Ehon Taikoki (The Illustrated Chronicles of the Regent) (絵本太功記)
The Ehon Taikoki is a play of ningyo joruri (traditional Japanese puppet theater). It is a collaboration work with Yanagi CHIKAMATSU, Kosuiken CHIKAMATSU and Senyoken CHIKAMATSU, a historical play. It consists of 13 acts. On July 12, 1799, it was played for the first time at Osaka Toyochiku-za Theater. Latterly, it was performed as Kabuki.
It was based on a historical fact in a time between Akechi MITSUHIDE driving Nobunaga ODA into death and Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI killing Mitsuhide, extracted from "Shinsho Taikoki"and "Ehon Taikoki"and staged. From on June 1 to on June 13, it is made one act for a day.
Among these, the 10th act, the act of Amagasaki is commonly called 'Taijyu.'
Generally speaking of 'Ehon Taikoki,' the 10th act represents 'Ehon Taikoki' because this act is such famous.
Mitsuhide TAKECHI, who was ashamed by his lord, Harunaga ODA finally got beyond bearing and decided to rise in revolt, killed Oda. On the other hand, Hisayoshi MASHIBA who faced off against the Takamatsu castellan, Muneharu SHIMIZU ordered hara-kiri and immediately made peace with Kobaigawa (from historical fact, Kobayakawa).
However, Satsuki, who was a mother of Mitsuhide got angry and left home. Mitsuhide tried harakiri but was remonstrated, and left for the Imperial Palace to kill Hisayoshi. Satsuki retreated in Amagasaki but Jujiro, a Mitsuhide's son and his fiancee Hatsugiku got married and Jujiro came out into the field. That time, a monk was looking for an inn but Mitsuhide, who came later detected the monk as Hisayoshi and pierce him with a spear over the shoji, Japanese paper door. However, it was Satsuki. Then dying Jujiro came back. Finally war situation is hopeless. Mitsuhide, who lost Satsuki and Jujiro was upset but Hisayoshi and Masakiyo SATO appeared and promised Mitsuhide to meet him again at Tenno-zan Mountain.
Mitsuhide TAKECHI as a real person Mitsuhide AKECHI in history. He was ashamed by his lord Harunaga ODA and attacked Honno-ji temple to kill him.
Hisayoshi MASHIBA as a real person Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI in history. He disguise himself as a traveling monk in hiding to revenge for his lord.
TakechiJujiro as a son of Mitsuhide
His mother was called Misao, his wife was called Hatsugiku.
Satsuki as a mother of Mitsuhide
She scolded Mitsuhide, who rebelled. She was mistaken as Hideyoshi, speared and killed by Mitsuhide Hisayoshi.
The tequnic giving different names to the characters from historical real ones is also shown in "the Kanatehon Chushingura"and other works.
In early part, it was a love story between Jujiro and Hatsugiku. The scene of a farewell between Jujiro, who prepare for death and Hatsugiku raised a sympathy by the audience, who lost their family during WWII. With a heroic Gidayu (Japanese traditional music) (入るや月漏る片庇、ここに刈り取る真柴垣、夕顔棚のこなたよりあらわれ出でたる武智光秀) and Mitsuhide's omie (kabuki's highly theatrical pose) taking off his kasa (a Japanese hat), the last half starts.
Derived from the lines, this act is called 'the act of moonflowers trellis.'
Following stage is Mitsuhide's one-man performance.
At first, Satsuki and Misao give their deep feeling of sorrow but he closes his eyes quietly but this requires high skill performance as if he plays nothing,
There are a lot of actable highlights, such as Mitsuhide being surprised at Jujiro saying 'Traitor Takechi' and shouting 'oh what!,' crying loudly for the death of a mother and her son, and brave performance with Hisayhoshi and Masakiyo in the end. Successive Mituhide actors such as Danzo ICHIKAWA the seventh, Cyusha ICHIKAWA the seventh, Shoroku ONOE the second, their excellent stages became legendry.
In this act, Zagashira (a leading actor of the troupe), Wakashu (a youg man),Onnagata (a male actor in female Kabuki roles). Such as Musumeyaku (a daughter role-player), Tateyaku (a male lead of the Kabuki troupe), Babayaku (an old woman role-player), this play allows Kabuki actors plays a completely different role, it's often chosen for the name-taking ceremony play. Especially in 1972, in the name taking ceremony Kyogen theater for Tosshi SAWAMURA the eighth at the Kabukiza theater, it provided the best casting such as, Chusya the seventh as Mitsuhide, Uzaemon ICHIMURA the fifteenth as Jujiro,Sojuro SAWAMURA the seventh as Hatsugiku,Baiko ONOE the sixth as Misao,Sadanji ICHIKAWA the second as Hisayoshi, Gennosuke SAWAMURA the sixth as Satsuki, and Tosshi as Masakiyo that moved Tosshi to tears.
1st Ganjiro NAKAMURA played Jujiro and he put bloodstains on his zori (Japanese sandals). It's was a rendering to signify that he was just back from the battlefield, however, it was regarded as too much detailed and fell into disrepute.
Also in the stage of Jujiro,Mitsuhide stepped out of the nijyuyatai (literally, double stages)
The idea was taken from that, when a blind actor took a misstep due to his enthusiastic performance, an accompanist Shamisen (Japanese stringed instrument) player used his wit to played strongly to cover his mistake.