SONEZAKI
CONTENTS
SONEZAKI
Program notes

Synopsis

Sonezaki

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Festival de Jerez
SONEZAKI
Synopsis
Tragic story of intense love that actually happened early in the 18th century. In Sonezaki, Osaka Japan, a young man by the name of Tokubei who worked at the soy sauce shop of his uncle and Ohatsu, a girl who worked at Tenmaya (brothel) loved each other and had promised to get married in the future. However Tokubeifs uncle wanted to let his hardworking nephew marry his daughter.Because Tokubei never agreed to this, his uncle gave a great sum of money to the woman that raised Tokubei, in exchange for her approval\which was against the Tokubeifs will. Knowing this situation, Tokubei insited that Ohatsu was the only girl for him, but his uncle never listened. Tokubei went to see the woman who raised him, and went through much trouble to get back the money.
On his way to his unclefs shop to return the money, Tokubei came across his best friend, Kuheiji. Kuheiji begged Tokubei to lend him the money saying that he was desperately in need of money and would return it as soon as possible. Subsequently the kind Tokubei lent all of the money to his friend.
And it was never returned.
In the meantime, Ohatsu was asked to marry a customer of Tenmaya.
Sometime later, when Tokubei and Ohatsu met in the grounds of temple, not knowing what to do with themselves, they came across Kuheij with a few of the townfs people. Tokubei asked Kuheiji to return the money, but Kuheiji insisted that he never borrowed any money. Additionally Kuheiji told everyone that Tokubei illegally appropriated the shopfs money. The whole town believed Kuheijifs lie.
Disappointed, Tokubei hid himself from prying eyes and got inside Tenmaya.Ohatsu hid Tokubei. Later, Kuheiji came to Tenmaya using the money he defrauded from his friend. Everything was going as Kuheiji wished.
Working at Tenmaya, Ohatsu was not able to choose who she could marry. And poor Tokubei was accused of embezzlement, which caused him to lose the trust of his uncle and also the reliability as a merchant. Ohatsu urged Tokubei that they should commit double-suicide and get married in heaven because they would not be able to do so in their current lives. Realizing situation and, that Ohatsu was willing to give her life for him, Tokubei decided to commit suicide. The two secretly left Tenmaya and headed to the forest of Sonezaki, where they pledged eternal love.

 
The original writer
Monzaemon Chikamatsu
1653|1724
  The original piece
The Love Suicide at Sonezaki
   

The writer of Japanese puppet shows. Created various masterworks such as gThe Love Suicide at Sonezakih and gThe Love Suicide at Amijimah in which he depicted human dramas of the general public in both modern and contemporary history.
Born in the family of a samurai, Chikamatsu soon became a masterless samurai.
This caused him to discard his warriorship, and dedicate himself to the performing arts.
Chikamatsu lived in the age of the mature phase of Kabuki and Bunraku , when Japanese puppet shows and Kabuki were the major forms of entertainments. Chikamatsu soon took on the heading role in these forms of entertainment. Furthermore, he is notonly the founder of Sewajorurim but was the most important writer in Japanese history\helping to form todayfs Kabuki and Bunraku styles.

Chikamatsufs magnum opus actually took place in Sonezaki.Firstly played at Takemoto theater in 1703, this work went on to be a huge hit.
gThe Love Suicide at Sonezakih was the first Puppet show (Sewajoruri) in the Sewakyogen style of Kabuki. There already were many plays based on the true story from the double-suicides, however Chikamatsufs pieces differed in the fact that he depicted the story not as a spectacle but through the eyes of the protagonists. Chikamatsu succeeded in writing the tragedy because he depicted the purity of the young couple who cherished their strong love and honor even at the dismay of the public. The protagonists could not avoid the destruction however it shows how passionately they lived as human beings. To fulfill the wants in heaven that could not had been accomplished in this world is a very Japanese expression of gsalvation.h
 
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