Invitation To  BUNRAKU

Plays Famous Plays: Keigoto / Keiji (Dances)

Kotobuki Shiki Sanbaso (The Ceremonial Sanbaso Dance)

SummaryA celebratory play staged on special occasions

This keigoto / keiji dance is a Bunraku adaptation of "Okina," which is considered a special play in Noh. It is performed for celebrations on special occasions such as New Year’s.

The first half begins with a solemn recitation and Shamisen music, followed by an opening dance by the young Senzai and then an austere dance by the old Okina. The second half is a free-flowing scene that shifts to a powerful and dynamic dance by two Sanbaso.

Highlight:Puppets dancing to celebratory words

The puppet playing Okina performs a ritual dance by putting on a Noh mask and then taking it off. This is followed by Sanbaso’s vigorous dances that use the full body, which include the ringing of a bell and making the gesture of sowing seeds. The play ends with a brilliant dance, which includes a comical scene with one of the Sanbaso feeling tired and trying to rest in the middle of the dance, whereas the other Sanbaso gives encouragement while he himself takes a rest in secrecy.

May 2013
National Theatre, Small Theatre
"Kotobuki Shiki Sanbaso"

Main cast

Okina: Takemoto Sumitayu VII
Senzai: Takemoto Mojihisadayu
Sanbaso: Takemoto Aikodayu II, Toyotake Yoshihodayu
Shamisen player
Nozawa Kinshi V, Takezawa Sosuke, Nozawa Kiichiro, Tsuruzawa Seiki, Toyozawa Ryoji, Nozawa Kingo
Okina: Yoshida Kazuo
Senzai: Yoshida Kanya
Sanbaso: Yoshida Bunsho III, Yoshida Kosuke

The lines in the video

I pray right now that society enjoys peace and the nation is calm. “Let’s dance to ‘Manzairaku’ as this is a dance of happiness to wish for everlasting peace in society.” I pray right now for a long and healthy life that will be fulfilling for many years to come. “Oh how happy I am. I do not want to let this happiness to go anywhere.”