SANDANME - URAMON
   
Play title Kanadehon Chűshingura  In Japanese
Common title Uramon  In Japanese
Authors Takeda Izumo II
Miyoshi Sh˘raku
Namiki Senryű I
History

The play "Kanadehon Chűshingura" was originally written for the puppet theater (Bunraku) and staged for the first time in the 8th lunar month of 1748 in ďsaka at the Takemotoza. It was adapted for Kabuki the same year and staged for the first time in the 12th lunar month of 1748 in ďsaka at the Kado no Shibai [casting]. The "Uramon" scene was performed with the actors Arashi Sanjűr˘ II, Yoshida Manshir˘ and Tamiya Jűzabur˘ II in the roles of Kanpei, Okaru and Bannai.

Structure

The "Uramon Gatten" scene (literally "Understanding (of the situation) at the Back Gate"), which was originally (in Bunraku) called "Ashikaga Yakata Uramon" (literally "at the Back Gate of the Ashikaga Mansion") and which is commonly called "Uramon" (literally "at the Back Gate"), is the last scene of the 3rd act of "Kanadehon Chűshingura". It is rarely staged as the popular dance-drama "Ochiudo", which gathers the same characters, is usually preferred.

Key words Gidayű Ky˘gen
Adauchi
Jidaimono
Uramon
Summary

Previous scene: "Ninj˘"

A commotion ensues and the gates to the mansion are barred. Outside and unable to get in, Kanpei hears news of what took place and feels great shame at being absent from his master's side when he was needed most. Having completely failed in his duties as a samurai, a crime made all the worse since he was distracted by earthly pleasures, Kanpei readies himself to commit seppuku. Okaru successfully stays his hand by pointing out that she, not he, should be the one to die for this transgression; after all, Kanpei had abandoned his lord at her suggestion. She then persuades him to flee to her parent's house in the country where they can wait for the arrival of ďboshi Yuranosuke, En'ya's chief retainer, from their home province.

As they are taking their leave, Bannai and some of his men arrive with much bravado and try to exact revenge for slight wound Moron˘ had received. Kanpei easily bests the lot of them, but spares their lives, not wishing to compound disloyalty with disloyalty.

Source: summary based on Donald Keene's translation "Chűshingura: The Treasury of Loyal Retainers"; Columbia University Press, New York; (C) 1971

Next scene: "Hangan Seppuku"

The actors Arashi Otohachi II (left), Ichikawa Omez˘ I (center) and Segawa Kikusabur˘ II (right) playing the roles of Sagisaka Bannai, Hayano Kanpei and the koshimoto Okaru in the "Uramon" scene of the drama "Kanadehon Chűshingura", which was staged in the 2nd lunar month of 1801 at the Nakamuraza (print made by Utagawa Toyokuni I)

 
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