Meiji Era Kabuki: Three Shintomiza Tsuji Banzuke Part Three – 1912
Third and final part of the Meji Era Kabuki series by Kabuki collector and researcher Trevor Skingle!
The performance date places the performance this tsuji banzuke advertised on 8th February 1912, the last year, 46, of the Meiji era, which ended that same year with the death of Emperor Meiji on 30th July 1912, which had been a time of major changes in Japanese society. The developing Japanese fascination with photography and ‘bromides’ as they were called was reflected in the growing numbers of Kabuki images that became available and their collectors, usually rendered as postcards as is evidenced in those for this performance run. This is something that can still be indulged in at today’s Kabuki performances, though with more modern photographs. The improved quality of this tsuji banzuke with thicker paper and clearer printing is perhaps a reflection of an improvement on the previous two tsuji banzuke in this series, possibly using automated printing techniques, and an increased investment in the Shintomiza by Shochiku who had bought the theatre in 1909.
First performance on the programme was from the play Igagoe (Dōchū Sugoroku) – The Vendetta at Iga by Chikamatsu Hanji based on a true incident in 1634 in which Watanabe Shizuma (in the play called Wada Shizuma), with the aid of Araki Mataemon (in the play called Karaki Masaemon), killed a man named Kawai Matagorō at Iga Ueno who was the murderer of his father.
Left Bromide – Nakamura Ganjirō (Shodai) as Karaki Masaemon
Right bromide (from left to right) – Nakamura Utaemon V as Watanabe Masaemon (also advertised on the 1891 tsuji banzuke when he was called Nakamura Fukusuke IV)
Nakamura Baigyoku II as Osode’s father Yamada Kōbei
Nakamura Ganjirō (Shodai) as Karaki Masaemon
Act 7, Scene 1. Igagoe: Fujikawa Shuku Shinseki – Igagoe: The inn and the new barrier gate at Fujikawa
Part One. Dango Ori – The dumpling seller
Part Two. Takeyabu no Dan – The bamboo grove incident
Act 8, Scene 1 Okazaki Yamada Kōbei Jū – Yamada Kōbei’s residence in Okazaki
Together both Acts are usually referred to as Okazaki
Play synopsis http://www.kabuki21.com/okazaki.php
The second and third plays in the performance are drawn from plays about the lovers Yugiri and Izaemon
The second in the performance run was the play Dondoro Act 8, Scene 1, from Keisei Awa no Naruto by Chikamatsu Hanji. Though the main play Keisei Awa no Naruto is about Izaemon and Yūgiri within the play is the sub plot…
Act 8, Scene 1. Dondoro Taishi no Monzen – The Temple Precincts near Monzen
Otsuru Nakamura Senjaku I
Jirōsuke’s wife Otoku really Jūrobei wife Oyumi Nakamura Baigyoku II
Play synopsis http://www.kabuki21.com/dondoro.php
Continuing the Yūgiri and Izaemon theme third on the bill was advertised as Yūgiri Izaemon promoting the play Kuruwa Bunsho Yoshidaya: Love Letters from the Licensed Quarter, a one act play in two scenes
Scene 1. In front of the Yoshidaya trellis windows
Scene 2. In the Yoshidaya back parlor
Play synopsis http://www.kabuki21.com/kuruwa_bunsho.php
From Yoshitsune Sembon Zakura: Yoshitsune and a Thousand Cherry Trees the final part of the performance advertises Ara o nami, literally means rough male theatrical fighting scene in the waves
Act 2: Scene 3 At the Tokaiya shop and Scene 4 Daimotsu Bay
Though not shown on the banzuke also listed on the Ritsumeikan University database for this performance was Himitsu bijin – Secret Beauty
I hope you have enjoyed this three part journey, bringing to life the vibrant and dynamic world of Kabuki of over a hundred years ago. As we shall see next there was also a dark side to the colourful and vibrant world of Kabuki.
Photographic images published before December 31st 1956, or photographed before 1946 and not published for 10 years thereafter, under jurisdiction of the Government of Japan, are considered to be public domain according to article 23 of old copyright law of Japan and article 2 of supplemental provision of copyright law of Japan
Trevor Skingle was born and lives in London where he works in the field of Humanitarian Disaster Relief. He is a Japanophile and his hobbies are Kabuki, painting and drawing and learning Japanese.