|NAKAMURA NAKAZď I|
Nakamura Nakaz˘ I
Other name: Shigayama Mansaku VIII
Guilds: Sakaeya, Sakaiya
Line number: SHODAI (I)
Poetry name: Shűkaku
Existence: 1736 ~ 23rd day of the 4th lunar month of 1790
Adoptive father: Nakayama Kojűr˘ V
Master: Nakamura Kanzabur˘ VIII
Adopted son: Nakayama Kojűr˘ VII
1736: born in Edo in the district of Fukagawa. His father is a r˘nin named Sait˘.
1740: He is adopted by Oshun, a dance mistress of the Shigayama school. Her family are costumers to the Nakamuraza. Oshun's husband is the Nagauta music master Nakayama Kojűr˘ V. They give him the name of Nakayama Manz˘.
1743: he becomes disciple of Nakamura Katsujűr˘ I and receives the name of Nakamura Ichijűr˘.
11th lunar month of 1745: he takes the name of Nakamura Nakaz˘ at the Nakamuraza, playing in the drama "Suehiro Izu Nikki", which celebrates the arrival in Edo of the Kamigata actor Fujikawa Heikur˘ and the shűmei of ďtani Hiroemon II and Nakamura Denkur˘ II.
1751: he leaves the theater world and becomes the manager of a sake shop in the district of Ningy˘-ch˘.
1752: he marries the daughter of the music master Kineya Kichisabur˘ VI.
11th lunar month of 1754: Nakaz˘ is back on stage, at the Nakamuraza, playing in the kaomise drama "Miura no ďsuke Bumon no Kotobuki". His performance is bad and he is in despair. His personal and professional problems lead him to think about suicide. He fortunately receives the patronage of the actor Ichikawa Danjűr˘ IV, who takes him under his wing and let him work as a dance choreographer at the Nakamuraza.
9th lunar month of 1766: Nakaz˘ achieves a great success at the Ichimuraza by playing the role of Ono no Sadakur˘ in the fifth act of the drama "Kanadehon Chűshingura". He gives a new dimension to this role, getting rid of all the original sentences (his line is limited to the exclamation "50 ry˘!") and turning his performance into a bloody pantomime. Thanks to Nakaz˘, this role, which was performed before by minor actors, becomes a star role. The scene, which was a "box lunch scene" (an uninteresting scene within a long drama used by the members of the audience to eat their box lunches), becomes a key one in this drama. It is said that Nakaz˘'s performance is so good that he blows away the cheap box lunches.
11th lunar month of 1768: Nakaz˘ plays at the Nakamuraza in the kaomise drama "Ima o Sakari Suehiro Genji", which celebrates the arrival in Edo of the Kamigata star Nakamura Utaemon I and the shűmei of Osagawa Tsuneyo II.
1st lunar month of 1770: Nakaz˘ plays in the same theater the role of Kud˘ Saemon Suketsune in the new year sogamono drama "Kagamigaike Omokage Soga". His stage partners in the roles of Soga Gor˘ Tokimune and Soga Jűr˘ Sukenari are Ichikawa Yaoz˘ II and Ichikawa Komaz˘ II.
11th lunar month of 1770: Nakaz˘ plays at the Nakamuraza in the kaomise drama "Nue no Mori Ichiy˘ no Mato", which celebrates the shűmei of Matsumoto K˘shir˘ II, Ichikawa Danjűr˘ V, Nakamura Sh˘ch˘ and Ichikawa Monnosuke II.
1st lunar month of 1771: Nakaz˘ plays in the same theater the roles of Kud˘ Saemon Suketsune in the new year sogamono drama "Sakaich˘ Soga no Nendaiki". His stage partners in the roles of Soga Gor˘ Tokimune and Soga Jűr˘ Sukenari are Ichikawa Danjűr˘ V and Ichikawa Komaz˘ II.
3rd lunar month of 1775: Nakaz˘ plays in the same theater the role of the woman selling shinobu, in reality the ghost of the evil monk Dainichib˘, in Kawatake Shinshichi I's dance-drama "Shinobu-gusa Koi no Utsushie"; this dance is both a futa-omotemono and a d˘j˘jimono [more details].
11th lunar month of 1775: premiere at the Nakamuraza of Kanai Sansh˘'s Tomimoto-based dance-drama "Shijűhatte Koi no Showake", the first version of "Oshidori", which is staged within the kaomise drama "Hana Zum˘ Genji Biiki"; Nakaz˘ plays the role of Matano Gor˘ Kagehisa [more details].
3rd lunar month of 1776: first Kabuki adaptation of Matsu Kanshi I's puppet theater drama "Koi Musume Mukashi Hachij˘", which is staged at the Nakamuraza; Nakaz˘ plays the role of Akizuki Ikkaku [casting].
Summer 1777: the book "Yakusha Sensakuron" ("About actors prying") is published in Edo. It gives some private information on actors. Edo readers learn that Nakaz˘ lives in the district of Izumi-ch˘ and his annual salary is 700 ry˘.
4th lunar month of 1780: first Kabuki adaptation of Utei Emba, Kij˘ Tar˘ and Y˘ Y˘dai puppet theater drama "Go Taiheiki Shiraishi Banashi". The play is staged in Edo at the Moritaza; Nakaz˘ plays the role of Uji Hy˘bunosuke J˘etsu (in reality Kusunoki Masayuki) [casting].
11th lunar month of 1784: premiere at the Kiriza of the drama "Tsumoru Koi Yuki no seki no To", which is performed within the kaomise drama "Jűni Hitoe Komachi Zakura"; Nakaz˘ plays the roles of Sekibŕ and ďtomo no Kuronushi [casting].
11th lunar month of 1785: Nakamura Nakaz˘ I and his adopted son Nakamura Mansaku respectively take the names of Nakayama Kojűr˘ VI and Nakamura Nakaz˘ at the Nakamuraza, playing in the kaomise drama "Yuki Motsutake Furisode Genji".
11th lunar month of 1786: Nakayama Kojűr˘ VI and Nakamura Nakaz˘ take back their previous names, Nakamura Nakaz˘ I and Nakamura Mansaku, at the Kiriza, playing in the kaomise drama "Mutsu no Hana Izu no Hataage".
12th lunar month of 1786: Nakaz˘ goes to ďsaka.
1st lunar month of 1787: Nakaz˘ plays at the ďnishi no Shibai in the new year drama "Keisei Keisei Sakura no Jindate", which is produced by Nakamura Kumetar˘ II. He also performs in solo the auspicious dance "Kotobuki Sanbas˘".
2nd lunar month of 1787: Nakaz˘ plays in the same theater the roles of Tadanobu and Gonta in the drama "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura". The performance is a huge success and a 42 days long run.
10th lunar month of 1787: Nakaz˘ goes to Ky˘to.
Fall 1788: Nakaz˘ goes back to Edo.
11th lunar month of 1788: Nakaz˘ plays at the Nakamuraza the role of Ishikawa Goemon in Sakurada Jisuke I's kaomise drama "T˘zum˘ Hana no Edokata". Premiere at the Nakamuraza of the Tokiwazu-based dance-drama "Modori Kago Iro ni Aikata" (commonly called "Modori Kago"); Nakaz˘ plays the role of Naniwa no Jirosaku (in reality Ishikawa Goemon) [casting].
1st lunar month of 1789: Nakaz˘ plays at the Nakamuraza in the new year drama "Edo no Fuji Wakayagi Soga" but he suddenly falls ill and has to be replaced.
7th lunar month of 1789: Nakaz˘ plays in the same theater the roles of Shunkan and Taira Morikuni in the drama "Heike Hy˘banki", which celebrates the 77th, 13th, 37th, 37th, 60th and 7th memorial services of late Nakamura Denkur˘ I, Nakamura Denkur˘ II, Kineya Kisabur˘ VI, Nakayama Kojur˘ V, Nakamura Denjir˘ I and Nakamura Denjir˘ III. Nakaz˘'s performance suffers from his health problems.
8th lunar month of 1789: Nakaz˘ appears on stage for the last time, at the Nakamuraza, performing in the dance "Kotobuki Yotsugi Sanbas˘".
23rd day of the 4th lunar month of 1790: Nakaz˘ dies in Edo; his tombstone is located in the precincts of the J˘zaiji Temple, in the district of Shitaya.
Nakamura Nakaz˘ I was an amazing jitsuaku actor, who started as an unknown low-ranking actor and rose to the top, becoming a senry˘ yakusha during the Tenmei era. He studied as a pupil of Ichikawa Danjűr˘ IV, often shared the same stage with Ichikawa Danjűr˘ V and his style was said to be similar to Ichikawa Danjűr˘ II's one. He was also an outstanding dancer and he wrote several books about his life and his art.
Nakamura Nakaz˘ I's best roles: Sekibŕ/Kuronushi ("Seki no To") Kakogawa Honz˘/Sadakur˘ ("Kanadehon Chűshingura"), Matsu˘maru/Kan Sh˘j˘ ("Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami"), Kud˘ Saemon Suketsune (sogamono).
"The career of Nakamura Nakaz˘ is one of the most varied of all the actors. He was possessed of many theatre gifts, but he had inherited a samurai temperament and exercised his genius just when social conditions had begun to dampen the enthusiasm of the people for the theatre." (ZoŰ Kincaid in "Kabuki, the Popular Stage of Japan")
The Nakamura Nakaz˘ line of actors
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