I just saw a modern production of the story of Yaobikuni. It was pretty cool!
Princess Yao is ill- her father feeds her mermaid flesh, which makes her immortal.
Eating mermaid flesh is, shall we sasy, extremely unlucky. She is cursed and longs to die. She buries many husbands and ends up wandering the forests as a nun. Locals believe her to be a living Buddha, but she knows the truth: she is impure.
Eight hundred years later, she meets a sick person and does a series of good deeds for him. He turns out to be a water-spirit, a representative of the mermaid, or maybe a mermaid himself. Through a series of trials, she gets the reward she longs for- DEATH.
The happy ending is she dies. Only the Japanese.
This production was great, yet indescribably cheesey. Most of the music was recorded and had some synthesizers in it… the dancing was good. The live performance of a sort of shamisen-ish instrument was the best though- maybe I liked it because it was the part most like kabuki or Noh.
When she dies, the music sounds like the credits of a TV soap opera- cherry blossoms fall around her as she gazes serenely into the distance.
The legend of Yaobikuni was spread from Wakasa through Hokuriku to Tohoku Nihonkai side while camellias and a woman divers’ fishing method were spread toward the same direction.