Kinkakuji and the miracles of Princess Yuki (The Gion Festival)

magic Muromachi period Kyoto Kinkakuji



Gion Sairei Shinkoki

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Written by Akei Nakamura, Oritsu Toyotake, Itcho Asada, etc., this play was first staged at the Toyotakeza Theatre in 1757.

The Golden Pavilion


Daizen Matsunaga, an evil retainer of Shogun Yoshiteru Ashikaga, has assassinated the Shogun and confined Keijuin, the Shogun's mother, as a hostage on the upper floor of Kinkakuji (the Golden Pavilion) in Kyoto.

Keijuin has expressed a wish to have a dragon painted on the ceiling of the room to which she is confined. She has especially asked that the painting be done either by Yukihime, her lady-in-waiting and daughter of a famous painter, or Yukihime's husband, Naonobu Kano. In order to propitiate Keijuin, Daizen has commanded the two artists to paint but both have refused.

With amorous designs on Yukihime, Daizen has thrown her husband Naonobu into prison and is now attempting to force Yukihime into compliance.

Into Daizen's presence at the Golden Pavilion is brought Tokichi, who has applied to his service as a strategist. In fact he is still completely loyal to his old master, Nobunaga Oda, and is seeking a chance to rescue Keijuin. Daizen challenges Tokichi to a game of go.

Yukihime, who has been promised that Naonobu will be freed if she will agree to paint the dragon and become Daizen's mistress, after an agony of indecision tells Daizen the will agree to both demands in order to save Naonobu's life. Daizen, despite his pledge, gives an order for the execution of Naonobu but Yukihime threatens to break her own promises and the order is countermanded.

Tokichi beats Daizen in the game of go. Daizen, annoyed at being beaten, throws a wooden container of go stones into the well in the garden and orders Tokichi to recover it without wetting his hands. Tokichi uses a hollow bamboo pole to divert a waterfall into the well so that it is filled to the brim. Then he takes out the floating box with a fan and hands it to Daizen. All those present are surprised by Tokichi's ingenuity. Daizen formally accepts Tokichi's services and bids him go with his retainers to seal the bond and drink a pledge.

Left alone with Yukihime, Daizen again orders her to paint the picture but she refuses. Daizen draws his sword and goes with Yukihime into the garden. When Daizen holds the drawn sword over the waterfali, a golden dragon appears. This phenomenon convinces Yukihime that the sword is none other than her late father's, which was stolen when he was murdered. There is now little doubt that Daizen is the murderer. So Yukihime attacks Daizen but is repulsed and tied to a cherry tree in the garden. Naonobu is taken to Mt. Funaoka to be executed there.

When left alone, Yukihime gathers fallen cherry blossom petals with her feet and draws in them a picture of a rat with her toes. So consummate is her art that the picture takes life and becomes a real rat which gnaws through her bonds to set her free.

Yukihime tries to run away to rescue her husband when Kitota, Daizen's brother, catches hold of her. Kitota is, however, killed with a dagger thrown at him. Soon Tokichi appears and, taking a sword from Kitota's waist, delivers it to Yukihime. Yukihime recognizes it as her father's missing sword. The wishes to avenge her father with the sword immediately but is advised by Tokichi to bide her time. Tokichi then successfully rescues Keijuin from confinement. He tells Yukihime to go to Mt. Funaoka to join Naonobu, who is being taken care of by his retainer Gumpei.

Copyright 2015