Tokubei, aged twenty-five, employee of a soy sauce dealer
Kuheiji, an oil merchant
Host of Tenma House, a brothel
Chozo, an apprentice
Ohatsu, aged nineteen, a courtesan

The grounds of the Ikudama Shrine in Osaka.

Chanter: This graceful young man has served many springs
With the firm of Hirano in Uchihon Street;
He hides the passion that burns in his breast
Lest word escape and the scandal spread.
He drinks peach wine, a cup at a time,
And combs with care his elegant locks.
¡§Toku¡¨ he is called, and famed for his taste,
But now, his talents buried underground,
He works as a clerk, his sleeves stained with oil,
A slave to his sweet remembrances of love.
Today he makes the rounds of his clients
With a lad who carries a cask of soy:
They have reached the shrine of Ikudama.
A woman's voice calls from a bench inside a refreshment stand.

Ohatsu: Tokubei - that's you, isn't it?

Chanter: She claps her hands, and Tokubei nods in recognition.

Tokubei: Chozo, I'll be following later. Make the rounds of the temples in Tera Street and the uptown mansions and then return to the shop. Tell them that I'll be back soon. Don't forget to call on the dyer's in Azuchi Street and collect the money he owes us. And stay away from Dotonbori.

Chanter: He watches as long as the boy remains in sight, then lifts the bamboo blinds.

Tokubei: Ohatsu - what's the matter?

Chanter: He starts to remove his bamboo hat.

Ohatsu: Please keep your hat on just now. I have a customer from the country today who's making a pilgrimage to all thirty-three temples of Kannon. He's been boasting that he intends to spend the whole day drinking. At the moment he's gone off to hear the impersonators' show, but if he returns and finds us together, there might be trouble. All the chair bearers know you. It's best you keep your face covered.
But to come back to us. Lately you haven't written me a word. I've been terribly worried, but not knowing what the situation might be in your shop, I couldn't very well write you. I must have called a hundred times at the Tanba House, but they hadn't had any news of you either. Somebody - yes, it was Taichi, the blind musician - asked his friends, and they said you'd gone back to the country. I couldn't believe it was true. You've really been too cruel. Didn't you even want to ask about me? Perhaps you hoped things would end that way, but I've been sick with worry. If you think I'm lying, feel this swelling!

Chanter: She takes his hand and presses it to her breast, weeping reproachful and entreating tears, exactly as if they were husband and wife. Man though he is, he also weeps.

Tokubei: You're right, entirely right, but what good would it have done to tell you and make you suffer? I've been going through such misery that I couldn't be more distracted if Bon, New Year, the Ten Nights, and every other feast in the calendar came all at once. My mind's been in a turmoil, and my finances in chaos. To tell the truth, I went up to Kyoto to raise some money, among other things. It's a miracle I'm still alive. If they make my story into a three-act play, I'm sure the audiences will weep.

Chanter: Words fail and he can only sigh.

Ohatsu: And is this the comic relief of your tragedy? Why couldn't you have trusted me with your worries when you tell me even trivial little things? You must've had some reason for hiding. Why don't you take me into your confidence?

Chanter: She leans over his knee. Bitter tears soak her handkerchief.

Tokubei: Please don't cry or be angry with me. I wasn't hiding anything, but it wouldn't have helped to involve you. At any rate, my troubles have largely been settled, and I can tell you the whole story now. My master has always treated me with particular kindness because I'm his nephew. For my part, I've served him with absolute honesty. There's never been a penny's discrepancy in the accounts. It's true that recently I used his name when I bought on credit a bolt of Kaga silk to make into a summer kimono, but that's the one and only time, and if I have to raise the money on the spot, I can always sell back the kimono without taking a loss. My master has been so impressed by my honesty that he proposed I marry his wife's niece with a dowry of two kanme and promised to set me up in business. That happened last year, but how could I shift my affections when I have you? I didn't give his suggestion a second thought, but in the meantime my mother - she's really my stepmother - conferred with my master, keeping it a secret from me. She went back to the country with the two kanme in her clutches. Fool that I am, I never dreamed what had happened. The trouble began last month when they tried to force me to marry. I got angry and said, ¡§Master, you surprise me. You know how unwilling I am to get married, and yet you've tricked my old mother into giving her consent. You've gone too far, master. I can't understand the mistress's attitude either. If I took as my wife this young lady whom I've always treated with the utmost deference and accepted her dowry in the bargain, I'd spend my whole life dancing attendance on her. How could I ever assert myself? I've refused once, and even if my father were to return from his grave, the answer would still be no.¡¨ The master was furious that I answered so bluntly. His voice shook with rage. ¡§I know your real reasons. You've involved with Ohatsu, or whatever her name is, from the Tenma House in Dojima. That's why you seem so against my wife's niece. Very well - after what's been said, I'm no longer willing to give you the girl, and since there's to be no wedding, return the money. Settle without fail by the twenty-second of the month and clear your business accounts. I'll chase you from Osaka and never let you set foot here again!¡¨ I, too, have my pride as a man. ¡§Right you are!¡¨ I answered and rushed off to my village. But my so-called mother wouldn't let the money out of her hands, not if this world turned into the next. I went to Kyoto, hoping to borrow the money from wholesale soy sauce dealers in the Fifth Ward. I've always been on good terms with them. But as luck would have it, they had no money to spare. I retraced my steps to the country, and this time, with the intercession of the whole village, I managed to get the money from my mother. I intended to return the dowry immediately and settle things for once and for all. But if I can't stay in Osaka, how will I be able to see you? My bones may be crushed to powder, my flesh be torn away, and I may sink, an empty shell, in the slime of Shijimi River. Let that happen if it must, but if I am parted from you, what shall I do?

Chanter: He weeps, overcome by his grief. Ohatsu, holding back the welling tears of sympathy, strengthens and comforts him.

Ohatsu: How you've suffered! And when I think that it's been because of me, I feel happy, sad, and most grateful all at once. But please, show more courage. Pull yourself together. Your uncle may have forbidden you to set foot in Osaka again, but you haven't committed robbery or arson. I'll think of some way to keep you here. And if the time should come when we can no longer meet, did our promises of love hold only for this world? Others before us have chosen reunion through death. To die is simple enough - none will hinder and none will be hindered on the journey to the Mountain of Death and the River of Three Ways.

Chanter: Ohatsu falters among these words of encouragement, choked by tears. She resumes.

Ohatsu: The twenty-second is tomorrow. Return the money early, since you must return it anyway. Try to get in your master's good graces again.

Tokubei: I want to, and I'm impatient to return the money, but on the thirteenth of the month Kuheiji the oil merchant - I think you know him - begged me desperately for the money. He said he needed it for only one day and promised to return it by the morning of the eighteenth. I decided to lend him the money, since I didn't need it until the twenty-second, and it was for a friend close as a brother. He didn't get in touch with me on the eighteenth or nineteenth. Yesterday he was out and I couldn't see him. I intended to call on him this morning, but I've spent it making the rounds of my customers in order to wind up my business by tomorrow. I'll go to him this evening and settle everything. He's a man of honor, and he knows my predicament. I'm sure nothing will go wrong. Don't worry. Oh - look there, Ohatsu!

Chanter: ¡§Hatsuse is far away,
Far too is Naniwa-dera:
So many temples are renowned
For the sound of their bells,
Voices of the Eternal Law.
If, on an evening in spring,
You visit a mountain temple
You will see¡K¡¨
At the head of a band of revelers

Tokubei: Kuheiji! That's a poor performance! You've no business running off on excursions when you haven't cleared up your debt with me. Today we'll settle our account.

Chanter: He grasps Kuheiji's arm and restrains him. Kuheiji's expression is dubious.

Kuheiji: What are you talking about, Tokubei? All these people with me are residents of the ward. We've had a meeting in Ueshio Street to raise funds for a pilgrimage to Ise. We've drunk a little sake, but we're on our way home now. What do you mean by grabbing my arm? Don't be so rough!

Chanter: He removes his wicker hat and glares at Tokubei.

Tokubei: I'm not being rough. All I'm asking is that you return the two kanme of silver I lent you on the thirteenth, which you were supposed to repay on the eighteenth.

Chanter: Before he can finish speaking, Kuheiji bursts out laughing.

Kuheiji: Are you out of your mind, Tokubei? I can't remember having borrowed a penny from you in all the years I've known you. Don't make any accusations that you'll regret.

Chanter: He shakes himself free. His companions also remove their hats. Tokubei pales with astonishment.

Tokubei: Don't say that, Kuheiji! You came to me in tears, saying that you couldn't survive your monthly bills, and I thought that this was the kind of emergency for which we'd been friends all these years. I lent you the money as an act of generosity, though I needed it desperately myself. I told you that I didn't even require a receipt, but you insisted on putting your seal to one, for form's sake. You made me write out a promissory note and you sealed it. Don't try to deny it, Kuheiji!

Chanter: Tokubei rebukes him heatedly.

Kuheiji: What's that? I'd like to see the seal.

Tokubei: Do you think I'm afraid to show you?

Chanter: He produces the paper from his wallet.

Tokubei: If these gentlemen are from the ward, I am sure that they will recognize your seal. Will you still dispute it?

Chanter: When he unfolds the paper and displays it, Kuheiji claps his hands in recollection.

Kuheiji: Yes, it's my seal all right. Oh Tokubei, I never thought you'd do such a thing, not even if you were starving and forced to eat dirt. On the tenth of the month I lost a wallet containing the seal. I advertised for it everywhere, but without success, so as of the sixteenth of this month, as I've informed these gentlemen, I've changed my seal. Could I have put the seal I lost on the tenth on a document on the thirteenth? No - what happened was that you found my wallet, wrote the promissory note, and used my seal. Now you're trying to extort money from me - that makes you a worse criminal than a gorger. You'd do better, Tokubei, to commit out-and-out robbery. You deserve to have your head cut off, but for old times' sake, I'll forgive you. Let's see if you can make any money out of this!

Chanter: He throws the note in Tokubei's face and glares at him fiercely in an extraordinary display of feigned innocence. Tokubei, furious, cries aloud.

Tokubei: You've been damned clever. You've put one over on me. I'm dishonored. What am I to do? Must I let you just steal my money from me? You've planned everything so cleverly that even if I go to court, I'm sure to lose. I'll take back my money with my fists! See here! I'm Tokubei of the Hirano-ya, a man of honor. Do you follow me? I'm not a man to trick a friend out of his money the way you have. Come on!

Chanter: He falls on Kuheiji.

Kuheiji: You impudent little apprentice! I'll knock the insolence out of you!

Chanter: He seizes the front of Tokubei's kimono and they grapple, trading blows and shoves. Ohatsu rushes barefoot to them.

Ohatsu (to townsmen): Please everybody, stop the fight! He's a friend of mine. Where are the chair bearers? Why don't they do something? Tokubei's being beaten up.

Chanter: She writhes in anguish but is helpless. Her customer, country bumpkin that he is, bundles her forcibly into a palanquin.

Customer: You don't want to get hurt.

Ohatsu: Please wait just a moment! Oh, I'm so unhappy!

Chanter: The palanquin is rushed off, leaving only the echoes of her weeping voice. Tokubei is alone; Kuheiji has five companions. Men rush out from the nearby booths and drive them all with sticks to the lotus pond. Who tramples Tokubei? Who beats him? There is no way to tell. His hair is disheveled, his sash undone. He stumbles and falls to this side and that.

Tokubei: Kuheiji, you swine! Do you think I'll let you escape alive?

Chanter: He staggers about searching for Kuheiji, but he has fled and vanished. Tokubei falls heavily in his tracks, and weeping bitterly, he cries aloud.

Tokubei (to bystanders): I feel humiliated and ashamed that you've seen me this way. There was not a false word in my accusation. I've always treated Kuheiji like a brother, and when he begged me for the money, saying he'd never forget it as long as he lived, I lent it to him, sure that he'd do the same for me, though the money was precious as life, and I knew that without it tomorrow, the twenty-first, I'd have to kill myself. He made me write the note in my own hand, then put his seal on it. But it was a seal that he had already report as lost, and now he's turned the accusations against me! It's mortifying, infuriating - to be kicked and beaten this way, dishonored and forced to my knees. It would've been better if I had died while smashing and biting him!

Chanter: He strikes the ground and gnashes his teeth, clenches his fists and moans, a sight to stir compassion.

Tokubei: There's no point in my talking this way. Before three days have passed I, Tokubei, will make amends by showing all Osaka the purity at the bottom of my heart.

Chanter: The meaning of these words is later known.

Tokubei: I'm sorry to have bothered you all. Please forgive me.

Chanter: He gives his apologies, picks up his battered hat, and puts it on. His face, downcast in the sinking rays of the sun, is clouded by tears that engulf him. Dejectedly he leaves, a sight too pitiful to behold.

Inside the Tenma House, the evening of the same day.

Chanter: The breezes of love are all-pervasive
By Shijimi River, where love-drowned guests
Like empty shells, bereft of their senses,
Wander the dark ways of love
Lit each night by burning lanterns,
Fireflies that glow in the four seasons,
Stars that shine on rainy nights.
By Plum Bridge, blossoms show even in summer.
Rustics on a visit, city connoisseurs,
All journey the varied roads of love,
Where adepts wander and novices play:
What a lively place this New Quarter is!
But alas for Ohatsu of the Tenma House - even after she returns, the day's events still weigh on her. She cannot swallow her sake; she feels on edge. As she sits weeping, some courtesans from the neighboring houses and other friends come for a little chat.

First Courtesan: Have you heard, Ohatsu? They say that Toku was given a thrashing for something bad he did. Is it true?

Second Courtesan: No, my customer told me that Toku was trampled to death.

Chanter: They say he was tied up for fraud or trussed for counterfeiting a seal. Not one decent thing have they to report: every expression of sympathy makes their visit the more painful.

Ohatsu: No, please, not another word. The more I hear, the worse my breast pains me. I'm sure I'll be the first to die. I wish I were dead already.

Chanter: She can only weep. But amid her tears she happens to look outside and catches a glimpse of Tokubei, a pathetic figure wearing a wicker hat, even at night. Her heart leaps, and she wants to run to him, but in the sitting room are the master and his wife, and by the entrance stands the cook, while in the kitchen a maid is hovering: with so many sharp eyes watching, she cannot do as she pleases.

Ohatsu: I feel terribly depressed. I think I'll step outside for a moment.

Chanter: She slips out softly.

Ohatsu: What happened? I've heard rumors of every sort about you. They've driven me out of my mind with worry.

Chanter: She thrusts her face under the brim of his wicker hat and weeps in secret, soundless, painful tears. He too is lost in tears.

Tokubei: I've been made the victim of a clever plot, as no doubt you've heard, and the more I struggled, the worse off I am. Everything has turned against me now. I can't survive this night. I've made up my mind to it.

Chanter: As he whispers, voices are heard from within.

Voices: come inside, Ohatsu. There's enough gossip about you as it is.

Ohatsu: There - did you hear? We can't go on talking. Do as I show you.

Chanter: She hides him under the train of her mantle. He crawls behind her to the garden door, where he slips beneath the porch at the step. Ohatsu sits by the entrance and, pulling the tobacco tray to her, lights her pipe. She assumes an air of unconcern. At this moment Kuheiji and a couple of his loudmouthed friends burst in, accompanied by a blind musician.

Kuheiji: Hello, girls. You're looking lonesome. Would you like me for a customer? Hello there, host. I haven't seen you in ages.

Chanter: He strides arrogantly into the room.

Host: Bring a tobacco tray and some sake cups.

Chanter: He makes the customary fuss over the guests.

Kuheiji: No, don't bother about sake. We were drinking before we came. I have something to tell you. Tokubei, the number one customer of your Ohatsu, found a seal I'd lost and tried to cheat me out of two kanme in silver with a forged note. The facts were too much for him, and he finally met with some unpleasantness, from which he was lucky to escape alive. His reputation has been ruined. Be on your guard if he comes here again. Everybody will tell you that I speak the truth, so even if Tokubei tells you the exact opposite, don't believe him for a moment. You'd do best not to let him in at all. Sooner or later he's bound to end up on the gallows.

Chanter: He pours out his words convincingly. Tokubei, underneath the porch, gnashes his teeth and trembles with rage. Ohatsu, afraid that he may reveal himself, calms him with her foot, calms him gently. The host is loath to answer yes or no, for Tokubei is a customer of long standing.

Host: Well, then, how about some soup?

Chanter: covering his confusion, he leaves the room. Ohatsu, weeping bitterly, exclaims.

Ohatsu: You needn't try your clever words on me. Tokubei and I have been intimate for years. We've told each other our inmost secrets. He hasn't a particle of deceit in him, the poor boy. His generosity has been his undoing. He's been tricked, but he hasn't the evidence to prove it. After what has happened Tokubei has no choice but to kill himself. I wish I knew whether or not he had decided to die.

Chanter: She pretends to be talking to herself, but with her foot she questions him. He nods and, taking her ankle, passes it across his throat, to let her know that he is bent on suicide.

Ohatsu: I knew it. I knew it. No matter how long one lives, it comes to the same thing. Only death can wipe out the disgrace.

Chanter: Kuheiji is startled by her words.

Kuheiji: What is Ohatsu talking about? Why should Tokubei kill himself? Well, if he kills himself, I'll take good care of you after he's gone! I think you've fallen for me too!

Ohatsu: That's most generous of you, I'm sure. But would you object if, by way of thanks for your kindness, I killed you? Could I go on living even a moment if separated from Toku? Kuheiji, you dirty thief! Anyone hearing your silly lies can only suspect you. I'm sure that Toku intends to die with me, as I with him.

Chanter: She taps with her foot, and Tokubei, weeping, takes it in his hands and reverently touches it to his forehead. He embraces her knees and sheds teas of love. She too can hardly conceal her emotions. Though no word is spoken, answering each other heart to heart, they silently weep. That no one knows makes it sadder still. Kuheiji feels uncomfortable.

Kuheiji: The wind's against us today. Let's get out of here. The whores in this place are certainly peculiar - they seem to have an aversion to customers like us with plenty of money to spend. Let's stop at the Asa House and have a drink there. We'll rattle around a couple of gold pieces, then go home to bed. Oh - my wallet is so heavy I can hardly walk.

Chanter: Spewing forth all manner of abuse, they noisily depart. The host and his wife call ht servants.

Host: It's time to put out the lights for the night. Lay out beds for the guests who are staying on. Ohatsu, you sleep upstairs. Get to bed early.

Ohatsu (to herself): Master, mistress, I shall probably never see you again. Farewell. Farewell to all the servants too.

Chanter: Thus inwardly taking leave, she goes to her bedchamber. Later they will learn that this was a parting for life; how pitiful the foolish hearts of men who do not realize the truth in time!

Host: See that the fire is out under the kettle. Don't let the mice get at the relishes.

Chanter: They shut the place and bar the gate. Hardly have their heads touched their pillows than all are snoring merrily. So short is the night that before they've had a chance to dream, two o'clock in the morning has come. Ohatsu is dressed for death, a black cloak dark as the ways of love thrown over her kimono of spotless white. She tiptoes to the staircase and looks down. Tokubei show s his face from under the porch. He beckons, nods, points, communicating his intent without a word. Below the stairs a servant girl is sleeping. A hanging lantern brightly shines. Ohatsu in desperation attaches her fan to a palm-leaf broom and, from the second step of the staircase, attempts in vain to extinguish the flame. At last, by stretching every inch, she puts it out, only to tumble suddenly down the stairs. The lamps out, and in the darkness the servant girl turns in her sleep. Trembling, the lovers grope for each other - a fearful moment. The host awakens in his room at the back.

Host: What was that noise just now? Servants! The night lamp has gone out. Get up and light it!

Chanter: the servant girl, aroused, sleepily rubs her eyes and gets up from bed stark naked.

Servant: I can't find the flint box.

Chanter: She wanders about the room searching, and Ohatsu, faint with terror, dodges this way and that to avoid her. At last she catches Tokubei's hand, and softly they creep to the entranceway. They unfasten the latch, but the hinges creak, and frightened by the noise, they hesitate. Just then the maid begins to strike the flints; they time their actions to the rasping sound, and with each rasp open the door farther until, huddled together and their sleeves twisted round them, they go out the door one after the other, feeling as though they were treading on a tiger's tail. They exchange glances and cry out for joy, happy that they are to die - a painful, heartrending sight. The life left to them now is as brief as sparks that fly from blocks of flint.

The journey from Dojima to the Sonezaki Shrine. Chanter: Farewell to this world, and to the night farewell.
We who walk the road to death, to what should we be likened?
To the frost by the road that leads to the graveyard,
Vanishing with each step we take ahead:
How sad is this dream of a dream!

Tokubei: Ah, did you count the bell? Of the seven strokes
That mark the dawn, six have sounded.
The remaining one will be the last echo
We shall hear in this life.
Ohatsu: It will echo the bliss of nirvana.

Chanter: Farewell, and not to the bell alone -
They look a last time on the grass, the trees, the sky.
The clouds, the river go by unmindful of them;
The Dipper's bright reflection shines in the water.

Tokubei: Let's pretend that Umeda Bridge
Is the bridge the magpies built
Across the Milky Way, and make a vow
To be husband and wife stars for eternity.

Ohatsu: I promise. I'll be your wife forever.

Chanter: They cling together - the river waters
Will surely swell with the tears they shed.
Across the river, in a teahouse upstairs,
Some revelers, still not gone to bed,
Are loudly talking under blazing lamps -
No doubt gossiping about the good or bad
Of this year's crop of lovers' suicides;
Their hearts sink to hear these voices.

Tokubei: How strange! but yesterday, even today,
We spoke as if such things did not concern us.
Tomorrow we shall figure in their gossip.
If the world will sing about us, let it sing.

Chanter: This is the song tat now they hear.
¡§I'm sure you'll never have me for your wife,
I know my love means nothing to you¡K¡¨
Yes, for all our love, for all our grieving,
Our lives, out lots, have not been as we wished.
Never, until this very day, have we known
A single night of heart's relaxation -
Instead, the tortures of an ill-starred love.
¡§What is this bond between us?
I cannot forget you.
But you would shake me off and go -
I'll never let you!
Kill me with your hands, then go.
I'll never release you!¡¨
So she said in tears.

Ohatsu: Of all the many songs, that one, tonight!

Tokubei: Who is it singing? We who listen.

Both: Suffer the ordeal of those before us.

Chanter: They cling to each other, weeping bitterly.
Any other night would not matter
If tonight were only a little long,
But the heartless summer night, as is its wont,
Breaks as cockcrows hasten their last hour.

Tokubei: It will be worse if we wait dawn. Let us die in the wood of Tenjin.

Chanter: He leads her by the hand. At Umeda Embankment, the night ravens.

Tokubei: Tomorrow our bodies may be their meal.

Ohatsu: It's strange, this is your unlucky year
Of twenty-five, and mine of nineteen.
It's surely proof how deep are our ties
That we who love each other are cursed alike.
All the prayers I have made for this world
To the gods and to the Buddha, I here and now
Direct to the future: in the world to come
May we be reborn on the same lotus!

Chanter: One hundred eight the beads her fingers tell
On her rosary; tears increase the sum.
No end to her grief, but the road has an end:
Their minds are numbed, the sky is dark, the wind still,
They have reached the thick wood of Sonezaki.
Shall it be here, shall it be there? When they brush the grass, the falling dew vanishes even more quickly than their lives, in this uncertain world a lightning flash - or was it something else?

Ohatsu: I'm afraid. What was that now?

Tokubei: That was a human spirit. I thought we alone would die tonight, but someone else has preceded us. Whoever it may be, we'll have a companion on the journey to the Mountain of Death. Namu Amida Butsu. Namu Amida Butsu.

Chanter: She weeps helplessly.

Ohatsu: To think that others are dying tonight too! How heartbreaking!

Chanter: Man though he is, his tears fall freely.

Tokubei: Those two spirits flying together - do you suppose they belong to anyone else? They must be yours and mine!

Ohatsu: Those two spirits? Then are we dead already?

Tokubei: Normally, if we saw a spirit, we'd knot our clothes and murmur prayers to keep our souls with us, but now we hurry toward our end, hoping instead our two souls will find the same dwelling. Do not mistake the way, do not lose me!

Chanter: They embrace, flesh to flesh, then fall to the ground and weep - how pitiful they are! Their strings of tears unite like entwining branches or the pine and palm that grow from a single trunk, a symbol of eternal love. Here the dew of their unhappy lives will at last settle.

Tokubei: Let this be the spot.

Chanter: He unfastens the sash of his cloak. Ohatsu removes her tear-stained outer robe and throws it on the palm tree; the fronds might now serve as a broom to sweep away the sad world's dust. Ohatsu takes a razor from her sleeve.

Ohatsu: I had this razor prepared in case we were overtaken on the way and separated. I was determined not to forfeit our name as lovers. How happy I am that we are to die together as we hoped!

Tokubei: How wonderful of you to have thought of that! I am so confident in our love that I have no fears even about death. And yet it would be unfortunate if because of the pain we are to suffer people said that we looked ugly in death. Let us secure our bodies to this twin-trunked tree and die immaculately! We will become an unparalleled example of a lovers' suicide.

Ohatsu: Yes, let us do that.

Chanter: Alas! She little thought she would use her light blue undersash in this way! She draws it tight and, with her razor, slashes it through.

Ohatsu: The sash is cut, but you and I will never be torn apart.

Chanter: She sits, and he binds her twice, thrice to the tree, firmly so that she will not stir.

Tokubei: Is it tight?

Ohatsu: Very tight.

Chanter: She looks at her husband, and he at her - they burst into tears.

Both: This is the end of our unhappy lives!

Tokubei: No I mustn't give way to grief.

Chanter: He lifts his head and joins his hands in prayer.

Tokubei: My parents died when I was a boy, and I grew up thanks to the efforts of my uncle, who was my master. It disgraces me to die without repaying his kindness. Instead I shall cause him trouble that will last even after my death. Please forgive my sins. Soon I shall see my parents in the other world. Father, Mother, welcome me there!

Chanter: He weeps. Ohatsu also joins her hands.

Ohatsu: I envy you. You say you will meet your parents in the world of the dead. My father and mother are in this world and in good health. I wonder when I shall see them again. I heard from them this spring, but I haven't seen them since the beginning of last autumn. Tomorrow, when word reaches the village of our suicides, how unhappy they will be! Now I must bid farewell in this life to my parents, my brothers and sisters. If at least my thoughts can reach you, please appear before me, if only in dreams. Dear Mother, beloved Father!

Chanter: She sobs and wails aloud. Her husband also cries out and sheds incessant tears in all too understandable emotion.

Ohatsu: We could talk forever, but it serves no purpose. Kill me, kill me quickly!

Chanter: She hastens the moment of death.

Tokubei: I'm ready.

Chanter: He swiftly draws his dagger.

Tokubei: The moment has come. Namu Amida. Namu Amida.

Chanter: But when he tries to bring the blade against the skin of the woman he's loved and held and slept with so many months and years, his eyes cloud over, his hand shakes. He tries to steady his weakening resolve, but still he trembles, and when he thrusts, the point misses. Twice or thrice the flashing blade deflects this way and that until a cry tells it hast struck her throat.

Tokubei: Namu Amida. Namu Amida. Namu Amida Butsu.

Chanter: He twists the blade deeper and deeper, but the strength has left his arm. When he sees her weaken, he stretches forth his hands. The last agonies of death are indescribable.

Tokubei: Must I lag behind you? Let's draw our last breaths together.

Chanter: He thrusts and twists the razor in this throat, until it seems the handle or the blade must snap. His eyes grow dim, and his last painful breath is drawn away at its appointed hour. No one is there to tell the tale, but the wind that blows through Sonezaki Wood transmits it, and high and low alike gather to pray for these lovers who beyond a doubt will in the future attain buddhahood. They have become models of true love.