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The@commentary@on@gSugawara@Denju Tenarai Kagamih`gTerakoyah



`Following@to@the@grave@and@Sacrificing oneself instead for someone



1) Historical Background


In the middle of Heian era, Michizane Sugawara i^告jshowed his talent in poetry and was superior to study from his childhood. He got promotion as a public servant immediately and rose to Udaijin (Minister of the Right@Eb) in 899. He became on a par with Sihei Fujiwara@ij,@Sadaijin (Minister of the Left@b). However there were a lot of people who envied Michizanefs unprecedented promotion, he were relegated to Dazaifu iɕ{j@in Kyushu in 901 due to false accusation and died in 903 there. He was 59.


After Michizanefs death, some accidents continued in Kyoto. Sihei who was Michizanefs political adversary died of an illness in 909 and others followed. In 930 Shishinden (hall for state ceremonies) at Kyoto Imperial Palace which was Emperor's residence in Heian-era was struck by lightning and many were killed and wounded. People at Kyoto were afraid that these accidents were caused by Michizanefs curse. The Imperial Court withdrew the relegation for Michizane after 20 years of his death and restored his rank and reputation. Furthermore the main shrine which enshrined Michizane at Kitano of Kyoto as God in 947 was built. This is Kitano-tenmangu.


Because Michizane was good at poetry and studies, he was respected as God (Tenjin) of the study posthumously. Even now many examinees go for worship to Tenmangu Shrines which were built at some places when it is an examination season. It is one of reasons that there is the scenegTerakoyah ingSugawara Denju Tenarai Kagamih


Many common people in Edo era learned reading, writing, and abacus in private school called gTerakoyah . Thanks to Terakoya, the literacy rate of the Edo era in Japan was very high. For the common people in Edo era, Michizane Sugawara (Kan Shojo) was God of Terakoya.


2) On gTerakoyah


gSugawara Denju Tenarai Kagamih is the historical play which consists of five acts. It takes a whole day to play all acts. This was originally a product of Ningyo Joruri (Japanese puppet drama) played for the first time in 1746. Immediately this was adopted as a program of Kabuki. Although this productfs basic story is that Michizane Sugawara (Kan Shojo) was moved to Dazaifu, main roles are the triplets feeling debt of gratitude for Michizane Sugawara who was a godparent of them. Just before first performance of the product, triplets were unusually born in Osaka and became a topic of conversation. So this topic was said to be taken to the story. Tripletsf names are Umeoumaru, Mastuoumaru and Sakuramaru which were named after names of trees associated with Michizane.


The main character of Terakoya which is one scene in the fourth act of Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami is Mastuoumaru iہj who is the second son of triplets. Mastuoumaru served Shihei Fujiwara when he grew up. Shihei Fujiwara was Michizanefs political rival and the central figure of Michizanefs relegation. As described above, Mastuoumaru felt debt of gratitude for Michizane but his position was in the Michizanefs opposite side against his will. He suffered from this situation and thought that he would secretly want to help Michizane someday.


Another main character of Terakoya is gGenzou Takebe@ijh. Genzou who served Michizane showed superior talent in calligraphy and was regarded as Michizanefs successor. But he fell in love with gTonamih who became his wife after then instead of banning love affair in the palace. Therefore Genzou was expelled. Genzou had been thinking he was sorry for Michizane and had to repay Michizane someday. Because of some reasons, Genzou took charge of Kan Shusai who was Michizanefs son and sheltered him at his Terakoya in Kyoto suburbs.


RjSummary of Terakoya


Even after Michizane Sugawara (Kan Shojo) was moved to Dazaifu and died there, Shihei Fujiwara kept pursuing Michizanefs family. At last the pursuit reached to Genzoufs Terakoya in Kyoto suburbs. The demand to Genzou of gGenbah who was Shiheifs retainer was gCut the neck of Kan Shusai whom Genzou protects! I will soon return to check.h Genzou in trouble who had no child thought whether there was or not a child suitable for a substitute among students of Terakoya. He found that the boy who became a pupil at that day accidentally looked beautiful and was suitable for a substitute. But Genzou and his wife could not do such an unjust thing and grieved. Then Genba broke in with Mastuoumaru who was a inspector.


Mastuoumaru was said to be a bad person serving Michizanefs political adversary in spite of being indebted to Michizane. Since Mastuoumaru abused him saying git is not useful to make a substituteh, Genzou who had no alternative to save Kan Shusai decided to kill the boy at last. Although Mastuoumaru checked the boyfs neck, he announced this neck should be Kan Shusaifs neck.


When Genzou and his wife were pleased after inspectionsf party returned, the mother of the boy who was killed came to Terakoya. The mother said unexpected thing when Genzou was about to beat her inevitably. She said gdid you use my boy as a substitute?h And then Mastuoumaru came there. The boy who was killed by Genzou was Kotaro who was Mastuoumaru and his wifefs son.


Mastuoumaru did not forget Michizanefs kindness Mastuoumaru and his wife confessed their idea that since Mastuoumaru and his wife had no child, they sent their son Kotaro to Terakoya and were going to make Genzou use him as a substitute of Kan Shusai. Genzou said that Kotaro smiled when Genzou asked him to become a substitute. Hearing Genzoufs explanation, Mastuoumaru and his wife shed tears saying their son did it well. While the four people prayed Kotaro's soul quietly and sorrowfully, the scene Terakoya was over.


Written by@Yamamoto@Kichinosuke
Translated by Rakunosuke
All rights reserved.

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