Takemoto Saburobei II
The play "Honch˘ Nijűshik˘" was originally written for the puppet theater (Bunraku) and staged for the first time in the 1st lunar month of 1766 in ďsaka at the Takemotoza. It was adapted for Kabuki a few months later and was produced by both Nakamura Utaemon I and Mimasu Daigor˘ I in ďsaka at the Naka no Shibai [casting]. The "Jusshuk˘" scene is performed for the first time with the actors Arashi Hinasuke I, Arashi Sangor˘ II and Yamashita Kinsaku II in the roles of Princess Yaegaki, Katsuyori and Nureginu.
|Structure||The "Jusshuk˘" act, which is nowadays the most frequently performed item of "Honch˘ Nijűshik˘", is the penultimante scene of act IV.|
|Key words||Gidayű Ky˘gen
Princess Yaegaki grieves the death of his betrothed Katsuyori, burning some incense in front of a portrait of the young man. She is in her room, on the right side of the stage. On the left side, Nureginu grieves the death of his husband, who was killed as a substitute for Katsuyori. She is also burning some incense.
Katsuyori, disguised as the gardener Minosaku but wearing high-nobility garments, appears in the middle of the stage, between the 2 rooms and is moved by the grievings of the 2 women. He knows he is the cause of their sufferings and feels pity for them. Nureginu becomes aware of the presence of the young man, rushes close to him and greets him. She weeps because Katsuyori looks like his dead lover. Yaegaki notices the voices and decides to take a look. She is astonished by the physical resemblance between the beautiful young man and the portrait of Katsuyori. She rushes out from her room, calling him Katsuyori. Katsuyori has a look of utter dismay and tries to protest about his identity. He is the humble gardener Minosaku, not Katsuyori, son of the great lord Takeda Shingen. He says he has just been appointed official emissary of Yaegaki's father Kenshin and is about to leave the palace for a mission. Yaegaki's love at first sight feeling is so strong that she asks Nureginu to act as a go-between to try to make Katsuyori her lover. Katsuyori is surprised by the will and love of Yaegaki and asks her a token of love: the sacred helmet enshrined in Lake Suwa, which originally belongs to Takeda Shingen but is now in the hands of the Nagao clan. This request is for Yaegaki the revelation that Minosaku is none other than Takeda Katsuyori. She tries to get the young man's confession on his identity but he keeps on saying he is Minosaku. Yaegaki takes Katsuyori's sword and tries to kill herself, saying she is too ashamed of what she did to get the love of somebody who is not his betrothed. Moved by Yaegaki's faithful love, Katsuyori and Nureginu agree to tell the truth to the young Princess.
The voice of Nagao Kenshin is heard. He appears and gives a letter to Minosaku, asking him to bring it as quick as possible to the town of Shiojiri, located on the other side of Lake Suwa. The young man leaves the stage down the hanamichi. Then Kenshin summons separately two of his strongest retainers, the sword-bearer Shirasuga Rokur˘ and the spear-holder Hara Kobunji. They both received the instruction to kill Katsuyori. This is a shock for the two women who try to plead Katsuyori's cause to a relentless Kenshin. Yaegaki, Nureginu and Kenshin pose as the curtain is drawn to end the scene.
The actors Iwai Matsunosuke IV, Nakamura Fukusuke IV and Ichikawa Danjűr˘ IX playing the roles of Nureginu, Katsuyori and Yaegaki in the "Jusshuk˘" scene of the drama "Honch˘ Nijűshik˘", which was staged in April 1888 at the Ichimuraza (print made by Toyohara Kunichika)
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