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Wondrous Brutal FictionsEight Buddhist Tales from the Early Japanese Puppet Theater$
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Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231146586

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231146586.001.0001

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(p.96) Shintokumaru
Wondrous Brutal Fictions

R. Keller Kimbrough

Columbia University Press

Shintokumaru represents a relatively older form of sekkyō. In performing his narrative, the chanter seems to have extemporized, filling out the tale with puzzling riddle-letters and desperate child-supplication scenes. In the frequently misogynistic world of medieval and early Edo-period fiction and drama, in which women are said to be women because of their sins in previous lives, Shintokumaru is remarkable for the strength of its female character, in this case Otohime, the young daughter of the wealthy Kageyama lord from Izumi Province and with whom Shintokumaru falls in love. In Kawachi, Shintokumaru built pagodas on mountain peaks and temple halls in valleys, floated ships on great rivers and laid bridges over streams, and commissioned countless monks to perform services for his mother's speedy enlightenment.

Keywords:   sekkyō, riddle-letters, child supplication, Shintokumaru, pagodas

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