SAKAZAKI DEWA-NO-KAMI
   
Play title Sakazaki Dewa-no-Kami  In Japanese
Author Yamamoto Yűz˘
History

Yamamoto Yűz˘'s drama "Sakazaki Dewa-no-Kami" was premiered in September 1921 at the Ichimuraza [more details]. The role of Sakazaki Narimasa became an atariyaku for the star Onoe Kikugor˘ VI.

Structure

"Sakazaki Dewa-no-Kami" is made up of 4 acts (6 scenes):

Act Scene In Japanese In English
I 1 茶臼山家康本陣 Chausuyama Ieyasu Honjin
At Ieyasu's Headquarters on Mt. Chausu
  2 大阪城内本丸の一郭 ďsaka J˘nai Honmaru no Ikkaku
In the Sector of the main enclosure inside ďsaka Castle
II 1 宮の渡し船中 Miya no Watashi Senchű
Onboard the Ship going to Miya
III 1 駿府城内茶座敷 Sunpu J˘nai Cha Zashiki
In a Tea Ceremony Room inside Sunpu Castle
  2 駿府城内表座敷の一室 Sunpu J˘nai Omote Zashiki no Isshitsu
A Room in the Front Parlor inside Sunpu Castle
IV 1 牛込坂崎江戸邸内成正の居間 Ushigome Sakazaki Edo Teinai Narimasa no Ima
In Narimasa's Living Room inside the Sakazaki Edo Mansion in Ushigome
You need a Japanese Language Kit installed within your system in order to be able to read the characters
Key words Chausuyama
Cha Zashiki
Daimy˘
Dewa
Go
Honda Heihachir˘
Honda Masanobu
Honda Masazumi
Honda Tadamasa
Honda Tadatoki
Honda Yahachir˘
Honjin
Honmaru
Ishin Sűden
Kashin
Konchiin Sűden
Kuwana-juku
Miya-juku
Omote Zashiki
ďsaka no Eki
ďsaka no Jin
ďsaka-j˘
Rakuj˘
Rakushoku
Sakazaki Naomori
Sakazaki Narimasa
Sen-hime
Seppuku
Shichiri no Watashi
Shinkabuki
Sunpu-j˘
T˘kaid˘
Tokugawa Ieyasu
Toyotomi Hideyori
Toyotomi Hideyoshi
Tsubone
Ushigome
Summary

Act I, scene 1: Chausuyama Ieyasu Honjin
At Ieyasu's Headquarters on Mt. Chausu

This is the 5th lunar month of the 1st year of the Genna era and the end of the summer campaign for the Siege of ďsaka. Tokugawa Ieyasu's armies are in the last stage of their attack on ďsaka Castle, the stronghold of the befalling Toyotomi Clan to which Ieyasu himself has once owed allegiance. The fall of the castle (rakuj˘) is imminent, and envoys from each of his generals come in with reports of success in their respective sectors. One of Ieyasu's men, Honda Masazumi, relays the messages and reports to Ieyasu.

Sakazaki Narimasa [1], also called Sakazaki Dewa-no-Kami [2], one of the generals, comes to seek an audience with Ieyasu. He has noted the success of the others generals and is dissatisfied that he has not been stationed at a more important sector. He has come to put in a petition on that point, but in the meantime, as he is waiting, one part of the castle after another falls. Moreover, there is a report of the death of Sanada Yukimura, the most brilliant general of the Toyotomi armies. Victory is near and there is no more chance for Sakazaki to achieve any fame for himself on the battlefield as the war is just about to end. While the others are rejoicing over the victory, Sakazaki goes off grumbling.

Ieyasu makes his appearance, watching the burning of the main tower of ďsaka Castle and he does not appear to be overjoyed at the victory as he should be. The truth is that the crafty Ieyasu has in the past sent Princess Sen, his granddaughter, to become through a political marriage the wife of Toyotomi Hideyori, the son and heir of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who eventually succeeded his father as master of ďsaka Castle. Princess Sen is now trapped in the burning castle and will no doubt perish there with her husband unless immediate actions are taken to save her. A spy named Nanbu Samon has been sent to rescue the princess but he failed. Ieyasu in desperation asks whether there is no warrior here who will dare to go into the burning castle to bring Princess Sen out alive. Sakazaki hears it and takes up the challenge although the others say there is the chance of success are close to nil, Ieyasu, ready to catch at any straw, exhorts Sakazaki to try to rescue his granddaughter. He tells him, knowing that Sakazaki is not yet married, that, in case of success, he will give Princess Sen to him in marriage.

Act I, scene 2: ďsaka J˘nai Honmaru no Ikkaku
In the Sector of the main enclosure inside ďsaka Castle

The scene is set inside the main enclosure (honmaru) of ďsaka Castle. The situation is chaotic. Two of Sakazaki Narimasa's faithful retainers (kashin), the wise Miyake S˘bŕ and the impulsive Matsukawa Genrokur˘, are coming out from the burning castle, fighting and killing a few defenders. Matsukawa has just lost his right eye during this terrible fight. Miyake cannot see his master. He is about to enter the castle one more time when Sakazaki comes out, bringing Princess Sen on his back. They are followed by a lady-in-waiting and a maid of Princess Sen. Sakazaki has succeeded in his dangerous mission but he has also sustained burns on his face that will leave him disfigured. He pulls his horse and all start going back to Ieyasu's headquarters.

Act II, scene 1: Miya no Watashi Senchű
Onboard the Ship going to Miya

Sakazaki Narimasa is now escorting Princess Sen on a shichiri no watashi ship going from Kuwana-juku to Miya-juku, two port towns on the T˘kaid˘ road. They plan to go to Tokugawa Ieyasu's Sunpu Castle in the province of Suruga, from where Sakazaki will eventually take her to his own castle as his future wife.

This sea travel proves a difficult one for Sakazaki. He is a rough and simple man, just a little bit arrogant, proud of the success of his rescue mission, and understandably eager to impress his future wife. Unfortunately, Sakazaki has a love rival on the ship, a warrior named Honda Heihachir˘ Tadatoki, son of the daimy˘ of the Kuwana Domain Honda Tadamasa, who has provided the ship for the journey. As such, Heihachir˘ has easy control over the ship's crew, which no amount of shouting by Sakazaki can match. Princess Sen's lady-in-waiting, the tsubone Gy˘buky˘, would like to cheer up her gloomy mistress. She asks Heihachir˘ to act as guide to the famous sites they are passing by, and the sight of Heihachir˘'s intimacy with Princess Sen provokes Sakazaki's loyal retainer Matsukawa Genrokur˘ to attempting an act of violence against Heihachir˘. Miyake S˘bŕ manages to quiet him down for the moment.

Sakazaki hits on the idea of having a fishing contest put on for Princess Sen. This turns out badly because Heihachir˘ is a very good fisherman, who easily outclasses poor Sakazaki. He also proves himself a better shot with the arrow by hitting a gull, which Sakazaki poorly misses. In desperation, Sakazaki demands a fencing contest with wooden swords, and he wins, hitting Heihachir˘'s hand. Princess Sen sympathizes and takes care of the wounded Heihachir˘ instead of praising Sakazaki. Everything has turned out wrong.

The ship enters the port of Miya-juku. Princess Sen and Heihachir˘ are gazing at the port together from the prow of the ship. Sakazaki cannot stand it anymore and decide to leave the deck, hurriedly going down inside the ship with no word.

Act III, scene 1: Sunpu J˘nai Cha Zashiki
In a Tea Ceremony Room inside Sunpu Castle

Princess Sen is with her grandfather Tokugawa Ieyasu in a small tea-ceremony room (cha zashiki) in Sunpu Castle. She is insisting that she has no intention of marrying the old and scarred Sakazaki. She berates her grandfather as she has already been used as a pawn in his rise to power through a political marriage with Toyotomi Hideyori, and now again, he is using her just as an object with no respect for her own feelings. It is obvious that Princess Sen is the apple of Ieyasu's eye, and the new ruler of Japan cannot refuse her demand to be freed from becoming Sakazaki's wife. He has a promise to keep but the promise has been made under the stress of the moment. In his heart he has probably never really meant it at all. Princess Sen accuses him of being a liar and says that under the circumstances she feels sorry for Sakazaki and would be obliged to go to his castle. But one thing prevents her from doing so. It is not his age or his ugliness. It is the fact that she loves another samurai, a warrior named Honda Heihachir˘. Ieyasu is at a loss as to how to resolve the situation, and asks the priest Konchiin Sűden to find some clever explanation to be given to Sakazaki and some means out of the current trouble.

Act III, scene 2: Sunpu J˘nai Omote Zashiki no Isshitsu
A Room in the Front Parlor inside Sunpu Castle

In compliance with Ieyasu's order, Konchiin Sűden has indeed come up with a clever solution. When Sakazaki comes as expected to meet Tokugawa Ieyasu, he is greeted instead by the priest who tells him that Ieyasu is ill. He then goes on to say that Princess Sen has decided to become a nun (rakushoku) in order to remain faithful to Toyotomi Hideyori's memory and to pray for his soul. Under these circumstances, she can hardly become Sakazaki's wife. Sakazaki does not find it possible to give up easily. He offers a large donation to Konchiin Sűden's temple with a hint that it is to purchase his cooperation in winning Princess Sen's heart. Konchiin Sűden pretends to be appalled at such a suggestion, and Sakazaki regrets his hasty mistake. Konchiin Sűden reasons with him, saying that he must realize that Princess Sen is about to become a nun. Sakazaki has to accept this situation.

Act IV, scene 1: Ushigome Sakazaki Edo Teinai Narimasa no Ima
In Narimasa's Living Room inside the Sakazaki Edo Mansion in Ushigome

The scene is set at the Sakazaki Edo Mansion in Ushigome. Today Princess Sen's bridal procession will lead her to the residence of Honda Tadatoki. Sakazaki is now aware that he has been duped but Tokugawa Ieyasu himself is now dead [3]. He is understandably in a terrible state of mind and his retainers and servants are tense, not knowing when he may flare up in a murderous temper. The impetuous Matsukawa Genrokur˘ comes with a petition written in blood, demanding that Sakazaki show some spirit and stand up for his rights by attacking the bridal procession as it passes by, but Sakazaki's good sense prevails for the moment as he denounces Matsukawa for making such a preposterous suggestion although in his heart that is exactly what he would like to do.

When he asks for a bowl of water to rinse off the blood on his fingers from the petition, he sees his reflection in the bowl and is repulsed by his own ugliness. Which is uglier, the one-eyed Matsukawa or himself, both of whom have become disfigured in their attempt to save Princess Sen? But why should Princess Sen have to marry such an ugly man as himself? It is only natural that she should become the wife of Honda Heihachir˘. Sakazaki tries to reason with himself in this manner, but to no avail.

He finds it hot and orders the doors opened wide. In the distance, a procession of lanterns can be seen. It takes only a moment for Sakazaki to realize that they are the lights of Princess Sen's bridal procession. He tries to quiet himself with a game of go but this only leads to a quarrel with his partner. Word is brought that Matsukawa has committed suicide, and again Sakazaki explodes, denouncing Matsukawa's hot-headedness. He starts drinking some sake, and, finally losing control of himself, he dashes out into the night with his retainers in hot pursuit.

The men manage to keep Sakazaki from attacking the bridal procession and abducting Princess Sen but they have been unable to restrain him before he has already approached the procession and has been witnessed in his wild act. Sakazaki realizes that this is last act before his downfall. His men as well as an official in charge of supervising the bridal procession have shouted that Sakazaki is out of his mind. This is the only way to provide Sakazaki with a chance for a future pardon. But Sakazaki insists that he is absolutely not out of his mind. He has acted in perfect sanity. It has been Ieyasu's lie that has been at the root of Sakazaki's downfall ... Sakazaki would never have aspired to have Princess Sen as his wife. It was Tokugawa Ieyasu himself who suggested it. Sakazaki prefers to die as a sane man rather than to lie to save his own life as an insane man. He has acted in sanity and will take full responsibility for his act by committing suicide (seppuku), just as Matsukawa did earlier. He is about to kill himself but stops to order Miyake to treat Matsukawa's dead body with ceremony.

Trivia

The second scene of Act II is usually skipped in the production of "Sakazaki Dewa-no-Kami".

Notes

[1] His castle was in Tsuwano in the province of Iwami.

[2] Dewa-no-Kami was the court title of Sakazaki Narimasa. It meant kami of the province of Dewa.

[3] Tokugawa Ieyasu died the 17th day of the 4th lunar month of the 2nd year of the Genna era, which was the 1st of June 1616 in the western calendar.

The actors Nakamura Fukusuke V and Onoe Kikugor˘ VI playing the roles of Tokugawa Ieyasu's granddaughter Princess Sen and Sakazaki Narimasa in the drama "Sakazaki Dewa-no-Kami", which was staged in March 1929 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘

 
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