H11 Kitsune-bi and Hikinuki
"Haiyu Kyogen no uchi" "Nijyu-shi ko Goten no ba" "Katsuyori Ichikawa Gonjyuro, Yaegakihime Ichikawa Danjyuro"
Artist: Kunichika Oban, Colour print
Performance: April 1888(Meiji 21) at Ichimura-za theatre, in Tokyo
外題："Honcho Nijyu-shi Koh"
Ritsumeikan Art Research Center(arcUP4104)
This picture describes the scene of "Kitsune-bi" (lit. fox fire) at the forth act of "Honcho Nijyu-shi Koh". This scene follows the scene of "Jyushu Koh" that Yaegaki-hime of Uesugi family burned a incense named "Jyushu Koh" to the dead spirit of her fiance Katsuyori in front of his portrait. Her new lady servant Nureginu who was a daughter of Hanamori Sekibei also held the memorial ritual for her passed husband Minosaku. On the other hand, Minosaku (actually Katsuyori) who pretended a chrysanthemum farmer also got into the same place and was arrested by the retainers of his enemy. Only taking a look at him, Yaegaki-hime fell in love with Katsuyori, because he resembled her died fiance who she have never met and she asked Nureginu to make arrangements for her. Nureginu accepted her request with a condition that Yaegaki-hime stoles the holy helmet of "Suwa Hossho", Takeda family's the most important treasure, which was thrived by Uesugi family. Nureginu told her the truth that Minosaku was the very her fiance Katsuyori. Kenshin, the leader of Uesugi family, directed his retainers to kill Minosaku who was actually the heir of his rival Takeda family, after he knew the whole facts. To pursue his plan, Kenshin ordered Minosaku to visit Shiojiri as Kenshin's messenger.
In this scene of "Kitsune-bi", Yaegaki-hime stole the holu helmet in return for Nureginu and the magical power entered her in a shape of fox fire when she prayed for the holy helmet to save its original successor. She was astonished by her own appearance which reflected on the pond because it was like a fox. Her transformation was expressed by a quick costume change from her red Kimono as a princess to a white Furisode as a fox. The trick of this change was drawing out the outer red Kimono and exposing the beneath one. When she had to go beyond the frozen lake, she used the fox's power. Her supernatural jump was represented by the movement of her belonging which assistant in black suspended the helmet with a wire. She herself hide in a sweep-fence for a while and change her costume to a pink Furisode. Yaegaki-hime appeared as raising the holy helmet and approached to Hanamichi (actors' pathway). When the princess passed three tenth from the stage, she posed once and looked back the stage.
The trick of the fox fire was a cloths ball which was steeped in alcohol and suspended with a wire. Originally, small preps managed the fired cloth ball moving around Yaegaki-hime, however, actors in black has taken the part recently. (,)