Bunraku and Shikishi 文楽と色紙

Today Somemaru was still in Tokyo, but he was kind to leave me with tickets to the Bunraku theater. This afternoon I enjoyed the New Year’s (lit. “Welcoming of Spring”) program that the National Bunraku Theater is putting on during the month of January. Somemaru thinks it is important to learn as much as possible about–not to mention view/listen to–popular performing arts that have flourished since the Edo period. He says knowing more about these will help one ultimately know more about rakugo. In that sense, this was a field-trip day for me.

Without any time to waste after the show I had to speed to Shin Osaka station by car to pick up Somemaru. Once home he brought out various art supplies and calligraphy brushes, to make special, framed shikishi (square piece of high-quality paperboard, for writing poems or painting pictures) as thank-you gifts for the directors of Rinseikai, his official fan club. Somemaru is quite the artist/calligrapher, as you can tell by the photos below.

今日、染丸師匠はまだ東京にいらっしゃいましたが、とても優しいことに大阪で行われる文楽のチケットを僕にくださいました。今日の午後に国立文楽劇場の迎春、一月部の芝居を見に行ってきました。染丸師匠が思うには、江戸時代から繁盛してきた演劇・芸能をできるだけ知った、見た、そして聴いた方がいいとのことでした。なぜならば、これらを知っていたら落語のことがもっとわかるからです。こういう風に考えると、今日は僕の学習旅行でした。

芝居の後、時間を無駄にする間もなく、車で新大阪まで師匠を迎えに飛ばないといけなかったです。帰ったら師匠は色んな絵の具や筆を出して、林染会(師匠のファンクラブ)のメンバーの感謝色紙を作り始めました。この写真を見たら師匠が絵も書道もとても上手だと分かります。

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