|Play title||Ogasawara Shorei no Oku no Te|
|Author||Katsu Genz˘ III|
Katsu Genz˘ III's drama "Ogasawara Shorei no Oku no Te" was premiered in October 1881 at the Ebisuza [casting]. It was based on the succession troubles, which hit the Ogasawara clan at the beginning of the 1800s. It became a popular keren drama in Kamigata. After WW2, it was revived in April 1954 at the Nakaza [casting]. It was not staged for 22 years, then it was revived by Ichikawa Ennosuke III in April 1976 at the Meijiza [casting]. It was successfully staged the following year in May 1977 at the Minamiza [casting] and in July 1977 at the Kabukiza [casting]. This drama was therefore added to the famous Ennosuke Jűhachiban collection of dramas It was not staged for another round of 22 years ... and was successfully revived in September 1999 at the Minamiza by a troupe of young stars [casting].
The drama "Ogasawara S˘d˘" is made up of 5 acts, divided into at least 8 scenes depending on the production. Ichikawa Ennosuke III's version went up to 13 scenes. Here is the structure for our summary, which is based on the 10 scenes production, which was staged in May 2009 at the Minamiza:
Act I, scene 1: in front of the Torii of Wakamiya Hachiman Shrine
Inugami was captivated by a young woman named Odai who had been in service at a tea store house in Edo which was in fact a front for prostitution. Inugami brought her back to his home in Buzen Province when he finished his duty at his lord's residence in Edo and impregnated her, as was his intention. He then deceived his lord Ogasawara Buzen-no-Kami by saying that Odai was his sister whom he had not seen for a long time. Buzen-no-Kami falls in love with the beautiful Odai, and makes her his mistress, unaware that she is already pregnant by the ambitious Inugumi, whose child, when it is born, thereby stands to become the unsuspecting Buzen-no-Kami's heir.
Today, Ogasawara Buzen-no-Kami is enjoying hunting around Mt. My˘jin, even though it is regarded as a sacred area and such actions are prohibited. In fact, it was Odai who tempted him to do such a reckless deed. Sahei, Odai's foster father, enters and asks one of the Buzen retainers to let him meet Inugami, who released his daughter from the tea store house. ďishi, a boss of the retainers enters and at which point Sahei informs him that Inugami had taken Odai from her service which was supporting the family and promised to compensate Sahei's family for its loss. ďishi, who serves under Inugami, thinks that if Odai's true identity is revealed, his master's scheme will amount to nothing. ďishi pretends to sympathize with him and suddenly chops at Sahei. Just as Sahei begins to run away, it is none other than Odai who appears and begins to choke the wounded Sahei with her own belt. Inugami appears and praises her actions. When she imagines her baby succeeding to the throne she does not even worry about killing her father. She is so completely controlled by Inugami that she is now both his lover and slave.
Act I, scene 2: in the Susuki Plain on Mt. My˘jin
In the hunting field of a susuki plain on Mt. My˘jin, Buzen-no-Kami corners an old, white fox. However, a warrior, Ogasawara Haito, stands between the fox and the lord. Haito in fact, had been sentenced by the lord to home confinement because he had criticized the lord for his infatuation of Odai and his leaving Inugami in full charge of his political affairs.
Haito knows that today is the anniversary of one of the Ogasawara ancestors' death and that the lord should have been voiding a religious service for the dead soul instead of trying to take the life of another living creature. Haito does not restrain his criticism of his lord's reckless act. Seeing that the lord is troubled by Haito, Inugami takes this opportunity to accuse Haito of being uncivil towards the lord. Inugami insists that all subordinate people should obey the lord even if his demands seem unreasonable. Before returning to his castle, Buzen-no-Kami again sentences Haito to a long-term house imprisonment. Tired of Haito's interference, Inugami secretly orders some of his men to assassinate him. Haito, however, narrowly escapes from the enemy thanks to the help of a footman who is, in fact, the transformed fox that Haito had rescued. The footman and his company prepare a palanquin and take Haito away from danger.
Act II, scene 1: at Ogasawara Haito's Mansion
Haito has been sentenced to remain under house arrest, when ďishi and his company who are under Inugami come for an ostensibly friendly inquiry. While Haito's sister Kohagi is keeping them company, Haito appears. ďishi tells him that their master interceded with Buzen-no-Kami on behalf of him and that his punishment will be pardoned soon. Then ďishi delivers a sake keg to Haito saying that it is a present to him from Inugami in token of his sympathy. Haito rejoices at this good news and wants to hear further information from them, but they somehow take their leave hurriedly on the pretext of a meeting.
Feeling slight concern about their attitude, Haito and Kohagi look at the sake keg suspiciously. So, they sprinkle a drop of the sake over a flower in the garden. Astoundingly the flower withers suddenly. Thereby the two come to realize a plot to kill Haito. Now there is no option but to implore Ogasawara T˘t˘mi-no-Kami, a member of a branch family living in Edo, to start out for rescuing the Ogasawaras in Buzen Province. Meanwhile, almost all retainers have responded to Inugami's summons. Haito tells Kohagi his intention to appeal to T˘t˘mi-no-Kami, but he is still under orders not to leave his house.
They are deep in thought, when Ohaya comes. She had once served Haito as an attendant. Koheiji, now Ohaya's husband, was also a servant in Haito's mansion, where they fell in love. In those days love between attendants and servants was strictly prohibited.
They were nearly punished, but Haito was pitiful enough to save them, let them marry and gave them some money to start their new life. As a result they could leave servitude and embark in a courier business. To learn of Haito's predicament, Ohaya has come to Haito, offering her aid to him, having never forgotten his benevolence. When she expresses her devotion and willingness to die for him, he hands her a letter. He asks her to deliver the secret letter to T˘t˘mi-no-Kami, which reveals the Ogasawara family's increasingly tense situation.
Act II, scene 2: in the Hiyoke Pine Plain near the Front Gate of the Castle
Ohaya is in a hurry to meet her husband when she is caught by a thunderstorm during the night and then attacked by ďishi, who secretly desires her. He wants to get both her and the letter she holds. While struggling with ďishi she is helped by Okada Ry˘suke, a supporter of Inugami. He wants to take the letter from her and offer it to Inugami for a reward. He tries to catch her off guard by pretending to be one of Haito's attendants and acting as if he were asked to get the letter back. She insists that the importance of the letter requires that she return it to Haito personally. Ry˘suke feints that he understands her situation and offers to help her walk safely since the neighborhood is pitch dark. While they are walking along the moat, Ohaya is scared by a crash of thunder and unintentionally throws her arms around Ry˘suke's body. Ry˘suke then reveals his true colors. He suddenly puts out the light of the paper lantern, violently robs her of the letter, kills her, and throws her body into the moat.
Just then Koheiji happens to pass him by. He catches Ry˘suke by the arm. Ry˘suke shakes himself free from Koheiji, but leaves his sleeves in Koheiji's hand after the struggle.
Act II, scene 3: by the Moat near the Castle Gate of the Dragon's Mouth
Inugami and his followers arrive and are aware of the fact that Haito has sent the secret letter to T˘t˘mi-no-Kami. So far everything has been going well for Inugami and his group. But now they realize that their plot will be leaked unless they take measures to keep it secret. Ry˘suke, however, successfully delivers the letter to Inugami. After giving the reward to Ry˘suke, Inugami promises that he will take full care of Ry˘suke's wife, children, and mother so that he can remain in hiding until the storm about the murder case has blown over. Inugami then returns to the problem of Haito and develops a plot to send him to prison and a lifetime of despair.
Act III, scene 1: at Okada Ry˘suke's House
Ry˘suke's family has heard nothing from Ry˘suke for a long time. His mother, wife and children have been ill. Additionally, they have nothing to eat these days. The cause of their hardship is Ohaya's spirit which is not able to rest in peace. She haunts Ry˘suke's house every night. Since Okano, Ry˘suke's wife, can not produce milk, her son is dying from hunger. Her daughter is also losing vigor, but continues to nurse her younger brother. The merchants who come to the house to collect their bills can not ignore this scene. They not only cancel the family's debts, but also give them the clothes off their own backs. Ry˘suke's family is leading a miserable life when he returns after his long absence. Upon his arrival he is raving under the influence of alcohol and knows nothing about his family's horrible life or the agony they are suffering. He still thinks his family is living in peace and protected by Inugami. Okano blames Ry˘suke for their current wretchedness. She accuses him of killing a woman in her thirties on September 8th, the day when Ry˘suke left, because his family has been tortured by the woman's ghost since that day. It is not long before Ry˘suke is also subjected to the pressure of Ohaya's ghost. The ghost encourages him to kill his family but Ry˘suke drives it away with his sword. Oura, Ry˘suke's mother, blames Ry˘suke for this retribution. Finally Ry˘suke realizes that he was deceived by Inugami. He renounces Oura and Okano as his mother and wife so that his past wrongdoings will not bring harm to them. Now that he has become a better man he realizes that he must report Inugami's crimes to T˘t˘mi-no-Kami and help protect Buzen Province, His daughter, Oyuki, knows nothing. She thinks that the reason her mother and grandmother had been cut off from Ry˘suke was because they had done something wrong. She sacrifices herself as a means of apologizing for the wrongs she believes her mother and grandmother must have committed.
Oura and Okano also kill themselves so that they will not become the cause of Ry˘suke's regret. Losing his entire family, Ry˘suke rushes out of his house to revenge himself on Inugami and his ring by exposing their plot.
Act IV, scene 1: the backyard of Inugami's Mansion
ďishi advises Inugami to assassinate T˘t˘mi-no-Kami who is said to be coming back to Buzen the following day. Koheiji becomes aware of the fact that Ry˘suke killed his wife and that Inugami is behind everything. While Koheiji is peeping into the mansion, Ry˘suke appears. Ry˘suke is stealing both the letter and a secret pact which describes the coup and bears Inugami's signature. He runs away under the cover of darkness and Koheiji follows in pursuit. It is Ry˘suke's intention to deliver these documents to T˘t˘mi-no-Kami and prevent Buzen Province, where he was born and raised, from being devastated by Inugami.
Act IV, scene 2: next to the Yana-ga-Ura Highway
When Ry˘suke comes to Yana-ga-Ura Highway he encounters Koheiji who has been lurking by a water mill (suisha). Ry˘suke solicits Koheiji's help and protection because he has to carry out a very important job for the lord and help save the province, Koheiji however does not comply with this request. After a violent fight, Koheiji kills Ry˘suke and only to realize Ry˘suke had reformed upon hearing his dying words. Before his last breath Ry˘suke entrusts Koheiji with the secret pact and letter. Just a short time later, through the help of Hayashi Kazuma, Koheiji presents the documents to T˘t˘mi-no-Kami. The instant T˘t˘mi-no-Kami receives the two documents he is shot by a sniper and everybody believes he has been murdered. However, the victim was a double for T˘t˘mi-no-Kami.
The real T˘t˘mi-no-Kami was in the procession, dressed as one of the attendants. In the meantime, Haito is rescued from house imprisonment by the fox and appears in front of T˘t˘mi-no-Kami. These two then celebrate their reunion.
Act V, scene 1: in the Envoy Room at Ogasawara T˘t˘mi-no-Kami's Mansion
Acting as a spy, Odai calls on T˘t˘mi-no-Kami to discover his true intentions. She is met by Hayashi Kazuma who tells her T˘t˘mi-no-Kami was killed by an assassin who he believes must have been carrying out orders. Kazuma implies that it is Inugami who has orchestrated the entire affair. Haito appears at this time and lays forth the scheme of Inugami and charges Odai as one of the accomplices. As he exposes her crimes, one after another, she cannot sit still and finally commits suicide.
Act V, scene 2: in the Inner Garden within the Ogasawara Castle
Now Inugami's treasonable plot is fully disclosed and he is besieged by Buzen-no-Kami, T˘t˘mi-no-Kami, Haito and their retainers. Though Inugami struggles, he is forced to surrender by the magical power of the fox. Thus peace returns to the Ogasawaras of Buzen Province. After this incident the fox was enshrined in Buzen Province as the guardian deity of the Ogasawara family.
The actors Nakamura Kaisha and Jitsukawa Enjaku II playing the roles of the yakko Kikuhei (in reality the fox of Mt. My˘jin) and Okada Ry˘suke in the drama "Ogasawara S˘d˘", which was staged in January 1939 at the Nakaza
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