|Play title||Bukaku Setsugekka|
|Author||Hagiwara Yukio (lyrics)
Kineya Rokuzaemon XIV (music)
Fujima Kanjűr˘ VI (choreography)
Hagiwara Yukio's Nagauta-based dance-drama "Bukaku Setsugekka" was premiered in May 1964 at the Kabukiza [casting]. These three dances were written specifically for performance by Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVII, as seen in the title which includes Bukaku, the haimy˘ of the Sh˘wa star. The title Setsugekka is made up of three words meaning snow, moon and flower, and is a popular combination in Japan, seen often in a grouping of three separate dances each of which are related respectively to the three symbols. The first dance is "Sakura" (Cherry Blossom) and shows a maiden in a spring scene. The second dance is "Matsumushi" depicting singing crickets at the end of autumn. The last dance is "Yuki Daruma", a humorous dance in which a snowman falls in love with a charcoal merchant's daughter.
This dance is divided into 3 sections, one for spring, one for autumn and one for winter.
This is spring (haru) and the cherry blossoms (sakura) are in full bloom. As a song praises the beauty of the flowers, a lovely maiden appears from behind the trees, and begins to perform a dance describing the beauty of spring in Ky˘to, a city bright in its garment of pink flowers and green willow branches. The dance reaches a peak as the maiden rapturously falls under the spell of the blossoms, which seem to be smiling to each other in happiness. But the blossoms are short-lived. They will soon scatter and nobody can stop their fading. As petals scatter in the breeze, leaving behind only their fragrance on the branches, the maiden, who is the spirit of the cherry blossoms, slips away and disappears into the spring haze.
This is the end of autumn (aki). Plumes of susuki wave across the field, interspersed with autumn flowers. There is a white moon (tsuki) in the evening sky. The matsumushi, a chirping cricket, is heard amid the grass. A child matsumushi come seeking his parent and goes off forlornly. Presently the father matsumushi comes out, trying to locate his family by listening for their voices amid myriad other insect calls. However, as it is late autumn and he is old, he is too weak to go any further, and falls to the ground. The child matsumushi comes and weep over the fallen body of his father, but the father makes no movement. From the night sky, snow begins to fall...
This is winter (fuyu). A snowman on stage suddenly begins to perform a sprightly dance. He has fallen in love with the maiden of the local sumiya, and cannot hide his emotion. However, the cock crows, and day breaks. As the sun begins to shine, the snowman starts to melt away...
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