|Kusunoki-ryû Hanami no Makuhari
Hanamidoki Yui no Makuhari
|Kawatake Shinshichi II
Kawatake Shinshichi II's drama "Kusunoki-ryû Hanami no Makuhari" was premiered in the 3rd lunar month of 1870 at the Moritaza [more details]. The characters' costumes and manners in this play are those of the Edo period but the name of the leader of the rebellion was Kusunoki Masashige, a warrior of the Kamakura era. The Keian Uprising was replaced by the Genkô War and, in order to avoid the censorship, the identity of some historical characters were disguised (more or less lightly):
It was revived and staged with a different title, "Hanamidoki Yui no Makuhari", in May 1875 at the Kawarasakiza. As the Shogunate censorship was a thing of the past, the real names were used for the first time [more details].
The original drama "Kusunoki-ryû Hanami no Makuhari" was in 6 acts. Two acts focusing on Marubashi Chûya have survived and became an independent drama entitled "Keian Taiheiki".
Act I, scene 1: Edo-jôgai Horibata
Tokugawa Iemitsu, the third Tokugawa Shôgun, has died and has been succeeded by Tokugawa Ietsuna, who is still a boy. Society is still slowly recovering from the wounds of a century of civil wars, and hordes of displaced samurai, who happened to be fighting on the losing side, are without fixed employment. Some of them have started to scheme to overthrow the government. One such large scale plot is currently masterminded by Yui Shôsetsu. He has enlisted the services of a large number of rônin, and placed a man named Marubashi Chûya, the hero of this play, in charge of the operations in Edo, the seat of the Shôgun's government.
Chûya is a heavy drinker (taishûka), and on this day he has already drunken three large bottles' worth of sake. Having come upon a tiny chaya by Edo Castle's outer moat (horibata), however, he cannot resist helping himself to a few more. In high spirits, he treats the chaya's owner Kansuke and the three other patrons to all they can drink, prompting one of them to proclaim that Chûya is the type of man he'd like to see controlling things in Edo Castle. That way they would have all the sake they could want for free. Chûya laughs off the remark as being ridiculous, but he nonetheless breaks into a big smile.
When the three patrons leave, Chûya turns his attention to a barking dog (inu), playing with it innocently. He finishes off an entire bottle of sake and pushes the reluctant Kansuke into serving him another bottle. Chûya then hands him one ryô (a hefty sum) and asks him to fetch something to eat. Kansuke refuses at first but he is obliged to go when Chûya draws his sword.
Left alone and looking for someone with whom to share a drink, he surveys his surroundings. Finding no one to drink with, Chûya falls asleep. The dog that Chûya has been playing with returns, licking his face and waking him up. Irritated, Chûya throws a stone at the dog. Then, seeing no one is around, Chûya hurls a stone into the moat to measure the depth by listening to the splash it makes. He is preparing for the assault on the castle. He chases the dog to the main gate, throwing stones into the inner moat as well. Chûya also tries to stick his long kiseru in the water. He suddenly realizes that someone is standing behind him, holding a paper umbrella over his head. He turns around and finds Matsudaira Izu-no-Kami , a high-ranking Tokugawa official, looking at him suspiciously. Chûya walks off feigning giddiness, but not before he is asked to identify himself and to explain what he was doing.
Act II, scene 1: Marubashi Chûya Sumika
Two of Chûya's conspirators, Komakai Gorobei and Katsuta Yasaburô, are pressing Chûya's wife Osetsu to allow them to see their leader. She says that he is sleeping, recovering from a hangover. They insist on meeting Chûya, however, as the date of their plot to overthrow of the Shogunate is fast approaching, and they are ready to move into action at any time. Chûya staggers out from his sleeping chamber, still half drunk, complaining that his visitors are talking too loudly. They have come for instructions on when they should launch the first phase: poisoning Edo's drinking water and setting buildings ablaze to allow them to sneak into Edo Castle. Chûya merely suggests that they discuss things calmly over a drink. When the two insist on a firm decision, he orders them to leave so that he can go back to bed. Flabbergasted, the two march out despite Osetsu's pleas for them to stay.
In comes the yumishi Tôshirô, father-in-law of Chûya, to whom he owes 200 ryô. Tôshirô is disturbed to learn from his daughter that Chûya is asleep because of his heavy drinking. After Osetsu wakes Chûya up, Tôshirô presses him for repayment. He wants to know how his son-in-law intends to come up with 200 ryô. Tôshirô remains skeptical even after Chûya reassures him that the money will soon be returned, declaring that tens of thousands of ryô could soon be in Tôshirô's pockets. To convince his father-in-law of the validity of this claim, he tells Tôshirô about the ongoing plot and insists that sinking into sake and pretending to be drunk is a means of cloaking his ambitions.
Chûya says, with this coup, he hopes to avenge his father's death at the hands of Tokugawa forces, adding that the mastermind behind the scheme is the renowned military expert Yui Shôsetsu. Three days from now, Chûya says, Shôsetsu will capture Sunpu Castle while Chûya himself will spearhead the seizure of Edo Castle. Tôshirô appears reassured and even proud of having such a daring son-in-law. But as he leaves the house he shudders at the thought of the country being plunged back into war and makes up his mind to try to thwart it, even at the price of his daughter's life.
After Tôshirô leaves, Chûya and Osetsu drink to the ambitious scheme, but, as she pours sake for her husband, Chûya's cup cracks in. This is an ominous sign. Suddenly, swarms of torite are surrounding Chûya's house.
Act II, scene 2: Marubashi Chûya Sumika Urate Torimono
Amidst the fierce struggle (tachimawari), Chûya manages to find Osetsu and entrusts her with a renpanjô to be delivered to Yui Shôsetsu at any cost. Chûya is finally arrested (torimono), and the plot to overthrow the Shôgun is foiled.
This summary would have not been possible without the help of Sekidobashi Sakura!
 Izu-no-Kami means the kami of the province of Izu. This was a courtesy title. His name was Matsudaira Nobutsuna (1596~1622).
The actors Ichikawa Sadanji II (left) and Ichikawa Kodanji V (right) playing the roles of Marubashi Chûya and Matsudaira Izu-no-Kami in the drama "Keian Taiheiki", in a mitate-e print made by Kôchôrô Hôsai in 1909
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