KINAI SUMIKA
   
Play title Taiheiki Chűshin K˘shaku  In Japanese
The Chronicle of Great Peace and a Lecture about the Loyal Retainers
Common title Kinai Sumika  In Japanese
Authors Chikamatsu Hanji
Miyoshi Sh˘raku
Takeda Koizumo I
Takemoto Saburobŕ II
Takeda Bungo
Takeda Heishichi
History

The puppet theater drama "Taiheiki Chűshin K˘shaku" was premiered in ďsaka at the Takemotoza in the 10th lunar month of 1766. It was quickly adapted to Kabuki the following year and was premiered in the 2nd lunar month of 1767 in Edo at the Ichimuraza [casting]. It was quite popular during the Edo period, especially the "Kinai Sumika" scene but, most likely due to the cruelty of some scenes [1], it is nowadays a rarely-staged drama. Only one revival for "Taiheiki Chűshin K˘shaku", without the "Kinai Sumika" scene, in July 1966 in T˘ky˘ at the T˘yoko Hall. We do hope that it will be revived at the National Theatre in the future to come!

Structure

The original drama was in 10 acts (12 scenes). Only 5 acts (6 scenes) have survived. "Kinai Sumika" was the sole scene of the 7th act of "Taiheiki Chűshin K˘shaku".

Key words Adauchi
Adauchimono
Ak˘ R˘shi
Ak˘-j˘
Chűshin
Chűshinguramono
Gidayű Ky˘gen
Gion
Giri/Ninj˘
Gishi
Gishi Ky˘gen
H˘s˘
Jigai
Kawara
Keisei
K˘shaku
Kozuka
Kuruwa
R˘nin
Shichij˘
Shikan
S˘ka
Taiheiki
Yakko
Yűjo
Summary

Orie, the wife of the r˘nin Yamaza Jűtar˘, and Omutsu, the younger sister of Jűtar˘, come to the house of Yazama Kinai, Orie's father-in-law and Omutsu's father. Before entering the house, they ask each other not to tell Kinai and their mother(-in-law) that Orie pretended to work as a cheap prostitute (s˘ka) at the Kamo dry riverbed the previous night and that Omutsu is serving as a yűjo [2] in the Ky˘to pleasure quarter (kuruwa) of Gion. The old man is at home, crippled because of a long-protracted illness.

Yazama Jűtar˘, Kinai's son, who has been absent from the house for several days, comes back and tells his father that he has been newly employed by a feudal lord (shikan). Kinai suddenly gets angry and accuses him bitterly, saying that a samurai of honor should never serve a second lord in his life just as a woman of chastity will never marry a second husband.

Kinai's wife Mayumi and Orie ask Jűtar˘ to reconsider his decision to serve a different master but he ignores them and tries to go out of the house when Orie pushes her son Taichir˘ to him, telling him to take care of the boy if he deserts her. The boy is suffering from smallpox (h˘s˘).

The yakko Sekinai, Jűtar˘'s servant, comes to urge his master to join his two colleagues who are waiting for him to go on a trip to Kamakura with him. Jűtar˘ unsheathes his sword and stabs Taichir˘ to death with the small knife (kozuka) located in the groove of the sheath. Kinai, suddenly realizing that Jűtar˘ is indeed trying to avenge his former lord's death, praises him for his loyalty and gives him the money he has been saving as a fund to help the loyalists' cause. Jűtar˘ in turn offers to Kinai the money he has received as his traveling expense from the leader of the loyalists' group.

Kinai's wife Mayumi and Omutsu bring Orie's body, saying that Orie has killed herself (jigai) to enable Jűtar˘ to devote himself to the loyalists' cause without worrying about her livelihood. Omutsu reads aloud Orie's parting message to her parents-in-law.

Trivia

"There is an anecdote about Onoe Kikugor˘ V, whose final career performance was as Kinai. He had suffered a disabling stroke, which made him appropriate casting for the crippled Kinai. Kikugor˘ V admitted, however, that acting occurred when someone who had full use of his legs played a person who did not."

Courtesy of Samuel Leiter
Trivia from
"New Kabuki Encyclopedia"

A must-read !
Notes

[1] A father killing his own boy, suicide used as a problem-solving solution for several characters, ...

[2] Ukibashi was a keisei, the highest rank in the pleasure quarters, in the 1966 revival at the T˘yoko Hall.

The actors Band˘ Mitsugor˘ III (left print/left), Ichikawa Komaz˘ V (left print/right) and Nakamura Shikan I (right print) playing the roles of Yazama Jűtar˘, Jűtar˘'s son Taichi and Yazama Kinai in the "Kinai Sumika" scene of the drama "Taiheiki Chűshin K˘shaku", which was staged in the 9th lunar month of 1818 at the Nakamuraza (print made by Utagawa Toyokuni I)

Prints & Illustrations

 
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