- 近世文藝 (ISSN:03873412)
- vol.112, pp.13-26, 2020 (Released:2021-01-31)
Nenashi-gusa (1763) is Hiraga-Gennai’s drama which was based on the death by drowning of Ogino-Yaegiri, an “oyama” kabuki actor. In the drama a kappa (a Japanese water goblin) plays an important part as a guide who sends Yaegiri to hell. There is an illustration of the kappa in the fifth volume, but very little has been said about it except in Teiri Nakamura’s Kappa-no-nihon-shi (1996). It is very likely that the author borrowed the illustration from Gotō-Rishun’s Zuikan-shashin (1757) with the aim of entertaining his acquaintances who must have noticed that it implicitly referred to the reported appearance of a kappa in the year before the publication of the drama. In addition to an analysis of the illustration, this article explores the structural similarity between Nenashi-gusa and its sequel, the probable influence of the author’s personal relations through herbal medicine on the formation of the drama, and so on.