浪曲とは

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 浪曲は、三味線とともに物語を語る芸能で、落語や講談とともに、日本を代表する演芸・話芸のひとつです。江戸時代の末期から明治のはじめに成立したと言われ、一時は大流行。人気俳優やアイドル並の人気があり、長者番付のトップにも浪曲師が名を連ねたのだそうです。 語りと台詞のやりとりと節(ふし)を駆使して語っていくので、まるで「ひとりミュージカル」?!譜面はなく、浪曲師と曲師が舞台で繰り広げるやりとりは、「ジャズのセッションのよう」とも言われ、そのライブ感が浪曲の魅力です。 浪曲の演目には様々なものがありますが、例えば若い方に浪曲を聞いて頂く際には恋愛もの。何度確かめても相手の心を疑ってしまう女心(「番町皿屋敷」のお菊)、嫉妬深い奥さん(「樽屋おせん」のお糸)の勘違いがとんでもない騒動に発展するなど、恋愛の機微は年代や時代や国境も超えて共感できるものではないでしょうか。小さなお子さんが多い時には、生意気だけど優しい男の子が出てくる笑いの多いお話(「神田松五郎」)、ご年配の方が多い時には、親子の情愛を描いた物語(「両国夫婦花火」)等々。浪曲と一言でいっても、たくさんの物語があります。年末には「忠臣蔵」のお話を聞いて頂く機会も多いです。 浪曲では物語に登場する様々な役どころをひとりで演じるという所がまた面白く、さらにドラマティックな三味線とともにメロディアスに語る躍動的でもあり繊細でもある節回しによって、物語へ引き込む引力が大きくなるのです。 最近では浪曲の中に、ジャズやロックやラップといった音楽的要素を見出して、新しくファンになって下さる若い方も多いようです。きっかけさえあれば、老若男女問わず楽しんで頂けるエンターテイメントなんですよ! (春野恵子)



 The musical storytelling art of rokyoku (also called naniwabushi) was created in its current form around the turn of the 20th century, but can trace its roots back to the medieval period, when itinerant troubadours carryingbiwa lutes criss-crossed the country singing the stories of recent battles and other important news to the people.  Dramatic recitation of all kinds, both with and without melody, has a rich history in Japan and many forms still thrive today – from the classical narratives of bunraku puppet theatre to simple rakugo comic tales. Rokyoku is the newest of these, a direct reflection of modernity, with reciprocal influences on cinema, new theatre and mass media.  Rokyokuwas already developing experimentally from older forms of street and fairground performance in the later 19th century, during Japan’s swift transformation to a modern state, which leveled old social strata into a great mass migration to the cities.  Here rokyoku found a base at little neighborhood vaudeville houses supported by the new urban audience.  It was taken on to up-market city stages by the pioneering star TochukenKumoemon (1873-1916), who established its definitive form in the first years of the 20th century.  Kumoemon created rokyoku’s first mega-hit by using its modern language and music to tell the classic old vendetta dramaChushingura, The Faithful 47 Retainers.  But rokyoku’s real popularity across all classes came with the sprawling Robin- Hood-style outlaw tales sung by Hirosawa Torazo II (1899-1964), the charismatic stylist who made rokyoku a true modern genre.  Torazo extended his famous stories onto stage and cinema screen, where he frequently appeared as an actor.  The concurrent rise of radio brought rokyoku into every home and made it universally known and loved right through the postwar era. As in all traditional Japanese performing arts, rokyoku stories are largely based on historical events and people, whose backgrounds are already known to audiences.  Many of the same stories are shared by classical theatre, literature, other narrative arts and cinema. Rokyoku characters run the gamut of all classes and eras, from aristocratic warlords of ancient days to fast-talking city conmen and small-town sumo wrestlers.  Older stories tend to be cycles of many installments, designed to bring audiences back to the theatre or their radios on successive nights.  More recent additions to the repertoire can be self-contained tales told in a single 20- to 40-minute performance.  There is a great variety of story types, including military battle, samurai vendetta, ghost and monster fantasy, fairy tale, biography both true and legendary, social satire, murder, mystery, family saga, current events, broad comedy to high tragedy and all points in between.  Perhaps the best-known story types, which so well suit rokyokustyle, are the “chivalrous outlaw” (ninkyo) tale and the romance (ninjobanashi).  The outlaw always becomes a sympathetic hero in timesof social upheaval, as in turn-of-the-century Japan when rokyoku began to mature.  And the romance, from love story to parable, is popular in all times and places. Rokyoku stories set in all eras are told in modern language, but contain sophisticated rhythmic patterns fully discernible only to the connoisseur.  Audiences will signal their appreciation of rhythmic and melodic feats by bursts of applause and sometimes even shouts.  Perfect synchronization between singer and musician is crucial, and far more difficult than it looks.  The musician must produce melody, sound effects, and percussive support all at once.  Her instrument, the shamisen, with its twisted-silk strings and cat-skin body, works on a non-Western scale.  Its prototype came into Japan from the Asian continent at the end of the 16th century and instantly became the instrument of choice for all urban performance, including the great theatres of kabuki and the puppets. Rokyoku is the only traditional Japanese performing art in which women and men participate on perfectly equal footing, as both singers and musicians.  Currently the singing population is about evenly divided, but female musicians predominate. (Faith Bach)