Invitation To  BUNRAKU

Plays Famous Plays: Jidai-mono (Historical Plays)

Honcho Nijushiko (The Japanese Twenty-Four Examples of Filial Piety)

Chikamatsu Hanji and others
First staged:

SummaryAn earnest love blossoms during the Sengoku period of intense struggle for power

This jidai-mono depicts themes such as a couple’s love and separation between brothers, against the backdrop of the struggle between warlords Uesugi Kenshin and Takeda Shingen of the Sengoku period (end of 15th century – 16th century). It is a grand story based on historical events in China, incorporating lake legends and other elements.

Acts that are frequently staged in particular include "Jushuko (The Incense Burning)," which depicts the passionate feelings Kenshin’s daughter, Princess Yaegaki, has for Shingen’s son, Katsuyori, and "Okuniwa Kitsunebi (Foxfires in the Inner Garden)." The scene where the elegant princess declares her wholehearted love with magnanimous words features an exceptionally flowery melody.

Highlight: "Okuniwa Kitsunebi (Foxfires in the Inner Garden)"The princess crosses the ice to save her love

Princess Yaegaki wants to warn Katsuyori, who is at his travel destination, about the danger he is in. She prays to a helmet, a family treasure, and then a white fox—a divine messenger—appears. Possessed by its spiritual power, she crosses the frozen lake as she rushes to Katsuyori.

Princess Yaegaki’s costume quickly changes from red to white. With the helmet in her hand, the princess makes dance-like movements in agony, while many foxes jump around her.

February 2014
National Theatre, Small Theatre
"Honcho Nijushiko" Okuniwa Kitsunebi

Main cast

Narrator: Toyotake Rosetayu III
Shamisen player: Tsuruzawa Seiji,Tsuruzawa Seishiro
Koto player: Tsuruzawa Seiko
Yaegakihime: Kiritake Kanjuro III

The lines in the video

“Is Suwa Shrine telling me to return to Katsuyori, this helmet that embodies divine power in addition to my concerns for my husband? I am awestruck. I am truly grateful.” Princess Yaegaki grabs and places the helmet over her head. Instantly fox fires blaze up everywhere. This blaze of flames represents the mysterious power of Suwa Shrine that protects the helmet.
Kai and Echigo, the names of the respective warlords, have been passed down to the present.