|Play title||Kanzen Ch˘aku Nozoki Garakuri
Urami Kuzu Tsuyu-ni Nureginu
|Author||Kawatake Shinshichi II|
"Kanzen Ch˘aku Nozoki Garakuri" was premiered in the 8th lunar month of 1862 at the Moritaza [casting]. The story was based on a famous k˘dan, which was itself created after a real event which happened in the 4th lunar month of 1717. The dual roles of the blackguard Murai Ch˘an and the honest Kyűhachi were great vehicles for stars like Ichikawa Sadanji I, Ichikawa Sadanji II or Ichikawa En'˘ I. In modern times, it was successfully revived at the National Theatre in August 1979 [casting].
The original drama was made up of 8 acts, divided into 11 scenes. The 7th act was a Tokiwazu-based michiyuki entitled "Urami Kuzu Tsuyu-ni Nureginu". The revival at the National Theatre was made up of 7 acts, divided into 9 scenes.
The story follows Murai Ch˘an, an evil doctor in the district of K˘jimachi in Edo. He gave his house to his young sister Osoyo and goes to Edo. Osoyo and her husband Ch˘bei had to abandon their farmland due to Osoyo's serious illness and also heavy duty taxes they could not pay. Finally they decide to sell their daughter Oume to a Yoshiwara brothel. On Ch˘bei's way home from Yoshiwara, Ch˘an kills him and robs his money. Intentionally Ch˘an left a paper umbrella, as an evidence of the crime. This umbrella belongs to the r˘nin Fujikake D˘jűr˘, who forgot it when he visited Ch˘an's clinic. Ch˘an's trick makes a false charge against Fujikake D˘jűr˘. Due to this cunning idea, D˘jűr˘ is captured and dies miserably in prison.
Oume is now a Yoshiwara courtesan called Sayoginu working at the Ch˘jiya brothel. She fell in love with Sentar˘, the adopted son of D˘jűr˘ and son (and heir) of Iseya Gohei, who is the owner of a prosperous pawn-shop in the district of Kanda Mikawa-ch˘. Sentar˘ is desperately looking for money to ransom Sayoginu. Ch˘an agrees to help Sentar˘ and gives him the money under one condition: the young man has to give him a precious sword which used to belong to late Fujikake D˘jűr˘ and was pawned at the Iseya by a dubious man named Hayanori Sanji. Sentar˘ steals the sword but the evil Ch˘an successfully robs him of the sword without giving him any money for the ransom. Then, he sends Hayanori Sanji to the Iseya to blackmail Sentar˘. The attempt fails as the honest and loyal bant˘ Kyűhachi decides to take the blame for the stealing of the precious sword. He manages to run away from the Iseya.
Oriyo, the widow of Fujikake D˘jűr˘, is in dire straits, living a miserable existence with her children in a poor house. She has almost no belongings but calls a rag-and-bone man to sell some clothes. This man is none other than Kyűhachi. They recognize each other and decide to team up to go to the court of justice to register a complaint against the evil doctor who is responsible for their downfall. They receive the support of Kaisaka no Chűz˘, who has witnessed Ch˘an's evil deeds.
"Urami Kuzu Tsuyu-ni Nureginu", the michiyuki and 7th act of "Murai Ch˘an" is set at the Nihon Embankment (Nihon Zutsumi), the road leading to the Yoshiwara pleasures quarter. Sayoginu has escaped from the Ch˘jiya, to be with her lover Sentar˘. Dark thoughts revolve in their minds for they will soon commit shinjű. Hayanori Sanji, who is tracking down Sayoginu, successfully catches her, leaving Sentar˘ alone on stage. Kyűhachi runs into Sentar˘, who is about to kill himself. He tries to save the young man but accidentally kills him. Instead of running away, Kyűhachi decides to give himself up to the police.
The final act is set at the court of Justice in Shirasu, with the judgment full of kanzen ch˘aku of the the upright and wise magistrate ďoka Echizen-no-Kami Tadasuke*: Murai Ch˘an and Hayanori Sanji are condemned and jailed. Sentar˘ is posthumously reinstated. Kyűhachi discovers that Sentar˘ was his real brother and he is adopted by Iseya Gohei.
It is a tradition to have the same actor performing both the evil Ch˘an and the loyal Kyűhachi.
The actors Nakamura Fukusuke IV (left print, top/left), Band˘ Kakitsu I (left print, bottom/right) and Ichikawa Danjűr˘ IX (right print) playing the roles of the courtesan Ch˘jiya Izayoi, the farmer Jűbei and Murai Ch˘an in the drama "Shigure Gumo Murai no Yabure Gasa", which was staged in November 1884 at the Shintomiza (print made by Toyohara Kunichika)
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