Yu Mei Jen (Yu the Beautiful)
Picture Credit: program
English Title: Yu Mei Jen (Yu the Beautiful)
Japanese Title: 虞美人
Romanized Title: Gu Bijin
Performances: Takarazuka Grand Theater, 3/02 - 3/30; Tokyo Takarazuka Theater, 4/16 - 5/25
Shinjin Kouen Performances: n/a
Based On: Story by Nagayo Yoshio
Author/Director: Shirai Tetsuzou
Composer: Kawasaki Ichirou, Yamane Hisao, Kawamura Tokuji
Choreographer: Yasumoto Shinji, Tamada Yuuzou, Watanabe Takeo, Izuguchi Setsuko
Available on DVD: No
Available on Blu-Ray: No
DVD Scene/Music Cuts: n/a
|Kou'u (aka Xiang Yu)
|Guki (aka Yu Ji)
|Ryuuhou (aka Liu Bang)
|Ryohi (aka Lü Zhi)
|Kanshin (aka Han Xin)
|In Toujou (aka Tao Niang)
|Ouryou (aka Wang Ling) / Li Tso-che
(1955 program used Wade-Giles to write the Chinese names, I'm trying to replace them with Pinying spellings as I figure them out)
|Tao Niang's Nurse / Singer
|Yin Tong / Tzu Chi
|Zhong Li Mei
|Hooligan / Fan Kuai
Other Cast: Mari Ruiko, Suminoe Kayoko, Hama Yuuko, Sakuraji Michiyo, Utsubo Chiharu, Maki Taeko, Honjou Tamaki, Niji Kumiko, Yuuzuki Saeko, Yumeji Kayoko, Kureha Sumi, Matsuyama Hisako, Shiki Kaoru, Minashima Eiko, Kamishima Youko, Fujihara Miyuki, Konohana Sakuya, Wakasumi Kaoru, Tsukushino Chizuru, Kawagiri Masako, Yui Makiko, Miharu Youko, Takadono Yukari, Matsushima Akemi, Fujisato Miho, Yoshizuki Akemi, Soga Yukari, Mitaki Noboru, Shikibu Midori, Amano Obune, Shirogane Misuzu, Beppu Yufuko, Wakayama Midori, Akiji Shizuka, Miyagi Reiko, Shinohara Asami, Akitsu Kaori, Haruno Kimiko, Tani Keiko, Iso Misaki, Chichibu Mihoko, Kisaragi Miwako, Wakakusa Etsuko, Hodaka Hiromi, Chibune Asako, Amagami Junko, Mishima Kaoru, Yoshino Yukari, Otowa Takiko, Rijou Mariko, Shirahama Masami, Misao Midori, Okazono Asaji, Kamishima Yachiyo, Uchinoe Noboru, Miyuki Sachiko, Shino Hikaru, Ushio Chinami, Tachibana Kimiko, Asahi Amame, Fuji Tsukuba, Kouzuki Masami, Shizuhana Midori
WARNING!! MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!!
-China about 2,200 years ago-
The first emperor of Chin brought the whole country under his sway and the people were reduced to great misery by his tyranny. At the time, a number of rival chiefs all over the country were rising against Chin and among them, the most powerful were Xiang Yu (of Chu) and Liu Bang (of Han).
The story opens with a merry festival of a Niangniang Miao (the shrine dedicated for a deity for girls) in a certain village. It is traditionally said that should anyone offer flowers before this deity on the day of festival, his love will be realized.
A village youth, Wan Lin by name, who is somewhat weak in the head, visits the shrine with flowers for the success of his love toward Chin Hua, a beauty of a neighboring village. However, his prayers are not answered; he becomes the object of the wiles of Hung Lin who loves him. In desperation and folly as well as in fear of the passion of Hung Lin, he becomes a soldier of Xiang Yu.
Meanwhile, Han Xin, a diligent youth studying strategy, has been leading a hard life. Daily he fishes in a stream and sells his catch in the town to gain a livelihood. It happens one day that Han Xin, who is extremely hungry, is fishing in the stream as usual and is found and given food by a beautiful girl, Tao Niang by name, daughter of Yin Tong, Governor of Huichi. The girl falls in love with him but he stops visiting the place as he is ashamed of his poverty and having been given food.
In order to overthrow Chin, Yin Tong attempts to win Xiang Yu and Xiang Yu's uncle Xiang Liang to his side. However, his scheme fails through the treachery of Chung Li-mei, one of his vassals. Xiang Yu kills Yin Tong.
In the meantime, Han Xin, who has been still leading a hard life, has at last a chance to launch his ambition. One day, Han Xin, on his way from a river, meets in the street three hooligans who pick a quarrel with him. However, being submissive, he creeps between the legs of each hooligan in line as requested. All the passers-by and other people in the place scorn him but his forbearance draws the keen attention of Fan Zeng, the aged tactician of Xiang Yu. He then becomes the subordinate of Xiang Yu through the good offices of Fan Zeng.
Less than two months later, Xiang Yu has a force of 200,000-man strong and becomes the most powerful leader in the country. On his departure for the front, he marries Yu Ji, a lady of matchless beauty.
On the other hand, Liu Bang has been cooperating with Xiang Yu, but his wife, Lü Zhi, has been secretly devising a scheme to assassinate Xiang Yu in order to make her husband rule over the whole of China.
Having been searching for Tao Niang, Yin Tong's surviving daughter, Lü Zhi finds that the girl who is now a traveling entertainer has been working at a village tavern. She suggests and encourages her to revenge herself on Xiang Yu for her father's murder. Disguising herself as a boy and changing her name to Chin Hsiang-feng, Tao Niang then serves as a page at Xiang Yu's mansion.
However, her attempt fails and she is arrested by Xiang Liang, Xiang Yu's uncle. At that time, Xiang Liang has been plotting to make an attempt on Xiang Yu's life and rule over the country. Accordingly, he attempts to make use of Tao Niang to kill his nephew and, simultaneously, tries to make her his mistress but she kills Xiang Liang and escapes the danger.
Owing to his extremely violent temper, Xiang Yu gradually loses his popularity while Liu Bang, on the contrary, steadily wins public confidence on account of his natural virtue.
When Xiang Yu marches on Hsienyang, he hears that Liu Bang has already advanced on the capital of Chin and has released 3,000 beauties from the Chin's palace called Afangkung.
Then, Xiang Yu, in anger, invites Liu Bang to his camp at the Hong Gate to try to kill him. But his attempt fails by the intervention of Chin Hsiang-fang and Zhang Liang and Fan Kuai, both are the faithful subordinates of Liu Bang. Liu Bang escapes from the jaws of death.
After two years, Liu Bang who has been in the mountains, succeeds in gaining many more troops and a strong reputation. One of his most trusted officers is Han Xin, who once was a subordinate of Xiang Yu. Tao Niang, who has escaped from Xiang Yu's camp just after the Hong Gate Incident, is now the wife of Han Xin.
Taking his tactician Fan Zeng's advice, Xiang Yu captures Liu Bang's family members who have been in their native country. Having heard of this, Liu Bang makes up his mind to attack Xiang Yu. Liu Bang and his men including Han Xin as a chief-of-staff start for the front.
A decisive battle is fought between Xiang Yu and Liu Bang at Chuilishan. The fighting goes against Xiang Yu. Fan Zeng is killed during the fight. Liu Bang succeeds in rescuing his wife from Xiang Yu's captivity although his mother has already died of illness while on the way to thte enemy's camp and his son has been murdered by Xiang Yu's men.
For Xiang Yu, things go from bad to worse. His men begin to desert the camp. His fortress is besieged by Liu Bang's forces now totaling 500,000 while his own men number 1,000.
Wounded and returning from his sortie, he hears the besieging troops singing the song of his native country--which makes him jump to the hasty conclusion that his native land has already been taken by the forces of Liu Bang.
He is now determined to make the last sortie on which he ventures his whole fate. He suggests to his wife Yu Ji, to return to her native village to life the rest of her life in peace. However, she refuses.
Yu Ji encourages her husband to break through the besieging army and plan a second uprising. She dances in celebration of his sortie and then suddenly commits suicide. Her intention was to make him fight without any restraint.
Xiang Yu makes a last sortie and, although he can escape to Wuchiang, he kills himself as he has lost all of his troops.
At the very place where Yu Ji ends her life, red poppies bloom as if in grief over the ill-fated life of the beauty.
- Final performance for Senka member Tougou Haruko, as well as Star Troupe members Mishima Kaoru, Ushio Chinami, Okazono Asaji, Shizuhana Midori, Sakuraji Michiyo, and Tamae Midori.
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