|Play title||Ami Moy˘ T˘ro no Kikukiri|
|Common title||Kozaru Shichinosuke|
|Author||Kawatake Shinshichi II|
Kawatake Shinshichi II's drama "Ami Moy˘ T˘ro no Kikukiri" was premiered in the 7th lunar month of 1857 at the Ichimuraza [casting]. This drama was originally staged to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the passing away of a famous Yoshiwara courtesan, who was named Tamagiku and who worked for the Nakamanjiya house of assignation. The Nakamanjiya house made it a custom to hold a lantern festival in her memory every year during the summer Bon Festival. In the play, Kawatake Shinshichi II incorporated several episodes relating to Tamagiku. It is said that for the opening performance, the Nakamanjiya house bought out the theatre and presented the actors with lavish gifts. Onoe Kikugor˘ IV, after the completion of the play's run, presented the elaborate hand-painted kimono he had worn when he performed the role of Tamagiku to the temple where Tamagiku's tombstone was located. These mutual goodwill gestures show the Intimate relationship that existed during the Edo period between the Kabuki world and the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters. Kawatake Shinshichi III later wrote another play based on the Tamagiku scenes. It was entitled "Hoshi Yadoru Tsuyu no Tamagiku" and was premiered in July 1900 at the Harukiza. In consequence, the original play kept only the main story revolving around the thief Kozaru Shichinosuke and his lover, and the scenes about Tamagiku fell into oblivion.
The current t˘shi ky˘gen structure of "Ami Moy˘ T˘ro no Kikukiri" is made up of 5 acts. When produced as a t˘shi ky˘gen, the "Yahagi Bridge" scene is usually omitted. A short production of "Ami Moy˘ T˘ro no Kikukiri" usually opens with the "Yahagi Bridge" and includes the "Eitai Bridge" and "Susaki" scenes:
Act I, scene 1: Shinagawa Shimazakiya
The tedai Yoshir˘, who works in a sake shop (sakaya), is engaged to a woman named Takigawa. To complicate his life, he has also fallen in love with the courtesan Osugi of Shinagawa. Having a na´ve nature, he can't see that Osugi does not really love him. She is only playing with him in order to obtain money to give to her real lover, a r˘nin named Ob˘ Kichisa.
The scene opens at the Shimazakiya house of assignation in Shinagawa. Yoshir˘ is waiting for Osugi to show up, but she is late. She finally arrives when Yoshir˘ is about to leave to make his rounds. Osugi pretends to be in a very bad mood and reluctant to let him go. Yoshir˘ asks her to tell him what the problem is. Osugi answers that her mother in the country is ill, and she has no money to send to her . Yoshir˘ is touched by her tale, not realizing that it is just a lie. He lends her a small amount of money, promising to bring more afterwards.
The pickpocket Amiuchi Shichigor˘, who is also at the Yamazakiya with his friend Kichisa (a member of Shichigor˘'s gang and Osugi's lover), overhears everything. Realizing that Yoshir˘ is carrying a lot of money with him, he impatiently gets rid of Kichisa and hurries off after Yoshir˘ in order to steal his cash.
Osugi and Kichisa meet and she gives her lover the money she has received from Yoshir˘. Kichisa used to be a samurai, but he has become a thug and now lives off Osugi, who is the daughter of Kichisa's former nurse.
Act I, scene 2: Eitaibashi Kawagishi
The scene is set at the ferry landing. Yoshir˘ is rushing to catch up with another passenger - Amiuchi Shichigor˘ - and drawing near him tells him that while he dozed during the crossing of the river, his wallet containing 70 ry˘ belonging to his employers was lost. As Shichigor˘ was sitting next to him, Yoshir˘ wonders whether the wallet might not have got mixed up with Shichigor˘'s belongings. Shichigor˘ surreptitiously hides the wallet inside his hat. Adopting a menacing attitude, he tells Yoshir˘ that he strongly resents being treated like a thief. He then takes off all his clothes to show Yoshir˘ that he does not have the money. Yoshir˘ checks the clothing but not the hat. He apologizes for his mistake. Shichigor˘ angrily strikes him with a stick, wounding him on the forehead. Yoshir˘ tries to grab Shichigor˘, and unfortunately for Shichigor˘, the stolen money falls out from his hat. Yoshir˘ sees it and realizes that Shichigor˘ is indeed the thief he is looking for. Shichigor˘ grabs the money and runs off. However, Yoshir˘ is left clutching one of his sleeves, which has torn away.
Act II, scene 1: Yahagibashi
The scene is set at night at the Yahagi Bridge near Okazaki Castle. A young beggar boy named Hiyoshimaru is sleeping on a straw mat at the foot of the bridge. The warrior Hasuba Yoroku Masakazu  arrives with his retainers. In the dark he accidentally treads on Hiyoshimaru's foot. Not afraid of the men gathering around Yoroku, the angry Hiyoshimaru does not hesitate to forbid them to cross the bridge unless they apologize to him for the rude awakening. The warrior is impressed by the boy's spirit and courage. He silences his retainers and starts conversing with the young boy, as he can acquire valuable information from him about his arch enemy against whom is carrying on a vendetta. Hiyoshimaru is the future Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Yoroku will be one of his most faithful retainers.
Act II, scene 2: Eitaibashi
The scene is set near the Eitai Bridge. Shichinosuke, the son of Shichigor˘, has been dozing near the river. He is nicknamed Kozaru Shichinosuke, which literally means "Little Monkey" Shichinosuke, as he is a skilled thief. When he awakens, he realizes that he has dreamed the previous scene. Then, he sees the beautiful okujochű Takigawa passing by with two men in attendance, Yokome Sukebei  and Kasuke. She is engaged to the tedai Yoshir˘, who works in a famous sakaya. Shichinosuke spots the fine silver ornament in Takigawa's hair. He immediately plans to steal it and is struck by her beauty. When the strap of Takigawa's slipper breaks, her two attendants compete for the honor of fixing it. This incident gives Shichinosuke the opportunity to stealthily steal the hair ornament.
Takigawa notices that her silver ornament is missing. Her two attendants are ready to go off in search of the thief but she tells them that they should all go back to the mansion. When they have gone, Shichinosuke comes out of hiding, holding Takigawa's hair ornament. At the same time Yoshir˘ appears. He is desperate, and plans to commit suicide in order to atone for having lost his master's money.
Meanwhile, Shichinosuke contemplates the hair ornament and discovers the name Takigawa engraved on it. He hopes to be able to meet her again, because he has been thoroughly struck by her beauty. At the same time, Yoshir˘ looks at the sleeve he is holding. He swears that, even after death, he will seek out the culprit, using the sleeve as evidence.
The two pass each other. Shichinosuke looks at Yoshir˘ with curiosity, noting something strange in his attitude. A moment later he hears a splash below the bridge and immediately realizes that the other has committed suicide. But instead of trying to save the poor man who has just thrown himself into the river, he prefers to pursue Takigawa, and hurries off in her direction.
Act III, scene 1: Fukagawa Susaki
Shichinosuke has succeeded in becoming a servant in the household where Takigawa works as an okujochű. He is impatiently waiting for a chance to seduce her.
One day, Takigawa is passing along the Susaki river bank in a kago. There is a sudden crash of thunder and her two kagokaki run away, leaving her stranded. One of the men accompanying the kago turns out to be none other than Shichinosuke. He notices that the others have run off, and approaches the palanquin to enquire how the lady is. He peers within and finds her lying unconscious. This is just the chance he has been desperately waiting for.
When he has revived her, Takigawa thanks him for his help and promises that she will reward him later. When he demands an instant reward, she complies by handing him a few coins, saying that she will give him more money afterwards. Shichinosuke, however, answers that the reward he expects is of a totally different nature. He asks her to spend one night with him. Takigawa is shocked to hear this unusual request. Shichinosuke goes on to confess that he has fallen in love with her. It was love at first sight when he met her near the Eitai Bridge. He also confesses that he was the thief who stole her hair ornament. Then, he takes out the silver ornament and shows it to her. Takigawa in desperation says that she is engaged to her cousin, a man named Yoshir˘. It goes without saying that she cannot give herself to any other man. Shichinosuke threatens to have her by force and kill her afterwards, unless she submits to his request.
At this point, the r˘nin Ob˘ Kichisa and Osugi appear. Seeing Takigawa and Shichinosuke, they hide behind a nearby shack. Takigawa thinks that, if she were to be raped and killed here, the scandal would sully the reputation of both her master's household and her own family. She therefore tells Shichinosuke that she will comply on two conditions: Shichinosuke has to promise never to mention the matter to anybody, and not to ask her anything afterwards. Shichinosuke agrees, and pulls her into the shack. Kichisa and Osugi come out from hiding. They have seen Shichinosuke's dirty deeds and have recognized him, but they consider this affair is none of their business. In fact, Kichisa has stolen Osugi away from her house of assignation, and they are trying to elope as far as possible from Yoshiwara.
As they walk on, they come on Takigawa's abandoned kago. Osugi thinks it would be splendid if she could ride in such a fine palanquin just once in her life. She seats herself in it, and tries to pull Kichisa in with her, but he resists. Then two men from the house of assignation arrive. Osugi's flight has been discovered and they have been sent to capture her. Seeing Kichisa, they demand that he gives Osugi back to them. A fight ensues.
Presently the kagokaki return to the site. Hearing the noise of fighting nearby, they hurriedly take up the palanquin and run away, unknowingly taking Osugi along with them instead of Takigawa. Kichisa chases after the palanquin.
Takigawa and Shichinosuke emerge from the shack. There appears to be a great change in Takigawa's attitude as she passionately smiles at Shichinosuke. When he suggests that they should quickly go back to the mansion, she answers that she has no intention of returning there again. She has definitively given herself to Shichinosuke, and as a result she has also definitively forfeited her engagement to Yoshir˘. She says she will go with Shichinosuke wherever he goes. This is more than Shichinosuke had expected, and he is well pleased. They walk off together.
Act III, scene 2: Susaki Zsutsumi Shita U˘bune
On the river in Susaki , there is a fishing boat, with Shichigor˘ and his henchman Genji onboard. Fishing is Shichigor˘'s second occupation (his first one being pickpocketing) and his nickname Amiuchi comes from the Japanese word for fishing net. Shichigor˘ feels a heavy weight in his net and starts to draw it in. The promising big catch turns out to be the corpse of a drowned man, none other than Yoshir˘. The corpse is still holding Shichigor˘'s severed sleeve. It has an ugly scar on its forehead and with hatred it glares ominously at Shichigor˘.
Shichigor˘ tips the corpse back into the water, but not before Genji sees the figure and starts to shake with terror. Then, when a fish splashes around, Genji is so frightened that he falls into the river. Shichigor˘ takes an oar to try to fish Genji out of the water. He feels a weight and pulls the oar in, only to find Yoshir˘ instead of Genji clinging to it. The corpse is still holding out the sleeve and glares at Shichigor˘ again. Shichigor˘ strikes at the figure with a board and it disappears.
Act IV, scene 1: Mikazuki Nagaya
The scene is set at the Mikazuki Nagaya house of assignation in Yoshiwara. This house is managed by Kuraganoya Gihŕ and its most popular courtesan is a woman named Goshuden no Okuma . She is said to have the class of a high-ranking okujochű. One day, Takegawa's former attendant Sukebei pays a visit to the Mikazuki Nagaya and, when he meets the famous Okuma for the first time, he is amazed, as he recognizes her to be none other than Takigawa herself. Three years have passed since Takigawa ran away with Kozaru Shichinosuke, but Sukebei offers to take her back to the mansion. Takigawa, however, refuses, but invites him to enter her room, saying she will tell him what has happened to her.
In the meantime, an elderly priest called Kaiden arrives at the Mikazuki Nagaya. He is quite drunk and he has brought with him another unwilling priest, Ky˘shin, and an acolyte named Shinkai. Kaiden is a regular customer of Yoshiwara houses of assignation, and despite Ky˘shin's protests, he easily forces him into the Mikazuki Nagaya. Kaiden goes off with Osame, his usual courtesan, leaving Ky˘shin in the good care of another courtesan called Onao.
After they have gone to their rooms, Okuma, leaving Sukebei waiting in vain in another room, comes out and sits wondering what she should do. Now that she has been located it would not be safe to stay here any longer. Shichinosuke had gone to ďsaka and has not returned for the past three years. However, if she leaves her house of assignation, he would have no mean of locating her. Speaking of the devil, Shichinosuke himself suddenly shows up. They seem very happy to meet again and they both disappear into her room.
Act IV, scene 2: Mikazuki Nagaya Uchi
The scene is set in the room of Kuraganoya Gihŕ. He is being massaged by a blind masseuse named Onami. Onami is Shichigor˘'s daughter and Shichinosuke's younger sister. As she is massaging Gihŕ, her hand happens to touch a wallet lying near Gihŕ. On the spur of the moment, she takes it and hides the money. However, Gihŕ soon discovers her theft and furiously strikes her.
At her cries, the courtesans Osame, Onao and Osute come running down from the upper floor to restrain Gihŕ. Meanwhile, Shichinosuke and Okuma look down from their upstairs room. Onami begs forgiveness, saying that her father has been sick for a long time, and she needs money to pay for a doctor and for medicines.
Shichinosuke recognizes her and whispers to Okuma to go down and put in a word for the girl. Okuma does so, urging Gihŕ to forgive Onami, and the other women join her, so that Gihŕ unwilling lets her go. Then Okuma tells Gihŕ that her customer needs the services of the masseuse, and Gihŕ reluctantly agrees to let her go upstairs.
Shichinosuke is moved at seeing his blind sister but refrains from revealing his true identity to her, and Onami fails to recognize her brother's voice. Onami explains the circumstances of her father's illness and her own blindness. Shichinosuke and Okuma are filled with pity for the girl, and Shichinosuke gives Onami some money and tells her to go back home.
In the meantime, the priest Ky˘shin comes out, saying that he must return to the temple. Kaiden tries to stop him, but Okuma feels sorry for the young priest and orders that he be allowed to go. Ky˘shin leaves, along with Shinkai, after expressing his gratitude to Okuma. Kaiden is disgusted, as he had been hoping to make use of the money that Ky˘shin is carrying with him. Shichinosuke, who is wondering where he can get some money to give his sister and father, overhears everything. Ky˘shin would be a worthwhile target for robbery. He suddenly sees something lying on the floor. Okuma picks it up and it is a rosary, no doubt dropped by Ky˘shin. Shichinosuke says he will return the rosary to Ky˘shin, and sets out after him. Of course, his real intention is not the kindly one of returning the rosary to its owner.
Sukebei, who has been kept waiting for nothing in an inner room, awakens from a drunken sleep and comes out looking for Okuma. He finds her as she picks up an omamori, which has also been dropped by Ky˘shin. She looks inside it and immediately realizes that Ky˘shin is her brother. Meanwhile, downstairs, Shichinosuke steals a kitchen knife to take with him. Just as he is slipping out, he is spotted and recognized by Ichi, the henchman of Kuraganoya Gihŕ.
Act IV, scene 3: ďkawabata Tada Yakushi-mae
Shichinosuke comes running after Ky˘shin, saying he has come to return the rosary. Ky˘shin thanks Shichinosuke, and is about to hurry on his way, when Shichinosuke stops him. He threateningly asks whether Ky˘shin intends to take the rosary for nothing, and starts to blackmail the priest, threatening to reveal his visit to the house of assignation to the temple abbot unless he hands over the money he is carrying. Ky˘shin resists, saying that the money is badly needed to save his elder sister, who is in difficulties, but Shichinosuke insists that he needs the money to save his father, who is in dire straits. Shichinosuke finally kills Ky˘shin and makes off with the money.
Okuma comes running through the night. At the same time, a kago comes by. The two kagokaki bump into Shichinosuke and run away in fright. The palanquin's occupant, D˘chű-oichiji Sangor˘ , peers around in the dark. After a period in which the three move around in the dark (danmari), Shichinosuke runs off. Okuma catches hold of Sangor˘'s cloak but he flings her off and she falls to the ground. One of her hands lies in a pool of blood. Okuma is suddenly filled with dread as she realizes that it is most likely the blood of her brother.
Act V, scene 1: Fukagawa ďshima-ch˘ Amiuchi Shichigor˘ Uchi
Shichigor˘ has been lying sick for the past three years. His illness, as well as Onami's blindness, has most likely been caused by Yoshir˘'s vengeful spirit. When Onami comes home from the Mikazuki brothel with the money she has received from Shichinosuke, Shichigor˘ thinks that she has stolen it, and starts to beat her. His henchman Genji and a woman named Osugi have to step in in order to restrain him. This Osugi is the woman who eloped with Kichisa the night that Shichinosuke seduced Takigawa (Act III, scene 1). She has now been abandoned by Ob˘ Kichisa and is living in this neighborhood. Seeing a soiled kimono hanging on the wall, she thinks it is probably Onami's and takes it down to wash it. After a while, she recalls that it looks similar to the kimono that Yoshir˘ used to wear at the Shimazakiya in Shinagawa. She notices a mended patch on the sleeve, which had been stitched by one of the Shimazakiya courtesans. It is indeed Yoshir˘'s kimono. After washing it, she hangs it outside to dry before returning home.
A little later, Shichigor˘ notices that Osugi has washed Yoshir˘'s kimono and hung it out to dry. He has kept it as a reminder of his unforgivable crime. He feels he has not much longer to live, and is worried about Onami's fate. He also wonders where his son Shichinosuke might be.
Shichinosuke comes to his father's home and peers into the house. He calls to his father and they are happy to see one another again after three long years. Then, Okuma arrives as well. She is not familiar with the houses of this neighborhood and she is looking around when she finds Yoshir˘'s kimono. She recognizes it as the one she sewed for her lover Yoshir˘ 3 years ago. She hides nearby .
Shichinosuke gives Ky˘shin's money to his father. But Shichigor˘ refuses to accept it as it is stolen property. He tells Shichinosuke to use it to run away from Edo, but Shichinosuke would rather his father use the money. Shichigor˘ finally accepts. Shichinosuke asks his father about his sudden illness and Onami's blindness, but Shichigor˘ is reluctant to confess to his crime. At this moment Onami, who was sleeping, suddenly starts to talk in a trance. Yoshir˘'s vengeful spirit has possessed her and she reveals the story of Yoshir˘'s death, after which she comes out of her trance. Shichinosuke and Onami clasp each other in tears. Shichinosuke takes a tearful farewell from his father and sister and steps outside. Shichigor˘ holds up a lantern to light his son's way when suddenly Yoshir˘'s ghost appears from behind the kimono hanging outside. Shichigor˘ drops the lantern in fright, while Shichinosuke runs away.
Act V, scene 2: Fukagawa ďshima-ch˘ Roji Soto
Okuma comes out of hiding and accosts Shichinosuke. She tells her lover that she has learned that Ky˘shin was her younger brother. Shichinosuke is shocked, and he confesses that he is the murderer of Ky˘shin, and has stolen his money in order to help his father. Okuma urges Shichinosuke to give himself up to the authorities saying she is willing to go with him, but Shichinosuke refuses. They start to fight one another. Onami's voice is heard calling for help, because her father has suddenly died. Shichinosuke tries to return to the house, but Okuma prevents him. Shichinosuke threatens her with the kitchen knife, the same weapon as he used to kill Ky˘shin. But Okuma is stronger than he is, and gains possession of the knife, with which she stabs and wounds Shichinosuke. She tells him that when Shichinosuke raped her three years ago, she at first thought of dying, but she has not killed herself for just one reason: she desperately wanted to investigate the disappearance of Yoshir˘. In his sakaya shop, it was said that he stole the shop's money and disappeared without a trace, but she has eavesdropped outside Shichigor˘'s house and now she knows everything about his death. Yoshir˘'s ghost has taken his revenge with Shichigor˘'s death, and now it is time for her to take revenge for that night at Susaki. Shichinosuke tries to run away but Okuma strikes him down. However, the place is quickly surrounded by torite, and Okuma gives herself up.
This summary has been edited by Marion Hudson.
The actors Onoe Kikugor˘ IV (left print), Ichikawa Kodanji IV (right print/top-left) and Band˘ Kamez˘ I (right print/bottom-right) playing the roles of Goshuden Okuma, Kozaru Shichinosuke and Jiz˘d˘ no Sainen in the drama "Ami Moy˘ T˘ro no Kikukiri", which was staged in the 7th lunar month of 1857 at the Ichimuraza (print made by Utagawa Toyokuni III)
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