|Kagotsurube Sato no Eizame
|Kawatake Shinshichi III
The original version of "Kagotsurube Sato no Eizame" was made up of 8 acts. The current standard version of this drama is made up of 4 acts and 7 scenes, lasting around 2 hours.
The first scene is in Nakanoch˘, the liveliest section of Edo's famed licensed quarter, the Yoshiwara. Jir˘zaemon, a wealthy man from the country, and his servant, Jiroku, are seeing the sights. Just then the famous courtesan, Yatsuhashi, passes with all of her attendants. Though he is a simple countryman and, further, is disfigured by smallpox scars, Jir˘zaemon falls in love with her at first sight. she, seeing this, laughs and passes on.
The second of these scenes from the play takes place in a room at the Tachibanaya teahouse where Jir˘zaemon and Yatsuhashi have been in the habit of meeting now that he has become a regular client. He appears, bringing with him two merchant friends. They appreciatively remark upon the mutual affection the two seem to feel for each other.
The third scene is in another room where Einoj˘, Yatsuhashi's lover, is angry because he has heard that Jir˘zaemon intends to ransom the courtesan, free her of her debts, and set her up as his own mistress. Gonpachi, Yatsuhashi's "owner" and to whom her debts are owed, appears, and the two men eventually persuade the courtesan to leave off seeing Jir˘zaemon.
The fourth scene is in a large banqueting room at the Tachibanaya. A party is in progress in celebration of Jir˘zaemon's freeing Yatsuhashi. When she appears, however, she is cold, says that she refuses to see Jir˘zaemon again and will give no reason for her behaviour. When Jir˘zaemon discovers that she has a lover he says he will give her up and return to the country. Yatsuhashi, who does not really dislike Jir˘zaemon, keeps up her pretense and the party breaks up with Jir˘zaemon leaving Edo.
The fifth scene occurs four months later, in an upper room of the teahouse. Jir˘zaemon has returned and Yatsuhashi appears, contrite. Everyone thinks he has come to restore relations. They leave the couple alone. He pours sake for her then tells her to drink for this will be her last. Drawing his sword, he kills both her and a servant girl who has come bringing a lamp. In later scenes he makes his escape, only to be later captured.
Source: Donald Richie
Ichikawa Sadanji I and Nakamura Fukusuke IV playing the roles of Sano Jir˘zaemon and the courtesan Yatsuhashi in the drama "Kagotsurube Sato no Eizame", which was staged in May 1888 at the Chitoseza (print made by Toyohara Kunichika)
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