Sakai in Edo

. Places of Edo .

Sakai Cho in Edo

A pleasure quarter near the center of town at Nihonbashi.
One of the three famous Kabuki theaters of Edo was located in Sakai.

source : carolyn staley prints.com
The Kabuki Theater at Sakai, Fukiyacho 葺屋町
Kitao Masayoshi Keisai (1764 - 1824)

Edo Sanza 江戸三座
the three famous Kabuki theaters of Edo

with a special permission from the city government (町奉行 machi bugyoo).

堺町・葺屋町 Sakai Machi
Kobikichoo 木挽町 Kobiki cho
猿若町 Saruwaka choo.
later renamed Nakamura-za

- 猿若町 Saruwaka cho district
The name of the area is connected to the name of Saruwaka (Nakamura) Kanzaburo who is said to have been the founder of Edo-style Kabuki. The area featured a number of tea houses connected to the theaters which provided visitors with guidance, food, rest and other services, and many theater proprietors and actors settled in the area, forming massive entertainment district. The district flourished until the first year of the Meiji Era, however, the theaters relocated one after another thereafter and the theater town was lost.
- source and more photos : ndl.go.jp/landmarks/e -

Saruwaka Kanzaburō 猿若勘三郎 (1598 - 1658)
the founder of Edo kabuki and first in the premier Nakamura-za lineage.
It was not until the year AD 1624 that a man named Saruwaka Kanzaburo, at the command of the Shogun, opened the first theatre in Yedo in the Nakabashi, or Middle Bridge Street, where it remained until eight years later, when it was removed to the Ningyo, or Doll Street.


Nakamura Kanzaburō XVIII 十八代目 中村勘三郎
May 30, 1955 – December 5, 2012

He made his debut under the name Nakamura Kankurō V in April 1959 in the role of Momotaro.

His kabuki credits under that name include roles in Kagami-jishi, Kamiyui Shinza and Yotsuya Kaidan. Nakamura-ya.

In addition to performing at the Kabuki-za and other kabuki venues, Kankurō helped establish the Heisei Nakamura-za, a temporary kabuki stage erected for only one set of performances, in a variety of locations. He erected it, and performed on it, in Asakusa (Tokyo), Osaka, and, in 2004, on a US tour, performing in Boston, New York, and Washington DC. The Heisei Nakamura-za performed again in New York and Washington in 2007.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

Kanzaburo passed away much too early.
During his funeral procession, the parade passed the Nakamura-Za and all the people who loved him dearly came out to carry a mikoshi palanquin in his honor.
This was maybe the first time of such an outburst of sympathy for an actor.

ano yo e to kao mise debyuu Nakamuraya

to the other world
to show his face -

Tr. Gabi Greve

Momochigusa 百千草

滑稽俳句協会 Parody Haiku Association
source : www.kokkeihaikukyoukai.net

kaomise 顔見世 "showing the faces"
is the first performance of the New Year,

. Kabuki Theater ... 歌舞伎 .


'Kogiku in Saruwaka-cho'

Toyohara Kunichika (豊原 国周, June 30, 1835 – July 1, 1900)
was a Japanese woodblock print artist. Talented as a child, at about thirteen he became a student of Tokyo's then-leading print maker, Utagawa Kunisada. His deep appreciation and knowledge of kabuki drama led to his production primarily of ukiyo-e actor-prints, which are woodblock prints of kabuki actors and scenes from popular plays of the time.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


Ichimuraza Opening Comic Puppet Theater

Utagawa Kunisada III (1848 - 1920)

Famous places in Edo

Ukiyo-e ni miru Edo no meisho.
Tokyo: Iwanami shoten, 1993.

From Kyôhô period on to Meiji, there were three kabuki theatres, the “sanza,” of which the two oldest, Nakamura-za and Ichimura-za, were located along the single street of Sakai-chô Fukiya-chô (now Ningyô-chô 3-chôme).
(The Morita-za was in Kobiki-chô, some 2.5 km to the south, and rarely appeared in meisho-e.)

Here Masanobu shows us the view from the Sakai-chô end, with the Nakamura-za on the right; the play on the kanban here enables dating of the keikan to early spring (shoshun) Enkyô 2 (1745). Further down on the same side in Fukiya-chô is the Ichimuraza, and on the left are three ayatsuri-ningyô-koya. Some eight years later, Eisen shows the same place but from the opposite direction, with Ichimura-za on the front left, an ayatsuri-za on the right, and Nakamura-za in the distance.
The time is now autumn, at kaomise.
It is intriguing to compare the two views to see what has changed, what has not.

Ten-odd years after Eisen’s print, on 10/7 of Tenpô 12 (1841), the Sakai-chô Fukiya-chô shibai-machi was destroyed by fire, and Mizuno Tadakuni, who had begun the Tenpô no kaikaku just five months before, refused to permit rebuilding on the same site. As a result, a new shibai-machi named Saruwaka-chô was constructed north of Asakusa Kannon, shown here by Hiroshige II in a view showing the three theaters in order of seniority on the west side of the machi: Nakamura, Ichimura, and Morita.
source : www.columbia.edu

and a Japanese link with more photos
Okumura Masanobu 奥村政信

source : tisiruinoe


- quote -
Saruwaka Kyōgen: "The Inner Palace of Chiyoda
An image of Saruwaka Kyōgen performed in the inner palace is illustrated here.
Saruwaka Kyōgen is a type of Nō farce that was a specialty of Nakamura Kanzaburō I and the object carried in the woman's hands pictured in the center of the image is a harlequin/Saruwaka puppet.
The Inner Palace of Chiyoda is a set of illustrations by the hand of Yōshū Chikanobu (Hashimoto Chikanobu) which displays annual events in Edo castle (also known as Chiyoda castle) and the lives of maidservants there. Forty works were issued from the armory in Nihonbashi, Tokyo between 1894 (Meiji 27) and 1896 (Meiji 29).
As it was forbidden to leave written records or speak of the activities that went on inside the inner palace, not much is known about them. Singing, dancing and playing musical instruments was part of compulsory education for samurai daughters and for the festival held in Edo Town on the first day of the horse in February, maidservants such as those rendering services in the next chamber and the third chamber performed dances and farces even in inner palace and the Shogun's wife is said to have viewed this from behind the curtain.
- source : Tokyo Metropolitan Library -


- quote
Theaters in Sakai-chō and Fukiya-chō 堺町葺屋町戯場
Sakai-chō is a theater district where a playhouse was run from 1651 by the Saruwaka-za Theater (later Nakamura-za Theater), which was founded by the father of Edo kabuki theater, 中村勘三郎 Kanzaburō Nakamura, in 1624.
Fukiya-chō is another theater district where 村山座 Murayama-za Theater (later 市村座 Ichimura-za Theater,)
one of the three kabuki theaters of Edo, relocated from the playhouse built in Sakai-chō in 1634.
However, after this painting was finished, all of these playhouses were moved
to 猿若町 Saruwaka-chō in 1842 as a result of the Tempō Reforms.
- source : Tokyo Metropolitan Library -


Sakai is a name given to many towns and villages in Japan, which are situated at a border, to another domain or village or region.

Sakai city (堺市, Sakai-shi)
is a city in Osaka Prefecture, Japan.
It has been one of the largest and most important seaports of Japan since the Medieval era.
Sakai is known for its keyhole-shaped burial mounds, or kofun, which date from the 5th century. The largest of these, Daisen Kofun, is believed to be the grave of the Emperor Nintoku and is the largest grave in the world by area. Once known for samurai swords, Sakai is now famous for the quality of its kitchen knives; most high-quality Japanese cutlery originates in Sakai, and its production is a major industry in the city.

In the Muromachi Period Sakai was one of richest cities in Japan. Sakai is located on the edge of Osaka Bay and at the mouth of the Yamato River, which connected the Yamato Province (now Nara Prefecture) to the sea. Sakai thus helped to connect foreign trade with inland trade.

Sakai was an autonomous city run by merchant citizens. In those days it was said that the richest cities were Umi no Sakai, Riku no Imai (tr. "along the sea, Sakai; inlands, Imai"; The latter is now a part of Kashihara, Nara). The famous Zen Buddhist priest Ikkyu chose to live in Sakai because of its free atmosphere. In the Sengoku Period some Christian priests, including St. Francis Xavier in 1550, visited Sakai and documented its prosperity.

Sen no Rikyū, known as the greatest master of the tea ceremony, was originally a merchant of Sakai. Because of the close relationship between the tea ceremony and Zen Buddhism, and because of the prosperity of its citizens, Sakai was one of the main centers of the tea ceremony in Japan.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


source : edococo

Edo no Ame 江戸の雨 Rain in Edo
More rain illustrations on this link.

. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .

ame no hi ya seken no aki o Sakai choo

this rainy day -
(I leave behind) the autumn of the every-day-world
entering Sakai town

Matsuo Basho, age 35, in 1678

seken ... has a special notion as a place including the hardships and vicissitudes of every day life.


source : www2.yamanashi-ken.ac.jp

Even on such a rainy day
This world's autumn has
A border with the pleasure quarter.

Tr. Thomas McAuley

a rainy day
the autumn world
of a border town

Tr. Jane Reichhold


kuchikiri ni Sakai no niwa zo natsukashiki

opening a new tea jar
in a garden in Sakai -
full of dear memories

Tr. Gabi Greve

Written in 1629 元禄5年初冬

Basho was invited to this ceremony in Edo, but he remembered the splendid tea ceremonies of Sen no Rikyu in Sakai, Osaka.
This hokku is a greeting to his rich host.

Kuchikiri no chaji 口切の茶事 (くちきり) opening the tea jar
kuchikiri, kuchi kiri 口切(くちきり)
kuchikiri chakai 口切茶会(くちきりちゃかい)Kuchikiri tea ceremony
now around November 16
It used to be the 30th day of the 9th lunar month.
Tea leaves picked in early summer are packed inside jars and mature until November. Now the jars are opened (kuchi kiri : open the mouth of the jar).
The leaves are then ground into powder for powdered green matcha.
At this tea ceremony, the tea is prepared using the first fresh powder.
. WKD : Tea Ceremony Saijiki .

. Sen Rikyu, Sen Rikyū 千利休 Tea Master .

MORE - hokku about tea by
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .


found on the way

Rain in Modern Japan - Photos
source : Lets Japan


New Kabukiza 2013

The Kabuki-za is back — with big ambitions and aspirations to make the nation’s classical theatrical entertainment more attractive to a 21st-century audience.

The reopened kabuki theater — now reconstructed for the fifth time — in the upscale shopping-entertainment district of Ginza, will roll out a new monthlong program from next Tuesday, three years after it was torn down to be replaced with a more earthquake-resistant structure.

The new building, designed by renowned architect Kengo Kuma, retains the Japanese-style facade of its previous incarnations, the first of which opened at the same site in 1889. Improvements include barrier-free toilets, and less seats at 1,808, but bigger ones that also offer a bit more leg room between the rows. The ticket booths are now located on the second basement floor, which is linked directly to Higashi-Ginza Subway Station and is complete with a souvenir shop and a cafe.
source : Japan Times, March 29, 2013


. Edo - Nihonbashi 日本橋 .

. The town of Edo, Ooedo, Great Edo, Old Edo, Yedo
江戸 大江戸  Welcome to Edo ! .

. Kabuki Theater ... 歌舞伎 .

. Sukeroku 助六 - Hero of Edo .


Night View of Saruwakacho

. Utagawa 歌川広重 (Ando) Hiroshige 安藤広重 (1797-1858) .


Kobikichoo 木挽町 Kobiki cho district

江戸名所図会 Edo Meisho Zue

Located to the Eastern side of Sanjugenborikawa (Sanjukken Canal), from sub-district 1 to 7.
In the beginning of the Edo period, many construction workers using large timber saws 木挽 lived and worked here.

kobiki-noko 木挽鋸(こびきのこ) saw of a Kobiki worker

- quote -
Kobiki Nokogiri and Temagari Nokogiri - Timber Saws
Kobiki-Nokogiri were used in ancient Japan for the rough ripping of logs into boards for carpenters and cabinetmakers. These saws were used by one man, in contrast to Europe, where typically two men used a ripsaw for similar purposes. To properly guide them in very long cuts, the blades of Kobiki-Nokogiri, also known as Maebiki-Nokogiri, were much wider than those of other saws. The saws were roughly made, and at times still showed the smith’s forge marks. Blades were laboriously hand-tapered from teeth to back to prevent jamming.
- source : fine-tools.com/kobiki -

葛飾北斎 Katsushika Hokusai - 木挽 Kobiki cutting wood

In 1642, the 山村座 Yamamuraza Kabuki Theater was constructed in the 6th sub-district and
in 1660, the 森田座 Moritaza (Morita-Za) was constructed in the 5th sub-district.
But the Yamamura-Za was closed in 1714 due to the
絵島事件 "Ejima incident".
At that time there ware more than 16 Chaya tea houses in the district.

Evening Snow at Sanjukken Canal
Sanjugenbori no bosetsu / Kawase Hasui

Ejima-Ikushima affair (江島生島事件 Ejima Ikushima jiken)
the most significant scandal in the Ōoku, the shogun's harem, ...
- - - More in the WIKIPEDIA !


. Japanese Legends - 伝説 民話 昔話 – ABC-List .

- reference : Nichibun Yokai Database -
31 木挽 legends to explore, many related to animals - tba


- - - - - HAIKU - - - - -

kobiki uta 木挽唄 song of the timber cutters
They are still popular to our day.

matsutake ya Kiso ni Kiso uma kobiki uta

pine mushrooms -
in Kiso there are Kiso horses
and songs of the timber cutters

鈴木石夫 Suzuki Ishio

The Kiso region was famous for its forests and wood workers.




- #sakaiedo #kobikicho #saruwaka #ichimuraza -


Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...


kuchi kiri ni / Sakai no niwa zo / natsukashiki

Matsuo Basho

kuchikiri - opening a new jar of tea leaves

news - Japan Times said...

‘Kabuki: Theaters during the Edo Period’

Since the Edo Period (1603-1867), kabuki has been an important source of national pride in Japan, and though it has undergone some key changes over the years, it remains a popular form of entertainment.

Curated to celebrate this April’s reopening of Tokyo’s Kabuki-za theater, which has been undergoing renovations for the past few years, this exhibition showcases a variety of kabuki-related works. Also on display are profile pictures of actors, as well as some of their personal belongings.

Gabi Greve - Edopedia said...


shibaijaya 芝居茶屋 tea shop near a theater

Anonymous said...

Kabuki reviews shed light on Edo theater culture

Seven compilations of acting reviews for kabuki shows performed in Nagoya during the Edo Period have been found in the storeroom of Misono-za, an old theater in the city that is under renovation.

These review books were published frequently for kabuki fans in Edo (the old name for Tokyo) and Osaka because those cities had booming entertainment industries. But it is rare to find them in other cities, and only four had been found so far in Nagoya.

Experts believe the recent discovery is proof that Nagoya used to be a place for the arts.

The reviews were discovered by Nanzan University professor Bunkichi Yasuda, 68, a specialist in the performing arts of Japan’s early modern period, and his wife, Noriko, 67, who is a professor at Gifu Shotoku Gakuen University.

The couple found the reviews in a brown envelope at the back of the storeroom last August when they were sorting out documents at the theater’s request.

It is believed the seven books, measuring 10 cm by 16 cm and ranging in size from 20 to 80 pages, were written between 1747 and 1795. Each contained one to three reviews of kabuki plays performed in Nagoya.

One, titled “Yakusha Keikonou,” was produced in 1757 and discussed a show performed that year titled “Ise-Kaido Zeni Kake no Matsu.” It included illustrations of the actors and critiques of their performances.

Actor Sanokawa Hanatsuma, who played female roles and became popular in west Japan, received rave reviews in the book.

“Excellent performance. It was always as if a real woman was on stage and his movements were lithe,” one passage said.

The authors used pen names, such as Washo and Soseki, in signing the last page of the book.

Similarly, the author of another review book, titled “Yakusha Hyakuyakunocho,” went by the pen name Hakusho.

The authors are believed to be members of the merchant class who were experts on kabuki.

“They probably decided to make review books for Nagoya after viewing ones from Edo and Kyoto,” Bunkichi Yasuda said.

Muneharu Tokugawa, lord of the Owari clan in the early 18th century, was a fan and supporter of stage performances and festivals, which spurred the growth of entertainment culture in the region.

The seven books were written several decades later.

“I can feel the energy of the people (through these books). I think there were many people who were equally passionate about the arts as those from Edo and Kyoto,” Noriko Yasuda said.

The compilations became annual publications in Edo, Kyoto and Osaka in the 1700s, ranking each actor by performance and providing written reviews.

These documents provide valuable information on the history of theater in the Edo Period.

Japan Times

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Sakai town 堺市 in Osaka
and its mingei items since olden times

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Tooyama 遠山景元 Toyama Saemon no Jo Kagemoto
(1793 – 1855)

His father had adopted another boy of the family for his heir, so Kinshiro in his youth had no prospects for a good future and spent a lot of time in the pleasure quarters of Edo.
During that time he might have acquired some tatoo like the men of the city used to favor.
Only when the family heir died at an early age Kagemoto became the head of the family and started his career as a governor of Edo.

When his superior Mizuno tried to relocate the three Kabuki theaters to a far-away location, Toyama intervened on behalf of the people, since Kabuki was one of their few leisure activities at that time in Edo.

His real fame came later, when the Kabuki world was paying him back for his benevolence with a play in the Meiji area and the kodan story tellers took up the subject.
And with the advent of TV series and movies, he became a real star in Japan.


Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

梅雨小袖昔八丈 Tsuyu Kosode Mukashi Hachijô
Kamiyui Shinza 髪結新三 The Barber Shinza

and the kamiyui of Edo

Anonymous said...

Kabuki theater information, such as actors, programs, dance, particular stories of kabuki numbers
(searchable by title)

Gabi Greve said...

Leisure in Edo 娯楽 goraku

Over hundreds of ways of how the Edo people spent their "leisure" time, with a random selection of photos

A blog to browse

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Meiboku Kasane Monogatari

The drama "Date Kurabe Okuni Kabuki"
story of
Kasane and Yoemon 累と与右衛門

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Ginza 銀座
- Silver Guild za (monopoly office or guild).

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

The Morita-za (森田座・守田座), also known later as the Shintomi-za (新富座),
was one of the major Kabuki theaters in Edo (modern-day Tokyo) during the Edo period and into the beginning of the 20th century. It was established in January 1660, and run by the Morita family of actors until its destruction in the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake which destroyed much of Tokyo.
... "Shintomi-za Children's kabuki" in Edo

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Fukushima 福島県
木挽や左官や製材職人 lumberjacks and plasterers (working at a Shrine) -

ningyoo 人形 a strange doll

About 3 years ago, a lumberjack found a small doll of about 15 cm at the foot of akamatsu 赤松 a Japanese red pine. It was bundled in blue wool and in its stomach a nail was sticking out.
After than the lumberjacks and plasterers begun to have injuries and a local priest took the doll, held special rituals and burned it.