When, in the final dance, the master shows Taro Kaja that he has the badger, Taro Kaja apologizes and follows his master off the platform--the master triumphantly carrying the badger off to make badger soup.
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("Hiding the Badger")
This farcical Japanese Kyogen (or "crazy words") is performed as a tension reliever after the serious and profound Noh drama during a complete 5-hour Noh performance. It's a silly as Noh is stately; colloquial as Noh is high flown; and the dancing is absolutely hilarious. I saw this in conjunction with Kagetsu, a serious story of a man who becomes a Buddhist monk after his son is kidnapped...and recovers him at Kiyomizu Temple on the road to Kyoto. The bottom line of this Kyogen about badger soup: all the world finds drunken behavior humorous.
A master has heard that his servant Taro Kaja (resplendent in traditional Kyogen yellow shoes and bright yellow pants) has been catching badgers recently, so he decides to get a badger from him and entertain some guests with badger soup. When the master calls him and makes his request, Taro Kaja insists that he has never caught a badger in his life. Since the master has already sent out invitations for his badger soup party the following day, he orders Taro Kaja to go the market and buy one for him.
In actual fact, Taro Kaja is indeed a catcher of badgers and he has caught one just the night before and intends to take it and sell it at the market that very morning. He decides to go ahead with his plan. In the meantime, his master, who is certain that Taro Kaja was lying, goes to the market before Taro Kaja gets there and awaits his arrival, taking along plenty of wine, as he knows Taro Kaja loves to drink and tells all when he gets drunk.
Taro Kaja comes along through the market, calling out to passersby in an attempt to sell his badger. He is surprised when he runs into his master, but quickly hides his badger behind his back and pretends that he was calling out to buy a badger, not sell one. The master changes the subject and offers him wine to drink. Taro Kaja says it's not polite to drink in such a public place, but he loves wine so much that he is soon talked into it.
The master serves him one cup after another--pantomiming the pouring by tipping an open gold fan into a large lacquer bowl--until Taro Kaja is totally drunk. Then the master asks him to sing and dance, dancing himself, then insisting that they dance together. Poor Taro Kaja ultimately forgets to keep his back away from the master: he does a big twirl, and the master quickly snatches the badger from where it is tied on Taro Kaja's back. When, in the final dance, the master shows Taro Kaja that he has the badger, Taro Kaja apologizes and follows his master off the platform--the master triumphantly carrying the badger off to make badger soup.