Fuji Musume (Wisteria Maiden) (藤娘)

Fuji Musume can refer to the following. A subject of the Otsu-e (Otsu paintings, named after the town of Otsu in Shiga Prefecture). A girl in a black nurigasa (lacquered conical hat) of fujizukushi (wisteria design), holding a branch of wisteria flowers.

A nagauta (long epic song with shamisen accompaniment) derived from Otsu-e, and finally, also a number in Classical Japanese dance.

Additionally, Fuji Musume is used in the making of Japanese dolls and in raised cloth pictures for hagoita (battledore).

Fuji Musume in Otsu-e

Fuji Musume is one of the subjects of Otsu-e, pictures by a painter called Matahei and a famous product of Otsu Domain of the Province of Omi. It is also referred to as katsugimusume and fujikatsugimusume (Wisteria Maiden).

Fuji Musume in nagauta

Fuji Musume is a song in a nagauta and a classical Japanese dance derived from the Otsu-e, 'katsugimusume.'
It was first performed in 1826 by Seki Sanjuro at the second Edo Nakamura-za Theater. The lyrics were written by Genpachi KATSUI. Originally, it was a gohengebuyo (five-transformation variety of dance) in which a girl coming out of a picture dances, but since the time of Kikugoro ONOUE the sixth the stage effects were altered to that of a wisteria spirit dancing as a girl, and this style became common and is now a popular Kabuki Buyo (Kabuki Dance).

Fuji Musume when it was first performed

It contained as one of the pieces from the last act, 'Kaesu Gaesu Nagori no Otsue,' in the Gidayu Kyogen (Kabuki adaptations of puppet plays), 'Keisei Hangonko.'
It was a gohengebuyo in which the spirits of pictures come out one after the other from an Otsu-e painting drawn by the painter Domomata (meaning Matahei, the stammerer), and the villain is chastened. Fuji Musume dances are performed in costumes similar to that of the Otsu-e. The other spirits of pictures include, zato (the leader of a troupe), tenjin (heavenly gods), yakko (varlet), and sendo (boatman).

Fuji Musume in Kabuki Buyo

It was established by Kikugoro ONOUE the sixth in 1937 who separated Fuji Musume the gohengebuyo, and inserted 'fujiondo' (marching songs of the wisteria, by Onitaro OKA) between parts of the nagauta, transforming the stage effects. The large pine tree with wisteria tangled on it represents men, and the wisteria represents women. In the plot, a wisteria spirit with a wisteria branch in her hand dances in front of the large pine tree covered with wisteria, lamenting how men's feelings can be difficult to win over. As she dances intoxicated and is getting carried away, the bell from a faraway temple rings telling it is nightfall, and the girl disappears into the night.

[Original Japanese]