The Edo-period drama draws on a classic of Japanese literature, Five-Story Pagoda.
The Edo-period scenes are based on Rohan Koda’s classic 1892 novel, Five-Story Pagoda. Koda, who lived in Yanaka, greatly appreciated Buddhist architecture. The novel concerns Jubei, an obscure carpenter, who builds the pagoda against his boss’s will and in defiance of the feudalistic social system of the Edo period.
Koda thought men of extreme virtue were underappreciated under modern capitalism and criticized the westernized society of Meiji-era (1868-1912) Japan. The novel was highly praised as a masterpiece and attracts new readers still today.