Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Ikutama Shrine

Ikutama Shrine (ih-kew-tah-mah). Place where Tokubei meets the courtesan Ohatsu by chance while making deliveries to his customers. According to legend, the shrine’s origin dates back to when Emperor Jinmu arrived in Osaka and built the shrine. Even after the Tokugawa period, the government protected the shrine’s extensive grounds and magnificent architecture. It is said to have been popular with worshipers and regarded as one of the grand Shinto shrines in Japan.

Temma House

Temma House (teh-muh). Brothel in which Ohatsu works. Located in a disreputable neighborhood, the house is purposefully inconspicuous in architecture in order to keep its patrons anonymous. Tokubei and Ohatsu hold each other and cry under the porch of the house, and Tokubei tells her that the only option left for him is suicide.

Sonezaki Wood

Sonezaki Wood (soh-neh-zah-kee). On their journey to Sonezaki Wood, Tokubei and Ohatsu speak of their love, and a lyrical passage spoken by the narrator comments on the transience of life. The surrounding woods are lonely and deserted and leading to their graveyard. Tokubei apologizes to his uncle, and Ohatsu to her parents, for the trouble they are causing. Chanting an invocation to Buddha, Tokubei stabs Ohatsu and then himself.