Play title Fubuki T˘ge  In Japanese
A Pass in a Snowstorm
Authors Uno Nobuo

The drama "Fubuki T˘ge" was written by the playwright Uno Nobuo (his nickname was Sh˘wa's Mokuami) and staged for the first time in January 1935 at the T˘ky˘ Gekij˘. The roles of Naokichi, Sukez˘ and Oen were played by Ichikawa Sadanji II, Ichikawa Ennosuke II and Ichikawa Sh˘ch˘ II.

Key words Matatabimono

This story takes place in the late Edo era at a mountain hut which has been built for people who make a pilgrimage to Minobesan, the head temple of the Nichiren sect. Oen and Sukez˘ arrive there in the middle of a night during a bad snowstorm. They are an adulterous couple. Oen was the wife of Naokichi, a notorious gambler. As Naokichi's underling, Sukez˘ was always well taken care of by his boss. Yet, he and Oen fell hopelessly in love with each other before they were aware of it. If he had discovered their illicit relationship, they would have been cruelly put to death in accordance with the code all yakuza live by. Instead their immoral conduct gradually escalated, and to escape punishment, they decided to elope. They now live as fugitives, in great fear of revenge by Naokichi.

But as destiny would have it, they encounter the person they are running from in the very hut where they are taking refuge from the storm. In fact, Naokichi is on his way to Minobesan to calm his vengeful spirit. Ironically, Sukez˘ and Oen are on their way home after visiting Minobesan where they expressed remorse for their wrong doings and apologized from the bottom of their hearts. In the hut they beg desperately for Naokichi's forgiveness and understanding. Naokichi replies in a way they could never have imagined, "At first I was furious with anger and hunted all over for you, but as time went by I came to realize how unworthy I was and gave up all my plans for revenge."

On hearing Naokichi's remarks Sukez˘ breathes a sigh of relief. Soon, however, he is convulsed in a fit of coughing from a malady he has been suffering from for a long time. Then Oen takes some pills from her bag, chews them up, and passes them from her mouth to Sukez˘'s. Seeing this passionate behavior immediately rekindles Naokichi's desire for revenge. He becomes like a madmen as his previous tranquillity and understanding evaporate. At last he draws his sword.

Now for Oen and Sukez˘ the moment of truth is at hand as they face death together. Surprisingly, at this critical time hey think only of themselves and their own survival. Each insists that the other is to blame, that they were seduced. The two even begin to use abusive languages against each other. To see such an ugly, selfish struggle between them, completely disgusts Naokichi. "You dogs!," he admonishes, "Don't ever forget there should be something that you hold more dear than your own miserable lives!" Then he flees from the hut into the snowstorm that rages outside.

This summary has been written by Watanabe Hisao and edited by Jeff Blair [website]

The actors Ichikawa Sh˘ch˘ II, Ichikawa Sadanji II and Ichikawa Ennosuke II playing the roles of Oen, Naokichi and Sukez˘ in the drama "Fubuki T˘ge", which was staged in January 1935 at the T˘ky˘ Gekij˘

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