Play title Nikaigasa Yagyű Jikki  In Japanese
Medeshi Yanagi Midori no Matsumae  In Japanese
Authors Katsu Genz˘ III, Katsu N˘shin ("Nikaigasa Yagyű Jikki")
Kawatake Mokuami ("Medeshi Yanagi Midori no Matsumae")

The Yagyű clan were masters of the Shinkage school of swordfighting and became fighting masters to the Tokugawa Shogunate. There are a number of legends about the different members of this family. The drama "Nikaigasa Yagyű Jikki", commonly called "Yagyű Matajűr˘", was written by Katsu N˘shin in 1885 for the ďsaka actor Jitsukawa Enjaku I but it was never staged because of the sudden death of the star. Katsu N˘shin's son Katsu Genz˘ III revised it and it was staged in April 1887 at the Nakaza [casting]. This work was influenced by some k˘dan on the Yagyű clan and a play written by the Edo playwright Kawatake Mokuami, "Medeshi Yanagi Midori no Matsumae", which was staged in January 1883 at the Shintomiza [casting]. This drama was staged in Kamigata in 1885, with Ichikawa Udanji I in the role of Yagyű Matajűr˘. Katsu Genz˘ III and Katsu N˘shin were most likely members of the audience.

"Yagyű Matajűr˘" is an excellent example of the splashy and melodramatic ďsaka style of Kabuki. It was a koshibai drama more than an ˘shibai one.

Key words Sewamono
Kamigata Kabuki
Yagyű Shinkage Ryű

Yagyű Matajűr˘ is the son of the fighting master Yagyű Tajima-no-Kami, but far from being interested in learning the discipline of swordsmanship, is a soft, delicate playboy, attractive to women and impossible to dislike, no matter what trouble he gets into. His father has a young mistress Otama and Matajűr˘ falls in love with her, forcing his father to disown him. Matajűr˘ĺs hardships on the road, including an encounter with an elderly fighting master eventually make him decide that he must master the art of swordfighting. Finally, Matajűr˘ gets the opportunity to reinstate himself with his family with a climactic sword match with his father before the Sh˘gun himself.

Source: Earphone Guide website

The actors Ichikawa Udanji I and Ichikawa Sadanji I playing the roles of Yagyű Matajűr˘ and Yagyű Tajima-no-Kami in the drama "Medeshi Yanagi Midori no Matsumae", which was staged in January 1883 at the Shintomiza (print made by Morikawa Chikashige)

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