4th Kyoto University-Inamori Foundation Joint Kyoto Prize Symposium
July 1-2, 2017
Theme “Windows to the Future” - Looking Through the Eyes of Bio/Medical Technology, Mathematics, and Art - (Finished)

Yokozen Kabuki Children's Workshop
Theater, Cinema

Yokozen Kabuki Children’s Workshop

Nagi Board of Education, Okayama Prefecture

Title of Performance

“The 10th Act: The Amagasaki Scene from the Kabuki Play The Picture Book of the Taiko

The Kabuki Play The Picture Book of the Taiko is a 13-act play based on the historical defeat of the feudal lord Akechi Mitsuhide at the hands of Hashiba Hideyoshi after Mitsuhide killed his own lord Oda Nobunaga at Honnō-ji Temple. The play was first performed in 1799. The 10th act, usually called the Amagasaki Scene, became popular as an historical kyogen piece (known to aficionados as “Taijū,” (an appellation that combines the abbreviated title of the piece with the act number). It is still often performed today. All of the main roles provide an excellent opportunity for actors to display their talent, making it a good play for dividing roles within a theater company. As with many Kabuki plays, the historical figures are given thinly disguised aliases: Akechi Mitsuhide is called Takechi Mitsuhide, and Hashiba Hideyoshi is called Mashiba Hisayoshi.

The scene begins with Mitsuhide’s wife Misao arriving with Hatsugiku, the fiancée of her and Mitsuhide’s child Jūjiro, to the cottage retreat of Mitsuhide’s mother Satsuki. Satsuki and Misao lament the fact that they had the rebellious Mitsuhide as a son and husband, respectively. Jūjiro marries Hatsugiku at the cottage in a ceremony that includes exchanging cups of saké, and, with deep reluctance, departs for battle knowing that he will probably die on the battlefield.

A traveling monk then appears and asks to stay the night at the cottage. He is secretly followed by Mitsuhide, who has seen through the monk’s disguise and knows that he is really Mitsuhide’s enemy Hisayoshi. Mitsuhide jabs a bamboo spear through a shoji screen believing he has struck his enemy but discovers that he has stabbed not Hisayoshi but his own mother Satsuki. Satsuki dies, bewailing her son’s infidelity to his lord. Meanwhile Jūjiro returns seriously wounded and reports that Mitsuhide’s allies are in retreat. Expressing tender concern for his father, Jūjiro breathes his last. Mitsuhide and Hisayoshi vow to meet again for one last showdown on the battlefield and go their separate ways.

(Note: Owing to time limitations, the day’s performance will begin halfway through the traditional scene. Believing that he has found his enemy Hisayoshi, Mitsuhide stabs a bamboo spear through a “shoji” paper screen. However, it is not an enemy who receives the fatal strike, but Mitsuhide’s own mother Satsuki.)

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A brief Biography

Yokozen Kabuki Children’s Workshop was established in 1996 as a life-long learning program of the Nagi Board of Education, Okayama Prefecture with the mission of handing down the Yokozen Kabuki performance tradition to future generations.

Under the guidance of the Yokozen Kabuki Preservation Society, the workshop produces regular performances of Yokozen Kabuki with young actors whose popular, charming performances put adult actors to shame.

1966: Yokozen Kabuki Preservation Society founded.
1996: Yokozen Kabuki Children’s Workshop established.
Details of selected Awards and Honors