J█ICHIDANME
   
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].

Structure

The "Jűichidanme" act, the 11th act of "Kanadehon Chűshingura", is made up of several scenes. It is staged only for a t˘shi ky˘gen production of "Kanadehon Chűshingura".

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

Previous act: "Amakawaya Gihei Uchi"

Act XI: Uchiiri
The Raid

Forty six men, dressed for battle and lead by Yuranosuke, travel clandestinely by fishing boat to the city of Kamakura and then make their way to Moron˘'s estate. Dividing into two groups, then men wait outside the front and rear gates and prepare for their attack. Meanwhile, Moron˘, completely ignorant of the fate that awaits him and lax in his guard, has fallen asleep after a night of singing, dancing and carousing.

When the time is right, the two groups break in simultaneously and, using a strategy devised by Yuranosuke, successfully breach the protective shutters that surround Moron˘'s mansion, leaving the interior vulnerably to their attack. Although the avengers are few in number, they are courageous and determined to succeed in their mission.

Having heard the roar of battle, lords of the neighboring mansions send samurai up to the rooftops to find out what is happening. Yuranosuke responds immediately, detailing his league's purpose and motives, and assuring the onlookers that every precaution against fire is being taken. The neighboring samurai are heartened by league's loyalty to the late En'ya and wish them luck in battle.

After two hours of fierce fighting, the battle is finally over and the neighborhood becomes quiet. Although Moron˘ escapes detection for some time, he is eventually found hiding in a wood shed by Jűtar˘. At first, in an effort to observe the proper decorum even at the moment of revenge, Yuranosuke humbly asks Moron˘ to offer his own head without resistance; in the end, however, Moron˘ does resist and Yuranosuke strikes a blow. The forty six men raise their voices in cheer and, using the very same dagger their lord plunged into his own abdomen, severe Moron˘ head from his body and offer it before En'ya's memorial tablet.

As the group burns incense in memory of their lord and prepares to commit seppuku, Wakasanosuke approaches and suggests that it would be more prudent to first withdraw to En'ya's family temple. Yuranosuke has only just agreed to this when Yakushiji and Bannai suddenly leap out of hiding and attack. Although the fighting is fierce, Rikiya fells them both to loud shouts of praise from the rest of the men.

Source: summary based on Donald Keene's translation "Chűshingura: The Treasury of Loyal Retainers"; Columbia University Press, New York; (C) 1971

Ichikawa Kuz˘ II (1st from left), Band˘ Mitsugor˘  IV (2nd from left), Sawamura Ch˘jűr˘ V (2nd from right) and Iwai Kumesabur˘ III (1st from right) playing the roles of Teraoka Heiemon, K˘ no Moron˘, ďboshi Yuranosuke and ďboshi Rikiya in the 11th act of the drama "Kanadehon Chűshingura", which was staged in the 7th lunar month of 1849 at the Nakamuraza (print made by Utagawa Toyokuni III)

 
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