Kabuki Review by Sekidobashi Sakura
Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura
Tokaiya, Daimotsu Bay
April 2004 in Kabukiza Theater
★story ★English-top ★Japanese-top
'Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura' was first performed in 1747 as a puppet play. And it was first performed as kabuki the next year. It was written by Takeda Izumo, Miyoshi Shoraku, and Namiki Senryu, and they are well known as the playwrights who wrote the big three kabuki plays, and this play is one of them. Kabukiza Theater showed its second act this time.
At the Taira-Minamoto war, the supreme commander of the Taira family was Munemori, but in the fact Tomomori was the leader. In 'The Tale of Heike', Tomomori is described as a great and brave commander. At the Dannoura battle, he showed sharp insight in observing the downfall of the Taira family. Although Tomomori committed suicide by jumping into the water, he had been a warrior until the end. I think that Tomomori has embodied the aesthetics of the downfall.
In this play, Tomomori has been survived, and he is waiting a chance to do the vendetta of the Taira family, and his enemy is Yoshitsune. Yoshitsune was a battle commander of the Minamoto family, but his elder brother Yoritomo, later the first Shogun of the Kamakura shogunate government, eliminated him after the Dannoura battle. Yoshitsune was pressured by Yoritomo's army already, when Tomomori attacked to Yoshitsune at Daimotsu Bay, Nevertheless, I think that Tomomori could have felt that nobody was enough as a battle commander than Yoshitsune. Yoshitsune was a symbol as his enemy.
A boy emperor Antoku was the symbol of the Taira family, and Tomomori brought him up as Tomomori's daughter, nevertheless, he rebelled against Tomomori finally. I think that there was nothing to bother Tomomori in the world except Antoku. Although Yoshitune was an enemy of Tomomori, Yoshitsune was just an enemy for him. So Antoku mustn't have rebelled against Tomomori, and Tomomori's world disappeared then. The real history said that Antoku could have been a girl. I think that the playwrights could have known it.
At the ending of this play, Tomomori jumped into water with a big anchor. It isn't wrong to say that he reenacted the scene of his death at the Dannoura battle. Tomomori was 33, when he died. If the situation had been different, I think that Tomomori could have made the Taira family better as a ruling clan. I lament his death. (2004,4,3)
★story ★English-top ★Japanese-top ★page-top