1915 Valley Ghost Story


Role: Iemon (伊右衛門) 

Director: Yoshikiro Kurita
Writer: Rio Kishida 

Performance Details

14 - 25 October 1999Apple Theatre, Tokyo, Japan (シアターアプル)
28 - 31 October 1999Nagoya Harbor Hall, Nagoya, Japan
4 - 13 November 1999Kintetsu Theater, Japan
16 - 18 November 1999Niigata-City Performing Arts Center, Niigata, Japan
21 - 23 November 1999Sendai Taihaku Culture Centre, Japan


The story opens with a murder. Iemon, an unemployed ronin, has killed the father of his wife Oiwa, because her father was aware of Iemon's evil past deeds. Penniless, Iemon has been forced to make his living as an oilpaper umbrella maker in order to support his delicate wife and new child. This situation has lead him to resent Oiwa.

Iemon is lured into a scheme to marry the beautiful granddaughter of a well-to-do neighbor, who is in love with him. In order to clear the path for the new marriage, Iemon and the neighbor plot to murder Oiwa. Iemon slips her poison disguised as "blood-road medicine," intended to bring back her strength. The poison does not kill her, but instead disfigures her, causing her hair to fall out and her eye to droop. When a mirror is held in front of her, her despair at her disfigurement and the knowledge of her husband's betrayal causes her to die.

When a faithful servant, Kobote Kohei, becomes aware of the murder, Iemon accuses him of theft and has him killed. He then has Kohei and Oiwa's bodies crucified on two sides of a wooden door, which is then flung into a nearby river.

Thinking his troubles are over, Iemon plans his new marriage. On his wedding day to his new bride, Iemon lifts her veil to see Oiwa's ruined face. He instantly beheads her, only to discover he has killed his new bride. Horrified, he flees to the neighbor's house to confess, where he is confronted by Kohei's ghost. Slashing at the ghost, Iemon finds he has killed his neighbor, his new father-in-law.

From there the haunting continues, with the vengeful spirit of Oiwa pursuing Iemon. Everywhere he goes, he sees her ruined face, even projecting from an overhead lantern. Seeking escape, he retreats to the mountains and goes fishing. Instead of fish, he hooks the board with the corpses of Oiwa and Kohei. He then flees to a cabin in Hebiyama, where the ropes and vines of the cabin transform into snakes and the smoke from the fire transform into Oiwa's hair.

Fleeing the cabin, he runs into his brother-in-law, who kills Iemon and avenges all of the murders.


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