Well known for capturing unique moments in Japanese life, Chikamatsu Monzaemon's (1653-1725) work comprises one of the first major tragedies written about ordinary people. This newly issued edition provides a representative selection of his work, including three of the most popular domestic dramas and one history play.
Chikamatsu's domestic dramas are accurate reflections of Japanese society and its life: his characters are samurai, farmers, merchants, and prostitutes who speak colloquially in shops, streets, tea-houses, and brothels. The heroes and heroines gain their tragic stature from pressures placed upon them by society. In particular, "The Love Suicides at Sonezaki" and "The Love Suicides at Amijima" became so popular that they actually reinvigorated a vogue for love suicides, both in life and on stage.
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.