Four Major Plays of Chikamatsu

Front Cover
Columbia University Press, 1961 - Drama - 220 pages
1 Review
Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1653-1725) wrote some 130 plays, chiefly for the puppet theater, many of which are still performed today by puppet operators and Kabuki actors. Chikamatsu is thought to have written the first major tragedies about the common man. This edition of four of his most important plays includes three popular domestic dramas and one history play. Chikamatsu's domestic dramas are accurate reflections of Japanese society at the time: his characters are samurai, farmers, merchants, and prostitutes who speak colloquially, and who people the shops, streets, teahouses, and brothels that constituted their daily environment. The heroes and heroines of these plays gain their tragic stature from their conflicts with society. "The Love Suicides at Sonezaki" and "The Love Suicides at Amijima" became so popular that they actually initiated a vogue for love suicides, both in life and onstage. Donald Keene's translation of the original text is presented here with an introduction and a new preface to aid readers in their comprehension and enjoyment of the plays.

What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Amazing for those interested in Japanese theater and eastern philosophies on religion, death, honor and suicide.

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - crazyjerseygirl - LibraryThing

Four plays by the master of Japanese Puppet Theatre. Read full review


The Love Suicides at Sonezaki Sonezaki Shinju
The Battles of Coxinga Kokusenya Kassen
The Uprooted Pine Nebiki no Kadomatsu
The Love Suicides at Amijima Shinju Ten no Amijima
A Note on Prostitution in Chikamatsus Plays
Contemporary Puppet Performance of Chikamatsus Plays

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1961)

DONALD KEENE is Shincho Professor of Japanese Literature and University Professor Emeritus at Columbia University.

Bibliographic information