Stage names:

Yamanaka Heikur˘ I In Japanese
Suzuki Heikur˘ In Japanese

Line number: SHODAI (I)

Poetry name: Sen'ya

Existence: 1642 ~ 15th day of the 5th lunar month of 1724 [1]


Master: Suzuki Heizaemon I

Son-in-law: Yamanaka Takejűr˘

Disciples: Yamanaka Heikur˘ II, Yamanaka Heijűr˘ I, Yamanaka Seikur˘, Yamanaka Heishir˘ I


1642 ~ 1689: he started his career as a disciple of Suzuki Heizaemon I, who gave him the name of Suzuki Heikur˘. Then, he took the name of Yamanaka Heikur˘ I at an unknown date.

1689: Heikur˘ became jitsuaku at the Nakamuraza.

1st lunar month of 1697: premiere of the bombastic "Shibaraku" scene (Kabuki Jűhachiban), at the Nakamuraza, performed within the drama "Daifukuch˘ Sankai Nagoya". Heikur˘ played the villain role and his stage partners were Ichikawa Danjűr˘ I and Ogino Sawanoj˘.

1st lunar month of 1700: Heikur˘ played at the Yamamuraza the role of Kud˘ Saemon Suketsune in the new year drama "Keisei Asama-ga-Dake".

3rd lunar month of 1700: Heikur˘'s rank in the Edo hy˘banki, tachiyaku section, was j˘-j˘ (superior - superior) [visual].

11th lunar month of 1700: Heikur˘ performed at the Nakamuraza in the drama "Kimpira Rokuj˘ Gayoi".

1st lunar month of 1701: Heikur˘ played in the same theater the role of Suzuka no ďji [print] in the drama "Keisei ďsh˘kun", which included for the first time in Kabuki history the "Z˘hiki" scene (Kabuki Jűhachiban).

3rd lunar month of 1701: Heikur˘'s rank in the Edo hy˘banki, jitsuaku section, was j˘-j˘-kichi (superior - superior - excellent) [visual].

11th lunar month of 1702: Heikur˘ performed at the Ichimuraza in the kaomise drama "Yorimasa H˘raizan".

11th lunar month of 1704: Heikur˘ achieved a great success at the Moritaza by playing the role of the warrior Taira no Kagekiyo in the kaomise drama "Jitsuaku Shichiby˘ei Kagekiyo".

11th lunar month of 1706: premiere at the Yamamuraza of the drama "Taihei Shusse Kagekiyo", which was considered as an earlier version of the Kabuki Jűhachiban drama "Kagekiyo"; Heikur˘ played the role of Kumagai Jir˘ Naozane [casting].

11th lunar month of 1710: Heikur˘ played at the Ichimuraza the role of Kusunoki Masanari in the kaomise drama "Shusse Taiheiki", which celebrated the shűmei of Takii Hanshir˘ and welcomed in Edo the Kamigata actor Kirinami Takie.

11th lunar month of 1711: Heikur˘ played at the Ichimuraza the role of Kusunoki Masashige in the kaomise drama "Shusse Taiheiki".

1st lunar month of 1713: Heikur˘ played at the Yamamuraza the role of ďtakemaru in the drama "Ishiyama Genta Kimon Yaburi".

11th lunar month of 1716: Heikur˘ played at the Ichimuraza the role of the rebel Abe no Sadat˘ in the drama "Yoroi Kurabe ďshű Gane".

11th lunar month of 1717: Heikur˘ played at the Nakamuraza the role of Buretsu Dai˘ in the kaomise drama "Hachinoki H˘nen Mitsugimono".

1st lunar month of 1720: Heikur˘ played at the Ichimuraza the role of Kud˘ Saemon Suketsune in the drama "Kamanari Nigiwai Soga".

Spring 1724: Heikur˘ appeared on stage for the last time, playing at the Ichimuraza the role of It˘ Nyűd˘ in the drama "Yomeiri Izu Nikki".

15th day of the 5th lunar month of 1724 [1]: Heikur˘ died in Edo.


Yamanaka Heikur˘ I, a stage giant of the Genroku era, was, along with ďtani Hiroemon I, one of the first great katakiyaku and jitsuaku in Kabuki history: "Many stories are told of the impressiveness of this stage villain, and how even the actors playing with him sometimes became frightened at his appearance. He was of large physique and a man of forceful character, so that he was eminently fitted to play the diabolical katakiyaku whose fierceness and violence caused the Edo audience of those days to feel thrills of horror." (ZoŰ Kincaid in "Kabuki, the Popular Stage of Japan")

[1] The 15th day of the 5th lunar month of the 9th year of the Ky˘h˘ era was the 5th of July 1724 in the western calendar.

Yamanaka Heikur˘ I (bottom/left) and Ichikawa Danjűr˘ I (top/right) playing the roles of Asaina and Soga Gor˘ in the drama "Tsuwamono Gongen Soga", which was staged in the 5th lunar month of 1697 at the Nakamuraza

Print made by Torii Kiyomasu in 1701

Print made by Torii Kiyonobu in 1714

The Yamanaka Heikur˘ line of actors

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