Rivers and the Human World

Tsuruga Wakasanojo
11th Iemoto of the Tsuruga School of Shinnai (Performance Sponsor)

“The flow of the river never ceases, and the water never stays the same … …”
That famous sentence describing the transience of the human world comes from the beginning of Hojoki, written by Kamo no Chomei in the 13th century.
Rivers are water; water is the source of life, the mother of life. Our fleeting, impermanent lives depend on water. Water creates the colors of humanity’s world and gives birth to stories. An abundant flow of water supports life, entertains people, and also causes their suffering.
The theme of the three works to be performed in tonight’s concert is the rivers of pain and pleasure in human lives.
Two of the works are about jealousy and resentment between a man and a woman.
The first work, Hidakagawa, performed this evening in two parts, centers around the Hidakagawa River. This tale of Kiyohime and the priest Anchin is also known as Dojoji. The events described in the third work, Suigetsu Jowa, take place at the Yanagibashi Bridge over the Sumidagawa River (Ookawa).
This year is the centenary of the death of Ogai Mori, the author of the well known short story Takase-bune on which the final work in tonight’s concert is based. The Takasegawa River runs through Kyoto. In the Edo Period, takase-bune were boats on that river that carried convicted criminals from Kyoto to the distant island where they would serve their term. The story deals with the desire for wealth and with euthanasia, eternal issues that continue to be relevant now. If you change one thought, your life will change. The crossroads of life are always close at hand.
Thank you for taking the time to come here this evening during the busy days of late autumn. Please relax and enjoy the concert from beginning to end.

(From the printed program, Tsuruga Wakasanojo Shinnai Concert: River Tales, Kioi Hall, Tokyo, November 24, 2022)

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