every aspect was suggestive and symbolic. The most successful attempts to modernize No were made by Yukio Mishima who was determined to revitalize the plays in an intelligible and contemporary manner, retaining, however, the ethereal and meaningful qualities. The plays are generally divided into two sections. In the first, a person of humble demeanor appears- an old woman, a fisherman or a reaper. This person reappears to reveal his true role as a beautiful noblewoman or a famous warrior. In Mishima's plays the characters still undergo this metamorphosis, but are cast as modern people who speak modern dialogue and have modern aspirations. As in the originals, the dramatic aspects are subordinate to the philosophical. The five plays- S The Damask Drum, Kantan, The Lady A, are introduced by Donald Keene, the translator, who discusses this art form in its historical and theatrical context. An esoteric market.