Invitation To  BUNRAKU

Plays Famous Plays: Jidai-mono (Historical Plays)

Imoseyama Onna Teikin (Husband and Wife Mountains: An Exemplary Tale of Womanly Virtue)

Chikamatsu Hanji and others
First staged:

SummaryA magnificent fantasy set during the ancient dynasty

This jidai-mono, set against the political changes taking place in the 7th century ("Taika Reform"), revolves around how the extraordinarily evil Soga no Iruka can be defeated, and weaves in customs and various legends of Yamato province. This play about a grand dynasty in which multiple plots are intertwined was performed in the manners and customs of the Edo period (1603–1868). Acts that are frequently staged include "Shibaroku Sumika (The House of Shibaroku)," which is about a hunter that kills a deer and sacrifices his child, "Imoyama Seyama (Mt. Imo and Mt. Se)," which is about a man and a woman from feuding families who fall in love, "Michiyuki Koi no Odamaki (Travel Scene: The Spool of Love)," which describes the sad love story among a man and two women, and "Kinden (Magnificent Palace)."

Highlight: "Imoyama Seyama (Mt. Imo and Mt. Se)" The sad fate of love between a young man and woman separated by a river

Two mansions are seen side by side separated by the Yoshino River that flows center-stage. Koganosuke and Hinadori, son and daughter from the respective families, are in love. However, without being able to see each other due to the feud between their parents, Koganosuke and Hinadori both die while harboring concerns about the welfare of the other, as a result of a tyrannical order made by Iruka.

There are not only puppeteers, but also a narrator and shamisen player in both stage left and stage right that take turns with the relevant performances, creating a stage structure that takes account of symmetry.

April 2016
National Bunraku Theatre
"Imoseyama Onna Teikin" Imoyama Seyama

Main cast

〈Mt. Se〉
Daihanjikiyozumi: Takemoto Chitosedayu Koganosuke: Takemoto Mojihisadayu
Shamisen player: Toyozawa Tomisuke V
Daihanjikiyozumi: Yoshida Tamao II
Koganosuke: Kiritake Kanjuro III
〈Mt. Imo〉
Sadaka: Toyotake Rosetayu III
Hinadori: Toyotake Sakihodayu
Shamisen player: Tsuruzawa Seiji
Koto player: Tsuruzawa Seiko
Hinadori: Yoshida Minosuke III
Sadaka: Yoshida Kazuo

The lines in the video

(Koganosuke) “Oh I am so happy. This must be a notice that Hinadori will be taking up a position at the Imperial court. What a relief. A place with maids-in-waiting is as I stated moments ago. I leave behind no regrets. Please assist me in my suicide by beheading me.”

(Hinadori) “Mother, please behead me. You are being indecisive, mother.” Touched by Hinadori’s composure with no tears being shed, Sadaka’s arms, with a sword in her hands, feel heavy like a rock. Daihanji shares the same feelings. It is the parents that incur more pain than the child that tries to die. Both Koganosuke and Hinadori lose their lives, and the setting sun emits light that seems to be burning in the sky.