KYKAKU HARUSAME GASA
   
Play titles Kykaku Harusame Gasa  In Japanese
A Chivalrous Commoner and a Spring Rain Umbrella [1]
Common titles Harusame Gasa  In Japanese
Jitsuroku no Sukeroku  In Japanese
Author Fukuchi chi
History

Fukuchi chi's drama "Kykaku Harusame Gasa", based on his own 1884 novel entitled "Shsetsu Harusame Gasa" [2], was premiered in April 1897 at the Kabukiza [more details].

Structure

The original drama was in 6 acts (12 scenes).

Key words Adauchi
Adauchimono
Ageya
Asakusa
Daimy
Eta
Fudasashi
Hatamoto
Imado Hachiman
Kago
Kagokaki
Keisei
Kenka
Kenkaba
Kykaku
Kykakumono
Nakanoch
Otokodate
Rnin
Sayaate
Seppuku
Sewamono
Shinkabuki
Shin-Yoshiwara
Taiko Mochi
Yoshiwara
Summary

Act I, scene 1: Shin Yoshiwara Moritaya
At the Moritaya in Shin-Yoshiwara

guchiya Jih is the scion of a prosperous fudasashi in Kuramae (in Edo near Asakusa), one of the influential rice-brokers who dealt directly with the daimy lords, but he has given up his inheritance to his younger half-brother guchiya Seizabur, has took the name of guchiya Gyu in order to be free to fight the overbearing hatamoto or rnin, something he would not be able to do as a wealthy fudasashi. The direct cause of his sudden renouncement of his heritage has been resentment against a samurai named Henmi Ikkaku, now a bad rnin called Henmi Tetsushinsai, who used his class superiority to force unwarranted loans from Gyu's father guchiya Jizaemon.

In the past, Henmi has attacked Amano Yukie, the young son of a daimy named Amano Minbu, but has been set off by the intervention of an old samurai named Imanishi Gennoshin. Later he has taken revenge by basely and brutally killing both Gennoshin and his wife. In the meantime, Amano Minbu and Yukie have learned from neighbours that Gennoshin had a daughter named Otsuyu who has been forced by family poverty into becoming a keisei in the pleasure quarter of Shin-Yoshiwara. Her professional name is now Usugumo [3]. Consequently, they have contacted Gyu in order to locate the girl and inform her of her parents' death.

At the Moritaya establishment in Shin-Yoshiwara, Tetsushinsai arrives and demands the company of the keisei Usugumo. No one thinks well of this rough visitor, so they prepare to help Usugumo stave off the unwelcome visitor. As for Tetsushinsai, in spite of this pretence that he has fallen in love with Usugumo, his real intention is otherwise. He has come to try to sound her out and see whether she is aware that he is her father's murderer.

Although Usugumo shows every sign of dislike for Tetsushinsai, repulsing him entirely, he is led to believe that she does not realize the truth yet. Here, a man named Karigane Shb comes to see Tetsushinsai, and Usugumo leaves the room in relief. Tetsushinsai whispers to Shb that Usugumo seems to know nothing, and there is nothing to fear from her. The person to be feared is her guchiya Gyu. Therefore Tetsushinsai plots with Shb to lure Gyu into street-fighting in the heart of Yoshiwara and kill him off in order to prevent future complications.

Act I, scene 2: Nakanoch Kenka
The Brawl on Nakanoch Avenue

A little later, Usugumo and her company are on their way back from another ageya, and stop to rest under the cherry blossoms in Nakanoch. Her companions are speaking sympathetically of Usugumo's difficulty that day because of Tetsushinsai's unwanted attention.

At this point Gyu makes his appearance. He is dressed in the elegant manner of the Edo otokodate, and makes a striking figure. He and Usugumo and the rest of the company exchange words with each other, and the others tell him of Usugumo's trouble that day.

The taiko mochi Zenk comes carrying a letter for Usugumo from Amano Minbu. On learning the contents of the letter, Gyu hurriedly sends her to meet Minbu. She has to tell Minbu about her desire concerning revenge for her father's death.

As Gyu retires together with the others, a few henchmen of Tetsushinsai's come to seek him out, presently followed by Tetsushinsai himself. Gyu cynically asks whether Tetsushinsai has come to demand a loan again. Tetsushinsai replies that what he wants this time is not money but the keisei Usugumo. Gyu replies that Usugumo being a keisei, her time can be purchased by anyone with lots of money. He flings Tetsushinsai some money with which to do so if he wishes, thus highly humiliating his enemy. Tetsushinsai angrily tries to strike Gyu with a tobacco tray, but Gyu takes it from him and wounds Tetsushinsai with it instead, in retaliation for the wound which he himself received from Tetsushinsai some months earlier at his father's store. As a fight seems inevitable, the keisei Katsuragi, close friend of Usugumo, comes running between them to act as arbitrator. Both men decide that the place and time are bad, and lay off the quarrel until a future time.

Act II, scene 1: Asakusa Namiki Yamiuchi
Ambush on the Tree-lined Road to Asakusa

A group of henchmen, on the payroll of Karigane Shb, are lying in wait, hiding behind the trees along the road to Asakusa. They know that Gyu will presently pass by in a palanquin on his way home from the pleasure quarter of Shin-Yoshiwara.

Presently Gyu's palanquin approaches the site, but for some reason Gyu stops the two kagokaki, and getting out, he starts to walk along behind them. The men in ambush come out to attack the palanquin. As the carriers flee, they discover that the kago is empty. Gyu, watching from behind, announces his presence, and then quickly proceeds to do away with them, striking them unconscious or causing them to flee. Then Shb himself steps out from the shadows with a sword in his hand.

In the dark, Gyu manages to best Shb. As the moon come out of the clouds, he recognizes his opponent Shb. Gyu is aware of Shb's shameful secret that he is an eta, a despised untouchable. Shb asks Gyu to kill him but the merciful Gyu forces the man to stand up and accompany him.

Act II, scene 2: Suwa-ch Tatsutaya
At the Tatsuya in Suwa-ch

Shb has no idea where Gyu is taking him, and is amazed to find himself in an upstairs guest room of a restaurant called Tatsutaya in the district of Suwa-ch, whose proprietor is one of Gyu's friends. Gyu asks the proprietor to bring clean clothes for Shb to replace the one torn in the fight, and then invites Shb to drink and eat with him. Shb knows that Gyu is aware that he is a member of the despised eta social class. Therefore, he is amazed to be treated by Gyu in such a high class manner. Gyu replies that all men are born equal. Then, Shb repents having sided with the bad side of Tetsushinsai against Gyu. In the ensuing conversation, it becomes clear that Tetsushinsai has wanted to kill Gyu in order to prevent his seeking revenge with Usugumo for her father's death.

For the first time, Shb learns from Gyu's words that the murdered man was his benefactor, who many years previously saved his life. Gyu asks Shb to reveal the names of the men responsible for the killing of Imanishi Gennoshin. Shb refuses at first, saying that he is bound to secrecy. But, when Gyu says that he needs proof against the culprits, Shb gives names of several men who should know the truth and are likely to confess the whole story.

With this, having betrayed his own gang, Shb has no choice but to stab himself (seppuku). At the same time, several of his henchmen arrive at the restaurant, looking for him. Shb dies after telling them that there has been a reconciliation with Gyu, and asking Gyu to see to everything after his death.

Act III, scene 1: Imado Hachiman Uchi Adauchi
Revenge within the Imado Hachiman Shrine

Meanwhile, Amano Minbu has been furthering plans to aid Usugumo in her revenge against Tetsushinsai. Having got the pertinent information from Gyu concerning the hired gang of murderers, he has checked with the authorities and got the necessary confessions and proof against Henmi, as well as official permission for Usugumo to take revenge against him.

It is the day of the festival at the Imado Hachiman Shrine in Asakusa. Tetsushinsai and his gang are expected to come to the site. Amano Minbu's men are also in the crowd, with instructions to aid in the vendetta. Minbu himself and his son Yukie are also present.

Presently Gyu comes. He informs the others that Usugumo is resting in a house nearby. His plan is to start a fight with Henmi, during which his own men will take care of Tetsushinsai's gang. Then, when Tetsushinsai is more or less subdued, Usugumo will be able to take her revenge. However, Amano Yukie asks that he himself instead of Gyu be allowed to start the fight and best Tetsushinsai, in retaliation for the time when Tetsushinsai has tried to molest him, leading to Gennoshin's intervention and his subsequent murder. Gyu agrees. Amano Minbu draws Gyu aside and asks whether Usugumo, in spite of her profession in the pleasure quarter, is still innocent as he has heard the rumour. Gyu confirms that she is and plans are made for Usugumo to become the bride of Yukie after the revenge.

Everything goes as planned. The rnin Henmi Tetsushinsai and his men arrive in the precinct of the Imado Hachiman Shrine. Amano and Gyu's men quickly prevent Tetsushinsai's underlings from aiding their leader, while Yukie fights it out with him. Then, as Tetsushinsai is finally defeated, Usugumo comes out from her hiding spot to strike the final mortal blow against her father's murderer.

Notes

[1] From "Kabuki Plays On Stage: Restoration and Reform, 1868-1905".

[2] Literally "The Novel of the Spring Rain Umbrella".

[3] Literally light cloud.

The actors Ichikawa Metora II (left print; top), Sawamura Gennosuke IV (left print; bottom), Ichikawa Ennosuke I (central print; bottom), Nakamura Fukusuke IV (central print; top), Ichikawa Danjr IX (right print; top) and Ichikawa Yaoz VII (right print; bottom) playing the roles of the keisei Usugumo, the keisei Hinotoyama, the rnin Tetsushinsai, the keisei Katsuragi, guchiya Gyu and Karigane Shb in the drama "Otokodate Harusame Gasa", which was staged in April 1897 at the Kabukiza (print made by Toyohara Kunichika)

Prints & Illustrations

 
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