Kiichi Hogen’s Book of Strategy

鬼一法眼三略巻

Kiichi Hogen Sanryaku no Maki

Rebels on the Genji side carry out an ambitious uprising at the height of Heike rule. Master and follower, father and son, siblings and married couples join together to pave the way for the overthrow of the hated Heikes.

The strategist Kiichi Hogen officially serves the Heike clan, but his heart is with the Genjis. The Genji leader’s brother Ushiwakamaru and Kiichi’s youngest brother also serve the palace in disguise. The drama revolves around a book of strategy secretly held by Kiichi and being sought by both the Heike leader and Ushiwakamaru. Other characters also carry secrets: Tokiwa Gozen, married to Lord Ichijo; another of Kiichi’s brothers, Kijiro, and Kijiro’s wife; and especially the reportedly feebleminded Lord Ichijo.

Synopsis

by Kaneda Eiichi

True identities of Torazo and Chienai

The palace garden is filled with beautiful chrysanthemums. Kiichi Hogen, lord of the palace, was initially a Genji samurai but broke from his younger siblings Kijiro and Kisanda and now serves the Heike. Torazo and Chienai, two servants in the palace, are in fact Kisanda and the Genji leader’s brother Ushiwakamaru in disguise. Both are trying to get the strategy book held by Kiichi. Kiichi has already figured out Ushiwakamaru’s identity, and suspects Chienai as well from the way he tends the garden. To determine their relationship, he shouts at them and orders Chienai to beat Torazo with a stick. Chienai proves unable to strike his true master.

【Left】Yoshioka Kiichi Hogen(Ichikawa Sadanji) September 2006 Kabukiza Theatre
【Center】Torazo, actually Ushiwakamaru(Nakamura Kinnosuke) April 2007 Kabukiza Theatre
【Right】[from left]Chienai, actually Kisanda(Nakamura Kichiemon)、Yoshioka Kiichi Hogen(Nakamura Tomijuro) April 2007 Kabukiza Theatre

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Princess Minazuru makes up her mind

Princess Minazuru, Kiichi’s daughter, intervenes when Chienai raises the stick. Her husband Kasahara Tankai, one of Kiichi’s retainers, also appears. He married the princess in an attempt to take over the household. Chienai and Torazo are given leave by their master and try immediately to get into the treasure house to obtain the book of strategy. Princess Minazuru comes and confesses her passion for Torazo, who she recognizes as Ushiwakamaru. Tankai overhears their conversation and goes to report this to his master, Heike leader Kiyomori, but is killed by Torazo. Torazo heads to the back garden to gain the precious book.

【Left】[from left]Princess Minazuru(Nakamura Fukusuke)、Yoshioka Kiichi Hogen(Nakamura Tomijuro)、Kasahara Tankai(Ichikawa Danshiro) November 2004 Kabukiza Theatre
【Center】[from left]Princess Minazuru(Nakamura Tokizo)、Torazo, actually Ushiwakamaru(Nakamura Kinnosuke) April 2007 Kabukiza Theatre
【Right】[from left]Chienai, actually Kisanda(Matsumoto Koshiro)、Torazo, actually Ushiwakamaru(Ichikawa Somegoro) September 2006 Kabukiza Theatre

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Tengu Abbot of Mt. Kurama

In the inner garden, Ushiwakamaru reveals his identity and challenges Kiichi. The abbot of Mt. Kurama appears, wearing the mask of a long-nosed tengu monster. In fact, this was Kiichi, who had once called himself the Tengu Abbot of Mt. Kurama and taught the secret strategy of war to Ushiwakamaru when the latter was a child. Kiichi, who serves the Heike clan, entrusts the precious book with his daughter Princess Minazuru knowing that it will eventually make its way into the hands of her future husband – and his enemy’s brother – Ushiwakamaru. He commits suicide for betrayal of his master.

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Simple-minded Lord Ichijo

Tokiwa Gozen, Ushiwakamaru’s mother, became the mistress of Heike clan leader Taira Kiyomori after her husband’s death in order to save her children. She is now married to the nobleman Ichijo Okura. Lord Ichijo is widely believed to be feebleminded. He spends all his time putting on Noh plays. A Noh performance is scheduled today in the palace. Kijiro and his wife Okyo appear at the Higaki Teahouse in front of the palace gate and await the Lord Ichijo’s appearance. Okyo performs a dance before Lord Ichijo, who believes she must be an actress. In fact, the couple were trying to figure out whether Tokiwa Gozen is secretly hoping to resurrect the Genji clan. Lord Ichijo displays foolish acts in delight at Okyo’s performance.

【Left】[from left]Yoshioka Kijiro(Nakamura Baigyoku)、Okyo(Nakamura Kaishun) January 2008 Kabukiza Theatre
【Center】[from left]Okyo(Bando Tamasaburo)、Ichijo Okura(Nakamura Kanzaburo)、Naruse(Nakamura Kosanza) March 2005 Kabukiza Theatre
【Right】Ichijo Okura(Nakamura Kichiemon) April 2014 Kabukiza Theatre

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Tokiwa Gozen’s resolve

When the night comes to an end, Kijiro and Okyo secretly enter Lord Ichijo’s palace. Kijiro sees Tokiwa Gozen, who is practicing archery. He angrily beats her with the bow. She is not angry at all and praises Kijiro for his actions. Kijiro is suspicious. Tokiwa responds by pointing to a target. She shoots the arrow and hits the target, which is revealed to be a picture of Kiyomori. This shows her continued loyalty to the Genji clan. The servant Yatsurugi Kageyu overhears this conversation and says he will report this to Kiyomori. He fights with Kijiro.

【Left】[from left]Tokiwa Gozen(Nakamura Tokizo)、Yoshioka Kijiro(Ichikawa Danjuro) April 2011 Shinbashi Enbujo Theatre
【Right】Yatsurugi Kageyu(Ichikawa Danzo) April 2011 Kabukiza Theatre

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True intentions of fake fool

Lord Ichijo appears with a long sword in hand and kills the servant. We learn that Lord Ichijo has the blood of Genji and had long pretended to be mad in order to survive under Heike rule. He calmly reveals his purpose to the Kijiro couple and gives them a precious Genji scroll. He again takes on the appearance of a fool and sees them off with a smile.

【Left】Ichijo Okura(Nakamura Kichiemon) September 2016 Kabukiza Theatre
【Right】[from left]Ichijo Okura(Ichikawa Somegoro)、Tokiwa Gozen(Nakamura Shibajaku) March 2013 Shinbashi Enbujo Theatre

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Gojo Bridge

Ushiwakamaru, on the run, appears on the Gojo Bridge disguised as a female in a beautiful dress and platform shoes. The warrior-priest Benkei appears. He realizes Ushiwakamaru is a man and seeks to take him as a retainer. They fight. Even Benkei’s secret tactics prove no match for the youth. Benkei loses his sword and surrenders. He pledges to serve Ushiwakamaru loyally for the rest of his life.

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