Saturday, December 11, 2010

Daikyoji Mukashi-Goyomi

"Daikyoji Mukashi-Goyomi(大経師昔暦)" is a bunraku play, which was written by Chikamatsu Monzaemon(近松門左衛門) based on an actual incident.

Mohei(茂兵衛) and Osan(おさん) who committed adultery were crucified and Tama(玉) who helped their illicit affair was beheaded after being dragged around the town in 1683. Osan's husband was Daikyoji Ishun(大経師以春) and Mohei was one of Ishun's top apprentices.

Daikyoji family line was forced to cease to exist in the 12th month in 1684 because Ishun asked the magistrate's office in Edo to have an exclusive right to issue calendars without permission from the competent authorities.
The play was premiered in 1715 corresponding to 32 years after their death.

Daikyoji was an excellent scroll mounter(picture framer) under the patronage of the Imperial Court and was entitled to issue calendars.
The play starts at Ishun's house in Kyoto on the 1st day of the 11th month in the lunar calendar(corresponding to December 7th in the Gregorian calendar) in 1684.

Ishun brings new calendars to the members of the imperial family from early in the morning and is served with sake at each stop. Ishun's apprentices pack new calendars to send to Edo and Osaka, arrange for selling in Kyoto and prepare to give a great feast with his relatives.

Osan consults with Mohei to help her father in serious economic trouble. Although Mohei tries to come up with the money for her father without telling Ishun, another apprentice indicts his illegal actions. Mohei maintains secrecy about her father under torture. Tama, who is a apprentice and loves him, takes the rap although he brushed off her advances. Ishun is incensed by her conduct.

That night Osan goes to Tama's room to thank her, and Osan learns that Ishun comes in Tama's room to hit on her every night.  Tama says that she loves Mohei although he doesn't requite her love. Ishun was outraged because Tama dismissed him with a laugh and stood up for Mohei. Osan switch places with Tama to put down and punish her husband.

However, it is Mohei who steals into Tama's room. He comes to her to return her love. Mohei and Osan are unaware of getting the wrong person. They notice their catastrophic mistake and run away from home.

They go to her parents' home. Although taking a harsh attitude to her, her father gives money to her by pretending to drop his wallet. Chikamatsu describes the feelings of aging parents very well.

Moonlight silhouettes them and two poles against the wall. Their silhouettes lap over ones of the poles as if they are crucified upon a cross.

Tama is taken to her uncle and is resigned to die for her master. She frets about Mohei and Osan. Her uncle puts a crime upon her and cuts her head off to save them.
It doesn't make sense to me.

His unwise behavior precludes the possibility of taking testimony from the only witness. They are captured, but a Buddhist monk her father knows saves them on the way to a venue for public executions. Unlike the true story, this play has a happy ending.

She misses her husband who is her childhood friend during her life on the run. However, most of the audience think Mohei is more attractive than her husband and Mohei and Osan are a good match. Didn't they really have romantic feelings for each other?

The movie named The Crucified Lovers (近松物語, Chikamatsu Monogatari) in 1954 and the TV drama named Osan no Koi(おさんの恋:Osan's love) in 1985 depict the love of them.

There are some scroll mounters in Tokyo that was given the title of "Daikyoji" as an excellent scroll mounter by the Edo Shogunate.

They had the right to bear a surname and to wear a sword during the Edo period. They had access to the Edo Castle. Most commoners were not allowed to have a surname in the Edo Period.

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