CONCLUSION

In document The evolution of Chikamatsu's history plays (Page 94-102)

C h i k a m a t s u ' s long career as a p l a y w r i g h t s h o w s his p e r s i s t e n t d e v e l o p m e n t of the art of Joruri d r a m a . This d e v e l o p m e n t is related to the i n f l u e n c e of the p e r f o r m e r s , especially in mid-career -- Takemoto Gidayu, the Kabuki actor Sakata Tojiiro, the Joruri troupe manager T a k e d a I z u m o and finally Takemoto Masatayu. Mori Shia notes that

A f t e r Chikamatsu served a court noble as a servant, he then was variously connected with Kaganojo, Gidayu, and Kabuki, until he was finally employed in the Takemoto Theatre (1).

This thesis has analysed Chikamatsu's history plays written

for the T a k e m o t o Theatre and argued that f r o m The Battles of

Coxinga o n w a r d Chikamatsu's plays show an e v e r - d e e p e n i n g e x p l o r a t i o n of the r e l a t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n p e r f o r m a n c e and dramatic plot. This process can be traced in the development of the dramatic structure, the overall integration of the traditional m u s i c a l s t r u c t u r e , and the d e v e l o p m e n t of c h a r a c t e r s o v e r

several acts, particularly in The Battles of Coxinga, Twins at

Sumida River, The Battle at the Island in Shinshu River, and Tethered Steed and The Eight Provinces of Kantd. Though these plays are still quite d i f f e r e n t from the ideal of a tightly-knit

w e s t e r n d r a m a , they are not the s a m e as C h i k a m a t s u ' s e a r l y plays which paid relatively more attention to individual scenes as i n f l u e n c e d by the N o plays, r a t h e r than to i n t e g r a t i o n of the scenes into one long tale.

Chikamatsu wrote most of his plays for Gidayij starting with Kagekiyo Victorious written in 1685, until G i d a y u ' s death in

1714. D u r i n g this period he spent ten years ( 1 6 9 5 - 1 7 0 5 ) writing K a b u k i and then wrote exclusively for Gidayu until that chanter's d e a t h . His early plays show clearly that C h i k a m a t s u f o l l o w e d Gidayii's theory of Joruri. T h e interpolation of c o m i c i n t e r l u d e s b e t w e e n acts b r o k e the f l o w of the narrative and s e p a r a t e d the d i f f e r e n t m o o d s in each act. A large f u l l - d a y p e r f o r m a n c e was r i c h in c h a n g e s of m u s i c a l p a t t e r n s and in the d i v e r s i t y of incidents in the plot. For example, in Emperor Ydmei and the Mirror for Craftsmen, it is easy to recognize the range of musical

styles described by Gidayu in his treatise: the love m u s i c in the story of Hanahito who was staying with his lover w h i l e they meet persecution; the shura music in the story about the f a m i l y of the samurai M u n e o k a ; the tragedy or pathos music in the sad story of M u n e o k a ' s m o t h e r in Act 2 and M o r o i w a ' s w i f e in A c t 3; the travel song in the story of Sanro, who was in fact P r i n c e Hanahito, and his f i a n c e T a m a y o and, finally, the c o n c l u d i n g a u s p i c i o u s m u s i c w h e n H a n a h i t o was promoted to b e c o m e E m p e r o r .

H o w e v e r , t h e m a i n c h a r a c t e r , H a n a h i t o w h o a p p e a r s throughout the whole play has only a f e w songs and speeches. It is t h e r e f o r e not easy to identify his personality and the a u d i e n c e w o u l d not f i n d interest in the overall p l o t . N e v e r t h e l e s s , the

audience is attracted by the various music patterns, the carefully chosen phrases, and the chanting styles of each scene.

In the early plays we rarely find a complex portrayal of the nature of the characters across the five acts, even among the characters who faced tragedy in Act 3 and who had the strongest appeal to the audience. Such characters appeared on stage only when they were needed as a sacrifice to lead the play to a tragic

climax. Muneoka's mother, in the Emperor Ydmei, and Kanjamaru,

in Female Goblin with a Baby, are two good examples of main characters who appear only in one act.

In contrast, in his later works Chikamatsu seemed to have consciously tried to focus more on integrating the dramatic plot into the traditional performance form, making a tight connection between each act and thereby imbuing the plays with a more coherent dramatic flavour. The tragedy of the death of Watonai's

mother and his sister Kinshbjo in the third act of The Battles of

Coxinga, for example, is a direct consequence of events in the second act in which Watonai came to China with his parents, looking for assistance to drive the aggressor Tartar people out of China proper and restore the great Ming Dynasty. This tragedy affects both Kinshojo's husband who did not mean to be a partner of Watonai but joins him later and, finally, the course of history.

This consistency of plot becomes common in the later plays,

as in The Battle at the Island in Shinshu River, where the main

plot that threads through the w h o l e play is the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the two generals, Shingen and Kenshin. At the end of

the first act, their intimate r e l a t i o n s h i p is disrupted by Y o s h i k i y o , the rival in love of Shingen's son Katsuyori. Then their conflict grows sharply, along with their fighting, in the f o l l o w i n g two acts and a f t e r the tragedy occurs in the second half of Act 3, it is resolved finally in the last two acts. By this stage in his cateer C h i k a m a t s u had f i r m l y located the c l i m a x of the w h o l e play in the third act and it is in his later plays that w e also find a coherent plot holding the entire play together.

To c o m p l e m e n t C h i k a m a t s u ' s new control of the d r a m a t i c structure, the c h a n t e r s adapted the musical s t r u c t u r e to suit the plot and heighten the dramatic e f f e c t . T h e s e c h a n g e s were m a d e m a i n l y at the level of the scenes and the tan'i p r i m a r y m u s i c unit, but the d i s t i n c t i v e a t m o s p h e r e in each act still f o l l o w e d exactly G i d a y u ' s m u s i c theory and the jo ha kyu m u s i c f o r m u l a . T h e climax consistently occurred in the third act and, in terms of the music pattern, on the second ha.

T h e c h a n g e s in the l e n g t h e n e d s c e n e s , m a r k e d by sanju notation, and the l o n g e r p r i m a r y m u s i c units, m a r k e d m a i n l y by ji-fushi m u s i c n o t a t i o n in the later p l a y s , s u p p o r t e d the m o r e d e t a i l e d d r a m a t i c p l o t . F o r e x a m p l e , the 17th and the 18th primary music units in Act 3 of the Twins at Sumida River (2), w h i c h a r e c o m p l i c a t e d u n i t s c o v e r i n g s e v e n p a g e s , a l l o w sufficient space to describe the c o m p l e x feelings of Sota. Kotoba ( s p e e c h ) n o t a t i o n s are used f r e q u e n t l y h e r e to e x p r e s s S o t a ' s r e g r e t s and his p a i n f u l e m o t i o n s directly w h e n he acts c o n t r a r y to his own wishes. A large n u m b e r of kotoba notations f o l l o w the c a d e n c e of fushi and light c a d e n c e , suete, and t h e s e m a k e the

primary music unit longer and more complicated. These kotoha n o t a t i o n s draw out the intensity of the e x p r e s s i o n of the characters' feeling and the irregular musical unit give a complex and rich variety to each scene. The increased speech notations, as Yokoyama Tadashi pointed out, suggest that Joruri is moving in the direction of realistic dialogue plays (3). In Chikamatsu's later plays, we see the chanters use music as a supplement to enhance the effect of the dramatic plot.

Chikamatsu himself said that the intention behind his plays was to focus attention on the actions on the stage and to give rich f e e l i n g s to the puppets (4). Mori Shu infers that this was C h i k a m a t s u ' s t h e o r y in his later years f r o m a r e p o r t e d conversation between Chikamatsu and his friend Hozumi Ikan when the latter came to Osaka around 1716 (5). Chikamatsu certainly did use more space to develop his characters in his later plays, and this was probably based on the development of this t h e o r y . The most d i s t i n g u i s h i n g f e a t u r e s of the works in C h i k a m a t s u ' s later period are his ability to d i s p l a y the rich feelings of the characters and to portray their natures. These qualities are especially evident in the description of those who

are sacrificed as substitutes (migawari) and although they are not

the main aristocratic characters, they play important roles in the c o n f l i c t and d e v e l o p m e n t of the d r a m a . H e d e l i b e r a t e l y introduced and described these characters through several acts, so that they became familiar to the audience, preparing them for the impact of the tragic scene. Some of the best examples of this technique are Kansuke's old mother who sacrifices herself for her

in Tethered Steed and the Eight Provinces of Kantd. C h i k a m a t s u p r o v i d e s a broad and d e e p portrait of these c h a r a c t e r s o v e r at least one or two acts before they take centre stage.

All of the c h a n g e s , w h e t h e r in m u s i c a l s t y l e or in the d e p i c t i o n of c h a r a c t e r s , seem to r e f l e c t C h i k a m a t s u ' s d e v e l o p i n g c o n c e p t i o n of a t i g h t l y - k n i t p l o t . H i s l a t e p l a y s s h o w a c o n s i s t e n c y in the c o h e r e n c e between the s e c o n d , third and the fifth acts: the third act of a tragedy always h a p p e n s on the basis of the events in the second act, and s u b s e q u e n t l y i n f l u e n c e s the conclusion of the fifth act. Although he still r e m a i n e d f a i t h f u l to Gidayu's ordering of the musical moods f o r each act, C h i k a m a t s u d e v e l o p e d a s e n s e of c o n t i n u i t y in the d r a m a t i c a c t i o n w h i c h provided links between the acts and contributed to the unity and dramatic climax of plays as a whole.

The evolution of Chikamatsu's style, first of all, m u s t not be s e p a r a t e d f r o m his c o o p e r a t i o n with t h e p e r f o r m e r s G i d a y u , Tojiiro, T a k e d a I z u m o , and M a s a t a y u f r o m w h o m he o b t a i n e d rich insights into both Joruri and Kabuki. He w r o t e plays to suit the particular creative skills of each c h a n t e r and a c t o r , and f r o m t h e s e he g r a d u a l l y d e v e l o p e d his o w n d i s t i n c t i v e s t y l e . H e absorbed the element of realistic writing f r o m K a b u k i in order to c r e a t e the t i g h t l y - k n i t sewamono p l a y s and then l a t e r a p p l i e d

In document The evolution of Chikamatsu's history plays (Page 94-102)