Play title Nanbuzaka no Yuki Wakare  In Japanese
Genroku Chűshingura  In Japanese
Author Mayama Seika

"Nanbuzaka no Yuki Wakare", the sixth play of Mayama Seika's cycle "Genroku Chűshingura", was premiered in November 1938 at the Kabukiza [casting].


"Nanbuzaka no Yuki Wakare" is made up of two acts, 4 scenes. The second act is made up of 3 scenes.

Key words Adauchi
Ak˘ R˘shi
Asano Naganori
Kira Yoshihisa ďishi Kuranosuke

Act I: in the precincts of the Sengakuji Temple in Edo
13th day of the 12th lunar month of the 15th year of the Genroku era

After Lord Asano Takumi-no-Kami has died by the ritual suicide, his ex-retainers is planning to revenge secretly. Some elderly ex-retainers of Ak˘ come to the Sengakuji Temple in order to visit to a grave of their lord. They meet Hagura Itsuki who is a scholar there. Itsuki doesn't know they are planning a vendetta, so he is very disappointed that ďishi Kuranosuke who is the ex-chief retainer of Ak˘ seems to do no action.

A son of Itsuki's wet nurse, Kayano Sanpei has done suicide. Sanpei was an ex-retainer of Ak˘ and he was one of the members of the vendetta. Sanpei's father tried to let him work for other lord, but he couldn't make a pretext to refuse it, because the vendetta should be secret. Sanpei was cornered between the duty for his father and the loyalty for his ex-lord Asano. As a result, Sanpei has killed himself.

Itsuki expects the ex-retainers of Ak˘ to do the vendetta, and he intends to help it instead of Sanpei. Actually, Itsuki gave the sketch of a mansion of Kira K˘zuke-no-Suke, but Kuranosuke did nothing. Itsuki says to the elderly ex-retainers that he has a plan to kill Kira now. And he leaves there instead of Sanpei in order to visit to a grave of Lord Asano. The ex-retainers of Ak˘ have followed him.

Then, ďishi Kuranosuke visits to a grave of Lord Asano. The elderly ex-retainers talk about the plan that they heard from Itsuki. They say that Itsuki will invite Kira to a party to kill him. However, Kuranosuke refuses it, because he thinks that it isn't a respectable action as a bushi to make a plot to kill Kira. He says that it must be just a murder. Itsuki comes there, and he says to Kuranosuke; 'How foolish you are!' Itsuki leaves there, but Kuranosuke says nothing. It is snowing silently.

Act II, scene 1: a room in the Asano residence at Akasaka in Edo

Lord Asano Takumi-no-Kami was the lord of the Ak˘-Asano clan, and his wife Aguri was a princess of the Miyoshi-Asano clan. There was a blood relationship between Takumi-no-Kami and Aguri. After Lord Asano had died, Aguri came back to the Miyoshi-Asano residence. Aguri has cut hair to become a nun, and she is called Y˘zeiin now.

Today is the day of the annual year end cleanup at the Asano residence. After the cleanup finished, the attendants of Lady Y˘zeiin talk about ďishi Kuranosuke. Although they all expect Kuranosuke to do the vendetta of Lord Asano, they aren't sure if he would really do it. Then, Kuranosuke himself visits there to meet Y˘zeiin. He is escorted to Lady Y˘zeiin's room soon.

Act II, scene 2: Lady Y˘zeiin's room

Lady Y˘zeiin was waiting for Kuranosuke in order to hear about the vendetta of her husband, but he says nothing. Kuranosuke just says good-bye, because he thinks that there might be a spy somewhere. Lady Y˘zeiin thinks that he doesn't intend to do the vendetta, so that she is disappointed very much. Kuranosuke asks Lady Y˘zeiin to allow him to burn incense for Lord Asano. Lady Y˘zeiin refuses it, and says that she is sure that her husband doesn't hope it. Kuranosuke feels very sorry, and he gives his poem to Ochiai who is a retainer of the Miyoshi-Asano clan. And he leaves there alone.

Act II, scene 3: outside the Asano residence

When ďishi Kuranosuke goes from a back gate of the Asano residence, he meets Hagura Itsuki who comes there to teach poem to Y˘zeiin. Itsuki starts talking that he is disappointed of Kuranosuke. He says Kuranosuke is cowardice. Lord Asano died nevertheless Kira is still alive. If Kuranosuke was a loyal retainer, he must do the vendetta. Itsuki says it not because of Sanpei, but because of bushid˘, samurai spirit. He just would like to see a manifestation of the real Japanese spirit. However Kuranosuke seems to do nothing for his dead lord. Itsuki says that Kuranosuke is nothing but cowardice. He kicks Kuranosuke and goes into a back gate of the Asano residence. Kuranosuke slips out into the snow.

Just after that, Ochiai comes there running from a back gate of the Asano residence. The poem that Kuranosuke gave to Ochiai was a secret covenant under joint signature of the vendetta. It shows that Kuranosuke will do the vendetta really, and that he must die. The window of the Asano residence opens, and Lady Y˘zeiin is there. Y˘zeiin says that her husband is fortunate in having a retainer like Kuranosuke. Kuranosuke says nothing, and stands up silently in order to leave there. That is the previous day of the incident, which the loyal retainers raid on the mansion of Kira in order to kill him the 14th of December. It is snowing silently.

This summary was written by Sekidobashi Sakura (April 2002) and Sh˘riya Aragor˘ (February 2009)

Nanbuzaka no Yuki Wakare

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