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3 pages/≈825 words
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Visual & Performing Arts
English (U.S.)
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Japanese Theater The Love Suicides at Sonezaki (Essay Sample)


an essay about Kabuki, focusing on Chikamatsu Monzaemon and his kabuki play The Love Suicides at Sonezaki (focusing more on the play!), also tried to mention how Buddism and the Japanese culture related to the story.


Student’s Name
Professor’s Name
The Love Suicides at Sonezaki
Keene describes Chikamatsu Monzaemon as a Japanese Shakespeare who broke Japanese drama borders by engaging a broader real-life representation than ever before. Chikamatsu employs simplicity in his drama by incorporating lower class characters such as clerks, prostitutes and merchants carrying out ordinary activities in the community (Keene 233-234). Using the fancy title, “The Love Suicides at Sonezaki” Chikamatsu hints to the reader of a possible suicide of the characters. The play is inspired by real-life suicides of a young shop assistant, Tokubei and Ohatsu, a prostitute in 1703 at the Sonezaki Shrine in Osaka (Keene 235; Michae). Chikamatsu’s ‘The Love Suicides at Sonezaki’ illustrates to the reader the 17th-century Japanese culture using artistic representation.
Inspired by real-life happenings in the society, Chikamatsu portrayed thrilling social events that involved scandals, social evils, deceit and oppression among the lower class. Chikamatsu wrote both for Bunraku and Kabuki theatres. Kabuki plays involved famous Kabuki actors known for their intricate consumes and make-up that elicited excitement and popularity among the audiences (Keene 234). The commercial nature of playwriting required Chikamatsu involve extensive collaboration with performers and managers when writing the Kabuki plays (Gerstle 11). The origin of Kabuki is associated with the dramatic and sensual performance of a woman dancer named Okuni in 1629 eliciting mixed reactions from mostly the male upper-class audience since most of the female Kabuki performers were prostitutes (Keene 234, Michea).
Consequently, female performers were banned from Kabuki theatres setting the stage for male Kabuki performances whose dressing impersonated women (Michae). Kabuki popularity exploded thanks to the female impersonation of the male performances. Kabuki performances focused on urban life experiences with performers and actors using their bodies and voices “as the center of attraction” (Gerstle 10). Chikamatsu invents a fictitious story basing the characters, Tokubei and Ohatsu, to the real-life suicide event.
Chikamatsu presents the play in three scenes. The first scene takes place at Ikudama Shrine in Osaka which indicates the deep-rooted nature of the Japanese traditions an

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