MARUBASHI CHYA
   
Play titles Kusunoki-ry Hanami no Makuhari  In Japanese
Hanamidoki Yui no Makuhari  In Japanese
Common titles Marubashi Chya  In Japanese
Keian Taiheiki  In Japanese
Author Kawatake Shinshichi II
History

Kawatake Shinshichi II's drama "Kusunoki-ry Hanami no Makuhari" was premiered in the 3rd lunar month of 1870 at the Moritaza [more details]. The characters' costumes and manners in this play are those of the Edo period but the name of the leader of the rebellion was Kusunoki Masashige, a warrior of the Kamakura era. The Keian Uprising was replaced by the Genk War and, in order to avoid the censorship, the identity of some historical characters were disguised (more or less lightly):
Real names Roles
Yui Shsetsu Uji Jetsu
Marubashi Chya Marigase Shya
Matsudaira Izu-no-Kami Hosokawa Katsumoto
Kanai Tamigor Kanai Tanigor

It was revived and staged with a different title, "Hanamidoki Yui no Makuhari", in May 1875 at the Kawarasakiza. As the Shogunate censorship was a thing of the past, the real names were used for the first time [more details].

Structure

The original drama "Kusunoki-ry Hanami no Makuhari" was in 6 acts. Two acts focusing on Marubashi Chya have survived and became an independent drama entitled "Keian Taiheiki".

Key words Chaya
Edo-j
Horibata
Inu
Keian
Keian Jiken
Kiseru
Marubashi Chya
Renpanj
Rnin
Sake
Sunpu-j
Tachimawari
Taishka
Tokugawa Iemitsu
Tokugawa Ietsuna
Torite
Torimono
Yui Shsetsu
Yumishi
Summary

Act I, scene 1: Edo-jgai Horibata
At an Outer Moat of Edo Castle

Tokugawa Iemitsu, the third Tokugawa Shgun, has died and has been succeeded by Tokugawa Ietsuna, who is still a boy. Society is still slowly recovering from the wounds of a century of civil wars, and hordes of displaced samurai, who happened to be fighting on the losing side, are without fixed employment. Some of them have started to scheme to overthrow the government. One such large scale plot is currently masterminded by Yui Shsetsu. He has enlisted the services of a large number of rnin, and placed a man named Marubashi Chya, the hero of this play, in charge of the operations in Edo, the seat of the Shgun's government.

Chya is a heavy drinker (taishka), and on this day he has already drunken three large bottles' worth of sake. Having come upon a tiny chaya by Edo Castle's outer moat (horibata), however, he cannot resist helping himself to a few more. In high spirits, he treats the chaya's owner Kansuke and the three other patrons to all they can drink, prompting one of them to proclaim that Chya is the type of man he'd like to see controlling things in Edo Castle. That way they would have all the sake they could want for free. Chya laughs off the remark as being ridiculous, but he nonetheless breaks into a big smile.

When the three patrons leave, Chya turns his attention to a barking dog (inu), playing with it innocently. He finishes off an entire bottle of sake and pushes the reluctant Kansuke into serving him another bottle. Chya then hands him one ry (a hefty sum) and asks him to fetch something to eat. Kansuke refuses at first but he is obliged to go when Chya draws his sword.

Left alone and looking for someone with whom to share a drink, he surveys his surroundings. Finding no one to drink with, Chya falls asleep. The dog that Chya has been playing with returns, licking his face and waking him up. Irritated, Chya throws a stone at the dog. Then, seeing no one is around, Chya hurls a stone into the moat to measure the depth by listening to the splash it makes. He is preparing for the assault on the castle. He chases the dog to the main gate, throwing stones into the inner moat as well. Chya also tries to stick his long kiseru in the water. He suddenly realizes that someone is standing behind him, holding a paper umbrella over his head. He turns around and finds Matsudaira Izu-no-Kami [1], a high-ranking Tokugawa official, looking at him suspiciously. Chya walks off feigning giddiness, but not before he is asked to identify himself and to explain what he was doing.

Act II, scene 1: Marubashi Chya Sumika
Marubashi Chya's Home

Two of Chya's conspirators, Komakai Gorobei and Katsuta Yasabur, are pressing Chya's wife Osetsu to allow them to see their leader. She says that he is sleeping, recovering from a hangover. They insist on meeting Chya, however, as the date of their plot to overthrow of the Shogunate is fast approaching, and they are ready to move into action at any time. Chya staggers out from his sleeping chamber, still half drunk, complaining that his visitors are talking too loudly. They have come for instructions on when they should launch the first phase: poisoning Edo's drinking water and setting buildings ablaze to allow them to sneak into Edo Castle. Chya merely suggests that they discuss things calmly over a drink. When the two insist on a firm decision, he orders them to leave so that he can go back to bed. Flabbergasted, the two march out despite Osetsu's pleas for them to stay.

In comes the yumishi Tshir, father-in-law of Chya, to whom he owes 200 ry. Tshir is disturbed to learn from his daughter that Chya is asleep because of his heavy drinking. After Osetsu wakes Chya up, Tshir presses him for repayment. He wants to know how his son-in-law intends to come up with 200 ry. Tshir remains skeptical even after Chya reassures him that the money will soon be returned, declaring that tens of thousands of ry could soon be in Tshir's pockets. To convince his father-in-law of the validity of this claim, he tells Tshir about the ongoing plot and insists that sinking into sake and pretending to be drunk is a means of cloaking his ambitions.

Chya says, with this coup, he hopes to avenge his father's death at the hands of Tokugawa forces, adding that the mastermind behind the scheme is the renowned military expert Yui Shsetsu. Three days from now, Chya says, Shsetsu will capture Sunpu Castle while Chya himself will spearhead the seizure of Edo Castle. Tshir appears reassured and even proud of having such a daring son-in-law. But as he leaves the house he shudders at the thought of the country being plunged back into war and makes up his mind to try to thwart it, even at the price of his daughter's life.

After Tshir leaves, Chya and Osetsu drink to the ambitious scheme, but, as she pours sake for her husband, Chya's cup cracks in. This is an ominous sign. Suddenly, swarms of torite are surrounding Chya's house.

Act II, scene 2: Marubashi Chya Sumika Urate Torimono
The Arrest in the Backyard of Marubashi Chya's Home

Amidst the fierce struggle (tachimawari), Chya manages to find Osetsu and entrusts her with a renpanj to be delivered to Yui Shsetsu at any cost. Chya is finally arrested (torimono), and the plot to overthrow the Shgun is foiled.

This summary would have not been possible without the help of Sekidobashi Sakura!

Notes

[1] Izu-no-Kami means the kami of the Province of Izu. This was a courtesy title. His name was Matsudaira Nobutsuna (1596~1622).

The actors Ichikawa Sadanji II (left) and Ichikawa Kodanji V (right) playing the roles of Marubashi Chya and Matsudaira Izu-no-Kami in the drama "Keian Taiheiki", in a mitate-e print made by Kchr Hsai in 1909

Prints & Illustrations

 
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