Hachiman Matsuri Yomiyano Nigiwai (a kabuki play) (八幡祭小望月賑)
This play was performed for the first time at the Ichimura theater in August, 1860, in Edo. This play consisting of six parts was written by Mokuami KAWATAKE.
This was a sewamono (play dealing with the lives of ordinary people) story newly written by Shinshichi KAWATAKE for Kodanji ICHIKAWA (the fourth), who was Kawatake's sworn friend but was distressed due to the popularity of Shikan NAKAMURA (the fourth). Its' themes were based on the Eidai-bashi bridge-collapsing incident that occurred in 1807 around a place thronged with people for a festival at Tomioka Hachiman-gu Shrine, and on the geisha-killing incident that occurred in 1820 in Fukagawa. In the story, the world of "Kirare Yosa" (Yosa with a scar face) is mixed with family troubles caused by a yoto sword (mysterious sword) named Muramasa, but nowadays, only the portion related to Chizimiya Shinsuke is performed.
The first part
The scene at Nobanaya in Naka-cho
After Otomi, his mistress, plunged into the sea together with Yosaburo, her lover, Genzaemon AKAMA, a boss in Kisarazu, he goes to Naka-cho in Kewai-zaka Slope in Kamakura (actually Edo) to dispel the consequent gloom, together with Mirukui no Matsu, his follower, and Heima, his bodyguard. Falling in love with Shinwara Oyomi, who belonged to Nobanaya, who is exactly like Otomi, Genzaemon stays near Oyomi. Then Shinsuke, a merchant dealing with chirimen crepe, hits Genzaemon accidentally. Angered, Genzaemon tries to make fun of Shinsuke, but Shinsuke is rescued thanks to the mediation of Oyone who happens to come upon the scene. Omiyo, having become alone, enjoys secret meetings with Shinzaburo, her lover. However, her meeting with Shinzaburo is found by Genzaemon, and she is pressed to tell the name of her lover from the tattoo of "新" ("shin" in pronunciation and meaning "new") he has found on her upper arm. There, Shinsuke, mentioned above, appears and rescues her, saying that the character is a character included in his name. Genzaemon cuts Shinsuke's brow in a fit of anger and leaves the scene.
Though having said, out of kindness, a lie that he is a lover of Omiyo, Shinsuke falls in love with Omiyo while seeing Shinzaburo and Oyomi disappear intimately into an inner room.
The first scene: the fighting scene on Hanamizu-bashi Bridge
Tobi no mono (fire fighters) and followers of Akama fights with each other violently on Hanamizu-bashi Bridge (actually Eidai-bashi Bridge). There are many people around because a festival is under way near to the site, and chaos develops all over the bridge. At the end, the parapets break, and Omiyo as well as many other people fall into the Inase-gawa River (actually the Sumida-gawa River).
The second scene: the scene at Inasegawa namiyoke (a water breaker on the Inase-gawa River)
The person who rescued Omiyo, who dropped into the river, was Shinsuke who happened to come by the site in a small boat. Alone in the boat Shinsuke discloses his love to Oyomi. In distress, Oyomi tells, merely to get out of the difficult situation, a lie that she will marry him when the treasure koro (incense burner), which Shinzaburo has sought, is acquired and Shinzaburo becomes employed by a master, and Shinsuke is convinced by what she says.
The third part
The first scene: the scene in Naka-cho in Kewai-Zaka Slope
By the way, in the fighting on the bridge the other day, Shinzaburo got a promissory note for the pawn of a koro, from Kotengu Shosaku, a brother of Okishi, Shizaburo's fiance. You are in love with Oyomi, a good woman, and Okishi, my sister, is disappointed and has become a nun. In addition, I will hand over the promissory note together with the money necessary for redeeming the koro, and will make this the deed to break off the engagement. Shinzaburo is advised not to do anything rash and to return to his former master with the koro. Losing face for the two, Shinzaburo visits Omiyo, and reluctantly breaks off the relationships with Omiyo, saying that I will now end the relationships with you, because you have a lover named Shinsuke." While Omiyo is guzzling sake in despair, Shinsuke visits her together with colleagues of Chizimiya, bringing the money for the koro that he has managed to raise. However, being drunk as well, Omiyo treats him coldly and says spiteful things to him. Having been humiliated in public, Shinsuke leaves the place while shedding tears of mortification. Seeing the note Shizaburo left behind by Otsuyu, the wife at Nobanaya, Omiyo knows the truth for the first time,and writes a letter for apology to Shinsuke.
The second scene: the scene at the inn for Chizimiya at Yukinoshita
The disappointed Shinsuke is advised by Rokubei, the landlord of the inn, and Sakusuke, a manservant there, that he should forget about Omiyo. Although superficially following their advice obediently, Shinsuke always considers takng revenge on Omiyo. Shinsuke buys a yoto sword (mysterious sword) named Muramasa at a gadget shop he happened to visit by chance, and immediately when holding the sword, he becomes deranged and starts running to kill Omiyo. Otsuyu visits Rokubei and Sakusuke who have been astonished by a letter from Omiyo. From an image of Fudomyoo (Acala) attached to the letter, it is found that Omiyo is actually Shinsuke's sister, who was separated from him in her childhood. Then hearing the words of "someone is being killed"that are shouted from somewhere, Sakusuke goes after Shinsuke immediately.
The third scene: a back street in Naka-cho
Having become a bloodthirsty killer, Shinsuke kills his colleagues at Chizimiya who happen to pass by..
The fourth scene: the scene at the Suzaki bank
Omiyo is captured by Akama's followers and abducted in a palanquin, but the palanquin was stopped by Shinsuke and Omiyo was tortured to death. Coming to himself after that, Shinsuke knows the truth from Sakusuke who has come to him running, and kills himself to atone for his sin.
Actors in the first-time performance of the play
Shinsuke and Shosaku: Kodanji ICHIKAWA (the fourth)
Omiyo: Hanshiro IWAI (the eighth)
Genemon AKAMA and Rokubei: Sanjuro SEKI (the third)
Shinzaburo HOZUMI: Danjuro ICHIKAWA (the ninth)
The story in which a thoroughly straight fellow from ouside an urban area is cheated by an urban woman is also included in "Godairiki Koi no Fujime" (Godairiki) written by Gohei NAMIKI. Shinzaburo's lines include "as Gohei NAMIKI wrote in Godairiki the line of 'No love exists for geisha girls and their loves are for treasures,'" which is a material known in the kabuki world, and this suggests that Shinshichi was conscious of "Godairiki."
Based on "Chizimiya Shinsuke," Shinshichi KAWATAKE, a disciple of Shinshichi, wrote for Sadanji ICHIKAWA (the first) in the Meiji period "Kago Tsurube Satono Eizame" (Basket bucket in red-light district) (Basket bucket), whose story and characters were almost the same as those of "Chizimiya Shinsuke," but "Basket bucket" was vastly inferior to "Chizimiya Shinsuke" in its story structure and the maturity level of the contents. However, while "Basket bucket" is popular even today because it's performed by excellent actors, "Chizimiya Shinsuke" effectively remains a 'buried masterpiece' because it's not been performed by any outstandingt actors other than Kichiemon NAKAMURA (the first) and Hakuo MATSUMOTO the first).
The story that a seeming 'act of abandoning someone in disgust' develops into 'an act of killing in resentment instead' is often used in kabuki plays, but this play uses 'act of abandoning someone in disgust' on the double.
The elaborate story structure is as follows: Shinzaburo seeming abandons Omiyo, and then in seemimg despair, Omiyo genuinely abandons Shinsuke, saying that this situation has been caused by Shinsuke
It is also a feature of this play that Shinsuke's genuine love for Omiyo that started with a lie is expressed quite naturally.
Kodanji's true-to-life performances were highly praised, and in particular, those of seriousness and insanity in the scene at the inn for Chizimiya were superb.