This is a selection of the best plays of Chikamatsu, one of the greatest Japanese dramatists. Master of the marionette and popular dramas, he had, until the publication of this book, remained unknown to western readers owing to the difficulty of translating the work into English. The introduction provides a comprehensive survey of the history of Japanese drama which will assist the reader in better understanding the plays.
1. Literature and the Populace in Old Japan 2. The Origin of the Japanese Drama and Its Varieties 3. The Yōkyoku or Nō Plays 4. The Kyōgen, or Comic Interludes 5. The Kabuki Plays, or Plays of the Popular Theatre 6. The Jōruri or Puppet Play 7. Life and Works of Chikamatsu; Shinjū-mono or Plays Treating Love Suicide and Causes of Love Suicide 8. Characteristics of Chikamatsu 9. Chikamatsu’s Contemporaries and the Subsequent History of the Puppet Play 10. Present Condition of Puppetry – Two Types of Puppet 11. The Regular Theatre of New Japan The Almanac of Love (Koi Hakké Hashiragoyomi). Fair Ladies at a Game of Poem-Cards (Kaoyo Utagaruta). The Courier for Hades (Meido no Hikyaku). The Love Suicide at Amijim (Shinjū Tn-no-Amijima). The Adventures of the Hakata Damsel (Hakata Kojorō Namimakura). The Tethered Steed (Kwan-Hasshū Tsunagi-Uma).