NAKAMURA SHICHISABURď I

Line number: SHODAI (I)

Poetry name: Sh˘ch˘

Existence: 1662 ~ 3rd day of the 2nd lunar month of 1708

Connections:

Father: Amatsu Shichir˘emon

Father-in-law: Nakamura Kanzabur˘ II

Adopted son: Nakamura Shichisabur˘ II

Disciples: Nakamura Sen'ya I (master of Nakamura Genzaemon I, the adoptive father of Nakamura Utaemon I's master Nakamura Genjűr˘), Sengoku Hikosuke I, Nakamura Kichisabur˘ I, Nakamura Gentar˘, Nakamura Gennosuke, Nakamura Shirogor˘ I, Nakamura Goroshir˘ II

Career:

5th lunar month of 1682: Shichisabur˘ achieves a great success at the Ichimuraza by playing in the wagoto style the role of Soga Jűr˘ Sukenari in the drama "K˘shoku Kamakura Gonin Onna". This performance definitively puts the role of Soga Jűr˘ Sukenari in the repertoire of the wagotoshi.

1st lunar month of 1686: Shichisabur˘ plays at the Nakamuraza the role of ďtomo Minbu in the new year drama "Wankyű Ukiyo Jikkai"; his stage partners are Nakamura Denkur˘ I (Kumahara Wadanosuke), Tamagawa Sennoj˘ III (Senju), Mikuni Hikosaku II (Wan'ya Kyűbŕ), Dekishima Kichiya (Hatsue-no-Mae), Uemura Kokichiya (Kiriyama), Hanai Saizabur˘ I (S˘hachi), Fujita Minanosuke (S˘hachi's wife), Tamai Gonpachi (Kichibei) and Hanamura Kinue (the courtesan Matsuyama).

3rd lunar month of 1688: Shichisabur˘ achieves a great success at the Ichimuraza by performing in dances in the style tanzen, as part of the program "Tanzen Sugata Kagami".

11th lunar month of 1689: Shichisabur˘ goes to ďsaka.

Fall 1691: Shichisabur˘ goes back to Edo.

11th lunar month of 1691: Shichisabur˘ achieves a great success at the Yamamuraza by playing the role of Sano Tsuneyo in the drama "Shusse Nishikigi".

1695: Shichisabur˘ and Ogino Sawanoj˘ achieve a great success together at the Nakamuraza by playing in the drama "Oguri Renri no Eda".

1st lunar month of 1696: Shichisabur˘ achieves a great success at the Yamamuraza by playing the role of Nagoya Sanza in the drama "Fuwa Nagoya Uikamuri"; the role of Fuwa Banzaemon, Sanza's rival in love, is played by Murayama Heijűr˘ I.

11th lunar month of 1696: Shichisabur˘ plays at the Nakamuraza in the drama "Neko no Koneko". His stage partners are Ogino Sawanoj˘, Nakamura Denkur˘ I, Sodeoka Masanosuke II, ďtani Hiroemon I, Murayama Jűheiji and Nakajima Kanzaemon I.

3rd lunar month of 1697: Shichisabur˘ plays in the same theater in the drama "Kant˘ Koroku". His stage partners in the roles of Tamakura and Yagor˘ are Ogino Sawanoj˘ and Ichikawa Danjűr˘ I.

11th lunar month of 1697 ~ Fall 1699: second stay in Kamigata.

11th lunar month of 1697: Shichisabur˘ plays in the drama "Miyako no Eh˘ Yomeiri Bunsh˘", which is produced in Ky˘to by Yamashita Hanzaemon at Hayagumo Ch˘dayű's theater.

1st lunar month of 1698: Shichisabur˘'s rank in the Ky˘to hy˘banki, tachiyaku section, is j˘-j˘-kichi (superior - superior - excellent). He plays in the same theater the role of Koroku in the drama "Kant˘ Koroku Imay˘ Sugata". Premiere at Hayagumo Ch˘dayű's theater of the drama "Keisei Asama-ga-Dake", which is produced by Yamashita Hanzaemon; Shichisabur˘ plays the role of Asama Tomoenoj˘ [casting]. Shichisabur˘ is the author of this long run play whose main theme, the apparition of a the ghost of a dead courtesan to her unfaithful lover, will be used again and again in countless numbers of drama. This is also the beginning of a deep friendship with the actor Sakata T˘jűr˘ I.

Spring 1699: Shichisabur˘ plays in Ky˘to the roles of Tonomonosuke and Nagoya Sanzaemon in the dramas "Keisei Hana Ikada" and "Nagoya Sanza", which are produced by Yamashita Hanzaemon.

Fall 1699: Shichisabur˘ and the actor Murayama Jűemon go together to Edo.

11th lunar month of 1699: Shichisabur˘ plays at the Yamamuraza the leading roles of the dramas "Kant˘ Koroku Koky˘ no Nishikie", "Onna Nuetsuya Yorimasa", "Ky˘ Miyage Keisei Asama-ga-Dake".

12th lunar month of 1699: Shichisabur˘ receives a gift from his friend Sakata T˘jűr˘ I: some water from the Kamogawa river, which flows in Ky˘to.

2nd lunar month of 1702: Shichisabur˘ plays at the Nakamuraza the role of Soga Jűr˘ Sukenari in the drama "Akebono Soga Yoichi"; the role of Soga Gor˘ Tokimune is played by Miyazaki Denkichi. This drama, which mixes elements of the ak˘ r˘shi events with the Soga brothers sekai, is forbidden for "political" reasons by the authorities after 3 days of performances.

1st lunar month of 1703: Shichisabur˘ plays at the Yamamuraza the role of Soga Jűr˘ Sukenari in the drama "Keisei Asama Soga"; the role of Soga Gor˘ Tokimune is played by Band˘ Matatar˘ I.

11th lunar month of 1703: Shichisabur˘ plays at the Nakamuraza in the kaomise drama "Shinshun Niwatori Taiheiki".

1st lunar month of 1707: Shichisabur˘ plays at the Nakamuraza the role of Soga Jűr˘ Sukenari in the drama "H˘ei Soga".

1st lunar month of 1708: Shichisabur˘ appears on stage for the last time, playing the role of Soga Jűr˘ Sukenari in the drama "Keisei Arashi Soga", which is staged at the Nakamuraza; the roles of Soga Gor˘ Tokimune and Kobayashi no Asahina are played by Tomizawa Hanzabur˘ I and Nakamura Denkur˘ I.

Comments:

Nakamura Shichisabur˘ I was one of the most outstanding and popular actors of the Genroku era. He was equally at home in sewamono or jidaimono dramas. His main field of excellence was wagoto, a style originally created in Kamigata but, to Shichisabur˘'s credit, we must point out that he created the Edo wagoto, whose most representative role is Soga Jűr˘ Sukenari in the sogamono plays. His others fields of excellence were nuregoto, yatsushigoto and the tanzen style.

"Nakamura Shichisabur˘ was exactly the opposite to Ichikawa Danjűr˘ in his stage methods. He belonged to Sakata T˘jűr˘'s real school, and was quiet and restrained on the boards. Danjűr˘ was bold and exaggerated, Shichisabur˘ effeminate and mild. They represented the two currents of the popular mind during Genroku. Danjűr˘ was not altogether welcome in Ky˘to and ďsaka, T˘jűr˘'s stronghold, where his style was not wholly appreciated, although he was acknowledged to be a great actor. Shichisabur˘, on the contrary, met with great success on the stages of these towns." (ZoŰ Kincaid in "Kabuki, the Popular Stage of Japan")

Nakamura Shichisabur˘ I, Ichikawa Danjűr˘ I and Nakamura Denkur˘ I were in Edo the leading triumvirat of Genroku stars.

Nakamura Shichisabur˘ I in a print made by Torii Kiyonobu I (1702)

Print made by Torii Kiyonobu I in 1702

The Nakamura Shichisabur˘ line of actors

 
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