Invitation to Kabuki - Guidance for Kabuki appreciation
Kabuki repertoire
"Gion sairei shinkoki"
Introduction of work
"Gion sairei shinkoki" is a Gidayu-kyogen, a Jidaimono based on disturbances in Japan in the Sengoku period. At present, only the act commonly called "Kinkakuji" is still performed.
 
Matsunaga Daizen has staged a revolt against the Ashikaga (Shogun's) family and has shut himself up in Kinkakuji temple. He has imprisoned Keijuin, the mother of the Ashikaga Shogun, and Yukihime, the granddaughter of the artist Sesshu. Yukihime, tied to a cherry tree by Daizen, gathers the scattered cherry blossom petals with her feet and uses them to draw a rat, which miraculously turns into the real thing and bites through the rope, setting her free. This scene, the main highlight of the play, is called 'Tsumasaki nezumi.' Mashiba Hisayoshi, one of Oda Nobunaga's retainers, declares that his name is Konoshita Tokichi, and pretends to surrender to Daizen, then fights with Daizen and rescues Keijuin.
Yukihime is counted as one of Kabuki's "Sanhime" (three main princess roles), considered major roles among the many roles played by Onnagata. Yukihime is a very difficult role requiring dignified and graceful acting while the actor's hands are tied. In contrast, the role of Daizen, who is both a Katakiyaku (villain) and also a Kunikuzushi (person plotting to take over the country) requires a tinge of evil.
Yukihime, one of the Sanhime (3 princesses). Yukihime played by Nakamura Jakuemon 3rd and Daizen by Ichikawa Chusha 7th, "Gion sairei shinkoki" 'Kitayama kinkakuji' scene, Nakaza Theater, March 1926
 
 
 
• "Kamakura sandaiki"
  Tokihime
 
>  "Honcho nijushiko"
  Yaegakihime
 
 
 
Distinctive expressions
Ozeri (large stage trap)
In the latter half of "Kinkakuji," Hisayoshi climbs up the cherry tree and rescues Keijuin who is confined on the second floor of Kinkakuji temple. At this time, the change of scene is done by up-and-down motion of the entire Kinkakuji temple stage set. For this, a part of the floor of the stage is cut out, and the Seri (stage lift) mechanism is used to move this part of the stage upward and downward. The large Seri used to move the stage set for an entire building upward and downward as in this scene, is called Ozeri.
 
 
 
Konoshita Tokichi & Sato Masakiyo
Konoshita Tokichi and Sato Masakiyo represent the real historical personages Kinoshita Tokichiro (later known as Hashiba Hideyoshi and Toyotomi Hideyoshi) and Kato Kiyomasa. When this play was written, direct dramatization of historical facts of the latter part of the Sengoku period and of the Edo period was prohibited by the Tokugawa Shogunate. Therefore, in both Ningyo-joruri and Kabuki, many works were created by changing the historical period and also by altering historical facts, boldly creating fiction.
As a result, the above names were assigned to the characters. However, because the sound of each character's name is close to that of the real name, the audiences of the time could identify the persons after whom the characters were modeled. The same applies to the relationship between the character Oboshi Yuranosuke who appears in "Kanadehon chushingura," and the actual person, Oishi Kuranosuke.