sewamono


   The kabuki and joruri theaters were closely censored; Tokugawa officials refused to allow lewd plays or plays that would offend the warrior (buke ) class or government officials. In response to government censorship, the puppet theater and kabuki theater began to turn away from historical plays (jidaimono) and began to concentrate on "domestic plays," or sewamono, which concerned the lives of common people. Sewamono were often based on real people and real names were sometimes used; they tended to focus on love stories, especially thwarted love stories. For a time, the most sensational sewamono dealt with shinju, or "double suicide," as a couple in an impossible love situation committed double suicide rather than live apart. Because these plays inspired real-life double suicides, the Tokugawa regime proscribed them in 1723. Otherwise the Tokugawa regime and the city agents responsible for censoring kabuki and joruri, the machi bugyo , pretty much left sewamono plays alone even though they often dealt with contemporary and lurid events of the time. The Tokugawa regime was little concerned with any offense committed against common people.