Chikamatsu, Monzaemon (mônˈzäĕmŏnˈ chēˌkämäˈtsō) [key], 1653–1725, the first professional Japanese dramatist. Chikamatsu wrote primarily for the puppet stage in the Tokugawa shogunate. His literary work is divided into historical romances ( jidaimono ) and domestic tragedies of love and duty ( sewamono ). Author of 110 joruri [puppet plays] and 30 kabuki plays, he profoundly influenced the development of the modern Japanese theater. Among his best-known works are the Kokusenya-kassen [Battles of Coxinga], a historical drama concerned with the conquests of a famous Chinese warlord, and the domestic tragedy Shinju Ten no Amijima [the Love Suicides at Amijima].
See Major Plays of Chikamatsu (tr. by D. Keene, 1961); D. Keene, Bunraku, The Art of the Japanese Puppet Theatre (1965); C. A. Gerstle, Circles of Fantasy: Convention in the Plays of Chikamatsu (1984).
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