This is a classic Japanese sankyoku piece, meaning "the girl of the bell of Dojoji", written by Ishikawa Koto. It is based on an old legend concerning the temple bell of Dojoji, a Buddhist temple in the province of Kishu (present Wakayama Prefecture). A Noh play called Dojoji is also based on this fairy tale.

This is the translation of the legend that is seen as the standard.

Every year the hermit Anchin of Shirakawa (in Fukushima Prefecture) travelled south to pay his respects at the Kumano Shrine of Kishu. On these trips he stayed with Masago no Shoji, whose daughter Kiyohime fell in love with the handsome priest. Balking at her unexpected infatuation, he fled to the Dojoji temple and hid himself under the great temple bell, whereupon, in a feline fury, the girl turned herself into a demon-snake and pursued Anchin, swimming across the Hidaka River. Finding him, she wrapped herself seven-fold around the great bell, dissolving it and the poor priest in her molten anger. Much later, when the priests of Dojoji recast the bell, a female street dancer (shirabyoshi) appeared at the ceremony of the first striking, asking to be allowed to dance at the belfry. During her dance she suddenly ran under the bell. The bell sounded a great peal and fell over her. When the priests lifted the bell, an enormous snake crawled out breathing fire. Ah, the tenacity of a woman's vindictiveness!

If anyone is unsure as to what the last sentance means, the poet is declaring that Kiyohime's anger was such that it stayed inside the bell until the dancer ran underneath it. It then had the curse of turning her into a demon too.

The shamisen piece is quite wonderful, though the verse does not actually contain the legend - it was so famous that most of the audience would have known it. The translation of the song is below.

The great temple bell
Harbors myriad malices.
Struck at midnight,
The bell echoes
The evanescence
Of all things.

Struck at the ghost hour,
The bell echoes
The birth and death
Of all beings.

Struck at daybreak,
The bell echoes
Supreme enlightenment.
Struck at sunset,
The bell echoes
The gospel of Nirvana.

All who hear understand.
Clouds of the Five Womanly Obstacles
Have been cleared away,
And now I will enjoy
The moon of absolute truth.

I will not unbosom
Myself to you,
But my heart is disordered
Like my hair.
Heartless and cruel
Is the fickle man.
No matter what they say,
Men are no good-

'Cherry blossom' dandies
Vying for praise
But then it's true
That women in love
Perform their duties
No matter what they say
Women are not food.
Women from the capital
Are shallow indeed,
Yes, indeed.

Count them-
The villages of love, where
A samurai visits without his sword,
Screening his face with a deep basket-hat
A town of pride and self-respect
Is Yoshiwara.

The capital of cherry blossoms
Softens with song;
That woman who works
In Shimabara - who is she with?
The black robes of Sumizome
In Fushimi recall that evil

Passions are cleared by the bell-hammer
Of Shumoku-machi, and on
To the Yosuji of Naniwa
And Kitsuji of Nara.
The little girl flowers early
At Muro of Harima-
Truly this is
The world of love.
One, two, three, four

Through the dew night,
Snowy days and frost,
He came from beyond Shimonoseki.
We grew closer
At Maruyama of Nagasaki.
I hoped it would last, and
I fell in love-
That was my fate.

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