|ONO NO TÔFÛ|
|Play title||Ono no Tôfû Aoyagi Suzuri|
|Authors||Takeda Izumo II
The play "Ono no Tôfû Aoyagi Suzuri" was originally written for the puppet theater (Bunraku) and staged for the first time in october 1754 in Ôsaka at the Takemotoza. It was adapted for Kabuki the following year and staged for the first time in the 2nd lunar month of 1755 in Kyôto at the Minamigawa no Shibai, produced by Sawamura Kunitarô I [casting].
The original act was in 5 acts. Only the second act has survived and is occasionally revived.
Ono no Tôfû
Ono no Tôfû is strongly urged by the leader of a wicked faction at court to join in the overthrow of the Emperor and his government. Ono does not take the plot seriously, and dismisses it from his mind. While returning home, later that day, he observes a frog trying to jump up into a branch of a weeping willow tree. The frog tries over and over again, but each time slides down back into the water. Finally, however, he succeeds in clinging to the branch. Ono then realizes that the evil efforts against the government also, if pursued diligently enough, might succeed. Ono is attacked by a villain . He tosses him into the pond and the frogs devour him.
Ono's brother Yorikaze has an affair with a princess at court, the daughter of the chief advisor to the Emperor. Since such alliances at court were severely frowned upon, Ono is held responsible for his brother's conduct. The father of the princess, who is greatly jealous of Ono's influence at court, calls publicly upon Ono to write a pledge of allegiance to the Emperor since his brother's conduct may have been part of a plot to seize power. Ono is greatly embarrassed as he is illiterate. However, a nun who once nursed Ono hears of this and offers prayers of such fervency that on the day Ono is to write the pledge in public, he is miraculously able to form the characters with his writing brush.
Ono exposes the wicked factions at court, and renounces further connection with the court. He chooses to return to his simple position as a carpenter.
Source: Faubion Bowers
 The villain is named Daroku. The fight between Daroku and Ono is a parody of sumô wresling.
The actors Nakamura Shikan IV and Ichikawa Danjûrô IX playing the roles of Daroku and Ono no Tôfû in the drama "Ono no Tôfû Aoyagi Suzuri", which was staged in January 1882 at the Nakamuraza (print made by Morikawa Chikashige)
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