Play title Suiteng Megumi no Fukagawa  In Japanese
Author Kawatake Mokuami

The drama "Suiteng Megumi no Fukagawa" was premiered in February 1885 at the Chitoseza [casting].


The original drama was made up of 3 acts, divided in 8 scenes. The main story line was about the thief Koteng Yjir and his lover, the courtesan Kohina. "Fudeya Kb", which is now staged independently, is the second act of "Suiteng Megumi no Fukagawa"; it is made up of two scenes:

In Japanese Reading In English
浄心寺裏貧家 Jshinji Ura Hinka At a poor home in the back of the Jshinji Temple
海邊川岸身投 Umibe Kawagishi Minage Self-drowning on the riverbank near seashore
You need a Japanese Language Kit installed within your system in order to be able to read the characters
Key words Sewamono

At a poor home in the back of the Jshinji Temple

Funazu Kb, nicknamed Fudeya Kb, is a poor peddler selling writing brushes in the district of Fukagawa, near the Jshinji Temple. He used to be a samurai but the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate and the collapse of the class system deprived him of his means of living. No more a samurai, he now lives in extreme poverty. Moreover, his wife had died and he has to care for his two daughters, Oyuki and Oshimo, the former being blind and the latter being a young baby. On the previous snowy night, while walking around town and trying to sell his brushes with Oshimo settled on his back, he passed the home of the fencing master Ogiwara Rysaku. Oshimo started to cry for her mother milk. Ogiwara's wife Omura, who had just lost her own newborn child, felt pity and fed Oshimo from her breast. Kb also received money and clothing and went back home happy. Later, Ogiwara Rysaku realized from a paper wrapping left behind by Kb that the brushes peddler was the son of his own former fencing teacher.

The following day, Kb, who was deeply grateful for the kindness of the Ogiwara family, went at the Suiteng Shrine to offer a prayer of thanks. Kb is sure that the Gods are helping him.

At home, Kb receives the visit of Kinb, a merciless money-lender Kinb and his accomplice Yasuz, who are here to get their money back. They take advantage of Kb's gullibility and ask for outrageous interest rates for their loan. Kb cannot pay the amount and they take away by force Oyuki's own money and the Ogiwara's clothing given to Oshimo. The two evil men leave Kb's home. The old man is desperate and appeals to the sahainin Yohei for help.

Kb tells his story to Yohei, who is angered at Kinb's unscrupulousness. The sahainin tries to put Kb's mind at ease by promising he will do his best to bring everything back to Kb.

The despairing Kb grieves at his family's piteous circumstances and Oyuki laments that her blindness prevents her from helping her father. Kb thinks of committing suicide but the fate of his children holds him back. Oyuki perfectly understands her father's dilemma and she suggests that they all die together. This is the only way to end their troubles.

Meanwhile, from a neighboring house, Kb can hear some jjri musicians, who have been hired for a family celebration. comparing his own pitiful and impoverished condition with the celebration next door, he realizes there is a deep gulf between his life and the other life symbolized by the lively jjri music. All these frantic and desperate thoughts, coupled with the emotion of having to kill his own children, suddenly drive him crazy. He takes a broom and using it in place of a sword, starts to perform a N dance about the ghost of a warrior. Neighbors run in and try to restrain him, but he tosses them aside. The jjri Yohei is back at Kb's home, bringing with him the baby's clothing. He shows it to Kb, hoping to please him, but Kb thrusts him aside too. The neighbors are rescued by the strong rickshaw Sangor, who successfully grabs Kb. The desperate brush-seller comes to his senses again for a short period of time, looking with a lot of pity at his daughter, but his mind drifts again into craziness. Omura, the spouse of the fencing master Ogiwara, comes on her husband's orders to find Kb, who is now identified as the son of Ogiwara's former master. Unfortunately for her, Kb is in no condition to understand the situation. His craziness leads him to suspect that she has come to steal away Oshimo. He runs away from his home, carrying Oshimo in his arms and pursued by the neighbors. Kb hurriedly heads in the direction of the riverbank, in the purpose of drowning himself with his daughter.

Self-drowning on the riverbank near seashore

Kb has leaped into the river with Oshimo in his arms. They are quickly rescued by Sangor. The brush-seller has experienced such a strong shock that he can return to his senses again. Oyuki, Yohei and all the other neighbors come running to the riverbank. They are relieved to hear that Sangor had saved both Kb and Oshimo and that the poor brush-seller is no more a crazy man. Kb, Oshimo and Sangor are dripping wet and they need to change their clothing as soon as possible. Omura and her suite arrive at the riverbank, bearing a big bundle full of clean and dry clothes. Recognizing Omura and remembering the previous night events, Kb thanks her for her kindness. She gives him some money as well. This is a happy ending thanks to the god of the Suiteng Shrine, who is keeping good watch over the family of Fudeya Kb.

This summary would have not been possible without the help of Sekidobashi Sakura!


"One of the few zangirimono still performed, the play shows the customs of the new era, such as the newspaper, the rickshaw, policemen, lamps and lawyers. It presents scenes of the old plebian or shitamachi section of Tky, and contains considerable human warmth." (Samuel Leiter in "New Kabuki Encyclopedia")

The actors Onoe Matsusuke IV, Onoe Kikugor V and Onoe Eizabur V playing the roles of Yohei, Funazu Kb and Kb's daughter Oyuki in the drama "Suiteng Megumi no Fukagawa", which was staged in June 1898 at the Kabukiza (print made by Toyohara Kunichika)

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