|SUZUKI HEIZAEMON I|
Line number: SHODAI (I)
Existence: ??? ~ 1701
Son: Suzuki Heizaemon II
1660s: he performed in Edo.
Beginning of the 1680s: he settled in ďsaka.
11th lunar month of 1682 ~ 10th lunar month of 1683: Heizaemon and Arashi San'emon I produced several plays together in ďsaka. They were the first zamoto in Kabuki history to produce a play narrating a couple of lovers double suicide (shinjűmono), based on a real incident that happened in ďsaka; Heizaemon performed as a wakaonnagata actor.
1st lunar month of 1687: Heizaemon's rank in "Yar˘ Tachiyaku Butai ďkagami" was j˘ (superior) [visual]. He shared this ranking with Araki Yojibŕ I, Uemura Kichiya II, Takeshima K˘zaemon I, Yamashita Hanzaemon I, Nakamura Kazuma II, Takenaka Kichisabur˘ I, Fujita Koheiji I and Karamatsu Kasen.
Fall 1698: Heizaemon went back to Edo after 20 years spent in Kamigata.
5th lunar month of 1701: Heizaemon played in the same theater the role of Yamagami Gennai Saemon in the drama "Taishokan Nido no Tamatori". This was most likely his last stage appearance. He died in 1701.
Suzuki Heizaemon I, the founder of the Suzuki clan of Kabuki actors, played an important role in the transition between the Yar˘ Kabuki (Adult Kabuki) of the Kanbun/Enp˘ eras and the golden age of Kabuki of the Genroku era. He was a great performer in the tanzen style and excelled in nuregoto and yatsushigoto. He was influential with many actors, even after his death. He was also an outstanding shamisen player and some chroniclers went even further by saying that he was the best player that ever lived.
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