Collaboration between Danjuro XI and Kawatake Mokuami (a Kabuki playwright), Connecting the Edo and Meiji Eras 『黙阿弥の明治維新』 Kōchiyama, Michitose/Naozamurai 『天粉上野初花』 河内山宗俊、三千歳直侍
Talk and DVD presentation By Toshi Aoyagi
During the challenging period of the Meiji Restoration (1868–1912), the playwright Kawatake Moakuami (1816–1893) wrote many Kabuki plays for Danjuro XI (1838–1903). Fulfilling his responsibility as a principal writer for major Kabuki theatres such as Shintomi-za and Kabuki-za, Moakuami demonstrated his craftsmanship and versatility. Both the new government and Danjuro himself demanded from Mokuami academically intellectualized, sophisticated plays which followed the historical facts rather than the theatrical fantasy, and the playwright responded quite remarkably. However, the audience did not favour these new theatrical trials. Almost the only success among the Mokuami-Danjuro collaborations was “Kumo ni Magou Ueno no Hatsuhana”, a story set in the Edo era about a cunning blackmailer, Kōchiyama, and a sensuous love couple, Michitose and Naozamurai. This is a highly nostalgic homage to the Edo period from the Meiji era, romanticized by the Kiyomoto music.