Kuruwa Bunsho

Kuruwa Bunsho / 廓文章 —The Love of Izaemon and Yugiri—

This simple play is a classic of wagoto acting and exemplifies the kabuki in the Kamigata region (the area around Kyoto and Osaka) in its first age of flourishing at the beginning of the 18th century. Izaemon exemplifies the soft, hapless protagonists of these plays who despite all their faults, are considered to be very attractive.

A man named Izaemon is the son of a wealthy family, but he spent so much money on his favorite courtesan Yugiri, that his family disowned him. He now lives in poverty. But Izaemon hears that Yugiri has been very sick, but is at the Yoshidaya teahouse. He goes and the proprietor of the Yoshidaya brings him together with Yugiri. At first, Izaemon acts petulantly and jealously, but finally the couple is reconciled and moreover, Izaemon's disownment is forgiven and his family sends the money for Yugiri to be redeemed.

This play features two distinctive costumes. Izaemon wears a kamiko paper kimono, which is a sign that someone has been disowned and is the standard costume for a wealthy young man disowned by his family in these Kamigata plays. It also features the costume for a top-ranking courtesan. The costumes, wigs and hair ornaments for a top-ranking courtesan are the height of lavishness, but in particular, she wears an overrobe called an uchikake, which is highly embroidered with decorations that can be highly fanciful like a lobster for New Years decorations or a carp swimming up a waterfall.