Play title Yami no Ume Hyaku Monogatari  In Japanese
Author Kawatake Shinshichi III [1]

Kawatake Shinshichi III's dance-drama "Yami no Ume Hyaku Monogatari" was premiered in January 1900 at the Kabukiza [more details]. It was staged with Tokiwazu, Nagauta, and Kiyomoto musical ensembles.


"Yami no Ume Hyaku Monogatari" is a dance-drama in 6 scenes.

Key words Gaikotsu
Hana Yoten
Hyaku Monogatari Kaidankai
Karakasa Koz˘
Kasa Ippon Ashi
Kasa Obake
Yuki Jor˘
Yuki Onna

A hyaku monogatari kaidankai has been in progress with 100 candles lit to be put out one by one as a ghost story to be told. Finally there is only one candle left, and when this candle is put out, a ghost is supposed to come out. The scene is set in a big room in a mansion, and the light of the single candle throws eerie shadows. A girl page named Shiraume who is obviously quite frightened of the dark, has been chosen by lot to be the one to put out the last candle and is shoved into the dark room by two ladies-in-waiting. The others go off giggling at Shiraume's fright. Left alone, Shiraume fearfully puts out the candle and loses consciousness as the spell of supernatural spirits is felt.

It is a night scene in the fields with a river in the background. A tanuki and a kappa come out and fight in the rain for possession of an oiled-paper umbrella. In the course of the fight the umbrella falls into the river, and the tanuki and kappa both fall in a faint.

Now the umbrella reappears as kasa ippon ashi [2], a one-legged y˘kai, and orders the tanuki and the kappa to wrestle with each other. The match ends in a draw.

The scene returns to the former mansion room where Shiraume is lying in a faint. Now that the last candle has been put out, the ladies-in-waiting have become a little worried due to Shiraume's prolonged absence. They come fearfully into the dark room to look for her, and find her lying there unconscious.

They call to her and revive her, but when she lifts up her face, they shriek in fright in seeing that it is the face of a nopperab˘. They run away in fright.

The scene changes to a snow-covered field. Shiraume who had still been lying unconscious comes to life and in a quick costume change appears now as yuki jor˘ [3], the spirit of the snow in the guise of a courtesan, accompanied by a kamuro who is pushing a giant ball of snow. The ball of snow splits open and an elegant young woman steps out and performs a dance depicting the game of battledore and shuttlecock (hane). Then the dancers arrange themselves in a group representing the Buddha Triad.

The scene changes again. Zen prayer incantations are heard, and a skeleton (gaikotsu) comes out from the grass. Next a small skeleton (kogaikotsu) comes out. The skeletons fall apart and disappear.

Flowering hills of spring are seen in the distance. The two former skeletons reappear this time as adult and child yomiuri. Now the princess and her ladies-in-waiting appear, and one of the attendants tells the princess that the yomiuri are story-tellers of the demons of the night.

The two are asked to put on their little act for the princess, and they go through a whole series of y˘kai, including a one-eyed demon, a sea devil, a dancing table, a demon cat and all sorts of strange creatures from old legends and tales.

Yakko [4] come in and surround the performing pair, whereupon the princess and her koshimoto flee. The adult yomiuri then reveals his true identity as a Kabuki actor.


[1] Others sakusha working for Kawatake Shinshichi III were ďchi Koji, Enokido Kenji, Enomoto Torahiko, Segawa Jok˘ IV, Hayakawa Shichiz˘, Takeshiba Seikichi, Tanba Matsuz˘ and Hamama Sunasuke.

[2] Also called karakasa koz˘ or kasa obake.

[3] Also called yuki onna.

[4] Depending on the production, it is either yakko or hana yoten.

The actors Nakamura Matagor˘ II and Band˘ Mitsugor˘ VII playing the roles of a kogaikotsu and a gaikotsu (later a child and parent yomiuri) in the dance-drama "Yami no Ume Hyaku Monogatari", which was staged in January 1927 at the Hong˘za

The actor Onoe Kikugor˘ VI playing the role of kasa ippon ashi in the dance-drama "Yami no Ume Hyaku Monogatari", which was staged in January 1910 at the Ichimuraza

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