Week 34

Kokusen'ya kassen

Puppet theater scenes from a rare collection of five of the puppet theater plays known as jooruri, with woodcuts and text summaries printed in Japan, presumably in the 1700s. Here are scenes from the popular play "Kokusen'ya kassen" from 1716. the hero, Watonai, who has a Japanese mother and a Chinese father, travels to China to defeat the Tatar king and his Chinese general Kanki. The high point of the drama is the dilemma that Kanki's wife is placed in when she realizes that Watonai is her Japanese brother. The dilemma is resolved by her suicide (lower left corner).
The Oriental Collection, OA 93-158, oktavo.