|Play title||Yoshitsune Sembon Zakura
Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees
|Authors||Takeda Izumo II
Namiki Senryű I
The play "Yoshitsune Sembon Zakura" was originally written for the puppet theater (Bunraku) and staged for the first time in the 11th lunar month of 1747 in ďsaka at the Takemotoza. It was adapted to Kabuki the following year and staged for the first time in the 1st lunar month of 1748 in Ise with Kataoka Nizaemon IV (Tokaiya Gimpei, Yokawa no Zenji Kakuhan) and Yamamoto Koheiji (Tadanobu). It was performed for the first time in a city licensed theater in the 5th lunar month of 1748, in Edo at the Nakamuraza [casting].
In modern times, the "Heisoto" scene was revived a few times. Here is the list of all performances from the end of WWII to the end of the 20th century:
The "Horikawa Gosho Heisoto" scene (in English "Before the Outer Wall of the Horikawa Palace"), which is commonly called "Heisoto", is the last scene of the 1st act of "Yoshitsune Sembon Zakura". It is staged on rare occasions, as part of a t˘shi ky˘gen production of "Yoshitsune Sembon Zakura".
Previous scene: "Kawagoe J˘shi"
Horikawa Gosho Heisoto
Tosab˘ Sh˘son, another warrior-priest, enters with his retinue. He has been sent by Yoritomo to capture Yoshitsune. He is opposed by Benkei, and a spectacular fight ensues. Benkei cuts off everyone's head, including Tosanobo's. Benkei then realizes that the palace is empty and his lord and the rest have gone. He flings Tosab˘'s head from him, saying it will lead him in the direction in which Yoshitsune has gone. Then he poses triumphantly with the rest of the heads (imo arai).
Next scene: "Torii Mae"
Source: Aubrey and Giovanna Halford in "The Kabuki Handbook"
The actors Ichikawa Omez˘ I (left side, one knee on the ground) and Matsumoto Kunigor˘ (riding the horse) playing the roles of the warrior-priests Musashib˘ Benkei and Tosab˘ Sh˘son in the "Heisoto" scene of the drama "Yoshitsune Sembon Zakura", which was staged in the 9th lunar month of 1799 at the Ichimuraza
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