Play title Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura  In Japanese
Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees
Authors Takeda Izumo II
Miyoshi Sh˘raku
Namiki Senryű I

The play "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura" was originally written for the puppet theater (Bunraku) and staged for the first time in the 11th lunar month of 1747 in ďsaka at the Takemotoza. It was adapted for Kabuki the following year and staged for the first time in the 1st lunar month of 1748 in Ise with Kataoka Nizaemon IV (Tokaiya Ginpei, Yokawa no Zenji Kakuhan) and Yamamoto Koheiji (Tadanobu). It was performed for the first time in a city licensed theater in the 5th lunar month of 1748, in Edo at the Nakamuraza [casting].


The "Funayagura" scene is the third scene of the second act of "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura". They are either staged independently of the rest, along with "Tokaiya" and "Daimotsu no Ura", of the play or as part of a t˘shi ky˘gen production of "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura".

Key words Genpei Kassen
Gidayű Ky˘gen
Minamoto Yoritomo
Minamoto Yoshitsune
Musashib˘ Benkei
Taira Kiyomori

Previous scene: "Tokaiya"

In the sea-observation room of the Tokaiya

Suke-no-Tsubone dresses herself and the child Emperor in their court robes, and they anxiously await news of the battle. Finally, Sagami returns with the news that things have gone badly for Tomomori. The Heike forces have been unable to avenge themselves on the Genji, and instead have been routed by Yoshitsune and his men. When Suke-no-Tsubone opens the doors and looks out on the sea, she finds that indeed the lights have gone out. Another messenger arrives, and after giving the news that their allies have been utterly defeated, he commits suicide.

Suke-no-Tsubone explains to the child Emperor that they are now going to take a journey to a paradise beneath the waves, where they will be freed from the sorrows of this world. Just as they are about to jump into the sea, however, Yoshitsune arrives and stops them.

Source: Valerie L. Durham

Next scene: "Daimotsu no Ura"

Nakamura Utaemon IV (left), Matsumoto Kinsh˘ I (center), Onoe Baik˘ IV (right print; left) and Nakamura Otojir˘ (right print; right) playing the roles of Taira no Tomomori, Sagami no Gor˘, Suke-no-Tsubone and Antoku in the "Funayagura" scene of the drama "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura", which was staged in the 9th lunar month of 1847 at the Kawarasakiza (print made by Utagawa Kuniyoshi)

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