ASIA212Varley

The flourishing of a bourgeois culture tokubei 193 how

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: uries and are by their very nature rousing tales of derring-do and romantic love. To increase further the excitement of their presentation on stage, Chikamatsu and The Flourishing of a Bourgeois Culture 191 other bunraku playwrights also provided in their scripts for the performance of fabulous tumbling acts and supernatural feats, which their audiences loved and which the puppets, unlike the live actors of kabuki, could convincingly do. Chikamatsu’s best-known historical play is The Battles of Coxinga (Kokusenya Kassen), based on the story of a Chinese loyalist who held out against the Manchus after they invaded China and overthrew the Ming dynasty in 1644. Chikamatsu did not write his first domestic play, The Love Suicides at Sonezaki (Sonezaki Shinjû), until 1703. With this work, derived from actual events that had recently occurred in Osaka, Chikamatsu not only created a new category of puppet plays but also found the precise medium in which he was to do his finest writing. The Love Suicides at Sonezaki, which was enormously popular with Genroku audiences, is constructed around a simple plot that Chikamatsu used, with variations and embellishments, as the basis for a number of his subsequent domestic plays. It tells the story of a soy sauce salesman named Tokubei who is in love with Ohatsu, a courtesan of the Osaka pleasure quarters. As the play opens, we learn that Tokubei has quarreled with his employer and must return a sum of money that the employer (actually Tokubei’s uncle) had advanced as a dowry for his daughter, whom Tokubei now refuses to marry. The kindhearted although dull-witted Tokubei has temporarily loaned the money to a friend, and, when he seeks to reclaim it, the erstwhile friend not only denies that he ever received any money but even charges that Tokubei has forged his seal. In the ensuing argument, Tokubei is soundly thrashed. Distraught and utterly at a loss what to do, he proceeds to Ohatsu’s place where the two lovers, without even considering an alternative course of action, decide to commit double suicide. That night they set f...
View Full Document

Ask a homework question - tutors are online