Narukami (The rolling God) (鳴神)

Narukami is one of the kabuki plays. The title in kabuki is "Narukamifudo Kitayamazakura," and it was first played in 1742. At first Narukami was played with 'Kenuki (tweezers)' and 'Fudo' as a part of "Narukamifudo Kitayamazakura," which is a long story. To be more specific, 'Kenuki kabuki juhachiban 'Kenuki' is Act 3, 'Narukami' Act 4 and 'Fudo' Act 5.

It was designated as one of the Kabuki juhachiban (eighteen best plays of the Ichikawa family of kabuki actors) by Danjuro ICHIKAWA, the seventh.

It was not played during Meiji Era, but in 1910 Sadanji ICHIKAWA revived the play based on the book written by Onitaro OKA. It is one of the most popular kabuki kyogen plays.

Story line

Saint Narukami prayed for the birth of a prince in exchange for making then emperor build a temple, and succeeds. However, as the emperor broke the promise, Narukami locks up the dragon god of rainmaking in the waterfall basin using jujutsu (an occult act). As a result of the occult act, the regions all over Japan are affected by drought and peasants suffer from it. Then, the emperor sends Kumonotaema hime (princess), the most beautiful lady in the court to Narukami, trying to break the spell with woman's charms. Narukami inadvertently touches her tricked by her sexual charms. At last he not only violates the commandment but also gets drunk into sleep. Judging the right time, Kumonotaema hime releases the dragon god from the waterfall basin, and the god provides heavy rain. Knowing that he was deceived, Narukami flies into a fury with his hair standing on end and the patterns of his clothes becoming fire. And he who has become raijin (god of lightning) 'Narukami' goes after the princess.

[Original Japanese]