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The Monk's Wife!

wealthy man
Priest's Wife and their baby
A Wealthy Man
His Attendant

Though this play is no longer in tune with the times, it is humorous. Japanese monks are no longer required to be celibate.

Celibacy (at least ideally) for monks was de rigor in the old days. So, monks doing worldly acts was a very common theme. This play deals with a monk's need to repent.

Back in those old days if a priest were to marry and was caught he would be stripped and forced to leave the temple only carrying an umbrella. Daikoku is the god of happiness and good fortune so people used to enshrine him in the kitchen. Since the kitchen was the domain of the wife, in some parts of the country wives became known as "Daikokusan". San is the suffix to anyone's name, like Ms., Mr., etc. Therefore the monk, in this play, who enshrines this latter "Daikokusan" is meant for punishment.

The monk returns to his temple with his wife and child. The wealthy man and his attendant stop by to worship the Jizo Bosatsu (Bodhisattva) enshrined there. In a panic the monk disguises his wife, having her don the Jizo mask and hide in the main shrine. The man asks to pray. The monk, in a panic, opens the door a crack the tries to shoo the man away. The monk tries to hide his wife again but the man insists on praying. The ruse is discovered. The wife is ousted. The monk is stripped, carrying the child on his back and an umbrella. The attendant holds the monk’s sash as the wealthy man pushes him along with a broom.