Stories of a Woman’s and a Man’s Karma (Goh)

(from the printed program, Tsuruga Wakasanojo Shinnai Concert, Kioi Hall, Tokyo, November 21, 2019

Karma (goh in Japanese) is a word associated with Buddhism which is difficult to explain because it is related to religion.
It resembles fate or destiny, but karma is more specific. Our karma is what happens to us in our present life as a consequence of our actions, good or bad, in our previous lives. Other similar terms include retribution, reincarnation, and cause and effect. I think that, in general, karma is associated with a strong bad image, such as an evil destiny, or retribution received because of bad deeds in a previous life.
The theme of the works that will be performed in this concert is how a woman’s and a man’s karma controls their lives deeply and intensely.
People who have turbulent lives seem to do things for no logical reason. Kiyohime chases Anchin whom she loves but who has jilted her. Goemon commits many crimes. What they do is the result of their karma. Their souls are dedicated to delusions and wickedness. Kiyohime’s karma is expressed as the fire of jealousy. Eventually, the heat of her jealousy burns her beloved Anchin to death. Goemon’s karma is that he must be a bandit and that, for his crimes, he will be executed. Goemon was sentenced to die by being boiled alive with his whole family, including his young son, at Shichijo’gawara in Kyoto.
These powerful stories about the man Goemon and the woman Kiyohime describe how the lives of both of them were determined by their karma.
I hope that you will appreciate the wonderful storytelling in today’s performances. Both tales are different from the usual image of shinnai joururi works.
Thank you very much for coming this evening.

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