NAKAYAMA BUNSHICHI I

Stage names:

Wakayama Bunshichi
Nakayama Bunshichi I
Nakayama Yosabur˘ I

Other name: J˘k˘

Guild: Izumiya

Line number: SHODAI (I)

Poetry name: Yoshio

Existence: 1732 ~ 22nd day of the 7th lunar month of 1813

Connections:

Father: Matsuya Raisuke I (playwright)

Master and adoptive father: Nakayama Shinkur˘ I

Brothers: Nakayama Monjűr˘, Nakayama Shinkur˘ II

Son: Nakayama Yosabur˘ II

Disciples: Nakayama Hyakka, Nakayama Tatsujir˘, Nakayama Tomisabur˘ I, Nakayama Otojűr˘, Nakayama Bungor˘ I

Career:

Summer 1737: first stage appearance; he plays at the ďnishi no Shibai under the name of Nakayama Yosabur˘ I in the drama "Hayari Uta Imose no Mai˘gi", which is produced by Yoshizawa Ayame II.

11th lunar month of 1747: Yosabur˘ becomes wakaonnagata and plays the role of Kureha in the drama "Kogane Bana Michinoku Jikki", which is produced at the Naka no Shibai by Ichikawa Ryűz˘. He is adopted by his master Nakayama Shinkur˘ I around that time.

11th lunar month of 1748: Yosabur˘ goes to Ky˘to, becomes tachiyaku and takes the name of Nakayama Bunshichi I, playing the role of Sanada Yoichi in the drama "Sugomori Hiru-ga-Kojima", which is produced by Arashi San'emon IV.

1st lunar month of 1751: first Kabuki adaptation of the puppet theater drama "Tamamo-no-Mae Asahi no Tamoto", which is produced in Ky˘to by Miyako Handayű at his theater; Bunshichi plays the role of Yata Dairoku [casting].

11th lunar month of 1751: Bunshichi becomes zamoto, working for the nadai Hayagumo Ch˘dayű in Ky˘to; he produces the kaomise drama "En no Gy˘ja ďmine Zakura".

Fall 1752: Nakayama Shinkur˘ I and Bunshichi go together to ďsaka.

11th lunar month of 1752: Nakayama Shinkur˘ I and Nakayama Bunshichi I take the respective names of Wakayama Shinkur˘ and Wakayama Bunshichi at the ďnishi no Shibai, performing in the kaomise program "Ky˘ Miyage Matsuri Zoroe", which is produced by Sanj˘ Sadasuke; their stage partners are Yamamoto Ky˘shir˘ I, ďtani Hirohachi I, Iwata Somematsu I, Matsushima Kiyosaki, Ichimura Sanohachi, Kirishima Gizaemon, Kiriyama Monji I, Matsushima Moheiji, Takenaka Heikichi, Murayama Heijűr˘ IV and Nakamura Shirogor˘ III.

11th lunar month of 1754: Bunshichi becomes zamoto at the ďnishi no Shibai; he produces the kaomise drama "Uda Genji Asahi no Menbako" in which he plays the role of Mikinoj˘ disguised as the farmer Yogor˘.

11th lunar month of 1755: Wakayama Bunshichi takes back the name of Nakayama Bunshichi I, playing the role of Higuchi Jir˘ in the kaomise drama "Jidai Sewa Kogane no Hanazoroe", which is produced in ďsaka at the Naka no Shibai by Band˘ Toyosabur˘ I.

11th lunar month of 1758: Bunshichi plays the role of the spirit of a kappa in Namiki Sh˘z˘ I's kaomise drama "Arigatashi Fujiwara Keizu", which he produces at the Kado no Shibai.

12th lunar month of 1758: Bunshichi plays in the same theater the roles of Genpachi and Gonkur˘ in the drama "Sanjukkoku Yobune no Hajimari".

4th lunar month of 1761: Bunshichi produces at the Kado no Shibai the drama "Ashiya D˘man ďuchi Kagami", in which he plays the role of Yokambei; the role of Kuzu-no-Ha is played by Nakamura Tomijűr˘ I.

5th lunar month of 1762: premiere in ďsaka at the Kado no Shibai of Namiki Sh˘z˘ I's drama "Koi Hakke Hashira Goyomi", which is a revision of Chikamatsu Monzaemon's drama "Daiky˘ji Mukashi Goyomi"; Bunshichi plays the role of the daiky˘ji Ishun [more details].

7th lunar month of 1763: Bunshichi produces at the Kado no Shibai the drama "Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami", in which he plays the roles of Matsu˘maru and Terukuni. His stage partners are Nakayama Shinkur˘ I (Kakuju, Fujiwara no Shihei), Arashi Hinasuke I (Haru), Anegawa Daikichi I (Tonami, Yae), Asao Tamejűr˘ I (Hy˘e, Shund˘ Genba), Nakayama Raisuke I (Ume˘maru), Band˘ Toyosabur˘ I (Shiratayű), Fujikawa Hachiz˘ I (Genz˘, Sukune Tar˘), Ichinokawa Hikoshir˘ II (Sakuramaru), Yoshizawa Sakinosuke II (Chiyo, Tatsuta) and Nakamura Kichiemon I (Kan Sh˘j˘).

9th lunar month of 1764: premiŔre in ďsaka at the Kado no Shibai of "Oriawase Tsuzure no Nishiki", based on the puppet drama "Katakiuchi Tsuzure no Nishiki", which is produced by Bunshichi and celebrates the 16th anniversary (17th memorial service) of the passing away of the star Anegawa Shinshir˘ I. A similar play is staged one day later under a different title, "Hare Kosode Tsuzure no Nishiki", at the Naka no Shibai [casting]. The competition for the best performance and the best line-up is open between the 2 theaters. The performance at the Kado no Shibai is more successful than the one at the Naka no Shibai; Bunshichi plays at the Kado no Shibai the roles of Shund˘ Jir˘emon and Ihei [casting].

11th lunar month of 1764: Bunshichi produces at the Kado no Shibai the drama "Momotar˘ Obako Banashi", which celebrates the shűmei of Yoshizawa Ayame III.

4th lunar month of 1766: Bunshichi plays the prestigious role of Danshichi Kurobŕ in the drama "Natsu Matsuri Naniwa Kagami", which is produced in ďsaka by Anegawa Kikuhachi; his stage partners are Fujikawa Hachiz˘ I (Issun Tokubŕ), Nakayama Shinkur˘ I (Tsuribune Sabu), Sawamura Kunitar˘ I (Otatsu), Yoshizawa Ayame III (Okaji) and Asao Tamejűr˘ I (Mikawaya Giheiji).

11th lunar month of 1766: Bunshichi goes to Ky˘to; he plays the role of Yaoya Ch˘bŕ in the kaomise drama "Yuki no Asa Daimonjitsu Miyako no Fuku", which is produced by Ichiyama Sukegor˘ II and Yamashita Ky˘nosuke at the Minamigawa no Shibai.

11th lunar month of 1767: Bunshichi plays in Ky˘to the role of Kokaji Muneyasu in the kaomise drama "Shinchoku Fukki no Kanatoko", which is produced by Ichiyama Sukegor˘.

12th lunar month of 1768: Bunshichi plays the role of the sum˘tori Nuregami Ch˘gor˘ in the drama "Futatsu Ch˘ch˘ Kuruwa Nikki", which is produced by Mimasu Tanin I at the Naka no Shibai [casting].

7th lunar month of 1769: Bunshichi plays in the same theater the role of Hiranoya Tokubŕ in Chikamatsu Monzaemon's drama "Sonezaki Shinjű"; the role of Tokubŕ's lover the courtesan Ohatsu is played by Yamashita Kinsaku II.

1771: tour in Ise.

10th lunar month of 1772: Bunshichi plays the role of the yakko Rampei in the drama "Yamatogana Ariwara Keizu", which is produced by Ogawa Kichitar˘ I at the Kado no Shibai.

11th lunar month of 1772: Bunshichi goes to Ky˘to; he plays the role of Takebe Genz˘ in the kaomise drama "ďsaka Zaiku Araki no Mokuz˘", which is produced by Yoshizawa Iroha I.

3rd day of the 4th lunar month of 1775: his adoptive father Nakayama Shinkur˘ I dies.

8th lunar month of 1775: the play "Sekitori Senry˘ Nobori" is staged for the first time in ďsaka, at the Kado no Shibai; Bunshichi plays the role of Senbagawa Kichibei [more details].

12th lunar month of 1776: premiere at the Naka no Shibai of Nagawa Kamesuke I's drama "Igagoe Norikake Gappa"; Bunshichi plays the role of Karaki Masaemon [casting].

4th lunar month of 1777: premiere in ďsaka at the Naka no Shibai of Nagawa Kamesuke I's drama "Meiboku Sendai Hagi"; Bunshichi plays the roles of Matsugae Fushinosuke, Chichibu no Sh˘ji Shigetada and Izumi no Kojir˘ Sadakura [casting].

11th lunar month of 1779: Bunshichi plays the roles of Ishid˘ Umanoj˘, Kakogawa Honz˘ and Amagawaya Gihei in the drama "Kanadehon Chűshingura", which is produced by Yoshizawa Iroha I at the Kado no Shibai.

2nd lunar month of 1781: Bunshichi plays in the same theater the role of Matahei in the drama "Keisei Hangonk˘"; the role of Matahei's wife Otoku is played by Yamashita Kamenoj˘ IV.

9th lunar month of 1782: Bunshichi appears on stage for the last time (isse ichidai peformance), playing the roles of Monogusa Tar˘ and Rampei in the dramas "Monogusa Tar˘" and "Saiwai Ariwara Keizu", which are produced at the Kado no Shibai by Fujikawa Sango. This great program celebrates also the shűmei of his brother Nakayama Shinkur˘ II. Bunshichi shaves his head and retires from the world in Ky˘to, in the district of Kurodani. As a monk, he takes the name of J˘k˘. He spends his time studying calligraphy and music, up to his death in the 7th lunar month of 1813.

Comments:

Nakayama Bunshichi I was the worthy heir of Nakayama Shinkur˘ I and became one of the best tachiyaku actors of the second half of the eighteenth century. He spend most of his career in Kamigata major theaters, excelling in jitsugotoshi roles. He was also an excellent shosagoto performer.

Nakayama Bunshichi I as depicted in an illustration from the book "Santo Yakusha Omokage Zukushi" (1784)

Caricature 1780

Suifutei 1782

The Nakayama Bunshichi line of actors

 
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