Tôkaidôchû hizakurige: Akasaka namiki no dan

Tôkaidôchû hizakurige: Akasaka namiki no dan

Tôkaidôchû hizakurige: Akasaka namiki no dan

Background

“Tôkaidôchû hizakurige” is originally a comic novel of the late Edo period published from 1802 to 1814 written by Jippensha Ikku (1765-1831). Yajirobê who is native in Suruga (Shizuoka) but currently lives in the downtown Kanda-Hacchôbori in Edo and his friend Kitahachi who is an itinerant actor are main characters. One day, they decide to pay visit to Ise shrine to pray for an escape from evil. They travel together taking the Route Tôkaidô from Edo to Ise and then visit Kyoto and Osaka. They make a lot of pranks, botches, and troubles on the way. The novel became a bestseller and created a travel boom in the society of the late Edo period. The story was arranged into kabuki and ningyô-jôruri, expecting a same great hit.

Synopsis

Yajirobê and Kitahachi were on the way to Kamigata (western Japan) for sightseeing and just passing through the pine tree street between Goyu and Akasaka stations. Gradually getting dark, Kitahachi was worriedly waiting for Yajirobê who was behind him. Yajirobê carried no light with him. While waiting, Kitahachi felt a little bit scared because he heard that a fox bewitched humans around that area. Suddenly, a fox yelped and frightened him. But in fact, the fox voice was made by Yajirobê. The ‘fox’ continued to threaten him and claimed lots of complaints on the travel. It teased Kitahachi by demanding him to eat horse dung and finally let him burden a baggage. After a while Kitahachi found that the fox was actually Yajirobê. He got angry but soon they restored friendship and hurried on their way.

When they came across a big cemetery, they saw a child wearing a big hat and carrying a sake bottle. Then, something mysterious happens….

Next morning, when they got up, Yajirobê was wearing a dead man’s costume and Kiatahachi only underwear. They thought that they had been bewitched by a true fox, but they encouraged themselves to continue a travel even though they were stripped cloths off.