Gidayū Sagi Musume / Gidayū “The Heron Maiden”
The Gidayū genre of “The Heron Maiden” first debuted in 1809 as one of four songs that comprise the collection entitled The Popular Celebrations of the Four Seasons (Hanakurabe Shiku no Kotobuki). “The Heron Maiden” is the last of the four songs representing Winter.
The scene starts on a distant hillside, a stark figure walks along the shores of a frozen lake amidst the falling snowflakes. At first glance, the lone figure seems to be a young bride, but as we soon discover, her movements are those of a bird. In reality, it is the heron who has shape-shifted into the form of a young maiden. Shunned by its mate, the heron yearns to be loved once again, thus transforming itself into a bride. With this quick change, the heron as the maiden, recalls the joyous times spent with her mate, before transforming back into her original form. Still surrounded by the swirling snow, she waits for the new year, with the hopes of a new love budding from the frozen ground.
The Maiden, in reality, the Heron: Nakamura Gankyō (AKA Kirk Kanesaka)
Assistant: Bandō Hiroyukiya