Play titles Maboroshi Wankyű  In Japanese
Wankyű's Illusion
Authors Okamura Shik˘ (lyrics)
Kiyomoto Enjudayű V (Kiyomoto music)
Fujima Kanjűr˘ V (choreography)

"Maboroshi Wankyű" was premiered in 1925 as a Kiyomoto-based Buy˘ dance. It was premiered in Kabuki in June 1928 at the Kabukiza, starring Onoe Kikugor˘ VI in the role of Wan'ya Kyűbŕ.

"Maboroshi Wankyű" is rarely-staged on Kabuki stages; since the end of World War II and up to the end of the 20th century, we've found only 4 records of performances in ˘shibai during the 20th century:

Date Theater Wan'ya Kyűbŕ
1928/06 Kabukiza (T˘ky˘) Onoe Kikugor˘ VI
1953/12 Meijiza (T˘ky˘) Ichikawa Sadanji III
1960/04 Kabukiza (T˘ky˘) Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVII [1]
1974/05 Meijiza (T˘ky˘) ďkawa Hashiz˘ II [2]
Key words Ageya
Sumiyoshi no Hama
Wan'ya Kyűemon

Wan'ya Kyűbŕ, commonly called Wankyű, is seen after he has become a roving beggar in pilgrim robes. But quite incongruous to his costume is the fact that on the end of his bamboo staff there is hanging a gourd of sake. The site is a lonely pine grove (matsubara) on the Sumiyoshi Seashore.

Wankyű wanders by, and in the rhythmic roar of the waves he seems to hear the music of the tsuzumi and shamisen with which he used to amuse himself in his extravagant days as playboy, a star of the pleasure quarter. In a state of partial dementia, he rushes up to a pine tree and tries to embrace it, calling out the name of his former lover, the tayű Matsuyama.

In his mind and from his illusioned-eyes the pine grove changes into the brightly lit room of an ageya where he dances and sings gaily with Matsuyama. Picking up pine needles scattered on the ground, he tosses them out lavishly as if they were ry˘ to be thrown to the taiko mochi, nakai or any pleasure quarter partygoer entertaining him.

Unfortunately, Wankyű's gay pleasure is short-lived. When he tries again to catch his beloved Matsuyama, she proves elusive, like a ghost or an illusion. The bright scene fades from Wankyű's eyes. There is only the lonely seashore where light has faded away, and Wankyű is seen asleep on the moss under the pine trees.


[1] This version was a 2-actor production with Nakamura Utaemon VI in the role of Matsuyama.

[2] This version was a 2-actor production with the female dance master Fujima Murasaki in the role of Matsuyama.

Onoe Kikugor˘ VI playing the role of Wan'ya Kyűbŕ in the dance-drama "Maboroshi Wankyű", which was staged in June 1928 at the Kabukiza

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