FUTA OMOTE
   
Play title Futa Omote Mizu ni Terutsuki  In Japanese
Futa Omote Tsuki no Sugatae  In Japanese
Sumidagawa Gonichi no Omokage  In Japanese
Authors Kimura Embu (lyrics), Kishizawa Kuz˘/Tokiwazu Mojidayű II (music)
[1798 "Futa Omote Tsuki no Sugatae"]

Tokiwazu Mojidayű VI
[1906 "Futa Omote Mizu ni Terutsuki"]
History

The Tokiwazu-based dance-drama "Futa Omote" was premiered in the 9th lunar month of 1798 at the Moritaza, where it was staged under the title "Futa Omote Tsuki no Sugatae" and starred Ichikawa Danz˘ IV in the role of the woman selling shinobu, in reality the ghost of both the evil H˘kaib˘ and Princess Nowake [more details]. Its source was an older dance, which was entitled "Shinobu-gusa Koi no Utsushie" and premiered in the 3rd lunar month of 1775 at the Nakamuraza [more details]. The current version of "Futa Omote" was staged in January 1906, staged at the Meijiza under the title "Futa Omote Mizu ni Terutsuki", starring Ichikawa Kodanji V and Ichikawa Metora II in the roles of the shinobu-seller (in reality the ghost of both the evil H˘kaib˘ and Princess Nowake) and Okumi.

"Futa Omote" is either staged as an independent dance-drama or it is the last scene of Nagawa Shimesuke I's drama "Sumidagawa Gonichi no Omokage".

Key words Futa-omotemono
Gidayű
Shosagoto
Sumidagawa
Tokiwazu
Summary

Near ferry landing beside Sumida River

Osaku, a ferrywoman on the Sumida River and Jinzabur˘ĺs wife, is waiting for Y˘suke and Okumi, who have been entrusted to her by Jinzabur˘. The pair arrives disguised as herb sellers, carrying baskets of grass herbs. The three lament the sad fate of luckless Princess Nowake, murdered by H˘kaib˘. Y˘suke takes out a silken wrapping that had belonged to Princess Nowake and burns it in order to speed the soul of the departed on its way.

Suddenly, the ghosts of Princess Nowake and H˘kaib˘ rise from the smoke and disappear. Then the ghost of H˘kaib˘ emerges in the form of Okumi so that Y˘suke and Osaku cannot tell which is the ghost and which is the true Okumi. Osaku tries to clarify the matter by having the two Okumis relate and dance certain past incidents from Okumiĺs life that only the real Okumi would know.

First, the false Okumi performs a hand-gesture dance, followed by the real Okumi, who dances her first meeting with Y˘suke and her falling in love with him. The ghost then performs the celebrated double-character dance, speaking to Y˘suke in the voice of Princess Nowake and then to Okumi in the voice of H˘kaib˘.

Finally, the ghost grabs Y˘suke and Okumi by their sleeves and, alternately using the voice and form of a man and a woman, talks to each of them about its feelings of hatred. Osaku realizes that the ghost is the vengeful spirit of both Princess Nowake and H˘kaib˘ and, having heard that the carp scroll has great power, uses it to drive away the ghost, who leaves writhing in pain.

Source: Lincoln Center

"Futa Omote" in November 1936 at the Kabukiza

 
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