Renjishi

連獅子

Renjishi

A depiction of a lion’s strict training. The father lion pushes his cub over a ravine into a deep valley, maintaining a strict demeanor but in truth waiting anxiously to see if his son can climb back.

Folklore has it that lion cubs are kicked off a ravine by their parent and must climb back up with intense effort. The brave attitude of the cub in the face of his father’s strict training is an emotional scene. A drama depicting the love between parent and child.

Synopsis

by Abe Satomi

Mysterious bridge in Mt. Seiryo

Kyogen performers Ukon and Sakon appear on a Noh-inspired set. The former carries a lion puppet with white hair and clothing signifying old age, while the latter’s puppet is in red signifying youth. The two actors dance solemnly, depicting a divine bridge on Mt Seiryo, the holy spot of Manjusri Bodhisattva. The lion puppets are attendants of the Bodhisattva and are playing in the peonies.

【Left】Kyogen actor Ukon, later spirit of father lion(Bando Mitsugoro) October 2010 Shinbashi Enbujo Theatre
【Right】Kyogen actor Sakon, later spirit of lion cub(Nakamura Kazutaro) October 2011 Minamiza Theatre

ページトップへ戻る

Pushing of the Cub into the Ravine

The dance moves to the scene where the lion pushes his cub into the ravine, a recreation of the legend that lions raise only the brave cubs managing to crawl back up. Ukon’s dance depicts the father’s emotions, while Sakon expresses the cub’s struggles. The lion kick his cub into a deep and scary ravine. The cub crawls back once, only to be pushed down again. He is unable to use his claws due to a sudden storm and takes refuge behind a tree.

Kyogen actor Sakon, later spirit of lion cub(Ichikawa Somegoro) January 2008 Kabukiza Theatre

ページトップへ戻る

Father’s emotions

The father lion worries when his cub fails to emerge soon. He wonders if the cub became frightened despite the hard training. When the father lion looks into the ravine, his figure is reflected on the surface of the water. Both father and cub notice each other’s presence. The sight of the father’s image emboldens the cub, who quickly climbs over the high rocks and up the mountain. The cub runs down the hanamichi toward the main stage, where the father receives him joyously. The two actors again take the puppet lions and chase the butterflies down the hanamichi.

【Left】[from left]Kyogen actor Sakon, later spirit of lion cub(Kataoka Sennosuke)、Kyogen actor Ukon, later spirit of father lion(Kataoka Nizaemon) September 2014 Kabukiza Theatre
【Right】[from left]Kyogen actor Sakon, later spirit of lion cub(Ichikawa Somegoro)、Kyogen actor Ukon, later spirit of father lion(Matsumoto Koshiro) January 2008 Kabukiza Theatre

ページトップへ戻る

The battling priests

Following the lions’ disappearance, there is an interval comedy. We are at the foot of Mt. Seiryo. Two monks meet and start to climb the mountain. When they learn that they are from different sects, they begin to argue over which is better. Each uses exaggerated body and hand gestures to illustrate the superiority of his beliefs. One monk chants while beating a drum, while the other does the same while ringing a bell. They eventually become confused and recite each other’s lyrics. A storm arises, causing them to hurry away.

[from left]Jodo sect monk Sennen(Kataoka Ainosuke)、Hokke sect monk Nichimon(Nakamura Kinnosuke) June2011 Shinbashi Enbujo Theatre

ページトップへ戻る

Spirit of the father and son lions

The singers describe a stone bridge. Soon the spirit of the lion and cub, represented by actors in full lion dress, appear on the stage. The pair smell the peonies and soon make violent movements known as kurui (madness). They carry peony branches and dance in the flowers. Then it is time for the highlight mane-shaking scene. They shake their hair vibrantly and pose on the lion’s throne.

[from left]Kyogen actor Sakon, later spirit of lion cub(Kataoka Sennosuke)、Kyogen actor Ukon, later spirit of father lion(Kataoka Nizaemon) September 2014 Kabukiza Theatre

ページトップへ戻る