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By C. Andrew. Gerstle, C. Andrew Gerstle

Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1653-1725), sometimes called "Japan's Shakespeare" and a "god of writers," was once arguably the main well-known playwright in jap background and wrote greater than a hundred performs for the kabuki and bunraku theaters. this day, the performs of this significant literary determine are played on kabuki and bunraku levels in addition to within the glossy theater, and forty-nine movies of his performs were made, thirty-one of them from the silent era.Translations of Chikamatsu's performs can be found, yet we have now few examples of his overdue paintings, during which he more and more integrated stylistic components of his shorter, modern dramas into his longer interval items. Translator C. Andrew Gerstle argues that during those mature background performs, Chikamatsu depicted the strain among the non-public and public spheres of society by means of combining the wealthy personality improvement of his modern items with the bigger political subject matters of his interval items. during this quantity Gerstle interprets 5 performs -- 4 histories and one modern piece -- by no means sooner than on hand in English that supplement different collections of Chikamatsu's paintings, revealing new dimensions to the paintings of this nice jap playwright and artist.

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Example text

Entertainment (nagusami ) lies between the two. Therefore, one must add extra elements (shuko) of stylization to create art that gives pleasure to the audience or reader. Two other terms essential to Chikamatsu’s discussion are urei and aware. Both words mean “pathos,” and in the context of joruri, they refer to tragic Introduction climactic moments. Chikamatsu is straightforward on the method of portraying pathos: he places giri, translated by Keene as “restraint,” as the agent of tragedy. Giri (rational principles, proper behavior) was a technical term for Confucian thinkers such as Hozumi Ikan, Chikamatsu’s friend who recorded his ideas.

One is the creation of a direct connection between the “ferryman” Karaito (wife of the murderer of Umewaka) and Umewaka’s mother Hanjo. This clever shift allows for a completely different attitude toward the deranged woman searching desperately for her lost child. Chikamatsu also creates Hanjo as a realistic figure who expresses a range of feelings far greater than is allowed in the no version, with its convention of restraint. She is truly a desperate mother seeking her lost child; moreover, we know the details of all that she has been through before arriving at the banks of the Sumida River.

I comment on their significance in the notes to the text. His portrayal of such madness (Hanjo for her children, and Sota, initially in pursuit of a courtesan and later in his quest for money) is different from that in no or earlier works in that it is more realistic. Chikamatsu was interested in individual personality and the causes and consequences of madness and crime, and so Hanjo and Sota are fully developed, complex figures. 10 It was, nevertheless, a critical leap within the joruri genre to make the traditional villain character, the slave trader who kills his master, into the hero.

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