Play title Shusse Kagekiyo  In Japanese
Buy no Homare Shusse Kagekiyo  In Japanese
Authors Chikamatsu Monzaemon ("Shusse Kagekiyo")
Fukuchi chi ("Buy no Homare Shusse Kagekiyo")

"Shusse Kagekiyo" was premiered in the 1st lunar month of 1685 in saka at the Takemotoza. It was Chikamatsu Monzaemon's first work for the jjri reciter Takemoto Giday and, according to the Japanese literature scholar Kuroki Kanz, "a farewell to old jruri" (kojjri). This play was revised by Fukuchi chi for the star Ichikawa Danjr IX and staged in March 1891 at the Kabukiza under the title "Buy no Homare Shusse Kagekiyo" [casting].

The title "Shusse Kagekiyo" was translated as "Kagekiyo Victorious" (source: Donald Keene in "Major Plays of Chikamatsu").


"Shusse Kagekiyo" was originally a 5-act drama.

Key words Akushichibye Kagekiyo
Atsuta Jing
Giday Kygen
Genpei Kassen
Hatakeyama Shigetada
Kajiwara Kagesue
Minamoto Yoritomo
Taira Kagekiyo

Act 1

The War between the Genji clan and the Heike clan was over in 1185. The Heike clan was completely defeated. Kagekiyo,the General of the Heike clan, hid himself at the chief priest of Atsuta Shrine in the province of Owari (now in the Nagoya City). The chief priest of Atsuta Shrine was a special friend of the Heike clan. During his stay there, Kagekiyo had fallen in love with Princess Ono, the daughter of the chief priest, and got married to her. But he couldn't bear the humiliation of the defeat.

One day Kagekiyo gets the news that Minamoto no Yoritomo,the supreme commander of the Genji clan, had appointed his follower Hatakeyama Shigetada to be the boss of the Reconstruction Bureau of the Giant Buddha's Pantheon of Tdaiji Temple (which is going to be built in Nara). In fact, Hatakeyama Shigetada is the right-hand man of Yoritomo. Then Kagekiyo decides to kill Hatakeyama Shigetada first before his revenge upon his hateful enemy Yoritomo. So Kagekiyo dresses up like a laborer and goes into the construction spot. Kagekiyo gets a chance and tries to kill Hatakeyama Shigetada but his plan fails. So he has to fight against many enemies. After the big fight he barely escapes from the enemies.

Act 2

Kagekiyo goes to Akoya's house in Kyto and hides himself there for a while after running away from Hatakeyama Shigetada. Akoya is the mistress of Kagekiyo. They met each other in Kyto before and had two little sons, Iyaishi (6 years old) and Iyawaka (4 years old). Akoya and her two sons are very happy to be with Kagekiyo again, though she knows Kagekiyo married Princess Ono. But unfortunately Iba-no-Jz, Akoya's brother, notices that Kagekiyo is hiding at Akoya's house. Jz plots to get the prize by informing the Shogunate of Kagekiyo's hiding place. Jz tries to tempt Akoya to inform the Shogunate of Kagekiyo's whereabouts but Akoya refuses. And she doesn't allow Jz to do it by himself. So Jz plots out another trick. He makes up a false letter which is from Princess Ono to Kagekiyo. When the false letter is delivered to Akoya's house, Jz appears there and says to the mailman, "OK. OK.I'll get the letter and give it to Kagekiyo later. Because he has gone to Kiyomizudera Temple to pray. Don't worry. You can go back now". After the mailman has left, Akoya is terribly shocked to read the letter. It is a love letter from Princess Ono to Kagekiyo. And Princess Ono slanders Akoya a playgirl in the letter. Akoya doesn't realize that it is a false letter made by Jz. Then Jz says to Akoya, "Let's go and turn Kagekiyo into the police." Akoya loves Kagekiyo so much but her heart waves and hesitates very hard and she is so jealous that at last she loses her heart and can't stop Jz from going to the Rokuhara Police Office. Many policemen flood Kiyomizudera Temple to arrest Kagekiyo. Kagekiyo and the policemen fight violently. But fortunately he manages to escape again.

Act 3

The police can't find Kagekiyo. So they catch the chief priest of Atsuta Shrine, who is Princess Ono's father, and brings him to the prison in Kyto. Princess Ono is very sad, so she decides to go see and try to save her father. She takes a long trip from Nagoya to Kyto to see her father. While Princess Ono is looking for the prison where her father was arrested in Kyto, she is unfortunately found by the warrior Kajiwara Genta and she is also arrested. Kajiwara says to Princess Ono, "Your father tells me nothing. But you are the wife of Kagekiyo. So you must know where he is". And then he brings Princess Ono to Rokujogawara which is the execution ground located at Kamogawa River side in Kyto and tortures her by water cure. But Princess Ono tells him nothing. Next, kobokuzeme.Zeme means torture. Koboku is a big old tree where one would wind the neck of the criminal with a rope and hang it down from the bough of a tree. The torturer lowers the rope when the criminal is about to die and pulls up the rope when the criminal comes back to life. But still Princess Ono never confesses. Lastly, Kajiwara orders his men to punish Princess Ono by hizeme (Fire torture). They lay wood on the ground, take the fans and then ignite the wood. When they are just about to begin the torture, Kagekiyo appears slashing his way through the visiting crowds and cries out, "I am Kagekiyo". He can never bear the pains of Princess Ono and her father, so he is arrested without any resistance. Bursting into tears, Princess Ono cries out to Kagekiyo, "Why did you come here? I never wanted you to be arrested but to finish your will". Kagekiyo also cries and says to Princess Ono, "You should continue to live to take care of your father and pray for the repose of me after my death". He ropes himself and steps up to Kajiwara. Then Princess Ono runs up to Kagekiyo and clings to him but she is immediately separated from Kagekiyo. Kagekiyo is taken to the prison but Princess Ono and her father are released.

Act 4

The Mistress Akoya gets the news that Kagekiyo was arrested and taken to prison. She knows she was deceived by that false letter which was sent by her brother Jz. She is so much regrettable to betray Kagekiyo with her jealousy against Princess Ono. She wants to apologize to Kagekiyo so much that she goes to see him taking her two little sons together. They are barely allowed to see Kagekiyo and taken to the prison where Kagekiyo is held. Akoya cries out to see Kagekiyo's miserable prison conditions. She apologizes to Kagekiyo for her betrayal. Kagekiyo is so angry about Akoya's betrayal that he refuses to forgive her. Iyaishi, just a 6 year-old-boy, tries to move the door of the prison crying "I'll break this prison to save my father". Iyawaka, a 4-year-old boy, puts his little hands in between the fence of the prison and gently rubs his father's feet which seems to have been injured by the torture and says, "You might feel pain in your feet, Dad. Does it hurt very much?". Kagekiyo is so moved to see his sons' state that he can't bear to cry. But he thinks that he will be killed soon anyway and it will be no good for his sons to be concerned with him. So just then Kagekiyo thinks he should decide to cut off the emotion of parent and children. Pressing down his tears and emotion, Kagekiyo says to his sons, "Don't think I'm your father from now on. I'll never consider you to be my sons. Because you are the children of that woman who has betrayed me as you see. Go back now". After saying that, Kagekiyo pushes his sons away and he also says to Akoya, "You aren't my lover any longer. Go back with your sons now and never come and see me again". Looking at this, Akoya is so shocked and says to Kagekiyo, "Surely I betrayed you, I was wrong. But,why are you so cruel to your children? They had done nothing sinful against you. I can't live any more". Suddenly Akoya pulls out a dagger and stabs her two sons to death. And she also stabs herself to death. Kagekiyo is so shocked to watch that awful scene and grieves so deeply. At that time, Akoya's brother Jz comes there and accuses Kagekiyo so terribly that Kagekiyo can't keep his patience. He destroys the prison and kills Jz. Kagekiyo thinks he should run away, so he leaves there at once. He tries to find his way to Kant and Saigoku (Western region from saka to Kysh). But Kagekiyo stops after running only a few minutes. He realizes that Princess Ono and her father will be arrested again and tortured as long as he isn't in prison. So Kagekiyo comes back to the prison and enters it. Then he locks the door from the inside and ropes himself, and begins to recite the Sutra to Kannon in his casual appearance. That scene makes the people around him believe Kagekiyo has become the Bodhisattva (secondary Buddha).

Act 5

Yoritomo gives orders to have Kagekiyo beheaded, but Kagekiyo does not die. Instead the head from a statue of Kannon drops to the ground, and blood gushes forth from it. having witnessed this miracle, Yoritomo is so impressed by Kagekiyo, for whom even the Buddha shows compassion, not only does he spare Kagekiyo's life, he bestows on him the province of Hyga. Kagekiyo, in turn, is moved by Yoritomo's magnanimity as he sets off for Hyga.

Source for Act1~Act4:

Source for Act5: Kawatake Toshio in "Kabuki: Baroque Fusion of the Arts"

the actors Nakamura Kofuku, Band Shch II, Ichikawa Danjr IX (middle print) and Ichikawa Gonjr (right print) playing the roles of Kagekiyo's son Ishiwaka, Akoya, the warrior Taira no Kagekiyo and Hatakeyama Shigetada in the drama "Buy no Homare Shusse Kagekiyo", which was staged in March 1891 at the Kabukiza
(print made by Toyohara Kunichika)

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