CHOINOSE
   
Play titles Shinpan Ukina no Yomiuri  In Japanese
Nuretadoshi Yume-ni Aigasa  In Japanese
Mitsugumi Makie no Sakazuki  In Japanese
Kore ha Hy˘ban Ukina no Yomiuri  In Japanese
Common title Choinose  In Japanese
Authors Ky˘gend˘
Sakurada Jisuke IV
Kawatake Shinshichi II [1]
History

The drama "Shinpan Ukina no Yomiuri", a kakikae ky˘gen of the puppet theater drama "Some Moy˘ Imose no Kadomatsu", was premiered in the 5th lunar month of 1862 in Edo at the Moritaza [more details]. It was staged within the nibanme of the drama "Mitsugumi Makie no Sakazuki", which started with the Kiyomoto-based dance-drama "Nuretadoshi Yume-ni Aigasa".

Structure

The original 1862 drama was in 3 acts. The current version of "Shinpan Ukina no Yomiuri" is made up of 1 act divided into 2 scenes.

Key words Bant˘
Decchi
Fujiwara Teika
Goke
Kakikae Ky˘gen
Kamigata Ky˘gen
Kawarayabashi
Kura
Musume
Ningy˘buri
Osome-hisamatsumono
Sewamono
Shichiya
Shikishi
Utazaimon
Summary

Act I, scene 1: Aburaya Mise Saki
In Front of the Aburaya

The Aburaya stands by Kawaraya Bridge in ďsaka, a bustling pawnshop filled with whispers of intrigue. Hisamatsu, the earnest young apprentice (decchi), harbors a deep affection for the master's daughter, Osome. Yet, their love is thwarted by the looming shadow of Osome's engagement to the affluent Yamagaya Seibŕ. Hindered by his lowly status, Hisamatsu trembles at the thought of their forbidden bond, urging Osome to forsake him and embrace her destined path with Seibŕ. However, Osome, carrying Hisamatsu's child in secret, vows to end her life if they cannot be united.

The Aburaya bant˘ Zenroku arrives and discovers the pair together. Consumed by jealousy, he swiftly dispatches Hisamatsu on an errand to the godown (kura). Regrettably, Hisamatsu has inadvertently left a secret letter addressed to Osome lying on the desk. Zenroku seizes the opportunity, assuming it to be a love letter, and casts a disdainful glance in the direction taken by Hisamatsu. Stealthily, he tucks the letter into his kimono.

Osome, now that Hisamatsu has departed, finds herself with no reason to linger in the room. However, before she can make her exit, Zenroku intercepts her. He takes advantage of the moment to disparage Hisamatsu and extol his own virtues, striving to convince Osome of his superiority. Seizing the opportunity, he offers her a love letter he has prepared, deftly extracting a letter from his bosom. Upon realizing it's Hisamatsu's letter, he hastily swaps it with his own.

As Zenroku persists, Osome swiftly strikes him with the end of her sleeve. The letter tumbles to the floor as Zenroku rubs his eyes, stung by the impact. Osome quickly departs, leaving Zenroku in bewilderment. Hisamatsu reappears and watches Osome's retreating form, while Zenroku, still recovering from the sting, fumbles around, desperately calling for Osome. Mistakenly, he seizes Hisamatsu in his confusion. Realizing Osome's departure, Zenroku vents his frustration on Hisamatsu, unleashing his anger with a barrage of blows.

Yamagaya Seibŕ arrives for a visit and catches sight of the two, who awkwardly attempt to ease the tension. Meanwhile, Seibŕ notices Zenroku's letter lying on the floor, briefly glances at it, and discreetly slips it into his pocket. Omine, Osome's mother, approaches to welcome Seibŕ, her nephew and the prospective groom of Osome.

Presently, Matsuya Gen'emon arrives at the house, voicing his grievances about being deceived and swindled by Hisamatsu and Tasabur˘, Osome's brother. He recounts how he was lured by the duo into lending Tasabur˘ a valuable shikishi card adorned with calligraphy by Teika. The purpose was for Tasabur˘ to pawn it, obtaining the necessary funds to ransom a geisha, who happens to be his sweetheart and was at risk of falling into a rival's clutches.

The shikishi, pawned at the Aburaya, has been redeemed by Zenroku, with Hisamatsu serving as witness to the transaction. Zenroku asserts that upon understanding the circumstances, he felt obligated by honor to acquire the shikishi and provide Tasabur˘ with the loan he sought. Once more, he extols his own sense of loyalty. However, the reality of the situation is quite different: Zenroku has deftly orchestrated the entire incident to undermine Hisamatsu and compel his expulsion from the Aburaya.

Omine suggests that the matter could be swiftly resolved if the shikishi is promptly returned to Gen'emon, instructing Zenroku to retrieve it from the godown. As the sealed packet is about to be handed back to Gen'emon, Hisamatsu intervenes, asserting that if Gen'emon intends to reclaim the shikishi, he must first reimburse 100 ry˘. Hisamatsu elucidates that Zenroku disbursed 300 ry˘ from the Aburaya's funds for the shikishi loan, whereas Tasabur˘ only required 200 ry˘. The surplus 100 ry˘ were pocketed by Gen'emon. Thus, even if Omine assumes responsibility for the 200 ry˘ borrowed by her son, there is no justification for Gen'emon to evade repayment of the share he received. Zenroku challenges Hisamatsu, demanding evidence of the 100 ry˘ paid to Gen'emon. Hisamatsu produces a receipt, which Zenroku promptly seizes, revealing it to be nothing more than a blank piece of paper. Hisamatsu is taken aback, as he was certain that he possessed a signed receipt.

Gen'emon insists that the sealed packet containing the shikishi be opened, arguing that given the circumstances, no one can be trusted. Hisamatsu complies, opening the packet and recoiling in astonishment. Within lies a small booklet containing the text of a popular ditty of the time, narrating the tale of the love shared between Osome and Hisamatsu.

Gen'emon adamantly accuses Hisamatsu of theft and launches into a physical assault against him. Zenroku, feigning an attempt to restrain Gen'emon, surreptitiously joins in the beating. Seibŕ, observing the escalating violence, can no longer stand idly by. Stepping forward, he forcibly pushes Gen'emon aside and then delivers a swift blow to Zenroku with a broom. As the two assailants protest loudly, Seibŕ condemns them as scoundrels deserving immediate arrest.

As the duo boldly demand evidence to support Seibŕ's accusation, he explains that it's a widely known fact that words written with squid ink become invisible after a few weeks and can be revealed again by exposing the paper to heat. Seibŕ begins to warm the paper over the fire in the hibachi, causing the two to grow increasingly anxious, fearing the potential outcome. However, before revealing anything, Seibŕ withdraws the paper, stating that he will reserve that evidence for a more appropriate time.

Regarding the shikishi, Seibŕ reveals that just the day before, a curio dealer named Rihŕ approached him with a Teika shikishi, purportedly sold to him by Gen'emon. Seibŕ questions how it is possible for the same shikishi, supposedly loaned to Tasabur˘ and pawned at the Aburaya with Zenroku facilitating the transaction, to have ended up in Gen'emon's possession and then sold to the curio dealer. He asserts that it is glaringly apparent that Gen'emon and Zenroku are colluding in an unsavory arrangement together.

However, Zenroku, cognizant of Hisamatsu's romantic involvement with Osome, raises the issue, insinuating that Seibŕ is unaware that his betrothed has been swept away by another man. When pressed to clarify his statement, Zenroku and Gen'emon feign playing the shamisen and commence singing a ballad (utazaimon), the very lyrics of which are contained in the book masquerading as the shikishi. The song serves as a modern-day tale, spreading the clandestine love story of a couple named Hisamatsu and Osome.

Seibŕ reprimands the duo, dismissing the song as inconclusive evidence. He points out that there are undoubtedly multiple individuals named Hisamatsu and Osome in the world. Suddenly, Zenroku recalls the letter from Hisamatsu to Osome, which he has previously retrieved. Handing it over to Seibŕ, he instructs him to read its contents aloud. Seibŕ agrees, and with a subtle sleight of hand, he swaps the letter for another one written by Zenroku, which he has obtained upon arriving at the house. Seibŕ then begins to read aloud from the substituted letter. Seibŕ rebukes the duo, asserting that a mere song provides no solid evidence. He emphasizes that there are undoubtedly numerous individuals named Hisamatsu and Osome in the world. Suddenly, Zenroku recalls Hisamatsu's letter to Osome, which he had previously acquired. Handing it to Seibŕ, he instructs him to read its contents aloud. Seibŕ agrees, and with subtle dexterity, he exchanges the letter for another one written by Zenroku, obtained upon his arrival at the house. Seibŕ then proceeds to read aloud from the substituted letter. Initially, Zenroku remains oblivious to the fact that his own letter is being read aloud. However, as Seibŕ approaches a pivotal point that exposes Zenroku as the author of the love letter, Zenroku becomes visibly agitated. Gen'emon, taken aback by the extent of Zenroku's deceit, expresses his disgust. Meanwhile, Omine reproaches Gen'emon, reminding him of her care for him since he was first brought to the Aburaya as a young apprentice. She orders the maid to retrieve the garment Gen'emon wore upon his arrival. To everyone's surprise, the garment turns out to be a child's kimono. Omine then instructs Zenroku to wear it and leave the house immediately. With a touch of humor, Zenroku and Gen'emon make their exit.

Act I, scene 2: Aburaya Kura Mae
At the Aburaya Godown [2]

Hisamatsu, forbidden from seeing Osome, is confined to the Aburaya godown (kura) to prevent any clandestine love meetings. Despite this order, Osome, driven by an urgent desire to rendezvous with him, stealthily makes her way to the godown. Simultaneously, Zenroku slinks past, burdened with a sizable bundle pilfered from the pawnshop's treasures. In an unexpected encounter, he collides with Osome, setting off a flurry of panic.

Attempting to flee, Osome's flight is thwarted when Zenroku, with sinister intent, moves to drag her away. Just then, Hisamatsu emerges from the shadows, brandishing a sword in defense. Zenroku, resorting to comical antics, attempts escape, seizing Osome in his grasp.

Stepping decisively between them, Hisamatsu shields Osome from harm. As Zenroku turns his aggression towards Hisamatsu, a swift stroke of Hisamatsu's blade halts his advance. The scene freezes in a moment of tense drama (mie), encapsulating the struggle for love and honor.

Trivia

"Choinose" was premiered in Edo but it became very popular in Kamigata and it is nowadays considered as a kamigata ky˘gen. The role of Zenroku was an atariyaku for the great Kamigata actor Nakamura Ganjir˘ II.

The Aburaya was a pawnshop (shichiya) but the word aburaya means oil shop. In some translation, the Aburaya was not a pawnshop and became an oil shop...

Notes

[1] Others sakusha were Shinoda Kinji III, Matsushima Kumesuke, Matsushima Sh˘saku, Matsushima Toyosaku, Matsushima Kis˘ji, Umezawa Kisaku, Umezawa Gorobei and Umezawa Manji.

[2] In the traditional ningy˘buri style, performers enact this scene with movements resembling puppets manipulated by unseen puppeteers, a homage to the original puppet theater drama "Some Moy˘ Imose no Kadomatsu".

The actors Nakamura Moshio IV, Kataoka Hitoshi, Kataoka Gat˘ IV, Ichikawa Sh˘en and Band˘ Shűka III playing the roles of the decchi Hisamatsu, the musume Osome, the bant˘ Zenroku, the goke Omaki and Yamagaya Seibŕ in the drama "Shinpan Ukina no Yomiuri", which was staged in September 1933 at the Shinjuku Shinkabukiza

Prints & Illustrations

 
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