Sokendai Review of Cultural and Social Studies


One Aspect of the Production of Picture
Scrolls and Picture Books Based on
Sekkyō and Early Jōruri Puppet Plays:
Concerning a Copy of Shusse monogatari (Sanshō Dayū)
in a Private Collection

KUME Shiori

(SOKENDAI (The Graduate University for Advanced Studies),
School of Cultural and Social Studies,
Department of Japanese Literature)

Key words:

sekkyō, early jōruri, picture scrolls, picture books, Nara picture books, Sanshō Dayū

Sekkyō and early jōruri are types of oral storytelling that flourished at the end of the middle ages and the beginning of the early modern period in Japan, before the time of Chikamatsu Monzaemon. Textual research on sekkyō and early jōruri has focused on half-ream-size (hanshibon) early moveable-type editions (kokatsujiban), that is, on printed chapbooks. However, sekkyō and early jōruri libretti also survive in the form of hand-written picture scrolls and picture books with many illustrations. I believe these represent a valuable body of material on par with printed chanter’s proofs (shōhon) which hold many possibilities such as the reconstruction of chanter’s proofs that are no longer extant. Nevertheless, intensive research on these manuscript sources lags far behind that on contemporary performing arts like the noh and kyōgen theatres and kōwaka ballads. In this paper I discuss the particularities of a copy of Shusse monogatari in a private collection, as an example of the importance of picture books and scrolls of sekkyō and early jōruri.