We may take in the general drift of what is said to us in a foreign tongue, but fail to understand the meaning which lies hidden beneath the surface. In reading a novel we may be unable to discriminate between a national characteristic and a personal idiosyncrasy; the rhythm and cadence of poetry may appeal to us in vain; and we may take too seriously humourous language and mistake the vulgar and coarse for the refined and elegant. The Japanese language, which comes of a stock totally different to the Indo-European languages, has grown in a state of almost complete isolation, and in course of time, developed characteristics of its own. One of these is the abundance of vowel-sounds, for the consonants are almost invariably accompanied by vowels.
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After deliberating for some time and calling in the advice of leading philosophers! Which, of course, they did. Not two weeks later the first play based on the incident was performed and promptly shut down by the authorities. This story of duty resolutely carried out to the most extreme lengths resonated within the core of the Japanese people and became the basis for a nearly boundless waterfall of plays, novels and films. In some texts the 47th ronin dies before the final attack for some reason or another.
The multiple authorship of this play, in which, according to experts, different authors wrote different acts, led to a recognized unevenness in quality among the acts, as well as inconsistencies in the characters, resulting in one particular character being played by one actor early in the play and by another at the end!
But it also resulted in a great variety in the scenes, which has contributed greatly to the dominance of this particular play in the tradition, according to Keene. Reading theater, as opposed to seeing it performed as intended, is problematic - one can only appreciate certain aspects of the piece. Not unexpectedly, the text is much less formal than Noh plays; there are long passages of natural conversation. The many moments when a Noh play intensifies its language to high poetry are absent in this play.
A modern Western reader needs to make very little adjustment in their literary expectations when undertaking this text. The characters are more clearly and convincingly drawn, and, probably due to the lack of digression, the powerful underlying drama of the incident is more effectively brought to the fore in the play. Unlike the novel, the play builds up to the initial wounding of the flunkey, which, after all, precipitated all of the tragedy, in a foreboding manner that made the wounding ineluctable instead of merely a sudden hot headed act of anger though, in fact, there is one.
At that moment, from a Noh play being performed in the castle wafts over to the pair the line "I approach the base of the pine and rub the trunk Nor were they in the least prudish about violence - the many forms of violent death are described in great detail by the narrator. It is made clear in the play that not everyone is equal to the demands of this duty, but that those who are are the most admirable of human beings. Now imagine that this play would be at the center of your culture Briefly, the puppets are large and not manipulated by strings from above or hands from below, but by three operators garbed in black who stand behind the puppet in full view of the audience.
The operators are silent. One man at the side of the stage, the Tayu, accompanied by a samisen player, recites all the parts as well as his part of narrator. A little introduction, as well as excerpts from a performance, can be seen here:.
The Japanese puppet play Chushingura is a story of revenge. Lord Hangan is ordered to kill himself as punishment. As the play begins, four lords gather to celebrate the opening of a new temple and to discuss an addition to the treasury. Infuriated by the interference, Moronao viciously berates the lesser lord, nearly provoking Lord Wakasanosuke to violence. At the consecration, Moronao receives a poem from Kaoyo that signifies her rejection of his love. Hangan responds with steel, successfully wounding Moronao.
Chūshingura (The Treasury of Loyal Retainers): A Puppet Play
On the day of the reception, at Edo Castle , Asano drew his short sword and attempted to kill Kira. His reasons are not known, but many purport that an insult may have provoked him. For this act, he was sentenced to commit seppuku , but Kira did not receive any punishment. They then turned themselves in to the authorities, and were sentenced to commit seppuku, which they all did on the same day that year. However, as John Allen Tucker  points out that definition glosses over the religious meaning behind the term. Scholars during that time used that word to describe people who had given their lives for a greater cause in such a way that they deserved veneration after death. Such people were often entombed or memorialized at shrines.
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