Play title Sewa Ry˘ri Yaoya Kondate  In Japanese
Authors Ki-no-Kaion ("Shinjű Futatsu Haraobi")
Chikamatsu Monzaemon ("Shinjű Yoi G˘shin")
Namiki Gohei I ("Sewa Ry˘ri Yaoya Kondate")

"Yaoya no Kondate" is based on the real story of the greengrocer Hanbei and his wife Ochiyo, who committed their shinjű in ďsaka the 5th of the 4th lunar month of 1722 on the eve of the K˘shin festival. There was a great stir in ďsaka because of this sad event and the playwright Ki-no-Kaion immediately adapted it to the puppet theater. His play was entitled "Shinjű Futatsu Haraobi" and staged from the 6th(?) of 4th lunar month of 1722 at the Toyotakeza. Ki-no-Kaion's rival Chikamatsu Monzaemon wrote his own version, which was entitled "Shinjű Yoi G˘shin" and was staged from the 22nd of the 4th lunar month of 1722 at the Takemotoza. The first Kabuki adapatations were produced at the end of the 4th lunar month of 1722 in Ky˘to and in the 8th lunar month of 1722 in Edo. The play in Ky˘to was entitled "Ikudama Kurenai no M˘sen" and the roles of Ochiyo and Hanbei were played by Segawa Kikunoj˘ I and Iwai Hanshir˘ III. The play in Edo was entitled "Hana M˘sen Futatsu Haraobi" and the roles of Ochiyo and Hanbei were played by Arashi Wakano I and Nakamura Shichisabur˘ II.

The story of Hanbei and Ochiyo was sad and dark and the role of Hanbei's step-mother Okuma was the one of an evil old woman. In 1788, Namiki Gohei I wrote a new version of the story of Ochiyo and Hanbei and decided to turn Okuma into a comical role, performed by a sanmaime. This drama was entitled "Sewa Ry˘ri Yaoya Kondate" and was staged in the 3rd lunar month of 1788 in ďsaka at the Kado no Shibai [more details]. Later on, it was revised by Ichioka Washichi I. Nowadays, this play is rarely staged.


"Yaoya no Kondate" is made up of one act.

Key words Sewamono

Tarobŕ, a friend of the late father of Hanbei, a greengrocer, comes to Hanbei's house with Hanbei's wife Ochiyo, who has been expelled by Hanbei's step-mother Okuma, to ask her to re-accept Ochiyo. Strange to say, Okuma welcomes her back, lavishing flattery on her. Before taking Tarobŕ to another room to offer him a supper, however, she warns Hanbei in a low voice never to forget what she has told him to do. Unaware of Okuma's remark, Ochiyo says to Hanbei that she is very glad to be reunited with him.

Hanbei's elder brother Jűz˘, a samurai, who happens to be visiting the house, tells Hanbei never to divorce Ochiyo. Hanbei agrees, but when Okuma comes again to tell him that she has a sharpened kitchen knife in case he does not obey him, he sternly tells Ochiyo that he divorces her. Jűz˘ scolds Hanbei and beats him with a fan. Okuma, showing her true colors, tells Hanbei not to listen to Jűz˘ and beats Hanbei and Ochiyo with a broom. Hanbei's late father's nephew Kajűr˘ comes out of an inner room and, taking the broom from Okuma, beats her with it. He says Okuma was picked up as a beggar by Hanbei's late father, who was then a widower, and, while working as a maid servant for him, seduced him to become his second wife.

Furious with rage, Okuma leaves the room but she has yet another scheme to have her own way. She reappears in her undergarment, carrying a straw mat on her back and holding a rice bowl and chopsticks in her hands. She says she will go begging, telling people all over ďsaka that she was driven from her home by her heartless step-son. Hanbei is thus forced to write a letter of divorce. Jűz˘ proposes to take Ochiyo with him. Before leaving, he hands his sword to Hanbei, tacitly advising him to commit suicide in token of apology to his late father and Ochiyo's parents.

After Ochiyo and Jűz˘ have gone, Okuma begins to make amicable advances to Hanbei but is interrupted when Santar˘, an apprentice, comes to tell her that Tarobŕ is calling her. Left alone, Hanbei tries to kill himself when Ochiyo returns home to tell him that she will die together with him. Okuma comes back in a night gown, carrying a pillow and a quiet, to ask Hanbei to sleep with her. Tarobŕ blows out the light to help clamber and Ochiyo slip out of the house. Okuma catches hold of Tarobŕ in the dark, taking him for Hanbei.

Text written by Hironaga Shűzabur˘

The actors Onoe Tamiz˘ II and Jitsukawa Enzabur˘ I playing the roles of the decchi Yomota and Hanbei in the drama "Sewa Ry˘ri Yaoya Kondate", which was staged in the 9th lunar month of 1849 at the Kado no Shibai (print made by Hasegawa Sadanobu I)

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