YAMAMURAZA
   
City Edo
History

1642: a man named Okamura Kohei opens a theater in Edo in the district of Kobiki-ch˘ and calls it Yamamuraza.

1644: Okamura Kohei takes the name of Yamamura Ch˘dayű I.

1658: Yamamura Ch˘dayű I retires and entrusts the management of the Yamamuraza to his son (or adopted son for some documents) Yamamura Ch˘bŕ, who becomes Yamamura Ch˘dayű II.

10th lunar month of 1670: the number of Kabuki theaters in the city of Edo is set to 4 by the authorities. The authorized theaters are the Nakamuraza (in the district of Sakai-ch˘), the Ichimura-Takenoj˘za (Fukiya-ch˘), Moritaza (Kobiki-ch˘) and the Yamamuraza (Kobiki-ch˘).

1672: Yamamura Ch˘dayű II retires and entrusts the management of the Yamamuraza to his adopted son Yamamura Gorozaemon (grandson of Yamamura Ch˘dayű I), who becomes Yamamura Ch˘dayű III.

5th lunar month of 1675: Ichikawa Ebiz˘ takes the name of Ichikawa Danjűr˘, playing for the first time the role of Soga Gor˘ Tokimune in the drama "Kachidoki Homare no Soga", which is performed at the Yamamuraza. His stage partners in the roles of Kud˘ Saemon Suketsune and Soga Jűr˘ Sukenari are Nagashima Isoemon and Miyazaki Denkichi. This play is the first sogamono in Kabuki history.

1685: Yamamura Ch˘dayű III retires and entrusts the management of the Yamamuraza to his adopted son, who becomes Yamamura Ch˘dayű IV.

1694: Yamamura Ch˘dayű IV retires and entrusts the management of the Yamamuraza to Yamamura Saburobei, son of Yamamura Ch˘dayű III, who becomes Yamamura Ch˘dayű V.

26th day of the 12th lunar month of 1695: a fire breaks out in the district of Sukiyabashi. It spreads and burns both the Moritaza and the Yamamuraza.

29 november 1703: an earthquake hits Edo and the resulting fires destroy the city. The 4 main theaters, the Nakamuraza, the Ichimuraza, the Moritaza and the Yamamuraza, are burnt to ashes. This catastrophe is nicknamed "Genroku Jishin Kaji" ("Genroku Earthquake and Fire").

11th lunar month of 1706: premiere at the Yamamuraza of the drama "Taihei Shusse Kagekiyo", which is considered as an earlier version of the Kabuki Jűhachiban drama "Kagekiyo". It is staged within the kaomise program "Kaeribana Buyű Kagami", which celebrates the arrival in Edo of the Kamigata actor Takeshima K˘zaemon I, with the following casting:

Roles Actors
Taira no Kagekiyo Takeshima K˘zaemon I
Sasaki Takatsuna Ichikawa Danjűr˘ II
Chichibu no Sh˘ji Shigetada Ikushima Shingor˘
Kumagai Jir˘ Naozane Yamanaka Heikur˘ I
Kajiwara Heiz˘ Kagetoki Hayakawa Dengor˘

1st lunar month of 1709: the 4 Edo theaters, the Nakamuraza, the Ichimuraza, the Moritaza and the Yamamuraza, produce simultaneously a sogamono new year drama. This is the beginning of a custom that is still somehow observed nowadays.

7th lunar month of 1709: Ichikawa Danjűr˘ II achieves a triumphant success at the Yamamuraza, playing the role of the uir˘ peddler Kumehachir˘, in the "Mogusa Uri" scene of the drama "Keisei Hibari Yama", whose main character is the famous Princess Chűj˘. This role, with fast-spoken lines, will become in 1718 the core of the "Uir˘ Uri" scene. His stage partners are Yamanaka Heikur˘ I, Ikushima Shingor˘, Ogawa Zengor˘ I and Nakamura Gentar˘, who plays the role of Princess Chűj˘. There is also a "Z˘hiki" scene integrated within this summer drama.

3rd lunar month of 1713: premiere at the Yamamuraza of the play "Hana Yakata Aigo Zakura", which is the first version of "Sukeroku". It is staged with the following casting:

Roles Actors
Sukeroku Ichikawa Danjűr˘ II
The courtesan Agemaki Tamazawa Rin'ya
Ikyű Yamanaka Heikur˘ I
The sake-seller Ikushima Shingor˘

2nd lunar month of 1714: Ejima, a court lady who serves the shogun, is in love with the star Ikushima Shingor˘. Their affair is discovered in the backstage of the Yamamuraza. This incident, which breaks the boundaries between samurai and commoner, is a serious crime for the shogunal authorities which decides to deal ruthlessly with the culprits: Ejima and Ikushima Shingor˘ are exiled to different places, those in the Sh˘gun's household who are held responsible are executed, the Yamamuraza is definitively closed and its management is heavily fined.

 
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