33rd Public Lecture

Chushingura (The Treasury of Loyal Retainers) in Narrative Arts

 The subject of the 2002 seminar, which was held at the Edo-Tokyo Museum on December 19, 2002, was the way Chushingura, a famed tale of loyalty and revenge based on a true incident , has been treated in such forms of storytelling as Rakugo (comic storytelling) and Kodan (a more serious form of professional storytelling).
The year 2003 was the 300th anniversary of the Ako Revenge, the highlight of the Chushingura tale, in which 47 samurai burst into the mansion of Kira Yoshinaka, a powerful noble responsible for the death of their former master, Asano Naganori, the lord of Ako. After executing Kira, the samurai surrendered themselves for punishment.
This act captured the imagination of the Japanese people, and has in the ensuing three centuries been depicted in a wide variety of art forms, including Rakugo, Kodan, Naniwabushi, film, and light comedy, in addition to the famous Kabuki and Joruri (puppet) plays based on the incident.
For the seminar, Yanagiya Sankyo gave a performance of the Rakugo story, Nakamura Nakazo, which closely follows the Kabuki play, Kanadehon Chushingura, while storyteller Takarai Bakin recited Juhachi Kajo Moshihiraki, a Kodan which describes the emotional state of Oishi Kuranosuke, the leader of the 47 retainers, after revenge had been exacted.
These performances were accompanied by the lectures Rakugo Technique and Chushingura by Onodera Setsuko, and The Spread of Chushingura Culture by Kodama Ryuichi.


Yanagiya Sankyo performs Nakamura Nakazo


Takarai Bakin performs Juhachi Kajo Moshihiraki

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