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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

koi no odamaki

August 16th was the 7th day of 7th month in the lunar calendar this year.

Imoseyama-onna-teikin(妹背山婦女庭訓) is a bunraku play written by Chikamatsu Hanji, Matsuda Baku, Sakai Zenpei, Chikamatus Tounan and Miyoshi Syouraku. It was premiered in 1771.

The highlight in the first half of the play is a tragic love story like Romeo and Juliet in the season for the Dolls' Festival.

In the second half of it, a love triangle is featured.
Omiwa(お三輪) is a daughter of a liquor shop owner. Fujiwara no Tankai(藤原淡海) secretly aspires to defeat a rebel, Soga no Iruka(蘇我入鹿) under an assumed name. Tachibana-hime(橘姫) is Iruka's sister, but she declines to be identified.

Tachibana-hime comes to see him in the evening. Omiwa comes back after attending the Star Festival held at the school of her childhood. Puppeteer Yoshida Minosuke showed a Omiwa's endearing childlike gesture by making her knead and blow a Chinese lantern plant.
Omiwa and Tachibana-hime fight over Tankai.

Two bobbins called odamaki(苧環), which are offerings of the Star Festival, are effectively used as stage props. Tankai ties one end of a string to Tachibana-hime's sleeve and Omiwa ties one end of other string to his sleeve. They follow the trail of
their lovers by tracing strings.

They reach Iruka's palace. Tankai learns that she is Iruka's sister. Omiwa is jealous of Tachibana-hime after her waiting maids mock at Omiwa. Tachibana-hime decides to take Tankai's side against her brother, and Tankai makes a vow to become one with her.

A retainer of Tankai's father stabs at Omiwa with a knife. He tells her that the blood of a woman being insanely jealous is needed to defeat Iruka. Omiwa is pleased to give her life as a sacrifice for fulfilling Tankai's wish. She dies wishing to be joined together in posterity instead of giving up impossible love in this world.

I went to this play with a friend of mine. We disagreed with the story ends. However, there is another argument that it would make Omiwa feel happy to shed blood for him if she has no chance to become one with him.

This play features an event of cleaning wells called Ido-gae(井戸替) and refers to the schools for farmers and townspeople called terakoya(寺子屋).

The Edo Shogunate institutionalized to clean all of the wells in Edo on the the 7th day of the 7th month. Most commoners in Edo were tenants, and they cleaned down the inside walls of wells, removed all the water from wells and scooped dirt out of their bottom under the direction of their superintendents. Edo didn't have a sewerage system, but it had public drinking water supplies.

The children of samurai families studied at the schools of the feudal domains. About 40% of the farmers and townspeople are estimated to have studied at the schools which taught reading, writing and arithmetic necessary for merchants, artisans and farmers.

The parents of the farmers and townspeople payed tuition and fees in proportion to their income. The parents in rural areas often payed in kind. Terakoya school teachers were proud of their works, so they didn't expel the children of people that fell behind in their tuition payments.
It is said that Edo had a literacy rate of nearly 100 percent at the end of the Edo period.

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