On view installation I, November 19th, 2011–February 5, 2012Shinkyoku, which translates variously as New Piece, New Repertory, or New Music, was added to the most recent kōwakamai repertory, a compilation of thirty-six musical dramas, in the sixteenth century. The story derives from a tragic episode in the thirteenth-century Chronicle of the Great Peace. Set in the vast Seto Inland Sea, a site associated with various auspicious tales of a supernatural bent, the composition is arranged so as to emphasize the primacy of the water and to establish the sea as a setting for spectacle. Shinkyoku (The New Piece)Screen a In 1331 Emperor Go-Daigo and his eldest son, Prince Takayoshi (Takanaga), fought the Kamakura regime at Mount Kasagiyama, ultimately losing the battle. The prince was exiled to Tosa, in Shikoku, for taking part in the uprising. Longing to be with his beloved wife, he sent Takebun, his most loyal retainer, to Kyoto to escort her to Shikoku, which could only be reached by sea. Takebun and the princess arrived at Amagasaki (near present-day Kobe) and waited for the winds to change before sailing to Shikoku. As they waited, the pirate Matsura Gorō spotted the beautiful princess and plotted to abduct her. He first plied Takebun with drink before making his attack at the dead of night (1). The brave Takebun defended the princess’s honor, carrying her on his back as he ran from a smoking fire and hiding her in a boat docked at the shore (2). Alas, the boat belonged to Matsura, and when Takebun left her to return to the burning building and rescue other maidens, the pirate escaped with his prize. Takebun realized he had been tricked when he got back to the shore to find the boat gone. He chased after the pirate ship in a small boat, shouting, “Stop, stop!” and waving a fan, but to no avail (3). Angered, Takebun exclaimed, “If I were the Dragon God of the sea, I would not let them escape!” Standing determinedly in his tiny boat, he performed seppuku (ritual suicide) and threw himself into the sea. Matsura’s boat picked up a strong tail wind and advanced swiftly away from shore (4).Screen b The princess wept in the galley of the pirate ship as the wind pushed the boat toward Kyūshū. As they passed the whirlpools at Naruto, the boat spiraled out of control (1). The pirates made an offering of the princess’s clothing to appease the angry sea (2), which seemed at first to work: the white waves turned red, and the whirlpools fell calm. The boat, however, stalled in the same spot for three days and nights. Before long, Matsura realized that he was being punished by the Dragon God for abducting a noble lady. His fellow pirates convinced him to make a sacrifice of the princess. As she was about to be thrown overboard, a monk shouted, “The Dragon God has already achieved enlightenment, he will not accept the offering of a woman! Instead, we must chant the Kannon Sutra to appease him.” As they chanted Kannon’s name, mysterious men in pink robes emerged from the sea, followed by a white horse led by eight horsemen (3). Then Takebun, wearing red armor and a warrior’s helmet, appeared on horseback, wielding a bow (4). He raised a red fan and repeated his plea—“Stop, stop!”—before returning to the bottom of the sea. The sailors appealed to Matsura, “To pacify Takebun’s furious spirit, we must set the princess free!” Matsura set the lady adrift in a boat. As soon as she was safe from her captors, the pirate ship was blown toward the west, smashing against the rocks and sinking into the sea. The princess’s boat floated to an island, alighting on a beach dotted with shacks (5). Children splashed water on her face to revive her. She remained on the island for one year. All the while, the prince, who had returned from exile, mourned for his wife, whom he presumed to be dead. When he heard that she was alive, he sent a retainer to the island (6) to bring her home to the capital, where the lovers were happily reunited.