|NAKAMURA DENKURď I|
Other name: Saruwaka Denkur˘
Line number: SHODAI (I)
Poetry name: Bukaku
Existence: 1662 ~ 25th day of the 10th lunar month of 1713
Grandfather: Nakamura Kanzabur˘ I
Father: Nakamura Kankur˘ I
Adoptive father: Nakamura Kanzabur˘ III
Younger brother: Nakamura Kanzabur˘ VI
Sons: Nakamura Niemon, Nakamura Jűsuke I
Adopted son: Nakamura Kanzabur˘ V
Disciples: Nakamura Kichibŕ I, Nakamura Minenosuke, Nakamura Denpachi, Nakamura Shiroji
Fall 1673: first stage appearance; he receives the name of Nakamura Kantar˘ I.
8th lunar month of 1674: Nakamura Kanzabur˘ II dies.
8th lunar month of 1678: Nakamura Kanzabur˘ III dies. The new name-holder of this line should be Nakamura Kanzabur˘ III's son Nakamura Takematsu but he is too young to manage the family business and Nakamura Kantar˘ I has to take the name of Nakamura Kanzabur˘ IV.
28th day of the 12th lunar month of 1682: a fire started by Yaoya Oshichi breaks out in the Daienji Temple in the district of Komagome. It spreads and destroys the Nakamuraza. This fire is nicknamed "Oshichi Kaji" (the "Oshichi fire").
1st lunar month of 1684: Nakamura Kanzabur˘ IV takes the name of Nakamura Denkur˘ I at the Nakamuraza, playing in the drama "Shuten D˘ji Oni Taiji". He entrusts the management of the Nakamuraza to Nakamura Takematsu's care, who takes the name of Nakamura Kanzabur˘ V in the 10th lunar month of 1684.
1st lunar month of 1686: Denkur˘ plays at the Nakamuraza the role of Kumahara Wadanosuke in the new year drama "Wankyű Ukiyo Jikkai"; his stage partners are Nakamura Shichisabur˘ I (ďtomo Minbu), Tamagawa Sennoj˘ III (Senju), Mikuni Hikosaku II (Wan'ya Kyűbŕ), Dekishima Kichiya (Hatsue-no-Mae), Uemura Kokichiya (Kiriyama), Hanai Saizabur˘ I (S˘hachi), Fujita Minanosuke (S˘hachi's wife), Tamai Gonpachi (Kichibei) and Hanamura Kinue (the courtesan Matsuyama).
3rd lunar month of 1688: Denkur˘ plays for the first time the role of Kobayashi no Asahina in the drama "Yakko Asaina ďiso Gayoi", which is staged at the Nakamuraza.
Mai 1693: Denkur˘ plays at the Nakamuraza a fox role in the drama "Shinsen Sessh˘ Seki".
11th lunar month of 1696: Denkur˘ plays at the Nakamuraza in the drama "Neko no Koneko", commonly called "Onna Narukami". His stage partners are Ichikawa Danjűr˘ I, Ogino Sawanoj˘, Nakamura Shichisabur˘ I, ďtani Hiroemon I, Sodeoka Masanosuke II and Nakajima Kanzaemon I.
5th lunar month of 1697: Denkur˘ achieves a great success by playing at the Nakamuraza the role of Kobayashi no Asahina in the drama "Tsuwamono Kongen Soga". His stage partner in the role of Soga Gor˘ Tokimune is Ichikawa Danjűr˘ I.
1st lunar month of 1700: Denkur˘'s rank in the Edo hy˘banki, tachiyaku section, is j˘-j˘-kichi (superior - superior - excellent). He plays at the Yamamuraza the roles of Kobayashi no Asahina and Soga Gor˘ Tokimune in the new year drama "Keisei Asama-ga-Dake".
1st lunar month of 1708: Denkur˘ plays in the same theater the role of Kobayashi no Asahina in the new year drama "Keisei Arashi Soga". The roles of Soga Gor˘ Tokimune and Soga Jűr˘ Sukenari are played by Tomizawa Hanzabur˘ I and Nakamura Shichisabur˘ I.
Nakamura Denkur˘ I was an outstanding tachiyaku, who achieved fame for himself in the city of Edo. He formed with Ichikawa Danjűr˘ I and Nakamura Shichisabur˘ I a triumvirat of Edo actors, which led Kabuki during the golden years of the Genroku era.
"After Danjűr˘ and Shichisabur˘, the most distinguished actor of this time was Nakamura Denkur˘ [...]. He was of more aristocratic theatre lineage than the two prominent Edo actors above, for he was no less a personage than the grandson of Saruwaka Kanzabur˘. The first Kanzabur˘ had three sons: the first was the child of a concubine and did not inherit; the second son [...] succeeded as second of the line [...]. He left his name to his younger brother, who became the third head of the family. The son by the concubine was blessed with two sons, and one of them was no other than Nakamura Denkur˘, who exercised considerable influence upon Edo Kabuki, establishing traditions that have been handed down to modern times. Denkur˘'s father, perhaps because of his illegitimacy, never appeared as an actor, but was engaged as an accountant of the Nakamuraza all his life. Nevertheless, it was his son who inherited the theatre genius that might have been expected to appear in the first Kanzabur˘'s legitimate offspring." (ZoŰ Kincaid in "Kabuki, the Popular Stage of Japan")
Nakamura Denkur˘ I's greatest performance occured in the 3rd lunar month of 1688, at the Nakamuraza. He played for the first time the role of Kobayashi no Asahina in the drama "Yakko Asaina ďiso Gayoi" and created for this role several great features: a wig (itobin), a make-up (saruguma) and a beard style (kamahige).
"The r˘le of Asaina, an historical character, at the Nakamuraza made Nakamura Denkur˘ famous, and the manner in which he painted his face with broad red lines and the style, colour, and design of his costume have served as a model for all succeeding actors who have essayed this popular r˘le. Asaina was a bold warrior of the time when Yoritomo ruled by the sword in Kamakura. Denkur˘ used Asaina's blazon to decorate his stage costume, a crane in a circle, and it has always been preserved, Asaina not being considered by audiences or actors as the real thing unless faithful to all the details of Denkur˘'s grotesque creation." (ZoŰ Kincaid in "Kabuki, the Popular Stage of Japan")
Nakamura Denkur˘ I portraying Kobayashi no Asahina in a print made by Utagawa Toyokuni III (1862~1863)
The Nakamura Kantar˘ line of actors
The Nakamura Kanzabur˘ line of actors and theater managers
The Nakamura Denkur˘ line of actors
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