Invitation To  BUNRAKU

Plays Famous Plays: Jidai-mono (Historical Plays)

Ehon Taikoki (A Picture Book of the Taiko Hideyoshi)

Chikamatsu Yanagi and others
First staged:

SummaryA story set in the Sengoku period featuring day-by-day depictions of Akechi Mitsuhide’s revolt

This jidai-mono dramatized the Honno-ji incident in the late 16th century, namely, the events surrounding Akechi Mitsuhide who overthrew the lord Oda Nobunaga, until Mitsuhide himself is struck down. The story takes place over 13 days, based on the format of Taikoki, the biography of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Depicted are the events surrounding Mitsuhide who feels driven into a corner day by day, and Hideyoshi who aspires to defeat Mitsuhide.

The act entitled "Amagasaki (Satsuki's Hermitage at Amagasaki)" depicting the 10th day on which Mitsuhide’s clan is demolished all at once is also called "Taiju," referring to the 10th act of the play, and is an act that is staged especially often.

Highlight: "Amagasaki (Satsuki's Hermitage at Amagasaki)"The hardships of Mitsuhide who loses his son and is blamed by his mother and wife

Mitsuhide stabs his mother with a bamboo spear with the intention of overthrowing the enemy general. His mother and wife blame him, saying that Mitsuhide is being punished by the gods for killing the lord. He nevertheless still asserts that what he did was correct. Subsequently, he loses the battle and even loses his son, and is finally stricken by sorrow and weeps loudly.

This is a tense scene in which both recitation and shamisen music reach their pinnacle with a fushi-mawashi (intonations) called "Ootoshi."

July 2011
National Bunraku Theatre
"Ehon Taikoki" Amagasaki

Main cast

Narrator: Toyotake Sakitayu
Shamisen player: Tsuruzawa Enza VI
Takechi Jujiro: Yoshida Kanya
Hatsugiku: Yoshida Minojiro
Misao: Yoshida Kazuo
Takechi Mitsuhide: Yoshida Tamame

The lines in the video

With both his wife and mother raising their voice in distraught, even the brave Mitsuhide is pained thinking about his mother’s affectionate thoughts for her child, seeing her lose her temper, and by the unbearable anguish from the severance of their bonds of love. No longer able to repress his emotions, he bursts out in tears, almost as though rain is streaming down and waves are billowing on the shore.