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Japanese Title: Sado Koshaku Fujin
English Title: Madame de Sade
Author: MISHIMA, Yukio
Author's Profile: 1925-1970. Upon graduation from the University of Tokyo, School of Jurisprudence, in 1947, he entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but left in 1948 to devote his life to literary pursuits. He gained critical attention for his novel, "The Confessions of a Mask," at the age of 24. His major novels include "The Temple of the Golden Pavilion" (1956) and the tetralogy, "The Sea of Fertility" (1965-71).
Developing early an interest in playwriting, he wrote "The Burning House" in 1948 and received the prestigious Kishida Drama Prize for "The Nest of the White Ants" in 1955. His major plays include "Rokumei Hall" (premier performance in 1956 by the Bungakuza Theatre Company), "Madame de Sade" (premier performance in 1965 by the Neo Litterature Theatre), "My Friend Hitler" (premier performance in1968 by the Romance Theatre). His "Modern Noh Plays" (1956), which includes "Sotoba Komachi," "The Damask Drum," "Kantan," "The Lady Aoi," and "Hanjo," use traditional sources to create a unique dramatic world. He also wrote new kabuki plays, including "The Sardine Seller's Net of Love" (1954); adaptations like "A Blush on the White Hibiscus Blossom: Lady Fuyo and the True Account of the Ouchi Clan" (1955; adapted from Racine's "Phedre"); and "The Moonbow" (1969).
Involved in the performing arts in a variety of ways, he wrote scripts for film, dance, ballet, and opera as well as publishing translations, adaptations, and criticism. He was also a director of drama and film and a performer himself.
First Performance:   1965
Performance time:  
Acts / Scenes: 3 acts
Cast: 6 women


The play takes place at the Parisian salon of Madame de Montreuil, who is the mother of Renee, the Madame de Sade.

In the autumn of 1772, the Comtesse de Saint-fond is gossiping with the Baroness de Simiane about the Marquis de Sade's recent incident in the city of Marseilles. Sade had been imprisoned for holding orgies with prostitutes in the past. Each time, Madame de Montreuil has spent a huge sum of money to have him released. She believes he is ill; the Comtesse de Saint-fond acknowledges the beauty of vice; the Baronesse de Simiane fears his sinfulness; and Renee tries to uphold her position as a faithful wife. Each lady understands Sade in her own way. As Renee has come back home, Madame de Montreuil advises her to get a separation, but she is not interested. Renee's younger sister, Anne, returns to say that she has been roaming around Italy with Sade; at the same time she reveals his secret hideout. Deciding to have Sade arrested so that she can tear Renee away from him and restore the family honor, Madame de Montreuil suddenly refuses to assist his escape or bail him out of prison.

Six years later on September 1, Anne brings Renee notice of Sade's release. Just as it seemed as if the bonds between mother and daughter and between the sisters were mended, the Comtesse de Saint-fond tells Anne and Renee the truth. Sade was released once in mid-July but again put into strict solitary confinement due to Madame de Montreuil's machinations. To her mother who doesn't understand the depth of her love for Sade, Renee holds forth on the ugliness of living slavishly according to social conventions and what the neighbors think.

Thirteen years later and nine months after the French Revolution, the Comtesse de Saint-fond, in the disguise of a prostitute, is trampled to death in a riot. It is the day of Sade's release. But Renee has read "Justine," a novel Sade wrote in prison, and is undergoing change. The man whom she thought loved her and understood her seems to be living in a fantasy world of his own making. Renee decides to part with him and the world by entering a convent. When Sade returns and knocks on the door, she tells her housekeeper, Charlotte, not to let him in.
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