|Play title||Keisei Hangonk˘|
|Author||Chikamatsu Monzaemon (original drama)
Ky˘ya Yagoshir˘ (1719 Kabuki adaptation)
The play "Keisei Hangonk˘" is divided into 3 acts. The "Domo Mata" scene is the first scene of the third act.
The play "Keisei Hangonk˘" was written by Chikamatsu Monzaemon for the puppets theater and performed for the first time in the 8th lunar month of 1708 at the Takemotoza (ďsaka). It was adapted for Kabuki for the first time in the 3rd lunar month of 1719 by the sakusha Ky˘ya Yagoshir˘ and was staged in ďsaka at the at the Higashi no Shibai [casting]. The "Domo Mata" act was performed independantly of the rest of the play for the first time in Edo in the 10th lunar month of 1801 with the following casting: Ichikawa Danz˘ IV (Matahei), Osagawa Tsuneyo II (Otoku), Ichikawa Tomoz˘ II (Sh˘gen), Osagawa Shichiz˘ II (Shűrinosuke) and Ichikawa Aragor˘ I (Utanosuke).
Matahei, who is a disciple of ex-court artist Tosa Sh˘gen Mitsunobu, has been making repeated calls on his master in order to get permission to use the respected Tosa name. Today, also, he has come to his master's house with his wife Otoku.
By chance Mitsunobu, Matahei, and his wife meet a group of peasants searching for something. Listening to their story, they realize that the peasants are in pursuit of a tiger. Mitsunobu, however, laughs and refuses to believe them, saying there are no tigers in Japan. Then he sees the tiger and realizes that it must be a creature from a different dimension. To his artistically trained and critical eyes, the tiger's characteristics mark it as the work of a Tosa school artist. So, Mitsunobu calls one of his most promising young disciples, Shűrinosuke, and orders him to bring a brush and ink. He tells him to draw the tiger and make it take on life. Doing this will allow the tiger to escape from this world back into the artistic world from which it came. Shűrinosuke does as directed. As Mitsunobu expected, the tiger in the grove disappears. Mitsunobu rewards Shűrinosuke for this achievement by allowing him to use the name Tosa. Matahei is, of course, completely humiliated; nothing is more disgraceful than being regarded as inferior to a younger disciple.
Following this, Utanosuke, an agitated young artist, arrives with some news. He reports that another of the disciples of the Tosa school and his sweetheart are in danger on a false charge. They are in need of urgent aid. The bearer of this news volunteers to help them, asks Mitsunobu to send more men, and then dashes off. Mitsunobu calls on Shűrinosuke to lead a group of men to go to their rescue. Matahei implores Shűrinosuke to allow him to join in the rescue, but in vain. Matahei once again has to endure the humiliation of seeing the younger disciple favored ahead of him.
As the others leave, Matahei and Otoku are left in the garden. They realize that there is no hope of fulfilling Matahei's dream. That dream has been completely shattered. Otoku says that now there is no choice left but to die, but suggests that first Matahei draw a picture of himself on the side of a stone basin in the garden as a memento. She prepares the ink and brush. Matahei then draws on the side of the basin. To their surprise, as Matahei does this, an identical painting appears on the other side of the basin. While they are staring in wonder, Mitsunobu, who has been observing everything from inside the mansion, approaches them. He praised Matahei for his great work, which could only have been achieved through a great passion for art. Mitsunobu, his master, then bestows upon Matahei permission to use Tosa as his professional name.
This summary has been written by Watanabe Hisao and edited by Jeff Blair [website]
|The actors Nakamura Utaemon IV and Nakayama Nanshi II playing the roles of Matahei and Otoku in the drama "Keisei Hangonk˘" in a print made by Utagawa Kunikazu in 1861|
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