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Snake Willow (Jayanagi)
The Kabuki Eighteen
Snake Willow (Jayanagi)

It is thought that this rarely performed play portrayed a foolish man called Tanba no Jotaro who becomes possessed by the spirit of a girl who died of a broken heart. The spirit forces him to act out a frenzy of jealousy in aragoto style. The Snake Willow mentioned in the title refers to a tree at the foot of Mount Koya that was blessed by the Buddhist saint Kukai and said to represent a thousand year bond between men and women. Legend says that the tree was born from a snake snakes were thought to carry the jealousy of women who had been abandoned by their husbands in order to become monks on the male-only Mount Koya. The play was revived in 1947 by Ichikawa Sansho in a script by Kawajiri Seitan.

Premiere : Fifth month, 1763
Original title : A Hundred Plovers, Visits to the Oiso Pleasure District (Momo Chidori Oiso Gayoi)
Actor : Danjuro IV
Theatre : Nakamura-za, Edo
Text : Hattori Yukio, Ichikawa Danjuro Daidai. Tokyo: Kodansha, 2002.
Prints : Collection of the National Diet Library
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