|Play title||Yoshitsune Sembon Zakura
Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees
|Authors||Takeda Izumo II
Namiki Senryű I
The play "Yoshitsune Sembon Zakura" was originally written for the puppet theater (Bunraku) and staged for the first time in the 11th lunar month of 1747 in ďsaka at the Takemotoza. It was adapted to Kabuki the following year and staged for the first time in the 1st lunar month of 1748 in Ise with Kataoka Nizaemon IV (Tokaiya Gimpei, Yokawa no Zenji Kakuhan) and Yamamoto Koheiji (Tadanobu). It was performed for the first time in a city licensed theater in the 5th lunar month of 1748, in Edo at the Nakamuraza [casting]. The "Kokingo Uchijini" scene was performed with Ichikawa Yaoz˘ I in the role Kokingo. The first performance in ďsaka was done in the 8th lunar month of 1748, at the Naka no Shibai [casting], and the "Kokingo Uchijini" scene was performed by Yamatoya Jimbei IV (Kokingo).
|Structure||The "Kokingo Uchijini" scene, which is nowadays quite often performed, is the second scene of act III.|
Evening is falling, and a temple bell tolls. A party of police appear searching for the fugitives and hide themselves as Wakaba-no-Naishi with her son and Kokingo are seen approaching. They are surrounded and, despite Kokingo's efforts, Rokudai is captured and carried off. Wakaba-no-Naishi rushes after her child and Kokingo is left alone, still fighting.
The scene shows a pine-bordered road. Inokuma Dainoshin enters. He makes himself a spear from a bamboo and hides in the neighbouring thicket. Kokingo and a member of the police party enter still fighting. Kokingo beats off his antagonist, who takes to his heels, but, while Kokingo stands trying to regain his breath, Inokuma Dainoshin attacks him from behind, wounding him with the spear. Kokingo turns and they fight. Kokingo defeats his enemy, but sinks down exhausted from loss of blood. Wakaba-no-Naishi reappears, having rescued Rokudai. She goes to Kokingo's assistance, but he tells her he is dying and they must continue their journey alone. They are, he says, close to the temple of Mount K˘ya. Koremori has lately felt an overwhelming desire to become a priest, and Kokingo believes he may be at the temple. He instructs Rokudai to take his mother to the nearby village of Upper Ichimura where there lives a loyal and devoted supporter of the Taira, Yazaemon. He is to leave his mother there and then go alone to the temple and ask for the new priest. He warns the boy not to mention that he is a Taira. Rokudai does not wish to leave Kokingo, but the faithful servant insists, telling the child he will follow shortly. When Wakaba-no-Naishi and her son have gone, Kokingo falls dead as the temple bell tolls again.
A party of villagers appear, among them old Yazaemon. They are discussing the search for Koremori and his family and the fine reward offered for news of them. They pass Kokingo's body and, when no one is looking, Yazaemon secretly cuts off the head and carries it away with him wrapped in an old kimono.
Aubrey and Giovanna Halford in "The Kabuki Handbook"
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