chapter  7
11 Pages

Hiiki Renchu (Theatre Fan Clubs) in Osaka in the Early Nineteenth Century

In the highly competitive seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Japanese theatre world, the ability to rapidly produce new crowd-pleasing plays was critical to a theatre company's commercial viability. This chapter aims to place Kuzunoha's story within the evolving world of Abe no Seimei, which culminated in Ashiya Doman Ouchi Kagami. It examines the treatment of the character Kuzunoha in kabuki today. Seimei's mother is depicted in greater detail in Abe no Seimei Monogatari, a popular prose work consisting of an account of Seimei's life, followed by disquisitions on astrology and physiognomy. The chapter fleshes out the first part of the poem, by depicting the journey of the distraught father and son to Shinoda Forest looking for the boy's vanished mother, who is identified as a fox in Shinoda. The convergence of the fox-wife motif and Seimei's story can be traced back with certainty only to the early Edo period, when a popular commentary on the medieval astrology book Hoki-sho.