Sonezaki Sinjuu Part 1


Sonezaki Sinjuu Part 1

Grateful Crane

Tokubei (25): a salesclerk working at his uncle’s soy sauce shop

Ohatsu (19): a prostitute working at Tenmaya, a brothel

Kuheiji (25 or 26): Tokubei’s friend, an owner of an oil store

Time & place: In the 18th century in Osaka, Japan

Scene 1:At the Ikudama Shrine
(Tokubei and Ohatsu are falling in deep love with each other, and swear to get married in the future.
When Tokubei is on an errand, he happens to see Ohatsu sitting on a bench at a teahouse by the Ikudama Shrine.)

Tokubei: It’s you, Ohatsu! I didn’t expect to see you here.

Ohatsu: Oh, Tokubei. I was worried about you because you haven’t come to see me for a long time.
Is something wrong with you, or don’t you love me any more?

Tokubei: Of course I love you, and I want to see you as much as I can.
But sorry, I couldn’t. I’ve gotten in trouble.
You know my uncle, my master. He wants me to marry his wife’s niece.
I refused his proposal and told him about you.
He got angry and again he insisted I get married to her.
At last he handed my stepmother betrothal gift money so that she would force me into getting married to his niece.

Ohatsu: What? Your stepmother has received the money?

Tokubei: Yes. My master strictly told me if I refused to get married to his niece, I had to pay back the money, or I couldn’t work in Osaka.
I hurried to my stepmother’s place, and finally gathered my courage to tell her to give it back to me.
At last she coughed it up.

Ohatsu: What a relief! So you can pay back the money to your uncle, right?

Tokubei: The story isn’t that simple. On my way back, I came across Kuheiji, one of my friends.

He said he was in trouble and needed some money.
I felt pity. I had that money I just got back from my stepmother, which I should have returned to my master.
I lent it to him with one condition that he had to give me back by the time I have to pay back to my master.

Ohatsu: You shouldn’t have done it. You’ll be in trouble when your friend won’t give it back.

Tokubei: I believed Kuheiji. But the day he’d promised me to give it back has already gone by.
I’m afraid something bad has happened to him.
I’ll ask Kuheiji what’s happening with him.
By the way you don’t look happy.
Is there anything you are concerned about?

Ohatsu: I don’t want to bother you, but I’m also in trouble.
A rich man came to the brothel I’m working for.
I heard he was offering to redeem me.
My situation doesn’t allow me to reject his offer.
What should I do?
(Ohatsu leans over Tokubei and sobs.)

Tokubei: Don’t cry, Ohatsu. Tomorrow is another day.
Oh— Look there. Kuheiji is coming to us.

(Kuheij appears with his friends. Tokubei runs up to Kuheiji and holds him by his arm.)

Tokubei: Kuheiji, give back the money at once. The due day has already passed.

(Kuheiji sneers.)
Kuheiji: What are you talking about, Tokubei? I’ve never borrowed any money from you.

Tokubei: Look, this is the bond with your seal. Your loan is fully covered by this.

Kuheiji: Oh, I remember. I’ve lost my seal the other day.
You are the one who stole the seal and used it illegally.
Stop accusing me falsely. Guys, let him have it!

(Kuheiji and his friends surround Tokubei, kick and beat him to the ground, and then leave.
Ohatsu runs up to Tokubei to help, and hugs him.)

Ohatsu: What awful people! Are you all right?
If I am the cause of the trouble, I feel sorry for you.
You and I both are in terrible situations…even if I can no longer meet you in this world, we will be able to meet you again in the other world.
It seems easy for me to die. And how happy I am to die with you!
Nothing will interfere with our journey to the River Styx (the river which the dead are believed to cross on the way to the other world).

Tokubei: I’m so glad to hear that. You are my true beloved. I’m not afraid of dying, too.

To be continued.