Sonezaki shinju or Love Suicides at Sonezaki

by Cikamatsu Monzaeomon (1703)

A clerk from a soya sauce shop, Tokubei, is deeply in love with the courtesan Ohatsu. He has not consented to a marriage arranged by his uncle. So he must quickly return the handsome dowry given to his stepmother. He receives the money, but stupidly he lends it to his old friend, Kuheji, who never returns the money.

After clever manoeuvrings from Kuheji’s side, it is Tokubei who finds himself blamed for a crime. Tokubei is beaten and publicly humiliated. At his wits’ end, Tokubei flies to Ohatsu’s brothel and hides himself under the outer robe of Ohatsu’s costume. The situation becomes even more tense when Kuheji arrives at the brothel. Ohatsu desperately speaks in Tokubbei’s defence. Finally she says that she is ready to commit suicide together with Tokubei. Tokubei silently signals his agreement. Ohatsu withdraws to her room and starts to prepare herself for her last journey. In the darkness the couple laboriously start their walk to the forest of the Sonezaki temple. As they walk, they recall their lives and bid farewell to this world. Finally Tokubei stabs Ohatsu and kills himself.