Yamatogana Ariwara Keizu (Rampei’s Madness)

倭仮名在原系図~蘭平物狂

Yamatogana Ariwara Keizu (Ranpeimonogurui)

A battle between father and son raises questions of duty versus compassion.

Rampei feigns illness in a scheme to avenge his father’s death. However, his own son has been promoted by the enemy to samurai status and aims to kill him. A dance of madness in the first part is followed by a Kabuki spectacle with a major battle scene involving the entire cast.

Synopsis

by Iizuka Misa

The false lover

Ariwara Yukihira, a nobleman from Kyoto, has returned to the capital from his exile in Suma. He misses his lover Matsukaze. His wife worries about him and orders her servant Rampei to bring in a woman who resembles Matsukaze. Rampei asks Oriku and Yomosaku, a married couple, to pretend to be sister and brother, and disguises Oriku as Matsukaze. Yukihira falls for the ruse and is too overjoyed to notice that their dialogue makes no sense, with Oriku simply answering, “Yes, yes, right, right.”

【Left】[from left]Ariwara Yukihira(Onoe Kikugoro)、Lady Minase(Onoe Kikunosuke) June 2014 Kabukiza Theatre
【Right】[from left]Yomosaku, actually Oe Otondo(Ichikawa Danzo)、Oriku, actually Akashi(Nakamura Tokizo)、Rampei, actually Ban Yoshio(Onoe Shoroku) June 2014 Kabukiza Theatre

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Rampei’s madness

News comes that a criminal has escaped. Yukihira sends Rampei’s young son to catch the criminal. Rampei is deathly worried about the boy and cannot concentrate, prompting Yukihira to become angry and pull a sword. This triggers a strange reaction in Rampei, who starts dancing wildly. We learn that Rampei loses his senses at the sight of a sword, making him unfit to be a soldier.

[from left]Oriku, actually Akashi(Nakamura Tokizo)、Rampei, actually Ban Yoshio(Onoe Shoroku)、Ariwara Yukihira(Onoe Kikugoro) June 2014 Kabukiza Theatre

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Brothers announce their names

Rampei leaves the palace but soon returns with his son, who has victoriously taken the enemy’s head. Yukihira is pleased and promotes the son to soldier. Yomosaku suddenly attacks Yukihira in revenge for his father’s death. Yukihira orders Rampei to capture him. As Rampei begins to battle, he realizes at the sight of Yomosaku’s sword that this is actually his younger brother Ban Yoshizumi, from whom he has been separated since childhood. Rampei confesses that he is actually the samurai Ban Yoshio and had pretended to be crazy to get close to Yukihira in order to carry out his father’s vendetta.

【Left】[from left]Shigezo(Onoe Sakon)、Rampei, actually Ban Yoshio(Onoe Shoroku) June 2014 Kabukiza Theatre
【Right】Yomosaku, actually Oe Otondo(Nakamura Hashinosuke) February 2009 Kabukiza Theatre

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Fierce battle

Rampei declares that the time has finally come to kill the enemy and chases Yukihira into the inner garden. However, he is surrounded by a large group of Yukihira’s soldiers. This leads to a large-scale fight in the garden and on the roof. Rampei fights the soldiers dashingly using ladders and boards, bravely fending off the attackers.

【Left】Rampei, actually Ban Yoshio(Bando Mitsugoro) February 2009 Kabukiza Theatre
【Right】Rampei, actually Ban Yoshio(Bando Mitsugoro) February 2009 Kabukiza Theatre

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Battle between father and son

However, the person that Rampei thought was his younger brother turns out to be Oe Otondo, who had a secret mission to uncover Rampei’s true identity. Moreover, Rampei’s son comes to capture his father at Yukihira’s order. The two struggle amid their inner conflicts: Rampei must weigh his duty to avenge his father’s death against his love for his son, while the son is torn between loyalty to his lord and loyalty to his father. In the end, Rampei allows himself to be captured by his son, proclaiming this to be the son’s first victory as a samurai.

【Left】[from left]Shigezo(Onoe Sakon)、Rampei, actually Ban Yoshio(Onoe Shoroku) June 2014 Kabukiza Theatre
【Right】[from left]Oriku, actually Akashi(Nakamura Fukusuke)、Yomosaku, actually Oe Otondo(Nakamura Hashinosuke)、Shigezo(Nakamura Yoshio)、Rampei, actually Ban Yoshio(Bando Mitsugoro)、Ariwara Yukihira(Nakamura Kanjaku)、Lady Minase(Bando Shucho) February 2009 Kabukiza Theatre

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