Play titles Akegarasu Hana no Nureginu [1]  In Japanese
Akegarasu Yume no Awayuki [2]  In Japanese
Common titles Akegarasu  In Japanese
Karasu  In Japanese
Urazato Tokijir˘  In Japanese
Author Sakurada Jisuke III

Sakurada Jisuke III's drama "Akegarasu Hana no Nureginu" was premiered in the 2nd lunar month of 1851 in Edo at the Ichimuraza [casting]. It was based on a famous Shinnai narrative song entitled "Akegarasu Yume no Awayuki" and created by Tsuruga Wakasanoj˘ I. This song was based on a real tragic love story which happened in Edo in the Shin-Yoshiwara pleasures quarter between the courtesan Miyoshino and a man named Iseya Inosuke. For the premiere in Edo, "Akegarasu Hana no Nureginu" was staged within the staging of the classic "Kanadehon Chűshingura". Kasugaya Tokijir˘, the hero of "Akegarasu Hana no Nureginu", was in reality Sat˘ Yomoshichi, one of the 47 r˘nin. This relation between "Akegarasu Hana no Nureginu" and "Kanadehon Chűshingura" was lost after the premiere. A Kiyomoto musical ensemble was used for the premiere in Edo. The same story was also produced in ďsaka, in the 3rd lunar month of 1851 at the Chikugo no Shibai, with a Shinnai ensemble (casting unknown).


The current version of "Akegarasu" is made up of one act, divided into two scenes.

Key words Kakeochi

In the Room of Urazato on the 2nd Floor of the Yamanaya House of Assignation

The scene opens with two shinz˘ working on the second floor of the Yamanaya house of assignation. Shigeno, who is raking the ashes in the charcoal brazier tells Sodeka, who has come looking for her, not to be too noisy, looking meaningfully toward a screen. Sodeka informs her that Kaya, the woman in charge of the Yamanaya courtesans, wants to see her. Shigeno guesses that it is about the man behind the screen, and both shinz˘ quickly leave the stage.

The screen is opened to reveal Kasugaya Tokijir˘ sitting on the bed in the company of her lover, the Yamanaya courtesan Urazato. They fell in love long time ago and have a young daughter, Midori, who works at the Yamanaya as a kamuro. Urazato and Tokijir˘ stay together in a tearful silence. When Tokijir˘ is about to leave, Urazato refuses to let him go and clings to him tearfully. Then the fearful voice of Kaya is heard calling Urazato. Tokijir˘ quickly hides behind the screen again.

Kaya enters and scolds Urazato for not answering her calls. She wants to know the identity of the customer who spent the night with her. Urazato answers he was someone she had never met before. Kaya angrily accuses her of lying and pulls her to her feet, saying that Yamanaya Shirobŕ, the master of this house of assignation, wants to see her. Urazato confesses that Tokijir˘ has spent the night with her. She pleads with Kaya not to tell the master but Kaya refuses and drags her away. Some servants then enter the room to beat and throw Tokijir˘ off the premises.

In the Garden of the Yamanaya House of Assignation

The garden of the Yamanaya is snow-blanketed. Urazato is tied to a pine tree, with her daughter Midori weeping nearby. From within the house, Yamanaya Shirobŕ, is sitting in the kotatsu and watching the scene outside. Kaya is pitilessly beating Urazato with a broom, trying to obtain a promise from her: she has to promise to immediately end her love relationship with Tokijir˘. Kaya suddenly turns her attention to Midori and ferociously strikes her. Urazato pleads with the evil woman not to beat such an innocent child but Kaya retorts that if she wants to help the girl, she has to promise not to see Tokijir˘ anymore. To emphasize her point, she strikes Midori again. The girl cries out in pain and pleads for mercy. In response, Kaya pokes her in the face with the broom. Urazato tries to appeal to Shirobŕ. The owner of the Yamanaya tells her that he can't make any profit with her love affair with such a penniless man as Tokijir˘. Moreover, it is obvious that the end of this affair is likely to be either shinjű or a kakeochi, which means that in any case he is sure to lose money. Urazato says she cannot give Tokijir˘ up because he has been disowned by his father because of their love affair. Shirobŕ loses patience and tells Kaya to continue the beating. Kaya enthusiastically complies. The beating in the snow (yukizeme) is so violent that Urazato finally loses consciousness. Shirobŕ is alarmed, but Kaya tells him not to worry. Later, some water should be enough to revive her. They both withdraw in the house to drink some hot sake.

Urazato regains consciousness, and looking around her, sees Midori lying in the snow. Fortunately, another kamuro appears at this moment and Urazato asks her to bring Midori to her side. Urazato then asks the kamuro to fetch some water, which she transfers to Midori's mouth from her own. Midori revives. Urazato tells the kamuro to immediately leave the scene in order to avoid Kaya. She wonders where her lover is and what he is doing at this moment. Then, Kasugaya Tokijir˘ appears, slipping stealthily over the garden wall. He cuts the rope tying Urazato. He tells his lover it would be easy for them to die on the spot, but it would be a terrible disgrace for him to meet his end in such a terrible place. He puts his daughter on his back and leads Urazato by the hand. They are about to leave the garden when a male employee of the Yamanaya tries to stop them. Tokijir˘ easily defeats the man and strikes a mie while the stage curtain is drawn to end the play.


[1] a possible translation could be "Raven at Dawn, the Falsely-Accused Flower".

[2] a possible translation could be "Raven at Dawn, a Dream of Light Snow".

The actors Ichikawa Danjűr˘ VIII, Band˘ Shűka I and Ichimura Uzaemon XIII playing the roles of Kasugaya Tokijir˘, Yamanaya Urazato and Chidori in the drama "Akegarasu Hana no Nureginu", which was staged in the 2nd lunar month of 1851 at the Ichimuraza (print made by Utagawa Toyokuni III)

Prints & Illustrations

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