The Black Mound

黒塚

Kurozuka

Extreme sadness turns a women into a devil

An old woman allows a traveling monk to stay overnight, asking only that he not look in her room. She proves actually to be a man-eating demon. Based on the legend of the demon at Adachi-ga-hara, the piece conveys not only the demon’s frightfulness but her human side as well in a dynamic work. It is a modern masterpiece.

Synopsis

by Abe Satomi

Sorrow of old woman in lonely hut

Adachi-ga-hara (present Fukushima Prefecture). In a vast field of pampas grass, there is an isolated hut. An old woman living there allows a traveling monk and his companions to stay overnight. She shows them her skill at spinning thread and tells them her sad tale. Her father committed a crime and was banished to northern Japan, and she was abandoned as well by her husband. She is thus resentful of the world, full of anger and sorrow. Her hate for people will prevent her from rebirth.

Old woman Iwate, actually Demon Woman of Adachi-ga-hara(Ichikawa Ennosuke) December 2013 Minamiza Theatre

ページトップへ戻る

Old woman’s joy and true self

The monk teaches the woman that whatever one’s crime, salvation is possible if the Buddha’s path is followed. The woman is overjoyed to know that she can be saved. She rushed to collect firewood in the middle of the night to offer hospitality for her guests. She requests only that they refrain from looking into her room. As the monks carry out their daily rituals, the servant in the group cannot resist looking into the room. There he is shocked to find a mountain of corpses. They realize that the woman is a man-eating demon.

【Left】[from left]Old woman Iwate, actually Demon Woman of Adachi-ga-hara(Ichikawa Ukon)、Sanukibo(Ichikawa Kotaro)、Abbot Yukei(Ichikawa Monnosuke)、Yamatobo(Ichikawa Enzaburo) January,2010 Shinbashi Enbujo Theatre
【Right】[from left]Sanukibo(Ichikawa Kotaro)、Servant Tarogo(Ichikawa Enya)、Abbot Yukei(Ichikawa Monnosuke)、Yamatobo(Ichikawa Enzaburo) January,2010 Shinbashi Enbujo Theatre

ページトップへ戻る

Clouds of the heart are cleared

The scene shifts to the wide pampas fields. The woman carries the firewood and feels elated after the monk’s teaching cleared her sorrow. She sees a huge moon and, unable to contain her joy, begins to dance. She is like a child, dancing under the moon to a nursery rhyme and chasing her own shadow. She runs into the servant, who is on the run. The terror in his eyes reveals to her that he has looked into the forbidden room. This brings out her demon identity, and she spins the servant violently around and disappears.

【Left】Old woman Iwate, actually Demon Woman of Adachi-ga-hara(Ichikawa Ennosuke) December 2013 Minamiza Theatre
【Right】[from left]Servant Tarogo(Ichikawa Enya)、Old woman Iwate, actually Demon Woman of Adachi-ga-hara(Ichikawa Ukon) January,2010 Shinbashi Enbujo Theatre

ページトップへ戻る

The demon vs. the monk

The scene shifts to another location in the fields. The monks are waiting bravely to exorcise the demon from the woman, she turns up. She shows her fury at their betrayal and attacks them, aiming to kill and eat them. They rub their prayer beads while the demon shakes her hair and bares her scary face. In the end, the woman is powerless in the face of prayer.

【Left】[from left]Abbot Yukei(Ichikawa Monnosuke)、Yamatobo(Ichikawa Enzaburo)、Sanukibo(Ichikawa Kotaro) January,2010 Shinbashi Enbujo Theatre
【Right】[from left]Old woman Iwate, actually Demon Woman of Adachi-ga-hara(Ichikawa Ennosuke)、Abbot Yukei(Nakamura Kankuro) January 2015 Kabukiza Theatre

ページトップへ戻る