Tsuruga Wakasanojo, Sponsor of this concert
November was warm this year. I hope that you are in good health and ready for the busy year-end period. Thank you very much for your generous continuing support.
This year was another tough year, with many unfortunate incidents and natural disasters that resulted in terrible damage.
Culture and the arts develop only in peaceful times. Also, culture and the arts play an important role and have value that is their main raison d’être.
Year by year, among participants in the traditional performing arts, as in the rest of society, the birthrate is going down and the population is aging. I, too, have become one of the elderly, but thankfully, I am healthy and have high spirits. I want to stay as strong as a person in the prime of life so that I can contribute to the further development of shinnai.
The works to be performed in today’s concert, “Women of the Meiji Era: Three Works Relating to the Moon,” are Onna Keizu, Suigetsu Jowa, and 13 Ya.
- Onna Keizu (spring moon) is the shinnai adaptation of the Yushima Shrine section of a story by Izumi Kyoka. The performers are two of my veteran students. They will perform the roles of Otsuta and Chikara in this famous scene.
- Suigetsu Jowa (hazy moon), a Japanese traditional dance number, is a story based on an actual murder that occurred on the banks of the Okawa River in 1887. Fujima Jinsho, a leading dancer of the Fujima School, and Hanayagi Kihi, a talented dancer of the Hanayagi School, will perform the roles of Minekichi and O’ume in this drama.
- 13 Ya (fall moon) is a work that I composed more than ten years ago, based on a short story by Higuchi Ichiyo. When 5,000-yen notes were first issued with a portrait of Higuchi Ichiyo, a Buddhist memorial service was held in her honor at Tsukiji Hongan-ji Temple. The sponsor of the event was the former Minister of Finance, the late Masajuro Shiokawa, who passed away this fall. Mr. Shiokawa spoke in praise of Higuchi Ichiyo and delivered a Buddhist sermon, and I performed 13 Ya. Today, I am dedicating my performance of this work to the memory of Mr. Shiokawa, who always supported me.
In Japanese hearts, the moon represents a negative or passive view of the world. Japanese culture and the arts have grown through a sense of unity with this feeling that is associated with the moon. In this time of early winter, just before the end of the year, please let these stories relating to the moon be reflected in your heart.
Thank you very much for coming this afternoon.