Play title Shitenn˘ji Garan Kagami  In Japanese
The Monastic Mirror at the Temple of the Four Guardian Kings [1]
Author Namiki Sh˘z˘ I [2]

Namiki Sh˘z˘ I's drama "Shitenn˘ji Garan Kagami" was premiered in the 4th lunar month of 1757 [3] at the ďnishi no Shibai. It was produced by the zamoto Daimatsu Kyokusuke. This drama was revised and staged several times up to its last performance in 1904.

Based on historical events, "Shitenn˘-ji Garan Kagami" narrated the rivalry between two courtiers following the death of Emperor Y˘mei in 587. Historically, the two courtiers, Soga no Umako (Umako Daijin in the play) and Mononobe no Moriya (Umaya Daijin in the play), each supported a different prince to succeed Emperor Y˘mei. Soga no Umako successfully managed to murder Moriya and his protege became Emperor Sushun. Becoming resentful of his mentor, Emperor Sushun was finally murdered by Soga no Umako in 592 and he was replaced with Umako's niece, who became Empress Suiko. He also appointed Suiko's nephew Prince Sh˘toku as regent. In "Shitenn˘ji Garan Kagami", Umaya was a powerful and dangerous jitsuaku (belonging to the kuni kuzushi class), who plotted to take over control of the empire. He fought against Umako Daijin and Prince Sh˘toku.
(data from

Key words Asuka Jidai
Kamigata Ky˘gen
Kuni Kuzushi
Mononobe Moriya
Ono Imoko
Sh˘toku Taishi
Soga Umako
Suiko Tenn˘
Sushun Tenn˘
Y˘mei Tenn˘


[1] The title "The Monastic Mirror at the Temple of the Four Guardian Kings" comes from the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

[2] The others sakusha working for Namiki Sh˘z˘ I were most likely Matsuda Hyakka, Sakakiyama Kansuke II and Namiki ďsuke.

[3] The opening day was the 5th day of the 4th lunar month of the 7th year of the H˘reki era, which was the 22nd of May 1757 in the western calendar.

Kataoka Ichiz˘ I, Ichikawa Ebiz˘ V and Mimasu Daigor˘ IV playing the roles of Akaimaru, Ono no Imoko and Kamejumaru in the drama "Shitenn˘ji Garan Kagami", which was staged in the 3rd lunar month of 1849 at the Naka no Shibai (print made by Utagawa Hirosada)

Mimasu Daigor˘ IV as Umako Daijin, Ichikawa Ebiz˘ V as Umaya Daijin and Jitsukawa Enzabur˘ I as Prince Sh˘toku in "Shitenn˘ji Garan Kagami" at the Naka no Shibai, ďsaka (

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