|Dance title||Sekisan Yakko|
|Authors||Katsui Genpachi (lyrics)
Kineya Rokusabur˘ IV (music)
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).
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.
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.
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