Plot[ edit ] The Love Suicides at Sonezaki is a short play in three scenes, staged over a day and a night. The two central characters are a young orphan merchant clerk named Tokubei whose firm deals in oil or possibly soy and the courtesan with whom he is in love, Ohatsu. Moved by her plea, Tokubei tells her everything. Because Tokubei loves Ohatsu, he had tried to politely refuse. The uncle did not relent but continued to try to convince Tokubei to agree to the match. This agreement remains wholly unknown to Tokubei until his uncle tries to force him into the marriage.
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It was first staged in , based on a real, recent event, and instantly became a big hit. It remains one of the most popular plays in Bunraku. The Love Suicides at Sonezaki was the first play for Chikamatsu to write exclusively to be played by puppets, but with the popularity of the play, it has since been adapted to kabuki, movies, modern plays, and even comic books.
The play chronicles the last days of a young merchant, Tokubei, who is conned out of money his family received as a dowry from the family of a young woman. He then refused to marry her, because he was in love with the prostitute Ohatsu. Kuheiji not only refuses to return the money, he accuses Tokubei of stealing it himself.
Ohatsu fears that Kuheiji will use the money to redeem her contract. However hard Tokubei tries, he can see no way to redeem his reputation and his duty to his family.
Ohatsu can see now way to face a future with Kuheiji and without Tokubei. They decide to die together. This scene also makes Ohatsu an unusual puppet because she has legs attached for only this scene, while other female puppet characters never have legs attached; only movements of kimono skirts imply the existence of legs.
It never fails to reduce many members of national and international audiences to tears. Unknown production.
The Love Suicides at Sonezaki
The Bunraku Performance: The Love Suicides at Sonezaki