Play title Shinshű Kawanakajima Kassen  In Japanese
Author Chikamatsu Monzaemon

The 5 acts puppet theater drama "Shinshű Kawanakajima Kassen" was written by Chikamatsu Monzaemon and performed for the first time at the Takemotoza in the 8th lunar month of 1721. It was adapted for Kabuki for the first time in the 5th lunar month of 1742, by the sakusha Iwai J˘suke and Katsu S˘suke, and staged in Ky˘to at the Kitagawa no Shibai [casting].


"Shinshű Kawanakajima Kassen" was a 5-act drama. "Terutora Haizen" (literally "Terutora sets the table"), the only part of this drama which is still in the Kabuki repertoire, is the first scene of the third act.

Key words Gidayű Ky˘gen
Sengoku Jidai
Kawanakajima no Tatakai

The story is about the famous military strategist Yamamoto Kansuke, who serves the warlord Takeda Shingen of the Kai province. Shingen's most important rivals is Nagao Terutora, lord of the Echigo province, who is anxious to find some ways to bring Kansuke to his own side. It happens that Karaginu, the wife of Terutora's chief retainer Naoe Yamashiro-no-Kami Sanetsuna, is in fact Kansuke's sister. Terutora hopes to use her to his advantage.

One day, Karaginu invites Kansuke's mother Koshiji for a visit. The old woman feels that visiting the Nagao mansion is not a good idea as her son is on the other side, but she agrees to make a secret personal visit, in the company of Kansuke's wife Okatsu. Koshiji expects to be welcomed at Karaginu's private quarters but, to her great surprise, she is brought to a suite within Nagao Terutora's castle. Naoe Sanetsuna comes out to greet her. He bears with him a gift on a tray for Koshiji. The gift is a fine warrior coat from the Sh˘gun, which had been subsequently presented to Terutora, and is now offered to Koshiji. Koshiji is now perfectly aware of the reason for all this fine welcome, and she feels deeply offended. The gift is in reality intended as an honor given to Kansuke, but she coldly answers that, as an old woman, she has no use for such a fine warrior coat, and turns her back on Naoe Sanetsuna. Both Karaginu and Okatsu are shocked by Koshiji's rudeness and lack of politeness. Naoe Sanetsuna quietly removes the tray and orders to bring in the food for the guests.

Somebody appears on stage, bringing in a tray of food, but it is not a mere castle servant. He is none other than Lord Nagao Terutora. The great warrior places ceremoniously the tray of food before Koshiji. It is unbelievable for such a daimy˘ to humble himself in such a manner but Koshiji stands firm. She peremptorily says that such ceremony makes her feel ill at ease. She refuses to be served by Nagao Terutora. The warlord explains that serving her personally is indeed an act of favor but he does it only because she is the mother of his chief retainer's wife. The old woman can't easily be manipulated. She suddenly take a taunting attitude and accuses Terutora of trying to lure Kansuke to his side by tricking her. She can't accept any favors from her son's enemy and she ends her speech by violently kicking the tray of delicacies over. Nagao Terutora is a short-tempered warrior. He can't stand Koshiji's arrogance anymore. He explodes into a fury and puts his hand to his sword, ready to strike. Karaginu frantically urges her mother to apologize but the stubborn old woman refuses to apologize. Naoe Sanetsuna restraints his lord, reminding him that he has promised not to take offense no matter what attitude Koshiji would take. This is not enough to calm the old warrior down. Okatsu tries to speak up for her mother-in-law's sake, but cannot get the words out of her mouth because she stutters. She decides to takes her koto and holds it out as a protection screen between Koshiji and the blade of Nagao Terutora. Then she starts to play on the koto. Her message will be delivered through music. She asks for forgiveness and is ready to offer her own life in place of her mother-in-law's. Terutora is still angry but Okatsu's plea is stronger and he finally decides to spare the life of Koshiji. In relief, Karaginu helps her mother and sister-in-law into their garments and hurriedly sends them off while Naoe Sanetsuna holds Nagao Terutora off.

This summary would have not been possible without the help of Sekidobashi Sakura!

The actors Nakayama Ichiz˘, Arashi Rikan III, and Nakamura Tsuruz˘ I playing the roles of Kansuke's mother, Okatsu, and Nagao Terutora in the drama "Terutora Haizen", which was staged in the 7th lunar month of 1854 at the Nakamuraza (print made by Utagawa Toyokuni III)

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