Dance title Fuji Musume
Kaesu Gaesu Onagori no Ôtsue  In Japanese
Authors Katsui Genpachi (lyrics)
Kineya Rokusaburô IV (music)
Fujima Taisuke (choreography)

The actor Seki Sanjûrô II, who was about to travel back to his native Kamigata after 19 seasons spent in Edo, performed in the 9th lunar month of 1826 his onagori kyôgen at the Nakamuraza, which included a 5-role hengemono entitled "Kaesu Gaesu Onagori no Ôtsue". The 5 roles were the Wisteria Maiden, a blind masseur, the God Tenjin, a footman (yakko) and a boatman. These roles were created based on ôtsue, popular paintings made in the city of Ôtsu (close to Kyôto). Three of these roles are still part of the current Kabuki repertoire: the Wisteria Maiden, the blind masseur (performed under the title "Zatô") and the footman, which became the independent dance "Sekisan Yakko". It was revised several times and the Shôwa stage giant Onoe Kikugorô VI created a new version in collaboration with the playwright Oka Onitarô, staged in March 1937 at the Kabukiza. In this more supernatural version, the maiden becomes the spirit of the Wisteria tree. The dance opens in the dark, with the Nagauta ensemble playing. Then all the spotlights are suddenly turned on, in order to reveal the giant Wisteria tree, the actor and the musicians on stage.

Key words Fuji

"Fuji Musume" is the visual climax of a Kabuki show, in which the dancer performing the role of the Wisteria Maiden changes kimonos four times and dances against a gorgeous backdrop of clusters of mauve and purple wisteria flowers. There is no story to speak of; the pleasure of the dance comes from the fast changes of costume which are performed on stage behind the trunk of a tree and the charming and winsome glances of the maiden as she expresses sentiments of love.

Courtesy of Jean Wilson (1999)

The actor Seki Sanjûrô II playing the role of the Wisteria Maiden in the hengemono "Kaesu Gaesu Onagori no Ôtsue", which was staged in the 9th lunar month of 1826 at the Nakamuraza (print made by Utagawa Kunisada I)

Bandô Tamasaburô playing the Wisteria Maiden

Oil painting courtesy of Paul Binnie (all rights reserved)

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