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October Grand Kabuki, Evening Show

YOSHITSUNE SENBON ZAKURA(Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees)
This play was first performed in the Bunraku puppet theatre and is an epic story about the famous 12th century general Yoshitsune. After the end of the war between the Genji and Heike clans, the Genji clan was victorious, making its leader Yoritomo the ruler. But even though his brother Yoshitsune’s brilliant strategies were responsible for the victory, Yoritomo came to suspect Yoshitsune of treason and made him a fugitive. Although Yoshitsune is the title character, the main characters of the play are actually different and this month features the acts of the play about the Heike warrior Tomomori and the acts about the magical fox Tadanobu.
-Tokaiya and Daimotsu-no-ura (Tokaiya Inn and Daimotsu Bay)-
Yoshitsune books passage on a boat to Kyushu, but the captain is actually Taira no Tomomori, a general of the Heike clan that Yoshitsune helped to defeat. Tomomori was supposedly killed by Yoshitsune in the final battle of the war between their clans, but in this play, he is shown as surviving, living in disguise with the child emperor Antoku and his nursemaid. Tomomori uses the opportunity to try to take his revenge on Yoshitsune, but is defeated again. Holding a giant anchor, Tomomori plunges to a watery death.
-Yoshinoyama (Mt. Yoshino)-
This is a musical travel scene. Hearing that Yoshitsune has taken refuge in the mountains of Yoshino, Yoshitsune’s loyal retainer Tadanobu and his lover Shizuka go to try to meet him there. Although Tadanobu keeps disappearing, he always appears when Shizuka plays the precious drum that she received from Yoshitsune. In dance Tadanobu recounts episodes from the Gempei war, including the battle in which his brother died to save Yoshitsune's life.
-Kawatsura Hogen Yakata (The Mansion of the Priest Kawatsura)-
Yoshitsune has taken refuge in the mountains of Yoshino at the mansion of an old ally. Tadanobu arrives but has no recollection of Shizuka being placed under his care. Shizuka herself soon arrives with the other Tadanobu and after an investigation they discover that he is actually a fox. In a touching story, the fox tells how he took on human form to be close to the hand drum, which is made from the skins of his fox parents. Moved, Yoshitsune gives the fox the drum and he flies away joyously.

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