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November Grand Kabuki, Matinee

In 1825, Tsuruya Namboku IV (1755 - 1829) wrote The Ghost Stories of Yotsuya, the most famous ghost play in kabuki and after a long run, followed it with Kamikakete Sango Taisetsu. This play is a blend of Chushingura with its tangled stories of loyalties and masterless samurai that ultimately avenge their master's death and the story of Godairiki, about the love between a geisha named Koman and the samurai Satsuma Gengobei which is spoiled by the jealousy of a man named Sangoro. Namboku also added a touch of humor, with a haunted house which is supposed to be the original of the one that Namboku made famous with his ghost stories of Yotsuya..
Sasanoya Sangoro (Kikugoro) is married to Koman (Tokizo), but she becomes a geisha to help him to raise the money to help his lord, a man that he has never seen. In the pleasure quarters the samurai Satsuma Gengobei (Nizaemon) falls in love with her and spends huge sums of money on her, despite the fact that he needs money for the sake of the Chushingura vendetta. Finally Gengobei gets money and Sangoro and Koman decide to defraud him of the money, which results in a massacre in the pleasure quarters. Ironically, Gengobei is none other than the unknown master for whom Sangoro was trying to raise money. This story of passion and greed takes place against the background of inexplicable fate and the strict requirements of samurai society and adds ample doses of sardonic humor, a perfect play for our times.
KURUWA BUNSHO (A Letter From the Pleasure Quarters)
- Yoshidaya-
The roots of this play go back to the earliest days of kabuki. The young lover Izaemon has been disowned by his family for loving a courtesan and now has nothing but a paper kimono. This role is a classic example of wagoto, the gentle style of acting that was popular in the Kansai region. Living National Treasure Sakata Tojuro stars as Izaemon, a role that is a specialty of his family's Kansai acting style. His lover Yugiri, the fabulous courtesan who falls ill pining away with love for him is played by onnagata female role specialist Kaishun.


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