Genkuro Inari Jinja Shrine and Old Red Light District (Dosenji-cho)

Genkuro Inari Jinja Shrine and Old Red Light District (Dosenji-cho)

Product Description

Genkuro Inari Jinja Shrine and Old Red Light District (Dosenji-cho)
This shrine named after Genkuro (Minamoto) Yoshitsune. He is probably the most popular person in all of Japanese history.


A pictorial subject in ukiyo-e taken from SENBONZAKURA, One Thousand Cherries, an epic kabuki play set in the era of the Genpei wars (late 11c-12c). The play originates from the joururi YOSHITSUNE SENBONZAKURA written in 1742 by Takeda Izumo. The play is based on legends surrounding the defeat of the Taira clan, in particular the legend that the general Minamoto Yoshitsune (1159 - 89) had allowed the Taira generals Koremori (1160 - ?), Tomomori (1152 - 85), and Noritsune (1160 - 85) to escape.

The play opens with a skirmish at the Horikawa palace between the forces of Minamoto Yoritomo (1147 - 99) and his brother Yoshitsune who is accused of harboring Taira sympathies. Yoshitsune goes into hiding and in Act 2 at the shrine, Fushimi Inari, he says farewell to his lover Shizuka gozen, giving her a drum as a gift. Shizuka is later almost captured but is rescued by the wayward samurai Satou Tadanobu who then becomes her protector.

In Act 3, Shizuka and Tadanobu travel to Mt. Yoshino where they search for Yoshitsune.

In Act 4 at the shipping agency of Tokaiya Ginpei, the merchant hides Yoshitsune from a supposed retainer of Yoritomo, but then Ginpei reveals that he is actually Tomomori. His plan to kill Yoshitsune in a sea battle fails and in Act 4 Yoshitsune's forces win the battle at the bay, Daimotsu-no ura, capture the child Emperor Antoku, and wound Tomomori. Tomomori asks Yoshitsune to look after the emperor and then throws himself into the sea.

In Act 5, after the Taira defeat Koremori's wife Wakaba, hiding in the hermitage in the northern Saga in Kyoto, narrowly evades discovery when the loyal retainer Kokingo hides Wakaba and her son Rokudaigimi under a load of hats. They travel to Mt. Yoshino in Act 6 and as they rest under a tree, the local scoundrel Gonta tricks them out of money. Kokingo is killed in a fight in Act 7 and the sushi shop owner Yazaemon, father of Gonta, discovers the body.

In Act 8 at the Tsurube sushi shop, the beautiful daughter Osato plans to marry the refined-looking servant Yasuke, actually Koremori who is sheltered by Yazaemon. When Wakaba and Rokudaigimi arrive Koremori reveals his identity. With a bakufu (goverment) official in pursuit the three escape but Yazaemon is captured. Suddenly his son Gonta appears with two captives and the head of Koremori. In fact, the head is that of Kokingo and the captives are Gonta's own wife and child.

The last scene takes place at the Kawatsura Hogen residence on Mt. Yoshino where Yoshitsune is hiding. Tadanobu arrives, relieved to find his master, but knows nothing of Shizuka's whereabouts. When Shizuka arrives she does not recognize Tadanobu, but when she plays her drum the "other" Tadanobu arrives. It is revealed that the Tadanobu who protected Shizuka is a fox spirit attached to Shizuka because her drum is made of the skin of his parents. Yoshitsune gives the fox the drum and a name, Genkurou gitsune (fox), and then in return the animal reveals that Yoshitsune's supposed ally Kakuhan is really the Heike commander Noritsune. When Noritsune arrives Yoshintsune spares his life and the two men agree to end the war between their clans.

Most of the illustrations of the theme are shibai-e, depicting scenes from the kabuki theater . Because of the length of the play, favorite scenes were often excerpted and performed. For example, while illustrations of the entire play are known, the "Journey to Yoshino" (Act 3), "Daimotsu Bay" (Act 4), and the "Residence of Kawatsura Hougen" (Act 9) are most frequently depicted. In addition, prints of Senbonzakura were produced in the style of uki-e and musha-e. There are notable prints by Kunisada, Kunichika, Toyokuni, and Shuncho.