Tôjuro no koi (Love of a Kabuki Actor)

“The June program opens with Tôjuro no koi, a remake of Yamamoto's 1938 film which also starred Hasegawa as Sakata Tôjuro, a Kyoto actor who in 1688 is losing in a competition with an actor visiting from Edo. A new play is written for him by Chikamatsu (the very one which forms the basis for Mizoguchi's Chikamatsu monogatari to be screened June 27 and also stars Hasegawa), but he and his onnagata (an actor who specializes in women's roles) develop problems in staging the love scene because neither of them has ever made love to a married woman: adultery, under the Tokugawa, is punishable by death for both parties. In desperation, Tôjuro makes love to his friend's wife, Okaji; when she sees the performance, she realizes his deception and commits suicide beneath the stage.

“This beautifully mounted production could have been merely a star vehicle for Hasegawa, a Kabuki actor and former onnagata himself, except for the script by Yoda Yoshikata. Tôjuro no koi is a particularly sharp critique of ‘feudal' Japanese society and the relationship of the hero to it. Where, in Japanese drama, everyone is victimized by the political structure, for Yoda, only something so concrete as the individual victimization of a woman can indicate the extent of the political structure's permeation of not only the society but of the psyche. For Yoda, men are psychologically integrated into the political structure at the point where they take advantage of the privileges afforded them by the repressive society.”

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