The 45th Annual Kaomise 'Face-Showing' Performance
Kanadehon Chushingura ("The Treasury of Loyal Retainers")at : Misonoza
(The kaomise, or "face-showing" performances take place in October at Nagoya's Misono-za, in November at Tokyo's Kabuki-za, and in December at Kyoto's Minami-za the actors names are painted on long vertical signboards that are displayed on the front of the theater)
2009.10.01 - 2009.10.25
Written for the puppets by Takeda Izumo II, Miyoshi Shoraku and Namiki Senryu.
First performed in 1748 at Takemoto-za, Osaka.
First staged as Kabuki the same year at Arashi-za, Osaka.
Kanadehon Chushingura is based on a true incident which took place between 1701 and 1703. To avoid censorship by the ruling shogunate government, the authors set the play in the earlier Muromachi period (1336-1573) and the names of the characters were altered.
The central story concerns the daimyo Enya Hangan, who is goaded into drawing his sword and striking a senior lord, Ko no Morono. Drawing one's sword in the shogun's palace was a capital offence and so Hangan is ordered to commit seppuku, or ritual suicide by disembowelment. The ceremony is carried out with great formality and, with his dying breath, he makes clear to his chief retainer, Oboshi Yuranosuke, that he wishes to be avenged upon Morono.
Forty-seven of Hangan's now masterless samurai or ronin bide their time. Yuranosuke in particular, appears to give himself over to a life of debauchery in Kyoto's Gion pleasure quarters in order to put the enemy off their guard. In fact, they make stealthy but meticulous preparations and, in the depths of winter, storm Morono's Edo mansion and kill him. Aware, however, that this deed is itself an offence, the retainers then carry Morono's head to the grave of their lord at Sengaku-ji temple in Edo, where they all commit seppuku.
<< The October performance at Misono-za will present Act I, III, IV, Interact-Michiyuki scene, V, VI, VII and XI>>
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