May, 2013

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by Harumi Okochi.
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The Kannon-sama
of Tsubosaka Temple

Johruri at Kinshoji Temple

   Kinshoji Temple is the place where the Japanese greatest playwright Chikamatsu Monzaemon lived for some years to study here when he was very young. The Chinese characters of Kinsho and Chikamatsu are just same.
Here, in this Temple, Miss Naruko Takemoto, a Johruri artist in Karatsu, did her annual performance in March.
In the temple, the stage for the dolls was prepared.
This photo is a little before the stage begins. You see two dolls at the right end of the picture.
Program of the day. I was invited, and went there willingly.
I am one of the supporters.
Miss Naruko Takemoto is the only one lady performer of Johruri in Kyushu.
She is very busy teaching everywhere in Kyushu.
She gives the opening speech before the Buddha.
A primary school principal made a speech next. She was happy that her pupils are learning Johruri enthusiastically, and it makes them very positive, cheerful, and friendship is growing.
The play was performed with two dolls, the young pilgrim Otsuru and her Mother, whom Otsuru doesn't know to be her mother.
To make one doll act, three people are necessary.
Children are quite good, and as a team, they are helping each other so much.

The story is told by ten children sitting before the stage.
They say the words of the dolls and also they narrate the story.
Oyumi, the mother asks this young pilgrim her name and where is her home town, and finds out that this girl is the daughter whom she had to leave when the girl was only 5 years old.
Mother cannot tell the girl she is her mother.
Oyumi takes care of Otsuru tenderly. So, even without knowing she is her real mother, Otsuru weeps in her bosom feeling the warm love of mother.

The audience cried together.
13 pupils of the fourth grade performed Rakugo Jugemu.
In one voice, in one heart.
The oldest student of Miss Naruko's is an ex-school teacher in her middle 80's.
Young students sing spring songs.
She might be a promising young Johruri artist in future.
The smallest Shamisen player is this girl.
A blind man joins every year, playing western style drum with Japanese Shamisens.
The local Kabuki players from Oita Prefecture played a popular play of Shiranami Gonin Otoko.
One of the five actors was an actress in Karatsu, Miss Ikuko Omotani.
The last play was The Tsubosaka Reigenki.
Miss Takemoto Naruko chants, and her daughter, Miss Tsurusawa Tomorie plays the shamisen.
This doll is Osato. She is going to throw herself from the top of the cliff, because her blind husband Sawaichi had jumped off from here to free his loved wife Osato from the difficult life of taking care of Sawaichi.
The Kannnon Buddha of the Tsubosaka Temple pitied the husband and wife, and they were given life again, and Sawaichi's blind eyes open now.
In this Kinshoji Temple, the legend says Chikamatsu Monzaeon studied here.
this is the monument.
And this is the tomb-stone of Chikamatsu Monzaemon.

I have written about Johruri, or Bunraku, before.
Please see this too.
I wrote about Naruko, too.

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