SAKATA TJR I

Other name: Sakata Izaemon

Guild: Yamashiroya

Line number: SHODAI (I)

Existence: 1646 ~ 1st day of the 11th lunar month of 1709

Connections:

Father: Sakata Ichiemon

Brother: Sakata Ichinoj

Sons: Sakata Tkur, Sakata Heishichir

Nephew: Sakata Tjr III's father Sakata Heishir

Disciples: Sakata Tjr II, Sakata Emon, Sakata Heishir, Sakata Rokusabur, Sakata Jgor

Career:

1646: born in Kyto. His ancestors lived in the northern province of Echigo and his father owns a theater in Kyto.

11th lunar month of 1676: Tjr becomes zamoto at the Miyako Manday's theater in Kyto and produces the drama "Takiguchi no Yokobue", in which he plays the role of Sait no Takiguchi.

6th day of the 1st lunar month of 1678: Ygiri, the most famous courtesan in the Shinmachi pleasure quarter in saka, dies.

2nd lunar month of 1678: Tjr produces in saka the drama "Ygiri Nagori no Shgatsu", in which he plays the role of Ygiri's lover Fujiya Izaemon. This is the beginning of the wagoto style. The drama is very successful and staged with different actors in the 6th, the 10th and the 12th lunar months.

1686: Tjr goes back to Kyto.

1688: Tjr plays the role of Genzaemon in the drama "gumagawa Genzaemon", which is staged at Miyako Manday's theater.

Fall 1688: Tjr achieves a great success in the same theater by playing in the drama "Keisei Tamatebako". His stage partner is Iwai Hanshir I.

1690: Tjr plays the role of Ygiri's lover Fujiya Izaemon in the drama "Ygiri Jsankaiki", which is produced in saka by Araki Yojib I and commemorates the 12th anniversary (13th memorial service) of Ygiri, who was the most famous courtesan in the Shinmachi pleasure quarter in saka and died the 6th of the 1st lunar month of 1678. The role of Ygiri is played by Tanishima Mondo.

1691: Tjr plays in saka in the drama "Sakai no Daiji Kaich".

1692: Tjr plays in the keiseigoto "Taema Mandara", which is produced by Murayama Heiemon III in Kyto.

3rd lunar month of 1693: premiere in Kyto at Miyako Manday's theater of Chikamatsu Monzaemon's drama "Butsumo Mayasan Kaich". This is the first drama written by Chikamatsu Monzaemon for Tjr. His stage partners are Yamashita Hanzaemon I, Yoshizawa Ayame, Kirinami Senju I, Kaneko Kichizaemon and Iwai Heijir.

7th lunar month of 1695: Tjr plays at Hayagumo Chday's theater (Kyto) the role of Soga Jr in the drama "Soga Tay Zome".

11th lunar month of 1695: Tjr becomes zamoto in Kyto, producing the drama "Hime Kura Daikoku Bashira" at Miyako Manday's theater.

Spring 1696: Tjr produces in the same theater the play "Kyasan Mand".

11th lunar month of 1696: Tjr produces in the same theater the play "Thsaku", which was written for him by Chikamatsu Monzaemon.

4th lunar month of 1697: Tjr produces in the same theater Chikamatsu Monzaemon's drama "Uzuki Kokonoka Sono Akatsuki no Myjgachaya", in which he plays the role of the tedai Kuemon.

7th lunar month of 1697: Tjr produces in the same theater the play "Daimy Soga".

11th lunar month of 1697: Tjr produces in the same theater the play "Nana Bake", in which he achieves a great success, sharing the stage with Mizuki Tatsunosuke I, who celebrates his comeback in Kamigata.

1698: beginning of a deep friendship with the Edo actor Nakamura Shichisabur I, who is on tour in Kamigata.

1st lunar month of 1698: Tjr produces in the same theater Chikamatsu Monzaemon's drama "Kamigy Uta Hajime" (he revised the script quite a lot himself). Tjr's rank in the Kamigata hybanki, tachiyaku section, is j-j-kichi (superior - superior - excellent).

1st lunar month of 1699: Tjr produces in the same theater Chikamatsu Monzaemon's drama "Keisei Hotoke no Hara". This is a huge success.

10th lunar month of 1699: Tjr produces in the same theater Chikamatsu Monzaemon's drama "Amidagaike Shin Teramachi"; he plays the role of Niwazukuri Tsuke.

12th lunar month of 1699: Tjr send some water from the Kamo river, which flows in Kyto, to his friend Nakamura Shichisabur I in Edo.

1st lunar month of 1700: Tjr produces in the same theater Chikamatsu Monzaemon's drama "Keisei Guzei no Fune"; he plays the role of Hakozaki Samon.

1st lunar month of 1701: Tjr produces at Hayagumo Chday's theater (Kyto) the drama "Keisei Sagano no Hara"; he plays the role of Izumigawa Hyakusuke.

1st lunar month of 1702: premiere at Miyako Manday's theater (Kyto) of Chikamatsu Monzaemon's drama "Keisei Mibu Dainenbutsu", which is produced by Kokon Shinzaemon. The two leading actors are Tjr and Arashi Kiyosabur I.

11th lunar month of 1702: Tjr becomes zamoto at Miyako Manday's theater and produces the play "Yomeiri Kosode"; he plays the role of Takiguchi Tawaranosuke.

1703: annus horribilis for Tjr, who falls ill several times.

3rd lunar month of 1704: Tjr plays the role of Fujiya Izaemon in the drama "Ygiri Nagori no Shgatsu", which is staged at Miyako Manday's theater (Kyto).

3rd lunar month of 1705: Tjr plays the roles of Hanaikada Hyakujir and enosuke in the drama "Keisei Inaba no Matsu", which is produced by his son Sakata Heishichir at Hoteiya Umenoj's theater (Kyto).

1706: Tjr plays at Miyako Manday's theater the role of Soga Jr in the drama "Futsuka Soga".

1st lunar month of 1707: Tjr plays at Hayagumo Chday's theater (Kyto) the role of Yaban Kysuke in the Adachi Saburemon's drama "Ishiyamadera Chikai no Mizuumi", which is produced by Takeshima Kjr.

10th lunar month of 1707: Tjr plays in the same theater in the drama "Sansh Day".

1st lunar month of 1708: Tjr plays at Kameya Kumenoj's theater (Kyto) the role of Yahata Gohei in Kurumaya Chemon's drama "Fukubiki Ur no Shgatsu".

10th lunar month of 1708: Tjr appears on stage for the last time, at Kameya Kumenoj's theater, playing the role of Fujiya Izaemon in the drama "Ygiri Nagori no Shgatsu".

Comments:

Sakata Tjr was a stage giant in Kamigata during the Genroku era, who created the wagoto style. He was at his best in sewamono dramas, especially the ones dealing with the pleasure quarters. He used to say: "in acting, I think that everyday life should be the model". According to Kaneko Kichizaemon, who wrote dramas for him, "whenever a role was given to Tjr, whether short or long, good or bad, he always studied it carefully".

"Sakata Tjr reflected the taste and elegance of his Kyto environment. He was romantic and natural in his acting. He left no successor, but there have always been actors faithful to his style." (Zo Kincaid in "Kabuki, the Popular Stage of Japan")

"Le jeu de Tjr se signala par une recherche trs rigoureuse de ralisme, tant pour lui-mme que pour ses partenaires qu'il soumettait en tant que chef de troupe une impitoyable direction d'acteurs : "C'est dans la vie relle, disait-il en effet, que doit rsider le modle", et de ce principe tmoigne l'anecdote fameuse dont Kikuchi Kan tira en 1919 l'argument d'une pice succs, "L'amour de Tjr" : dans un restaurant de Gion ( Kyto), Sakata Tjr poursuivit de ses assiduits l'une des femmes de l'tablissement qui, dsireuse d'en venir au fait, l'entrana dans une chambre du fond et souffla la lampe qui se trouvait l'entre. Tjr s'enfuit sur le champ. Il revint le lendemain et, abordant la femme : "grce vous, lui dit-il, j'ai pu prparer mon prochain rle. Il s'agit de l'amant d'une femme marie, et comme je n'ai jamais commis d'adultre, je me trouvais fort embarrass () et pensais qu' moins de rencontrer un tel homme et de m'imprgner de ses sentiments, je ne pourrais tudier mon rle. Mais dsormais mon souhait a t ralis, et j'ai pu enfin le mettre au point". (propos d'acteurs, d. 1776). Ainsi s'labora sous l'gide de Tjr une thorie du jeu (oserait-on dire : une mthode ?) dans laquelle l'exprience vcue informait troitement l'interprtation jusqu' crer une sorte de continuum entre l'art et la vie." (Michel Wasserman in "Thtre classique du Japon")

"Many anecdotes have been handed down relating to Tjr's extravagance. He received a large salary, but was not at all frugal, and was accustomed to say to those who remonstrated with him about his wastefulness that in order to be a great actor it was necessary to be generous-minded and reckless. He never wore a dress that had been washed; his room was lighted by candles, not by the oil wick which was general in those days. Moreover, he did not subsist on rice and vegetables, the diet of most families, then as now, but lived like a daimy, partaking of fish and fowl. Every day he drank a cup of the rarest tea, while he warmed his sake with costly charcoal, all in the lordly manner of a feudal magnate. When actors repaired to his house for rehearsal, he received them seated on a beautiful silk cushion, with a gorgeous lacquered tobacco-box in front of him, and served his guests a sumptuous repast. Once, when he played in saka, he ordered drinking water from Kyto to be brought to him in casks, and his rice was selected grain by grain. When he was asked the reason for this extravagance, he replied that if his rice were not properly selected the grains might be mixed with grit and his teeth be ruined; and that if he drank saka water he might become ill, and in consequence be obliged to absent himself from the stage, to the great loss of his manager. It is suspected that Tjr loved advertisement more than Kyto water, and knew how to make himself talked about by the people of his day." (Zo Kincaid in "Kabuki, the Popular Stage of Japan")

Sakata Tjr I (1693)

 
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