NAGAMACHI URA
   
Play title Natsu Matsuri Naniwa Kagami  In Japanese
Summer Festival: Mirror of ďsaka
Authors Namiki Senryű I
Miyoshi Sh˘raku
Takeda Koizumo I (Takeda Izumo II)
History

The play "Natsu Matsuri Naniwa Kagami" was originally written for the puppet theater (Bunraku) and staged for the first time in the 7th lunar month of 1745 in ďsaka at the Takemotoza. It was so successful that it was almost immediately adapted for Kabuki and staged for the first time in the 8th lunar month of 1745 in Ky˘to at Miyako Mandayű's theater. It was produced by the zamoto Nakamura Kiyosabur˘ I and starred Fujioka Daikichi and Sakakiyama Danshir˘ I in the roles of Danshichi Kurobŕ and Tsuribune Sabu. It was a long run and the performance was extended up to October. According to the chronicles, the play was simultaneously staged in another Ky˘to theater in the 8th lunar month of 1745, at the Minamigawa no Shibai, produced by Nakamura Kumetar˘ I. A few months later, this ďsaka play was finally staged in ďsaka. The three main Kabuki venues decided to produce it almost simultaneously, starting a fierce competition for the best performance and line-up. It was first staged at the ďnishi no Shibai from the 5th of the 12th lunar month of 1745, produced by Arashi San'emon IV and starring Nakayama Shinkur˘ I in the role of Danshichi [casting]. Then it was staged at the Naka no Shibai from the 10th of the 12th lunar month of 1745, produced by Ichiyama Sukegor˘ I and starring Arashi Shichigor˘ I in the role of Danshichi [casting]. It was finally staged at the Kado no Shibai from the 15th of the 12th lunar month of 1745, produced by Arashi Sanjűr˘ II and starring him in the role of Danshichi [casting]. "Natsu Matsuri Naniwa Kagami" was staged for the first time in Edo in the 5th lunar month of 1747, at the Moritaza (casting unknown).

Structure

"Nagamachi Ura" (lit., the Back Lane at Nagamachi) is the seventh act of the 9-act drama "Natsu Matsuri Naniwa Kagami". It is usually staged along with "Torii Mae" and "Sabu Uchi".

Key words Danshichi
Danshichimono
Doro
Doroba
Dorobune
Hondoro
Koroshiba
Koroshi no Mie
K˘zugű
Sewamono
Summary

When Danshichi catches up with Giheiji and Kotoura he asks Giheiji to turn Kotoura over to him. Giheiji refuses and instead questions Danshichi's character, while bringing up his past wrong-doings. Giheiji lashes out at Danshichi. Danshichi begs Giheiji to send Kotoura back, offering 30 ry˘ (approximately 3 million yen or $33 thousand) in exchange. With this Giheiji changes his attitude and accepts Danshichi's offer, saying, "Okay, I will give you a special discount as you and I are father and son-in-law, but don't forget that I could get more than 100 ry˘ if I took Kotoura to Otori." Without responding to the implied threat, Danshichi asks the bearers to take Kotoura back home. When the palanquin has left, Giheiji presses Danshichi for the money. Then Danshichi confesses that he has no money, and Giheiji burns with anger. He strikes Danshichi's face with his clog, abuses him loudly, and then proceeds to beat him up. Danshichi receives the cruel treatment without resistance, but finally he can stand it no longer and tries to slash Giheiji with his sword. Giheiji then dares Danshichi to kill him. In the struggle, Danshichi accidentally stabs him in the ribs. Giheiji cries out, "Murderer!" Finally, Danshichi finishes him off. Then, Danshichi apologizes profusely to his dead father-in-law and melts into a crowd, which is celebrating the summer festival at the K˘zugű Shrine.

This summary has been written by Watanabe Hisao, edited by Jeff Blair and Sh˘riya Aragor˘ [website]

Comments

"The murder takes place amid the wavering firelight of torches. And the whole scene seems to occur in a flickering shadow world beyond conscious thought. The struggle is ornately stylized, a repetitive series of images frozen and fluid. Yet the violence feels more poisonously concentrated than it ever does in a crime or horror movie. And at least one image -- of the victim rising from a brown pool, coated in mud -- feels destined to show up in your nightmares." (by Ben Brantley, 2004)

Nakamura Utaemon IV and Nakamura Tomosa II playing the roles of Danshichi Kurobŕ and Mikawaya Giheiji in the "Nagamachi Ura" scene of the drama "Natsu Matsuri Naniwa Kagami", which was staged in the 5th lunar month of 1850 at the Naka no Shibai (print made by Utagawa Hirosada)

 
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