Chikamatsu monogatari (A Story From Chikamatsu)

“Kawaguchi adapted the play, though Yoda Yoshikata wrote the script. This is probably the most beautiful adaptation of a play by Chikamatsu, who wrote around 1700 for the puppet theater. His plays are political, dealing, as they do, with those who could not cope with the repressive and unrelenting moral code of the Tokugawa. The calendar-maker to the Emperor, having acquired semi-samurai status through his appointment, came under the legislation governing the warrior class: when his wife committed adultery, he failed to report it and suffered the consequences - confiscation and banishment.

“But the film, like the play, emphasizes the relationship between the wife, Osan, and Mohei, the principal artisan, and their accidental liaison which came about because they had been accused of it. According to Yoda, the script is considered to be his best. The roles balance Hasegawa, a former onnagata famed and beloved for his characterizations of gentle and passionate townsmen, with Kagawa, whose first long-skirt or adult role this was. (In fact, Naniwa Chieko, who plays her mother, had to teach her to wear the kimono with long skirts common in the Tokugawa period but now restricted to professional entertainers. Note, too, that Kagawa's kimono is cut to suggest the fullness on top of the women puppets of Bunraku.)”

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