Pen names:

Ky˘gend˘ Sak˘ II [1] In Japanese
Sakurada Jisuke III In Japanese
Matsushima Hanji III In Japanese
Katsushika Otosuke In Japanese

Guild: Yamashiroya

Line number: NIDAIME (II)

Poetry name: Sak˘

Existence: 1802 ~ 7 August 1877


Master: Matsushima Ch˘fu I (Sakurada Jisuke II)

Disciples: Sakurada Jisuke IV, Matsushima Hanji V, Matsushima Hanji VI, Kasanui Sensuke II, Shimizu Sh˘shichi, Noshi Shinz˘


11th lunar month of 1824: he starts his career as a sakusha at the Kawarazakiza, working on the drama "Otokoyama Toritate Genji"; his first pen name is Katsushika Otosuke.

1825: he becomes disciple of Sakurada Jisuke II and receives the name of Matsushima Hanji III.

End of 1826 or beginning of 1827: his master takes the name of Matsushima Ch˘fu I.

11th lunar month of 1827: Hanji works with his master on the kaomise drama "Kawaranu Hana Genji no Kaomise", which is staged at the Ichimuraza.

11th lunar month of 1828: Hanji works at the Nakamuraza on Tsuruya Nanboku IV's drama "Motomishi Hana Otogi Heike"; his yearly salary is 18 ry˘.

14th day of the 4th lunar month of 1829: his master Matsushima Ch˘fu I dies.

1833: receiving the patronage of Sakurada Jisuke I's widow, he is allowed to take the name of Sakurada Jisuke III.

1835: he becomes tatesakusha.

11th lunar month of 1835: Jisuke works at the Nakamuraza on the production of the classic "Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami", which stars Onoe Kikugor˘ III (Kan Sh˘j˘, Sakuramaru, Takebe Genz˘ [2], Shundo Genba), Ichikawa Ebiz˘ V (Ume˘maru, Kakuju, Takebe Genz˘ [3]), Band˘ Hikosabur˘ IV (Shihei, Terukuni), Matsumoto K˘shir˘ V (Matsu˘maru), Osagawa Tsuneyo IV (Tatsuta-no-Mae, Haru), Onoe Kikujir˘ II [4] (Yae), Onoe Eizabur˘ III (Tonami) and Arashi Kanjűr˘ I (Hy˘e, Shiratayű).

11th lunar month of 1836: Jisuke works at the Nakamuraza, along with Matsushima Ch˘fu II and Dontsű Yosabŕ II, on the kaomise drama "Shind˘ Saemon Tsukushi no Kumiobi".

11th lunar month of 1840: Jisuke worked at the Ichimuraza on the drama "Chinzei Hachir˘ G˘ma no Kaburaya". He most likely also worked on the Nagauta-based dance-drama "Meoto D˘j˘ji".

1st lunar month of 1845: premiere at the Nakamuraza of Sakurada Jisuke's dance "Awa Mochi" [more details].

2nd lunar month of 1847: premiere at the Ichimuraza of Sakurada Jisuke's 11-role hengemono "Kanadehon Chűshingura" (same title as the classic drama "Kanadehon Chűshingura"); each role, which is performed by Ichimura Uzaemon XII, is based on 1 act of "Chűshingura" [more details]. The 6th role, "Kagoya", is an independent dance belonging to the current Kabuki repertoire.

1st lunar month: premiere at the Nakamuraza of Sakurada Jisuke's Tokiwazu-based dance-drama "Kagura Uta Kumoi no Kyokumari", which is commonly called "Dontsuku" [more details].

4th lunar month of 1847: premiere at the Kawarazakiza of Sakurada Jisuke's dance-drama "Shiki no Hina Asakusa Hakkei" (commonly called "Ky˘ Ningy˘") [casting].

2nd lunar month of 1851: premiere at the Ichimuraza of Sakurada Jisuke's Kiyomoto-based dance "Akegarasu Hana no Nureginu", commonly called "Urazato Tokijir˘" or "Akegarasu" [casting].

1st lunar month of 1852: premiere at the Ichimuraza of Sakurada Jisuke's drama "Satomi Hakkenden" [casting].

5th lunar month of 1856: Sakurada Jisuke III and his disciple Sakurada Sonoji take the names of Ky˘gend˘ Sak˘ II and Sakurada Jisuke IV; premiere at the Moritaza of the first version of "Matsuura no Taiko", as 3 extended acts of the classic "Kanadehon Chűshingura". This program, which celebrates the reopening of the Moritaza is entitled "Shin Butai Iroha no Kakizome". Sak˘ is a member of the sakusha team.

1st lunar month of 1860: the 1762 puppet drama "Kishi no Himematsu Kutsuwa Kagami" (commonly called "Kishi Hime") is adapted for the first time to Kabuki, in Edo at the Moritaza; it is integrated within the new year sogamono "Momo Chidori Nigiwai Soga" [casting]. Sak˘ is a member of the sakusha team.

4th lunar month of 1865: Sak˘ works at the Nakamuraza on the drama "Yoshitaka Shima Chibiki no Aminote".

7th lunar month of 1869: premiere at the Nakamuraza of Kawatake Shinshichi II's drama "Kichisama Mairu Yukari no Otozure". Sak˘ is a member of the sakusha team.

July 1875: Sak˘ writes the lyrics of the dance-drama "D˘j˘ji Manete Mitsumen", which is staged at the Shintomiza. This is his final creation.

7 August 1877: Sak˘ dies [5].


Ky˘gend˘ Sak˘ II was an important sakusha who was active from the end of the Bunka/Bunsei era, symbolized by Tsuruya Nanboku IV, to the end of the Edo period, the beginning of the Meiji era, which was symbolized by Kawatake Mokuami. Ky˘gend˘ Sak˘ II was not as talented as these two geniuses but he made a long career and was a prolific playwright who worked on more than 200 dramas, including more than 50 dance-dramas for which he wrote the lyrics.

"The last sakusha to shine before the dawn of the Meiji era was Sakurada Jisuke, who was born in 1802 and died in the tenth year of Meiji, 1877. He was associated with actors and literary men for forty years, and during most of his career he was head of the Edo playwrights. He wrote many plays, and among them are a number frequently given by the actors of modern T˘ky˘ and ďsaka. The little eccentricities of the sakusha were long remembered after they had passed away. Sakurada Jisuke had a habit of frequently moving his residence. He would make a hole in his cupboard through which his rice was poured by the delivery boy from the rice shop, as he did not like people to see how much he had ordered at a time. But while he was parsimonious in some matters, in others he was prodigal. He lived in Muk˘jima, across the Sumida River from T˘ky˘, and at times bought a whole bag of charcoal, for use in the hibachi, to warm himself in the boat that took him across the river-just to make a show. The trip across the river was brief, and he was well aware he required but a small portion. When an old farmer came selling squash, Jisuke purchased his entire stock-in-trade and then presented him with one of the vegetables as a reward, after which the countryman spread the tale of the sakusha's generosity. It was a time when the fortunes of the sakusha were at the lowest ebb, when writers for the theatre were entirely subordinate to the actors, and yet the dignity of his profession must have been felt by Jisuke, for it is reported that he resented being placed under young actors." (ZoŰ Kincaid in "Kabuki, the Popular Stage of Japan")

[1] Sakurada Jisuke I never officially held the name of Ky˘gend˘ Sak˘ I but he was considered as the first in this line of playwrights.

[2] Only in "Hipp˘ Denju".

[3] Only in "Terakoya".

[4] Onoe Kikujir˘ II celebrates his shűmei in this production.

[5] When dying, Sakurada Jisuke expressed a last wish: "Do not have Buddhist ceremonies or anniversaries for me, but be careful not to neglect Edo plays" (ZoŰ Kincaid in "Kabuki, the Popular Stage of Japan")

The name of Ky˘gend˘ Sak˘ II in a 1860 Edo hy˘banki (the zone within the red shape on the left side of the picture)

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