Tsumoru Koi Yuki no Seki no To (Mounting Love at the Snowbound Barrier)

Tsumoru Koi Yuki no Seki no To (Mounting Love at the Snowbound Barrier)

Product Description

NTSC, Region Code All, English Commentary and booklet notes. 90 mins (main programme) + 23 minutes (special feature on 50 selected works of Kabuki). Colour. Filmed May 1979.
Matsumoto Koshiro VIII (Matsumoto Hakuo 1910-1982) was a leading tachiyaku (male role) actor following the war. Playing Sekibei/Otomo no Kuronushi in this play was one of his best known roles. Nakamura Utaemon VI (1917-2001) was the leading onnagata (female role actor) of the post war years, known for playing Ono no Komachi/Sumizome/the spirit of the cherry tree in this play. Onoe Baiko VII (1915-1995) was also a leading onnagata and nimaime actor of the time.
Tsumoru Koi Yuki no Seki no To is a Tokiwazu dance drama first performed in 1784. Tokiwazu music by Tobaya Richo I and Kishizawa Shikisa II. After the death of Emperor Ninmyo a loyal courtier Yoshimine no Munesada retires to Mount Osaka to pray for the repose of his soul. Nearby is the barrier gate of Osaka, a checkpoint guarded by Sekibei, and the late emperor's favourite cherry tree. It is winter but the tree is in full bloom. In the heavy snow, a famous court beauty Ono no Komachi appears, and requests permission to pass through the barrier. Sekibei asks her to answer some questions, this being the mondo (question and answer) section, when the Tokiwazu musicians take over the dialogue leaving the actors to mime. Watching nearby has been Munesada, a former lover of Komachi, and Sekibei asks to hear about their first meeting which Komachi recalls in dance form (kudoki). Later is a teodori section in which all three characters reveal their personalities through dancing. Sekibei is actually Otomo no Kuronoshi a villain who is plotting to unsurp the throne. At the end is a fierce struggle, with bukkaeri costume changes as Sekibei reveals his identity and the courtezan Sumizome as the spirit of the cherry tree. The dances closes with a picture like tableau as Sumizome poses above her enemy.