Bunraku: The Battles of Coxinga  
 

This play being shown here, Chikamatsu Monzaemon's Battles of Coxinga, is representative of period pieces (plays based upon an actual historical incident). The hero is modeled after a youth (known in the play as Watonai, and in history as Zheng Chenggong) whose father was Chinese and whose mother was Japanese. The play tells of his return to China with his parents in order to work in his father's homeland toward the restoration of the Ming dynasty. Please enjoy the fascinating wonder of this historical drama with its grand heroic scale.

*From a performance at the National Theatre, Feb. 1996.

Main cast: Takemoto Tsunatayu, Tsurusawa Seijiro, Yoshida Tamao, Yoshida Minosuke, Yoshida Bunjaku.

 
 
 
1) Act 5: Kanki's Mansion
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  2) Act 3: The Tiger Hunt―Shishigajo Castle
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  Bunraku: The New Ballad  
 

This scenes being shown here are from "The Village of Nozaki" of The New Ballad, which is representative of human-interest pieces (plays based upon life in the Edo period). A shopkeeper's employee, Hisamatsu, falls in love with the owner's daughter, Osome. In order to make their love possible, his former fiancée, Omitsu, decides to become a Buddhist nun. In Scene 1, Omitsu, the daughter of Hisamatsu's foster father, is cheerfully waiting for her wedding ceremony. Scene 2 beautifully depicts the forbidden love of Osome and Hisamatsu.

* From a performance at the National Theatre, Jan. 1999.

Main cast: Takemoto Sumitayu, Nozawa Kinshi, Yoshida Bunjaku.

 
 
 
1) Act 2: The Village of Nozaki―Scene 1
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  2) Act 2: The Village of Nozaki―Scene 2
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  Bunraku: The Dance of the Two Sambasos  
 

Bunraku is a drama that depicts all the emotions of human life, and in addition to period pieces and human-interest pieces, it also has several ritual pieces that contain the element of dance. The Dance of the Two Sambasos derives from the Noh play Okina, which has been transformed into a puppet drama that prays for peace in the land. The film shows the second half―very different from the formal, ritualistic first half―of the play, in which two Sambasos perform a vigorous dance while shaking little bell-trees to the accompaniment of dynamic Gidayu music.

* From a performance at the National Theatre, Feb. 2001.

Main cast: Toyotake Tokutayu, Tsurusawa Seiji, Kiritake Kanjuro, Yoshida Tamame.

 
 
Bunraku: The Dance of the Two Sambasos
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  Bunraku: The Twenty-Four Dutiful Sons  
 

With its puppets, Bunraku makes possible the expression of feelings and movements that are beyond the ability of a living actor. In order to save the life of her lover who is in grave danger, Princess Yaegaki takes the special helmet that had been presented to the shrine, and uses the magic powers of the fox aid her. Please enjoy this wonderful scene, in which the intense emotions of the princess blend together with the strange atmosphere to create a special performance that is only possible in Bunraku.

* From a performance at the National Theatre, Jan. 1998.

Main cast: Toyotake Hanafusadayu, Tsurusawa Enjiro, Yoshida Minosuke.

 
 
Act 15: Kenshin's Yakata―The Inner Garden and the Fox Fires
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