The Emperor’s castle originates from a mythical and ancient tale hidden within a woodblock landscape scene created by Japanese Ukiyo-e printmaker, Ando Hiroshige. This tale charts the story of two star-crossed lovers, the weaving Princess and the Cowherd who have been separated by the Princess’s father, the Emperor. The story begins with four acts that explore the relationships between these characters. Act I introduces the characters illustrating the moment the Princess and the Cowherd fall in love. As time passes the happy couple begin to neglect their duties. The Emperor being a stern ruler who does not tolerate idleness decided to punish the lovers, separating them by a deep and swift lake unassailable by any man. In the final act the Princess’s flying friends the magpies form a feathery bridge across the lake allowing the Princess and Cowherd to renew their pledge of eternal love.

ACT I - The First Meeting  

ACT II - Duties Neglected  

ACT III - Eternal Punishment  

ACT IV - The Last Meeting