Bunnraku, fatal eloping      2017/02/08

Last night, I went to National Theater to watch Bunnraku.

The title of the play was “ Meido no hikyaku” which means “ express messenger to the  world of death”.

The play was written by the great author, Chikamatsu Monzaiemonn in 1711 and one of the most popular puppet theater.


The master of a shop which delivers letters and money fell in love with a girl in a red light district and stole money to be delivered for buying freedom of the girl.

They escaped from the district and eloped into a death world.


There are no villains in the play but weak heart and ugly vanity made the master commit a fatal crime.

It is the highlight of the play for the master to go back and forth repeatedly. Ways of carrying feet in perplexity by a puppet showed deep anxiety more clearly than real actor’s play.


This story could happen with anybody and audiences were moved deeply by the sad fatal eloping. Under the snowfall, the couple wandered from place to place in a mountain near hometown to escape from chasing.

Usually a play is performed by a single Shamisenn (Japanese banjo) player and a single Gidayu (Japanese old song) singer, however five Shamisenn players and five singers lived up strongly this fatal eloping and finally a clear and sad sound of Japanese flute concluded the trip.