Invitation to Kabuki - Guidance for Kabuki appreciation
Kabuki repertoire
"Kuruwa bunsho"
Common name: "Yoshidaya"
Introduction of work
This dramatization commonly called "Yoshidaya," is based on the scene from "Yugiri awa no naruto" written by Chikamatsu Monzaemon.
Izaemon, disinherited by his parents because of his dissolute ways, is shabbily dressed in Kamiko (paper kimono) and visiting the Yoshidaya brothel, where his lover Yugiri works, after a long interval of separation from her. After Yugiri has served her other customers, she at last comes in to meet Izaemon, but Izaemon is jealous and speaks rudely to her. Before long, a senryobako (box containing one thousand ryo of gold coins) is delivered with the news that he is no longer disinherited, and Izaemon immediately redeems Yugiri.
The role of Izaemon was the specialty of Sakata Tojuro 1st, said to have been the originator of Wagoto acting. He performed in "Yugiri nagori no shogatsu" for the first time in 1678, and played Izaemon in a total of 18 productions. Since then, Izaemon's role has been passed down as a typical Wagoto role.
Izaemon wearing kamiko. Izaemon played by Nakamura Tomijuro 5th, "Kuruwa bunsho" 'Yoshidaya okuzashiki' scene, December 1992
Distinctive expressions
Kamiko (paper kimono)
The dramatic technique called Yatsushi (dual identity) is often combined with Wagoto (gentle acting) by an actor playing the role of a person of high social level or from a rich family who has been reduced to poverty for some reason. Kamiko is the costume used to symbolize this type of Yatsushi. Originally, kamiko meant a shabby kimono made by pasting scraps of washi (Japanese paper) together, but as a Kabuki costume, the Kamiko is stylized using black silk crepe on which parts of love letters, etc., are embroidered with gold and silver thread.
Sashidashi [Tsura-akari]
Sashidashi [Tsura-akari], lighting devices using candles are employed for the appearance of Izaemon on the Hanamichi. A Sashidashi is a square candle-holder attached to a long pole. Sashidashi were used in the Edo period as spotlights for actors on the Hanamichi. Although the theaters of today have electric lighting, Sashidashi are still used when the acting on the Hanamichi is being performed in old-fashioned style. Sashidashi are also used for the appearance of Nikki Danjo from the Suppon (stage lift trap on the Hanamichi) in the 'Yukashita' scene of "Meiboku sendaihagi."
> Representative repertoire items: "Meiboku sendaihagi"