Some old friends from Hawaii recently posted these youtube videos of a scene from the Kabuki play Chushingura. We learned the play first in Japanese (the English translation wasn’t finished yet), then we did the English language world tour of this play back in 1979. In hindsight, I see that it was a really big deal for a young gaijin to play Enya Hangan.
I took the responsibility seriously. After Hangan begins his seppuku, his retainer Yuranosuke makes a loooong dramatic entrance. Matagoro sensei told me…
…”From the time the knife enters your side, until the after Yuranosuke speaks, you do not breath. You hold your breath. You will know you are doing it correctly when you notice after the show that your urine has changed color. “
Sensei was a Living National Treasure, a master teacher, and a life changing influence on me.