Play title Imoseyama Onna Teikin  In Japanese
Mt Imo and Mt Se: A Tale of Womanly Virtue
Authors Chikamatsu Hanji
Miyoshi Shôraku
Matsuda Boku
Chikamatsu Tônan

The play "Imoseyama Onna Teikin" was originally written for the puppet theater (Bunraku) and staged for the first time in the 1st lunar month of 1771 in Ôsaka at Takeda Shinmatsu's theater (ex-Takemotoza). It was quickly adapted for Kabuki and staged in Kyôto in the 3rd lunar month of 1771 at the Kitagawa no Shibai [casting]. It was a long run, produced from the 25th day of the 3rd lunar month to the 10th of the 5th lunar month of 1771.

This play is based on the Taika coup d'etat in 645, in which Emperor Tenchi, with his loyal minister Fujiwara no Kamatari, succeeded in destroying the wicked Soga no Iruka.


"Mikasayama Goten" is the heart of the fourth act of the drama "Imoseyama Onna Teikin".

Key words Asuka Jidai
Fujiwara Kamatari
Fujiwara Tankai
Gidayû Kyôgen
Soga Emiji
Soga Iruka
Taika no Kaishin

Soga no Iruka holds a feast in celebration of the completion of his gorgeous mansion, which has been built in the likeness of the Imperial Palace. Fisherman Fukashichi comes as Kamatari's messenger with a gift of sake and a letter of congratulation. Iruka, suspecting that the sake may be poisoned, does not take it, so Fukashichi drinks it all and lies on the raised floor when all others have gone. Two spears pierce the floor from below to attack but miss him. Then several ladies-in-waiting appear to offer sake. He does not drink it and gets rid of them as soon as he can. As he pours out the sake on chrysanthemum flowers in the garden, the flowers immediately shrivel up, showing that it is poisoned. Some of Iruka's followers arrive with bows and arrows and take him into an inner room.

Princess Tachibana comes back from her night visit to Motome. Ladies-in-waiting who greet her notice the red thread attached to her sleeve. When they pull it Motome appears with the spool. The ladies-in-waiting quickly understand the situation and scurry off to leave the lovers alone. Princess Tachibana tells Motome that she knows that he is in fact Kamatari's son, Tankai. Tankai then says that he cannot help but kill her now that she has found his true identity. Princess Tachibana is undisturbed, however, saying that she is ready to die for the sake of her lover. Finding her absolutely faithful and trustworthy, Tankai spares her and promises to marry her if she steals for him the sacred sword of Totsuka now in the possession of her brother Iruka, who has stolen it from the Imperial Palace. Princess Tachibana agrees to his request.

Omiwa arrives carrying her spool of white thread, which has broken on her way. Ladies-in-waiting surround her and discover that she is searching for her lover. Spitefully amused, the ladies tell her that there is to be a marriage of Princess Tachibana and a handsome young man this very night. Immediately concluding that it is her lover who is to marry, Omiwa becomes sick with jealousy and despair. The ladies-in-waiting take advantage of Omiwa's distress and confusion to pretend to teach her the etiquette proper to life in the gorgeous mansion in which she finds herself. Humiliated and lovesick, Omiwa stumbles through the lesson. At length, tired of their sport, the ladies beat Omiwa and run off, laughing derisively.

Omiwa hears voices raised in congratulation and, consumed with jealousy that this may mean that her lover has now married Princess Tachibana, she runs to the door only to be confronted by Fukashichi, who slashes at her with his sword. Poor Omiwa falls mortally wounded as Fukashichi explains that now she may serve Motome, who is really Tankai, in death as she never could in life. According to Fukashichi, who in fact is Kanawa Gorô Imakuni, Kamatari's most trusted retainer, Iruka was born by supernatural means. His father, Emiji being childless, caused his wife to conceive by giving her the warm blood of a white female deer to drink. The child born as a result is Iruka. Consequently, in order to kill Iruka, it is necessary to use a potion of blood taken from a black-hoofed female deer and mix it with the blood of a woman killed at the height of jealous passion. If a flute into which the combined blood is poured is played Iruka will fall into a stupor. Fukashichi takes Omiwa's blood to use it for the assassination of Iruka.

Text written by Hironaga Shûzaburô

The actors Ichikawa Danjûrô VIII and Arashi Rikan III playing the role of Fukashichi and Omiwa in the "Mikasayama Goten" act of "Imoseyama Onna Teikin", which was staged in the 2nd lunar month of 1852 at the Kawarasakiza (print made by Utagawa Toyokuni III)

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