Meiko is the widow of a warrior named Kajiwara Kegetoki. He died in the once powerful Samurais’ last stand revolt against the Meiji government in the 1870’s. The progressive Meiji ushered in the modern era with the aid of rifles from Europe. They banished the class system, feudal states, and even forbade the wearing of swords by the Samurai. This was intolerable to Meiko’s husband and others so they fought with swords against the insurmountable odds of well armed forces. Kajiwara , wounded by a rifle bullet and refusing to surrender, committed honorable suicide [ called “seppuku”]. Now Meiko mourns her husband and honors the memory of the Samurai culture by performing as a Kabuki performer in plays dramatizing Samurai heroics. Once enjoying the status of a high class she now plays on stage for commoners. More humiliating than this is the fact she must do this illegally because the government banned female performers from Kabuki. She feels her ancestors and husband are pleased with her efforts to keep the spirit of the Samurai alive.
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