SEKISAN YAKKO
   
Dance title Sekisan Yakko  In Japanese
Authors Katsui Genpachi (lyrics)
Kineya Rokusabur˘ IV (music)
History

The actor Seki Sanjűr˘ II, who was about to travel back to his native Kamigata after 19 seasons spent in Edo, performed in the 9th lunar month of 1826 his onagori ky˘gen at the Nakamuraza, which included a 5-role hengemono entitled "Kaesu Gaesu Onagori no ďtsue". The 5 roles were the Wisteria Maiden, a blind masseur, the God Tenjin, a footman (yakko) and a boatman. These roles were created based on ˘tsue, popular paintings made in the city of ďtsu (close to Ky˘to). Three of these roles are still part of the current Kabuki repertoire: the Wisteria Maiden (the first version of the famous dance "Fuji Musume"), the blind masseur (performed under the title "Zat˘") and the footman, which became the independent dance "Sekisan Yakko" ("Sekisan's footman" - Sekisan was the nickname of Seki Sanjűr˘ II).

Key words Shosagoto
Nagauta
Yakkomono
Keyari
Ashiby˘shi
Summary

The 2 yakko in this dance are in fact spear-bearers, who walk ahead of their master's procession, travelling on the T˘kaid˘ highway. Their role is to warn people about the coming of an important daimy˘ and, therefore, to clear the road from any obstacle (it goes without saying that travellers of lesser rank must make way as he passes). They use each a keyari and the dance is not only about their duty at day but also about having fun at night in the pleasures quarter of the T˘kaid˘ station they stopped in. This dance has lots of stamping (ashiby˘shi) and leg motion. One of the highlights is the spectacular exchange of spears, one footman being on the kamite and the other on the shimote.

Trivia

A yakko's name in Kabuki always ends with the ideogram hei ("flat"). In "Sekisan Yakko", it is a custom to create the 2 yakko' names by using the first ideograms of the names of the actors. For example, in May 1992 at the Kabukiza, the 2 yakko, who were played by Band˘ Mitsugor˘ IX and his son Band˘ Yasosuke V, were named Mitsuhei and Yasohei.

Seki Sanjűr˘ II playing the footman role in the dance "Kaesu Gaesu Onagori no ďtsue", which was staged in the 9th lunar month of 1826 at the Nakamuraza (print made by Utagawa Kunisada I)

 
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