Iki-utsushi Asagao Nikki: Ôigawa River Scene

Iki-utsushi Asagao Nikki: Ôigawa River Scene

Iki-utsushi Asagao Nikki: Ôigawa River Scene

Background

A book titled Asagao Nikki was published in 1811, which was based on the story Asagao, written by Shiba Shisou, and Chinese story Tôkasen. It has been developed into kabuki pieces such as Shô-utsushi Asagao Nikki (1813) and Keisei Tsukushi no Tsumagoto (1814). The ningyô-jôruri version, Iki-utsushi Asagao Nikki was completed and staged in 1832 based on the preceding stories and kabuki plays.

Iki-utsushi Asagao Nikki is a sad love story of a young girl, the daughter of a chief counselor of the daimyô, and a young samurai. They meet at a firefly catching event and fall in love with each other but are parted by a trick of fate. This is one of the favorite repertoire of Awaji Puppet Theatre Company; even a special travel scene was added. A well-known writer, Tanizaki Jun’ichirô (1886-1965), described the scene of the outdoor performance of this play in his novel Tade Kuu Mushi.

Synopsis

A young girl, Miyuki, the daughter of a chief counselor of the Kishido clan, meets a young samurai, Miyagi Asojirô, in a firefly catching at the Kamogawa riverside in Kyoto. They fall in love with each other, but Miyuki has to leave for her home town in Hiroshima following her father. Miyuki’s Parents encourage her to marry another man, but she refuses escapes to Kyoto. When she reaches Kyoto, she finds that Asojirô has already left. In searching for him with great difficulty and pain, she weeps herself blind and becomes a koto player. On the other hand, Asojirô was hired and changed his name to Komazawa Jirozaemon. Both he and Miyuki had actually met at a post town, Shimada, but she did not recognize him, and he could not announce himself to her in front of this colleagues. When she receives his message through the owner of the inn, she runs out to reach him and arrives at the riverside of Ôigawa. However, the river that Asojirô had just passed was now flooded and she could not cross it. Miyuki bursts into tears and bewails her misfortune.