Play title Tsuta Momiji Utsunoya Tge  In Japanese
Authors Kawatake Shinshichi II
Shinoda Sasuke
Umezawa Sroku
Nagawa Harusuke II

The drama "Tsuta Momiji Utsunoya Tge", commonly called "Utsunoya Tge" ("The Utsunoya Pass") or "Bun'ya Goroshi" ("The Murder of Bun'ya"), was premiered in the 9th lunar month of 1856 at the Ichimuraza, starring Ichikawa Kodanji IV (the blind masseur Bun'ya, the thief Niza) and Band Kamez I (Itamiya Jb).


The original drama was in 5 acts and 12 scenes. A standard revival of this drama is usually made up of three acts and 6 scenes.

Key words Koroshiba

This play is about the murder of Bun'ya, a blind masseur, by Itamiya Jb, once a samurai and now in need of money to give to his former lord. At an inn, the blind masseur and the merchant happen to stay together in the same room. The thief Nisa, who has been stalking Bun'ya for several days, sneaks into the room to steal the masseur. Unfortunately for him, Jb is not asleep and catches the robber. Hearing that the masseur is carrying a great sum of money, Jb at first hopes Bun'ya will lend it to him. Winning Bun'ya's confidence, Jb offers to accompany the masseur as far as the dangerous Utsunoya Pass. They travel together and, approaching the Utsunoya Pass, Jb begs to borrow the money but Bun'ya says he cannot because his sister sold herself to a brothel in order to raise the money, which will enable him to buy his official license as a masseur. Finally the merchant ends up killing the masseur and makes off with the money after having hidden Bun'ya's body. The murder was observed by the thief Nisa. After Bun'ya's death, Jb returns to the tavern he owns, but is haunted by Bun'ya's ghost and ends up strangling his own wife whose shape the ghost takes at one point. A year later Nisa turns up to blackmail Jb, but he too becomes another of Jb's victims, and on this grisly note the play ends.

This summary was made by Shriya Aragor using a text written by Jean Wilson (1999)


In addition to Bun'ya, the leading actor of this drama also plays the role of the thief Nisa, deftly switching between them using hayagawari quick costume changes.

The actors Band Kamez I and Ichikawa Kodanji IV playing the roles of Itamiya Jb and Bun'ya in the drama "Tsuta Momiji Utsunoya Tge", which was staged in the 9th lunar month of 1856 at the Ichimuraza (print made by Utagawa Toyokuni III)

Search this site powered by FreeFind
  Site map | Disclaimer
Contact | Main | Top | Updates | Actors | Plays | Playwrights | Programs | Links | FAQ | Glossary | Chronology | Illustrations | Prints | Characters | Derivatives | Theaters | Coming soon | News