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Indiana University

Outreach

Video Lending Library

Japan

Program Title: Izutsu [The Well-Curb]
EASC Code: JI-05
Series Title:
Region/Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Subtitles:
Subject: Theatrical Performance
Program Type: Feature
Media Type: VHS
Director:
Producer:
Release Date:
Running Time: 30 min.
Color or BW:
Program Abstract: "Izutsu, a wig-play written by Zeami, is based loosely on the twenty-third episode of the classic Tales of Ise. According to popular tradition, Ariwara no Narihira, the famous poet, and the daughter of Ki no Aritusne were childhood playmates. As they grow older, their camaraderie gives way to a newfound love, and after a courtship forwarded by an exchange of poems, they are married. Sometime thereafter, Narihira begins an affair with another woman, but the sweet longing of his wife, expressed in a well-known poem, draws him back to her. "His heart swelled with love for her, and his visits to [the lady in] Kawachi ceased." In the No play, this plot kernel is embedded in the conventional framework of the two-part ghost play. A traveling Buddhist priest visits a ruined site connected with the two lovers, meets there a mysterious woman who tells him the story, and finally learns the identity of his visitor, who is the ghost of Narihira's wife. She thereupon disappears. After being given a straightforward resume of the story by a "person of the place" in less elevated language, the priest sings a "waiting song" as he prepares to spend the night. The spirit then reappears in his dream in her proper guise as Narihira's wife. She performs an abstract and expressive dance, demonstrates once again the purity and sweetness of her tender love, and then departs as the priest awakens from his dream." -- Kenneth Yasuda, Masterworks of the Noh Theater
Data Entry Date: 1/27/1999