Thursday, December 15, 2005

Chikamatsu Monzaemon

Despite some complaints that there has been way too much talk about Rahaleh on this page I would like to point out that for every entry on the kidnapping there have been two about the other two shows. So for those of you who have become bored with the kidnapping story line here are some valuable links regarding the playwright Chikamatsu.

Often refered to as the Japanese Shakespeare, Chikamatsu is the originator of the tale we tell in Fair Ladies at a Game of Poem Cards. He lived in Japan (obviously being the Shakespeare of Japan and all) from 1653 until 1725, when his death apparently interfered with his living and then he was just in Japan. He wrote 130 plays which beats Shakespeare by about 90 plays and wrote for both Kabuki theater and bunraku (puppet) theater (Fair Ladies is based on a bunraku work). He was known for his writing for the Japanese middle-classes and also for writing some quite bloody historical and romantic dramas, some of them ripped from real life(sort of an early version of Law and Order). Tales of merchants falling in love with geishas being ruined and committing suicide to be reunited in the after life on a lotus leaf occur in two of his works, The Love Suicides at Sonezaki (1703), and the late The Love Suicides at Amijima (1721). He also wrote a number of historical plays much the same as Shakespeare, featuring bloody battles, regicide (the killing of kings not the killing of Philbins) and samurai, samurai and more samurai.

Chikamatsu's father and brother were both doctors, so we can all imagine what a disappointment it was to his mother that he went into the theater.

Amagasaki, Japan calls itself the City of Chikamatsu and there is an annual festival celebrating his life and work.

Bio information can be found here.

And there is some more here.


Agent X said...

Does anyone ever refer to Shakespeare as "the English Chikematsu"?

DCepticon said...

No congratulations you are the first.