SHICHIDANME - GION ICHIRIKI JAYA
   
Play title Kanadehon Chűshingura  In Japanese
Authors Takeda Izumo II
Miyoshi Sh˘raku
Namiki Senryű I
History

The play "Kanadehon Chűshingura" was originally written for the puppet theater (Bunraku) and staged for the first time in the 8th lunar month of 1748 in ďsaka at the Takemotoza. It was adapted for Kabuki the same year and staged for the first time in the 12th lunar month of 1748 in ďsaka at the Kado no Shibai [casting]. The "Gion Ichiriki Jaya" scene was performed with the actors Arashi Sanjűr˘ II, Yamamoto Koheiji, Kataoka Nizaemon IV and Yoshida Manshir˘ in the roles of Yuranosuke, Teraoka Heiemon, Kudayű and Okaru.

Structure

The "Shichidanme" act, the seventh act of "Kanadehon Chűshingura", is made up of 1 scene, "Gion Ichiriki Jaya", which is nowadays frequently performed (independently or as part of a t˘shi ky˘gen).

Key words Adauchi
Adauchimono
Ak˘ R˘shi
Chűshinguramono
Gidayű Ky˘gen
Gion
Gishi
Gishi Ky˘gen
Miuke
Shijűshichishi
Summary

Previous scene: "Kanpei Harakiri"

Act VII: Gion Ichiriki Jaya
At the Ichiriki Teahouse in Gion

Yuranosuke's master has had a quarrel with a fellow lord called K˘ no Moron˘ during an important ceremony. The master was sentenced to death by the government, which was partial to Moron˘. Yuranosuke and his followers cannot accept the unfair judgment, so they are now plotting Moron˘'s assassination.

Yuranosuke's plot for revenge, however, has become known, so he has ostentatiously begun to indulge himself at the Ichiriki Tea House in order to deceive Moron˘'s family. Kudayű and one of Moron˘'s retainers arrive to spy on Yuranosuke and to see whether he really has given up his intention to carry out his revenge. His former companions come and try to sober him, but in vain. One day Yuranosuke's son, Rikiya calls on his father in the tea house with an important letter which was sent secretly from Kaoyo, a high ranking lady. The letter tells Yuranosuke about Moron˘'s secret schedule, which nobody but she knows. Yuranosuke is about to read the letter when Moron˘'s spy Kudayű, appears beneath the verandah. Coincidentally Okaru comes into the next room to cool her flushed face. She notices and tries to read the letter, for fun, as reflected in her mirror. Thus the letter's contents are silently witnessed by Kudayű and Okaru. Suddenly a pin drops from Okaru's hair and Yuranosuke, seeing her, quickly rolls up the letter, a part of which is torn off. He demands that Okaru come forward and then purposely pretends to fall in love with her. His true intention though, is not to let her mention the matter in question until three days have passed and his plan has been executed. He adds that she will be free after three days. He goes off, leaving Okaru, who is going to write a joyful letter to her lover, Kanpei.

She is interrupted by her brother Heiemon, who is one of Yuranosuke's loyal retainers and also wants to join the league to avenge their lord. When Heiemon hears from her that she has been redeemed by Yuranosuke, he thinks that his master has been indulging to much with wine and women and is certainly not dreaming of revenge. Okaru defends Yuranosuke and confesses to her brother what she read in the letter. Hearing her remarks, Heiemon judges that Yuranosuke must be going to kill her to keep the secret from being leaked out. He draws his sword and is about to kill her for his master but before doing so, Heiemon informs her that her lover Kanpei committed seppuku because of a trap set by Kudayű's group. Okaru faints at the terrible news. When she has recovered, she says that she is willing to die now, since she will be able to join Kanpei in heaven. As she is about to commit suicide Yuranosuke appears. He praises Okaru and her brother for their loyalty and adds that though her lover Kanpei joined the secret league, he had no chance to serve with them. Yuranosuke hands his own sword to Okaru and has her thrust it into the floor of the verandah where Kudayű is hiding, thus enabling her to revenge her lover's death. Yuranosuke's plans for revenge have now only just begun.

This summary has been written by Watanabe Hisao and edited by Jeff Blair [website]

Next scene: "Michiyuki Tabiji no Yomeiri"

The actors Ichikawa Sadanji I, Ichikawa Danjűr˘ IX and Band˘ Shűch˘ II playing the roles of Teraoka Heiemon, ďboshi Yuranosuke and the courtesan Okaru in the "Gion Ichiriki Jaya" scene of the drama "Kanadehon Chűshingura", which was performed in May 1895 in T˘ky˘ at the Meijiza (print made by Toyohara Kunichika)
 
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