Play title Tsūzoku Saiyūki  In Japanese
Kaka Saiyūki  In Japanese
Authors Takeshiba Kinsaku I ("Tsūzoku Saiyūki")
Tobe Ginsaku ("Kaka Saiyūki")

"Tsūzoku Saiyūki" was premiered in September 1878 at the Ichimuraza [casting]. It used Tokiwazu, Kiyomoto and Gidayū musical ensembles. In modern times, "Tsūzoku Saiyūki" was successfully revived in July 1953 at the Meijiza [casting]. The star Ichikawa Ennosuke III worked with the playwright Tobe Ginsaku to create his own version of Kawatake Shinshichi III's drama "Tsūzoku Saiyūki". It was entitled "Kaka Saiyūki" (Kaka is the haimyō of Ichikawa Ennosuke III) and was premiered in December 2000 at the Kabukiza [casting].

This play "is based on part of "Xiyouji", a lengthy 16th-century novel written by the Ming-dynasty writer Wu Chengen, featuring the adventures of the renowned Buddhist priest Xuanzang (known in Japan as Priest Sanzō) who went to India during the 7th century with three unique attendants: a monkey named Songokū (Sun Wukong) with supernatural powers, a pig with human qualities named Cho Hakkai (Zhu Bajie), and a water sprite (kappa) named Sagojō (Sha Wujing). The book gained popularity in Japan after it was translated in the late 18th century, and was staged as a Bunraku play in 1816 and as a Kabuki performance in 1878" (Rei Sasaguchi).


"Kaka Saiyūki" is made up of 3 scenes.

Key words Cho Hakkai
Ennosuke Shijūhassen
Kaka Jūkyoku

Scene I: at Chichūden Palace in the Sairyō Province

Priest Sanzō's party is passing through the Sairyō Province where only women live. He was ordered to bring Buddhist sutras from India to China by the emperor of Tang Dynasty. He is accompanied by the pig Cho Hakkai and the kappa Sagojō. The monkey Songokū hasn't arrived yet. Cho Hakkai finds a fountain and drinks water from it. Suddenly the queen of the Sairyō Province appears in from of them. She says to Sanzō to stay several days there. Sanzō at first refuses her request because he doesn't want even to sit in the same room with a woman before the end of his pilgrimage. The queen implores Sanzō to help Fuyō, her younger sister, who has been seriously love-sick for the past three years. Sanzō finally accepts to stay in the queen palace in order to help curing Fuyō through his prayers. They plan to stay here until the arrival of Songokū. The queen takes Sanzō to Fuyō's room.

Left alone, Cho Hakkai and Sagojō start to discuss with two ladies-in-waiting (kanjo). Cho Hakkai asks them how women can become pregnant in the Sairyō Province, where no male lives in. They say that if they drink the water of the Shibo Fountain (shi means child and bo mother), they would become pregnant. Cho Hakkai remembers it is the fountain from which he drank water. He suddenly feels pain. His stomach looks swollen and he feels like he is going to give birth. Sagojō and the ladies-in-waiting have no idea what to do for Cho Hakkai. The two pilgrims wish their friend Songokū was here because he has supernatural power.

Then Songokū magically appears on stage. He is late because he had to feed Sanzō's white horse. Songokū takes a knife, a needle and a thread out of his ear. He is about to perform a comical abortion on his friend. He cuts open Cho Hakkai's stomach, takes out a lump of blood and stitches the wound. Cho Hakkai has been successfully rescued and the ladies-in-waiting applaud Songokū's marvelous skills.

The queen's younger sister Fuyō looks depressed, suffering from lovesickness. She can't forget a young man whom she met three years ago. She loves him, but she has no way to meet him again. Sanzō comes to her room to comfort her. When Fuyō sees Sanzō, she says he is her lover. Sanzō is extremely confused. Songokū appears and says that there is strange smell, that the atmosphere is too weird. Songokū hits Fuyō with his stick. Instantly, the two beautiful women reveal their true characters and their monstrous appearances: they are both the spirits of giant spiders. They start fighting back by throwing threads. Amid the chaos, the spiders abduct Sanzō and take him to their shelter. Sagojō and Cho Hakkai are attacked by the palace kanjo, who have also turned into giant spiders. Cho Hakkai and Sagojō are captured and Songokū is almost cornered but he can escape.

Scene II: in the clouds

Songokū is flying through the air, riding on a cloud in search of Sanzō. He takes some of his hair and transforms them into a lot of small Songokū (performed by children on stage). Songokū says to his other selves to find and rescue Sagojō and Cho Hakkai. Then, he hurries to the mountain on which his master is confined.

Scene III: on top of Mt. Banshirei

Songokū reaches Mt. Banshirei, the foul shelter of the spiders. He fights fiercely against them. At the end of the fight, Songokū strikes a rock, which contains the spider's spirit. When the rock is broken, the spider's dynasty is completely destroyed. Songokū finds Sanzō and manages to help him. After their rescue, Sagojō and Cho Hakkai rejoin Sanzō and Songokū. They can resume their hazardous journey westward.

This summary was written by Sekidobashi Sakura (December 2000) and edited by Shōriya Aragorō (January 2011).

"Tsūzoku Saiyūki" (1901)

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