Dance title Keisei Djji
Mugen no Kane Shindjji  In Japanese

"Keisei Djji" ("Djji temple's keisei") was staged at the Nakamuraza in the 2nd lunar month of 1731 as a Nagauta-based final dance (entitled "Mugen no Kane Shindjji") for the nibanme program of the new year drama "Keisei Fukubiki Nagoya", starring Segawa Kikunoj I in the role of the courtesan Katsuragi.

Key words Shosagoto
Mugen no Kane

"Keisei Djji" is a variation of the famous dance "Musume Djji" (created in 1753) about a young girl who is rejected by a priest. He flees from her and hides under the bell at Djji Temple. She pursues him and in her rage transforms into a serpent, which wraps itself around the bell. The bell is destroyed and the priest is fried to a crisp!

In "Keisei Djji", the girl did not transform herself into a serpent, but rather appeared as Katsuragi, a beautiful, high-ranking courtesan, thereby reflecting the close relationship between Kabuki and the pleasure quarters at the beginning of the 18th century when "Keisei Djji" was created. The story included a parallel tradition that the person who strikes the bell during life will be visited with unlimited wealth, but on death they will suffer unlimited torment in hell. The courtesan describes her life and emotions in the pleasure quarters, which was like being lost in dark clouds of passion, as well as her punishment in hell, which she says is a forest of tightly packed swords through which souls are relentlessly pursued and their flesh cut to shreds. She has now come to pray to the bell that has caused her so much trouble. Hoping that her prayers will clear away her burden of sin, the spirit of the courtesan disappears.

Courtesy of Jean Wilson (1999)

Segawa Kikujir I playing the role of the courtesan Katsuragi in the drama "Keisei Fukubiki Nagoya", which was staged in the 9th lunar month of 1751 at the Nakamuraza (print made by Torii Kiyomasu II)

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