Stage names:

Yamashita Ky˘emon I
Yamashita Hanzaemon
Yobuka Hanzaemon

Other name: Jűkichi

Poetry name: Mott˘ (?)

Line number: SHODAI (I)

Existence: 1652 ~ 18th day of the 1st lunar month of 1717 [1]


Adopted son: Yamashita Kamenoj˘ I

Brother-in-law: Yoshizawa Ayame I (married with Yamashita Ky˘emon I's wife's younger sister)

Son-in-law: Sawamura Ch˘jűr˘ I

Disciples: Kataoka Nizaemon I, Yamashita Matashir˘ I, Yamashita Bunzaemon, Yamashita Karumo, Yamashita Tokujir˘, Yamashita S˘jűr˘

Nephew: Yamashita Matatar˘ I (Ky˘emon II)


1652 ~ 1676: born in Ky˘to. His father is a lacquer ware craftman. He starts his career at an unknown date, performing under the name of Yobuka Hanzaemon.

1676: Yobuka Hanzaemon takes the name of Yamashita Hanzaemon and performs as a wakashugata in Ky˘to at the Nawate no Shibai.

17th day of the 5th lunar month of 1683: the courtesan Yamatoya Ichinoj˘ and her lover Goze no Ch˘emon commit suicide together in ďsaka. This event causes quite a stir and three ďsaka theaters decide to capitalize on the situation by simultaneously producing the first shinjűmono of Kabuki history [more details]. Yamatoya Jinbŕ II produces this shinjűmono, starring the actors Murakami Ichinoj˘ and Hanzaemon in the roles of the courtesan and her lover.

11th lunar month of 1686: Hanzaemon performs as a tachiyaku in ďsaka at Araki Yojibŕ I's theater. His yearly salary is 200 ry˘. His stage partners are Araki Yojibŕ I, Iwai Hanshir˘ I, Yamamura Kanzabur˘, Sakurayama Rinnosuke I, Sodeoka Masanosuke II, Sakata T˘kur˘, Takenaka Hanzabur˘, Matsushima Han'ya, Kozakura Kodayű, Takigawa Kiyosabur˘, Yoshikawa Genzabur˘, Mihara Jűdayű I, Wakabayashi Shiroemon and Sadoshima Denpachi.

1st lunar month of 1687: Hanzaemon's rank in "Yar˘ Tachiyaku Butai ďkagami", the first hy˘banki in Kabuki history, is (superior). He shares this ranking with Araki Yojibŕ I, Uemura Kichiya II, Takeshima K˘zaemon I, Suzuki Heizaemon I, Nakamura Kazuma I, Takenaka Kichisabur˘, Fujita Koheiji I and Karamatsu Kasen.

3rd lunar month of 1693: Hanzaemon becomes zamoto and produces in Ky˘to at nadai Miyako Mandayű's theater Chikamatsu Monzaemon's drama "Butsumo Mayasan Kaich˘", which was written for the star Sakata T˘jűr˘ I; Hanzaemon plays the role of Itohori Magosaku.

1695: Hanzaemon's rank in the Ky˘to hy˘banki, tachiyaku section, is j˘-j˘-kichi (superior - superior - excellent).

11th lunar month of 1697: Hanzaemon produces in Ky˘to at Hayagumo Ch˘dayű's theater the drama "Miyako no Eh˘ Yomeiri Bunsh˘", which celebrates the arrival in the Imperial City of the Edo actor Nakamura Shichisabur˘ I.

1st lunar month of 1698: premiere at Hayagumo Ch˘dayű's theater of the drama "Keisei Asama-ga-Dake", which is produced by Hanzaemon; he plays the role of Hanaoka Wadaemon [casting].

11th lunar month of 1704: Yamashita Hanzaemon takes the name of Yamashita Ky˘emon I and plays in Ky˘to at Miyako Mandayű's theater the role of Izuminosuke in Chikamatsu Monzaemon's kaomise drama "Kissh˘ Tennyo Anzan no Tama".

11th lunar month of 1707: Ky˘emon plays in Ky˘to at Miyako Mandayű's theater the role of Sanj˘ Kichiji in the kaomise drama "Sanmen Daikoku Zeni".

11th lunar month of 1708: Ky˘emon moves to Hayagumo Ch˘dayű's theater and plays the role of Sanj˘ Kichiji in the kaomise drama "Ebisuk˘ Musubi no Gojin".

11th lunar month of 1709: Ky˘emon moves to Ebisuya Sh˘dayű's theater and plays the role of Kuranosuke in the kaomise drama "Yomeiri ďkeizu".

11th lunar month of 1710: Ky˘emon plays in Ky˘to at Ebisuya Sh˘dayű's theater the role of Kokonoe Inarinosuke in the kaomise drama "Inari Ch˘ja Yotsugimaru", which is produced by his disciple Yamashita Karumo. His stage partners are Fujikawa Buzaemon I, Yoshizawa Ayame I and Sawamura Ch˘jűr˘ I.

7th lunar month of 1711: Ky˘emon plays in the same theater the role of Hanaoka Wadaemon in the drama "Keisei Asama-ga-Dake". His stage partners are Yoshizawa Ayame I (the courtesan Miura) and Sawamura Ch˘jűr˘ I (Asama Tomoenoj˘). The performance is a huge success and is extended up to october 1711.

1st lunar month of 1712: Ky˘emon plays in the same theater the role of Wankyű in the drama "Onna Wankyű", which is produced by Yoshizawa Ayame I; the role of the courtesan Matsuyama is played by Uemura Kichiya III.

1st lunar month of 1713: Ky˘emon goes to Kameya Kumenoj˘'s theater and plays the role of Mikura Kingoemon in the new year drama "Fukubiki Miuma no ďkamado", which is in fact the kaomise of this theater.

3rd lunar month of 1713: Ky˘emon plays in the same theater the roles of Kusunoki Masanari and Bingo no Sh˘ji in the drama "Onna Kusunoki".

Fall 1713: Ky˘emon goes to Edo to perform at the Nakamuraza but he does not appear on stage and goes back to Kamigata.

1st lunar month of 1714: Ky˘emon plays the role of Hanaoka Wadaemon in the drama "Keisei Asama-ga-Dake", which is produced by Yamamoto Hikogor˘ in ďsaka. His stage partners are Sawamura Ch˘jűr˘ I (Asama Tomoenoj˘), Kirinami Takie (the courtesan Miura), Yamashita Kamenoj˘ I (the courtesan ďshű), ďtori Michiemon (Hy˘suke) and ďshima Kajűr˘ (Yotar˘).

1st day of the 11th lunar month of 1715: his best disciple Kataoka Nizaemon I dies.

1st lunar month of 1716: Ky˘emon plays in Ky˘to at Hoteiya Umenoj˘'s theater the role of Shirasuga Rokur˘ Saemon in the new year drama "Keisei Otokoyama".

3rd lunar month of 1716: Ky˘emon appears on stage for the last time, in the same theater, playing the role of Wadasaki Man'emon in the drama "Keisei Sennin Kagami". He retires from the Kabuki world.

18th of the 1st lunar month of 1717 [1]: Ky˘emon dies.


Yamashita Ky˘emon I was a Ky˘to stage giant of the Genroku era. His stage presence and his vocal projection were both outstanding. He was equally at home in sewamono and jidaimono dramas and excelled in jitsugotoshi and bud˘goto roles. He was the founder of the Yamashita clan.

"The historians of Kabuki agree that he was a man of fine bearing and gentle disposition, and that while he did not quite equal T˘jűr˘'s grand manner he was in no way an actor of little talent. It is said of Ky˘emon that even a rustic from the provinces, who had never seen him before, and knew nothing concerning him, could not fail to be impressed by his presence, and to understand without being informed that he was the leading actor. He had his little frailties, however, for he was too fond of applause, and so eager for the praise of the audience that he pandered to the tastes of the lower classes, and was given to making vulgar asides. This was entirely unlike T˘jűr˘, who had a high moral character. Like T˘jűr˘, however, he held the mirror up to nature, and the side-lights upon his stage methods that have been handed down reveal the fact that he excelled as a samurai, particularly as a r˘nin." (ZoŰ Kincaid in "Kabuki, the Popular Stage of Japan")

[1] The 18th day of the 1st lunar month of the 2nd year of the Ky˘h˘ era was the 28th of February 1717 in the western calendar.

Yamashita Ky˘emon I

The Yamashita Ky˘emon line of actors

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