BOTH of these plays deal with the ruthless exactions of religion; in each the first part lends itself better to translation than the second. Tanikō is still played; but Ikeniye, though printed by both Owada and Haga, has probably not been staged for many centuries.
The pilgrims of Tanikō are Yamabushi, "mountaineers," to whom reference has been made on page 33. They called themselves Shugenja, "portent-workers," and claimed to be the knight-errants of Buddhism. But their conduct seems to have differed little from that of the Sōhei (armed monks) who poured down in hordes from Mount Hiyei to terrorize the inhabitants of the surrounding country. Some one in the Genji Monogatari is said to have "collected a crowd of evil-looking Yamabushi, desperate, stick-at-nothing fellows."
Ikeniye, the title of the second play, means "Pool Sacrifice," but also "Living Sacrifice," i. e. human sacrifice.