H08 Yotsuya Kaidan: the transformation by using a shutter (2)
"Okyogen Gakuya-honsetsu" vol.2
Author: Santei Shunba Illustrator: Kunitsuna Chu-bon
Published: 1859(Ansei 6) in Edo
The item displayed here which is a book constructed by two chapters in 4 volumes provides information about back stage of Kabuki, such as lots of illustrations of mechanisms of the stage and props which audiences usually can't see. The first chapter explains and provides illustrations about the constructions of stage elevator, the method to send rain or snow on the stage, the works of large props and small props, as well as the gimmicks of bloodstain pistol and how to make sound instruments. In the second chapter, it focuses on the gimmicks used in well-known programs, such as floating a girl's head in a river with instruments in "Imoseyama", floating a fox character in the air in "Senbonzakura", quick-changing in "Kuzunoha", the bloodshed while a heroine's combing the hair in "Yotsuya Kaidan", the various tricks in "Jiraiya".
The figure in the left page of the book describes the gimmick for quick-changing used in "Yotsuya Kaidan". Two headless dolls in two different characters' costumes are attached on both sides of a shutter which have a hole so that an actor put his face out of from it and plays the two characters. Until this scene, a straw mat covers on the shutter to hide the hole.
On the right page, a state of the back side of the stage setting is described. An actor who acts as a tragic heroin is preparing for appearance with makeup which represents a horrible face because of the poison sent from her neighbor .
Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan