"Fushimi Shumokumachi", the 4th play of Mayama Seika's cycle "Genroku Chűshingura", was premiered in April 1939 at the Kabukiza [casting]. This drama was revived only twice since the end of WII, in November 1979 and in November 2006 at the National Theatre:
"Fushimi Shumokumachi" is made up of 2 acts (3 scenes).
It is spring in the fifteenth year of Genroku (1702). A year has already passed since the confiscation of Ak˘ Castle. The second-in-command of the former Asano clan, ďishi Kuranosuke, has settled down in the suburbs of Ky˘to at Yamashina, but he spends every day in the red-light districts of Gion and Shimabara, causing not a few raised eyebrows. He is now in the Sasaya house of assignation in Shumokumachi, a kuruwa in Fushimi near Ky˘to, where he entertains himself with the courtesan Ukihashi. He receives a visit from Shind˘ Hachir˘emon, a retainer of the Hiroshima branch (Hiroshima-han) of the Asano Clan, who tells him about the official petition to reinstate the Asano clan in Ak˘, with Asano Daigaku, the younger brother of Asano Naganori, as the new daimy˘. This was the original project of Kuranosuke but now, with the vendetta in mind, if the petition is a success, taking revenge against Kira K˘zuke-no-Suke will become an impossible mission. Then, Kuranosuke receives a visit from Onodera Jűnai, who tells him about the arrival in Ky˘to of two young hot-headed former retainers of Asano Naganori, Horibe Yasubŕ and Fuwa Kazuemon. They are impatient for revenge, and have come to Ky˘to from Edo to talk with the irresolute Kuranosuke. Knowing how they are, he does his best to avoid meeting them. Furious, they and their sympathizers like ďtaka Gengo decide to carry out the vendetta themselves. Despairing of his father, Kuranosuke's eldest son, Matsunoj˘, who has shaved off his forelocks and taken the name of ďishi Chikara, has pledged to join the vendetta led by Horibe Yasubŕ and Fuwa Kazuemon. The three of them go to see Kuranosuke. At the beginning the meeting, when Shind˘ Hachir˘emon is still at the Sasaya House, Kuranosuke looks drunk and more interested in pleasure than vendetta. He refuses to let his son go to Edo with the group of r˘nin looking for revenge. He even hits him with his wooden clog but the young man is protected by Ukihashi.
After the departure of Shind˘ Hachir˘emon, Kuranosuke reveals that he is not drunk at all. He also reveals his true intentions for the first time, namely that his only thoughts have been of revenge. However, in order to avoid suspicion, he deliberately asked the military government to restore the house of Asano under their dead master's younger brother, Asano Daigaku, although he thought this unlikely to happen. However, the strength of public sympathy has caused the government to change its attitude so that it looks as if their master's brother may be made clan leader after all. He claims that to plot for revenge on the one hand, and demand the rehabilitation of their clan on the other is contrary to the concept of justice, and until the problem of Asano Daigaku has been resolved, all plans for a vendetta must be dropped. Blaming himself for his own carelessness, he declares his burning desire for revenge. Hearing Kuranosuke announce his real intentions for the first time, the three young men are moved by the mental anguish that he has obviously gone through and by his zeal to go through with the vendetta. Together they swear to wait for the right moment to act.
Summary edited by Marion Hudson
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