Chikamatsu, Monzaemon

Chikamatsu, Monzaemon mônˈzäĕmŏnˈ chēˌkämäˈtso͞o [key], 1653–1725, the first professional Japanese dramatist. Chikamatsu wrote primarily for the puppet stage in the Tokugawa shogunate. His literary work is divided into historical romances (jidaimono) and domestic tragedies of love and duty (sewamono). Author of 110 joruri [puppet plays] and 30 kabuki plays, he profoundly influenced the development of the modern Japanese theater. Among his best-known works are the Kokusenya-kassen [Battles of Coxinga], a historical drama concerned with the conquests of a famous Chinese warlord, and the domestic tragedy Shinju Ten no Amijima [the Love Suicides at Amijima].

See Major Plays of Chikamatsu (tr. by D. Keene, 1961); D. Keene, Bunraku, The Art of the Japanese Puppet Theatre (1965); C. A. Gerstle, Circles of Fantasy: Convention in the Plays of Chikamatsu (1984).

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