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"Silk or cotton skull cap worn by actors under their wigs. Also used to describe the silk fitted over the metal foundation of a wig." (A. C. Scott)

In Japanese: 羽二重


The eighth generation; the eighth holder of a name; the eighth actor in a lineage.

In Japanese: 八代目


Eight modes of positioning troops on a battlefield (a Chinese military strategy also used in Japan during the feudal times). Source: osakaprints.com.

In Japanese: 八陣


A Shint˘ kami. Hachiman is the god of archery and war [more details].

In Japanese: 八幡


==> Hachiman.

In Japanese: 八幡神

Hachiman Matsuri

One of the three most important festivals (matsuri) in Edo/T˘ky˘. The heart of this great August festival is the Tomioka Hachiman Shrine in the district of Fukagawa.

In Japanese: 八幡祭

Hachisuka Masakatsu

Hachisuka Yoroku Masakatsu (1526 ~ 1586) was a daimy˘ and retainer of Toyotomi Hideyoshi during the Azuchi-Momoyama period. The legend said that his first encounter [a print made by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi] with his future master, who was named Hiyoshimaru around that time, occurred on the Yahagi Bridge. The boy had the courage to stop Masakatsu and his group of warriors [more details].

In Japanese: 蜂須賀正勝


"Hagoromo" is one of the most famous dramas [more details].

In Japanese: 羽衣


The feather robe of a celestial creature (tennin) in Japanese legends.

In Japanese: 羽衣


The Hagoromokai was a study groupe led by Nakamura Fukusuke V, which was dedicated to the study and the development of shosagoto. There were 3 gala performances at the Imperial Theater: the first happened from the 26th to the 28th of February 1922, the second from the 26th to the 31st of March 1923 and the third the 12th, 15th, 19th and 26th of April 1924. The most notable event was the revival of the dance-drama "Oniji Hy˘shimai" during the first gala. The second Hagoromokai was created by Nakamura Fukusuke V's son Nakamura Shikan VII in August 1982 at the National Theatre.

In Japanese: 羽衣会


A haiku master/writer/poet.

In Japanese: 俳諧師


A Haiku is a traditional Japanese poetry form composed of 3 lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables respectively.

In Japanese: 俳句


Literary name of a Kabuki actor. A haimy˘ is a haiku pen-name used by Japanese poets to sign their creations. Some among the first Kabuki actors were reputed haiku writers, famous enough to make haimy˘ fashionable in the actors world, even among actors that were at all interested in haiku-writing. This tradition lasted for 2 centuries, some haimy˘ like Baik˘, Jukai ou Baigyoku to name a few, became important stage names, but it started to decline when Japan entered the modern age. There are still actors nowadays using a literary name.

In Japanese: 俳名

Haiyű Makie Sakazuki

A famous series of 48 mitate-e portraying Kabuki actors made in 1863 by Utagawa Kunisada II. Each print was the image of an actor as reflected in a shallow red lacquer sake cup (makie sakazuki).

In Japanese: 俳優蒔絵盃

Haji no Nakatomo

Haji no Nakatomo was a wealth legendary man who helped the Hinokuma Brothers, Hinokuma Hamanari and Hinokuma Takenari, to found the Sens˘ji Temple in Asakusa, near the shore where the two brothers discovered in 628 in their fishing net in the Miyato river (the old name of the Sumida River) a golden statue of Kannon.

In Japanese: 土師中知


The formal culotte look-alike traditional trousers.

In Japanese:


A graveyard.

In Japanese: 墓所


Theater located in the heart of the city of Fukuoka. It was inaugurated in June 1999. For more details, check the Hakataza website.

In Japanese: 博多座

Hakodate Sens˘

The Battle of Hakodate. This battle was fought in Japan from the 20th of the 10th lunar month of 1868 to the 17th of the 5th lunar month of 1869, between the remnants of the Tokugawa Shogunate army and the armies of the newly formed Imperial government. It was the last stage of the Boshin War, and occurred around Hakodate in the northern Japanese island of Hokkaid˘. [more details].

In Japanese: 函館戦争


A traveling puppeteer. The puppet was handled by the puppeteer (not 3 puppeteers as in Bunraku) who narrated and chanted as well. Typically the hakomawashi puppeteers were visiting door to door and perform at each house's entrance or doorway, especially during the new year season, when they performed to chase away evil and bring good luck and fortune to the household.

In Japanese: 箱廻し


Hakone-juku or Hakone-shuku. The 10th (from Edo) of the 53 shukuba (post station) on the T˘kaid˘. 98.5 km from Edo and 392.7 km from Ky˘to [more details].

In Japanese: 箱根宿


A very unusual rank in a hy˘banki. hakuj˘-hakuj˘-hakukichi is in fact j˘-j˘-kichi with all the ideograms written in white instead of the usual black. This is very difficult to translate correctly this visual concept so we decided to use as a possible translation "almost superior - almost superior - almost excellent".

In Japanese: 白上白上白吉


Hakusai was in Japanese the Korean kingdom of Baekje. It was located in southwest Korea and was one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, together with Goryeo (K˘rai) and Silla (Shinra) [more details].

In Japanese: 百濟


Guild name (yag˘) for the actor Segawa Kikunoj˘.

In Japanese: 浜村屋

Hama Shibai

Minor theaters in ďsaka. The most famous ones were the Wakadayű no Shibai, the Kadomaru no Shibai and the Takeda no Shibai. Hama shibai means literally shore theater. The theaters in ďsaka were almost all located on the famous D˘tonbori street, which ran along a canal. The minor theaters were originally built on the water side (the shore) and the major ones on the opposite side of the D˘tonbori. Later on, the ones on the shore moved to the opposite side of the D˘tonbori but the expression hama shibai remained.

In Japanese: 浜芝居


Guild name (yag˘) for late Arashi Tokusabur˘ VII.

In Japanese: 葉村屋

Hana Kenj˘

Flower offering.

In Japanese: 花献上

Hana no Edo Kabuki Nendaiki

literally "Edo in Bloom: A Kabuki Chronology". An illustrated book about Kabuki in several volumes which was written by Tatekawa Enba and illustrated by Katsukawa Shuntei. It was published in 1811 in Edo by Tsuruya Kiemon.

In Japanese: 花江都歌舞妓年代記

Hana Yoten

One of the five main yoten costumes. "The costumes known as hana yoten are usually employed in shosagoto (dance-dramas) and in some jidaimono like the michiyuki in "Chűshingura". They have a solid-colored background, mostly white cotton, with a pattern of opposed serpentine lines enclosing conventionalized flower and leaf motifs." (Ruth Shaver in "Kabuki Costume")

In Japanese: 花四天


Firework(s); pyrotechnics.

In Japanese: 花火

Hanabi Taikai

A display of fireworks (hanabi). An important event from the Edo period to nowadays in Japan. Usually on a river, a lake or a bay.

In Japanese: 花火大会


Literally the Flowers Cards. Traditional Japanese playing cards. Dating back to the 9th century, the development of hanafuda was influenced by Portuguese traders during the 16th century. They were also used by gamblers [more details].

In Japanese: 花札


Literally a flower straw-hat. It is a traditional bamboo hat adorned with paper flowers. Used for example by dancers in the bon odori.

In Japanese: 花笠


Flower basket.

In Japanese: 花籠


A famous Edo district located in Edo in Asakusa, along the Sumida River.

In Japanese: 花川戸


Literally Flower Street. A Japanese courtesan district, containing various okiya [more details].

In Japanese: 花街


A cherry-blossom viewing party, an old and lively custom in Japan.

In Japanese: 花見


It means literally the "flower path" and it is one of the key features of Kabuki: the walkway, perpendicular to the stage, on the left side of the theater, linking the back of the theater to the stage through the audience, used by actors for entrance or exit [visuals].

In Japanese: 花道


A room detached from the main house; a secluded inner room in a mansion or a teahouse.

In Japanese: 離座敷


Hanayagura is a popular spot, where a panoramic view on Yoshinoyama can be enjoyed.

In Japanese: 花矢倉


Literally 'Flower Mansion'. A site in Asakusa which used to be a gathering place for parties and a flower garden at the end of the Edo period. The garden was designed by Morita Rokusabur˘ and it was famous for its peonies and chrysanthemums. Hanayashiki became the oldest amusement park in Japan [more details].

In Japanese: 花屋敷

Handayű Bushi

An Edo school of j˘jűri. It was founded by Edo Handayű I during the Genroku era. Up to seven musicians held the name of Edo Handayű but the school finally faded away at the end of the Edo period.

In Japanese: 半太夫節


A comical and ludicrous villain. The litteral meaning is "half-d˘kegata" villain.

In Japanese: 半道敵


A comical and ludicrous role performed by a yatsushigata in the yatsushigoto style.

In Japanese: 半道俏し


A shuttlecock.

In Japanese: 羽根


A traditional New Year pastime badminton-like game, played by girls with wooden paddles and a shuttlecock. In olden times, the person who missed had a mark drawn on her face with black ink, and they played until one player's face was completely smeared in ink.

In Japanese: 羽根突き


A title for a government official serving a central administrative organisation called Innoch˘.

In Japanese: 判官代


Literally, an attestator or the official witness of a deal. During the Edo period, the hannin was an attestor in the sales of prostitutes.

In Japanese: 判人


Hann˘ is an abbreviated form of performance [more details].

In Japanese: 半能

Hannya no Men

The Hannya mask, with its horns and sharp fangs, is probably the best known of all masks. This character was once a beautiful woman who fell in love with a priest. Her unrequited love causes her to turn into a monster who expresses the fury of a woman overwhelmed by jealousy and anger (from the Masks of the World website).

In Japanese: 般若の面


[Visual]. A prestigious rank in a hy˘banki. (Hanshiro)goku-j˘-j˘-kichi is in fact goku-j˘-j˘-kichi with the ideogram for goku written half in white and half in black. It is a rank between (shiro)goku-j˘-j˘-kichi and goku-j˘-j˘-kichi. This is very difficult to translate correctly this visual concept so we decided to use as a possible translation "(half-white) extreme - superior - superior - excellent".

In Japanese: 半白極上上吉


[Visual]. A prestigious rank in a hy˘banki. (Hanshiro)itaru-j˘-j˘-kichi is in fact itaru-j˘-j˘-kichi with the ideogram for itaru written half in white and half in black. It is a rank between (shiro)itaru-j˘-j˘-kichi and itaru-j˘-j˘-kichi. This is very difficult to translate correctly this visual concept so we decided to use as a possible translation "(half-white) unique - superior - superior - excellent".

In Japanese: 半白至上上吉


The village of Hanyű. Hanyű was located in the province of Shim˘sa. It was used in several Kabuki dramas, including "Meiboku Kasane Monogatari", "Shinkei Kasane-ga-Fuchi" or "Futago Sumidagawa". This village became a district of the city of J˘s˘ in the Ibaraki Prefecture.

In Japanese: 埴生村


Japanese traditional half-coat. This wide sleeved three-quarter length coat is worn over the kimono.

In Japanese: 羽織


Bombastic belly-showing dance, performed in the aragoto style by four red-faced warriors in the drama "Shibaraku".

In Japanese: 腹出し


Old province, which grosso modo corresponds to the southern and western parts of the prefecture of Hy˘g˘. It was also called Banshű.

In Japanese: 播磨


Guild name for the actors (yag˘) Nakamura Kichiemon, Nakamura Matagor˘, Nakamura Kichinoj˘ and Nakamura Mataz˘.

In Japanese: 播磨屋


The Crucifixion (a traditional way to execute commoners during feudal times).

In Japanese:


Spring in Japanese.

In Japanese:

Haru Ky˘gen

==> hatsuharu ky˘gen

In Japanese: 春狂言


Literally spring colt. Also the name of a dance, whose movements mimic those of a samurai riding a spirited and energetic young horse. The harukoma was also a performer who made the rounds on New Year's Day, singing songs at people's gates.

In Japanese: 春駒

Hasegawa Heiz˘

The star of Ikenami Sh˘tar˘'s historical series "Onihei Hankach˘". Based on Hasegawa Nobutame.

In Japanese: 長谷川平蔵

Hasegawa Nobutame

Hasegawa Nobutame (1745 ~ 1795) was a famous Edo law enforcer, in charge of fighting arsonists and thieves. He became Hasegawa Heiz˘ in Ikenami Sh˘tar˘'s historical series "Onihei Hankach˘".

In Japanese: 長谷川宣以


A famous old street in Kamakura, which used to go from the Geba bridge to the village of Hase.

In Japanese: 長谷小路

Hashiba Hideyoshi

The second name of the future Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The name Hashiba was made up of two ideograms, Ha and Shiba, coming from Niwa Nagahide and Shibata Katsuie, two famous generals of Oda Nobunaga. He became, under the thinly disguised name of Mashiba Hisayoshi, the hero of many Taik˘ki-related Kabuki dramas.

In Japanese: 羽柴秀吉


A port in the province of Tango.

In Japanese: 橋立


Literally the Princess of the Bridge. A fantastic creature represented as a woman who spends lonely nights waiting for her love to return, and later as a fierce demon fueled by jealousy. She was originally a creature haunting the Uji Bridge. Later, she could appear anywhere in Japan where there is a bridge and water [more details].

In Japanese: 橋姫

Hashihime Jinja

The Hashihime Shrine. It is a shrine located near the Uji Bridge and dedicated to the guardian of bridges and the God of navigation. It was originally built during the 7th century and its name came from Hashihime. The current shrine was rebuilt in a different location from the original one in 1906 after the destruction of the shrine in a flooding in 1870.

In Japanese: 橋姫神社


In the Edo period, Hashimoto used to be a village, which was located south of Ky˘to, near the Yodo River. It is now part of the city of Yawata (Ky˘to Prefecture).

In Japanese: 橋本


Bridge guard.

In Japanese: 橋詰


An inn; a tavern; an Edo period lodging for travellers.

In Japanese: 旅篭屋 | 旅籠屋

Hatakeyama Shigetada

Hatakeyama Shigetada (1164 ~ 1205) was a warlord of the late Heian period. At the beginning of the Genpei War he was on the Heike side but he switched to the Genji Clan before the Battle of Dan-no-Ura. His tsűsh˘ was Sh˘ji and he was often called Hatakeyama Sh˘ji or Hatakeyama Sh˘ji Shigetada. Later, he was also called Chichibu Sh˘ji Shigetada [more details].

In Japanese: 畠山重忠

Hatakeyama Sh˘ji

==> Hatakeyama Shigetada

In Japanese: 畠山庄司

Hatakeyama Sh˘ji Shigetada

==> Hatakeyama Shigetada

In Japanese: 畠山庄司重忠


A direct retainer of the Sh˘gun.

In Japanese: 旗本


A wharf.

In Japanese: 波止場

Hatsu Ky˘gen

==> hatsuharu ky˘gen

In Japanese: 初狂言

Hatsu Shibai

==> hatsuharu ky˘gen

In Japanese: 初芝居


Debut on stage. First official stage appearance for an actor.

In Japanese: 初舞台


The first bonito (katsuo in Japanese) of the season, the fish that signals the beginning of Summer. The first bonito of the year was a treat to the people of Edo, who took pride in eating things newly in season.

In Japanese: 初鰹

Hatsuharu Ky˘gen

Literally 'early spring play'. The first performance of the new year. A new year play following the traditional kaomise drama. In Edo, it was traditionally a sogamono. In Kamigata, it was usually a ni-no-kawari drama. Synonymous: haru ky˘gen, hatsu ky˘gen or hatsu shibai.

In Japanese: 初春狂言


To perform a role for the first time.

In Japanese: 初役


Fast costums/roles changes in a drama or a hengemono.

In Japanese: 早替り


Literally the fast coffin maker. Whay fast? During the Edo period, the wooden coffins were usually not already prepared but rather were made and sold quickly on demand, after the death of the person to be put in the coffin.

In Japanese: 早捅屋


The orchestra in the geza performing wind and percussion (taiko) music during a Kabuki performance.

In Japanese: 囃子


A musician member of the hayashi.

In Japanese: 囃子方


A snake charmer.

In Japanese: 蛇遣い

Hei Yorimoto

==> Minamoto Tameyori

In Japanese: 閉伊頼基

Heian Jidai

The Heian period. The last division of classical Japanese history, running from 794 to 1185 [more details].

In Japanese: 平安時代

Heiji no Ran

The Heiji Rebellion. It was a short civil war fought from the 19th of January to the 5th of February 1160 between the Heike and the Genji in order to resolve a dispute about political power. It ended with a victory for the Heike and a defeat for the Genji, with the banisment of all their leaders [more details].

In Japanese: 平治の乱


Literally House of Taira. Hei is the Sino-Japanese reading of Taira. The Taira clan was one of the major Japanese clans in feodal Japan. They ruled over Japan but were finally defeated by their arch-enemy, the Genji clan [more details].

In Japanese: 平家


A species of Japanese crab (kani in Japanese), with a shell that bears a pattern looking like a human face. The legends say that these crabs are in fact the reincarnations of the Heike warriors, who were completely defeated by the Genji at the Battle of Dan-no-Ura [more details].

In Japanese: 平家蟹

Heike Monogatari

Literally "The Tale of the Heike". A anonymous tale narrating the Genpei wars, the downfall of the Heike clan and the victory of the Genji clan at the end of the Heian period [more details].

In Japanese: 平家物語


An imperial era in Japanese history which started the 8th January 1989 and ended the 30th April 2019. The 2 eras before and after Heisei were Sh˘wa and Reiwa.

In Japanese: 昭和


Multi-roles dance performed by the same actor.

In Japanese: 変化物


A high-ranking servant that manages the other servants; head servant.

In Japanese: 部屋頭


A boy or a young man taken on as an apprentice by a Kabuki actor; a female servant working in a daimy˘, ˘oku, or other high-ranking house.

In Japanese: 部屋子


A fireguard hut.

In Japanese: 火の番小屋


Literally the "Fire Bowl". A traditional Japanese heating device [more details].

In Japanese: 火鉢


The Hidaka River. The Hidaka is a river in Japan, flowing westwards within the prefecture of Wakayama. It is 115 km long. The river gives its name to the city of Hidakagawa. Its source is in Mt. Gomadan near the Prefecture of Nara.

In Japanese: 日高川

Hidari Jingor˘

Hidari Jingor˘ was a famous and legendary (?) left-handed Edo period sculptor and carpenter. his existence is still an open question. Jingor˘ is believed to have created many famous deity sculptures located throughout Japan, but it is very difficult to sort the truth out from the legends. He carved the famous "sleeping cat" in Nikk˘ [more details].

In Japanese: 左甚五郎

Higashi ďr˘

==> Denmach˘ R˘yashiki

In Japanese: 東大牢


An important area near/on the eastern moutains in Ky˘to. Many important temples or shrines have been built in this area: for example the Kiyomizu Temple or the Yasaka Shrine [more details].

In Japanese: 東山


Old province in the area of nowadays Kumamoto Prefecture. Along with the province of Hizen, the two provinces were also called Hishű [more details].

In Japanese: 肥後

Hikae Yagura

Literally the "substitute drum tower". A substitute theater in Edo. A licensed theater in financial troubles or going bankrupt had the right to transfer the right of Kabuki performances to another theater. Each major theater has its own hikae yagura: Moritaza/Kawarasakiza, Ichimuraza/Kiriza and Nakamuraza/Miyakoza (the Tamagawaza was also another possible hikae yagura). The three major licensed theaters (Edo Sanza) were also called hon yagura ("main drum tower") to distinguish them from the hikae yagura. This system was authorized by the Shogunate in 1734 and lasted up to the beginning of Meiji.

In Japanese: 控櫓


In kabuki, some set pieces or actors are pulled on low, wheeled platforms called hikid˘gu.

In Japanese: 引道具


The Kabuki stage curtain, which is manually pulled across the stage from right to left by a stage assistant at the opening of a play. The curtain pattern is a set of three vertical stripes, whose color were fixed during the Edo period for each theater. These colors are still used nowadays [more details].
Synonymous: j˘shikimaku.

In Japanese: 引幕


One technique used for quick costum change: the actor wears 2 costums, the outer one being kept in place with some threads and hiding the inner one. At the right time, the stage assistants come to pull the threads and remove completely the outer costum to reveal the inner one.

In Japanese: 引抜

Hikite Jaya

The hikite jaya was a teahouse located within a kuruwa, where clients could make advance arrangements with the particular brothel advertised on the red lantern hanging outside. In Yoshiwara, there were over 100 hikite jaya during the golden age of this kuruwa.

In Japanese: 引手茶屋


The Hikone Castle. An Edo period castle located in the city of Hikone [more details].

In Japanese: 彦根城

Hikosan Gongen

==> Hikosan Jingű.

In Japanese: 彦山権現

Hikosan Jingű

Hikosan Jingű is a Shint˘ shrine located in Soeda on the boundary between Fukuoka and ďita Prefectures. This place has been venerated from ancient times as a sacred mountain. The shrine is also called Hikosan Gongen [more details].

In Japanese: 英彦山神宮


An express messenger.

In Japanese: 飛脚

Himanegi no Kiyomori

A famous and spectacular Kabuki scene with Taira no Kiyomori calling back the setting sun with his fan (hi˘gi).

In Japanese: 日招ぎの清盛


A princess.

In Japanese:


Literally the Castle of the Princess. It was a castle in the province of Mikawa which was destroyed and never rebuilt. It was also the name of the Himeji Castle in Namiki Gohei I's play "Sode Nikki Banshű Meguri".

In Japanese: 姫ヶ城


The Himeji Domain. An important domain of the Edo period, located in the province of Harima and centered around the Himeji Castle [more details].

In Japanese: 姫路藩


The Himeji Castle, the heart of the Himeji Domain, located in the city of Himeji [more details].

In Japanese: 姫路城


A a piece of wick or cord used to ignite powder or light a kiseru.

In Japanese: 火縄


Literally "non-human". The definition of hinin, as well as their social status and typical jobs varied over time, but typically included ex-convicts, beggars and vagrants who worked as town guards, street cleaners or entertainers during the Edo period.

In Japanese: 非人

Hinokuma Hamanari

A legendary fisherman. With his younger brother Hinokuma Takenari, they discovered in 628 in their fishing net in the Miyato river (the old name of the Sumida River) a golden statue of Kannon. With the help of a wealthy man named Haji no Nakatomo, they founded the Sens˘ji Temple in Asakusa, near the shore where the statue was found.

In Japanese: 檜前浜成

Hinokuma Takenari

A legendary fisherman. With his elder brother Hinokuma Hamanari, they discovered in 628 in their fishing net in the Miyato river (the old name of the Sumida River) a golden statue of Kannon. With the help of a wealthy man named Haji no Nakatomo, they founded the Sens˘ji Temple in Asakusa, near the shore where the statue was found.

In Japanese: 檜前武成


A formal folding fan made of hinoki cypress.

In Japanese: 桧扇 | 檜扇

Hippari no Mie

Literally the "pulling apart" mie. A collective mie done at the end of a scene in a jidaimono: "while the principal actors are posing, all other movement on the stage is stopped and the lesser actors even seek yo efface themselves by turning their backs. This "freezing" of all movement nevertheless has a curious quality of tension" (Aubrey and Giovanna Halford in "The Kabuki Handbook").

In Japanese: 引張の見得

Hirai Gonpachi

"In 1679 a r˘nin by the name of Hirai Gonpachi, a regular visitor to the Yoshiwara, was beheaded on the execution ground in Shinagawa. When he was sixteen years of age Gonpachi was said to have killed a man in his home province and subsequently escaped to Edo. Gonpachi followed this violent act by a series of thefts and murders in Edo until he was caught and executed. He would have been a criminal of no consequence, except for the legend that connected him with Komurasaki. The fictionalized story tells us that Komurasaki was deeply in love with Gonpachi (last name Shirai in fiction), who was reputed to be extremely handsome. The legend says that, after his death, she had her wealthy patron purchase her contract. The night of her release, she went to the cemetery of her lover and ended her life with a sharp knife." (Cecilia Segawa Seigle in "Yoshiwara: The Glittering World of the Japanese Courtesan").

In Japanese: 平井権八

Hirai Saemonnoj˘ Yasumasa

==> Hirai Yasumasa

In Japanese: 平井左衛門尉保昌

Hirai Yasumasa

==> Fujiwara Yasumasa

In Japanese: 平井保昌

Hirakawa Tenjin

A shrine in Edo dedicated to Tenjin. This shrine was originally built in 1478 on top of the Bairin hill near the village of Hirakawa. Bairin means Plum Grove in Japanese and the plum was the tree symbolizing Tenjin. With the expansion of the Edo Castle during the Tokugawa Shogunate, the Bairin hill was integrated within the castle and became the link from the outworks to the main enclosure near the Hirakawa Gate. As a consequence, the shrine was moved to K˘jimachi and later became known as the Hirakawa Tenjin Shrine. It also gave to this district the name of Hirakawa-ch˘ in K˘jimachi.

In Japanese: 平河天神


Hiratsuka-juku or Hiratsuka-shuku. The 7th (from Edo) of the 53 shukuba (post station) on the T˘kaid˘. 63 km from Edo and 428.2 km from Ky˘to [more details].

In Japanese: 平塚宿

Hiren Densetsu

A tragic love story.

In Japanese: 悲恋伝説

Hirose Kinz˘

Hirose Kinz˘ (1812 ~ 1876), commonly called Ekin, was a painter of the late Edo period [more details].

In Japanese: 弘瀬金蔵


A large domain in feudal Japan centered around Hiroshima Castle in the city of Hiroshima and ruled by the M˘ri clan up to 1600, the Fukushima Clan from 1600 to 1619, then finally the Asano Clan up to the end of the Edo period. It encompassed the Aki Province and parts of the Bingo Province [more details].

In Japanese: 広島藩


The Hiroshima Castle. Built during the 1590s and destroyed by the atomic bombing the 6th of August 1945. It was nicknamed Rij˘, the Carp Castle [more details].

In Japanese: 広島城


An old province name in Kyűshű used for both Hizen and Higo.

In Japanese: 肥州


Old province in the area of Ibaraki Prefecture. It was also called J˘shű [more details].

In Japanese: 常陸


Slave traffic; slave trade; slave dealer.

In Japanese: 人買い


The word hitokiri literally means 'manslayer' or 'man cutter'. A well-trained swordman and professional killer during the Edo period.

In Japanese: 人斬り


A 1-act drama.

In Japanese: 一幕物


One of the twelve signs of the zodiac (jűnishi). Hitsuji is the sign of the goat. Other possible reading: bi. The month of the goat is the 6th lunar month. There are 5 goat days in the 60 days of the traditional Japanese sexagenary cycle: the 8th, 21st, 32nd, 44th & 56th days. The hour of the goat (worth 2 hours in our time system) starts at 2 PM.

In Japanese:


A protection against fire (in all the possible meanings of the word). It can be a large urban empty space to stop fires, a sacred stone, a statue or a shrine.

In Japanese: 火除け


The very first name of the future Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

In Japanese: 日吉丸


Old province in Japan in the area of nowadays Saga Prefecture and Nagasaki Prefecture. Along with the province of Higo, the two provinces were also called Hishű [more details].

In Japanese: 肥前


A ningy˘ j˘ruri theater founded during the Kanbun by Sugiyama Hizennoj˘ in Edo in the district of Sakai-ch˘ (the theaters district in Edo). It was active up to the 1680s. It was taken over and managed by Toyotake Hizennoj˘ from the end of the 1730s to the Tenmei era.

In Japanese: 肥前座


Literally 'pulling the treasure'. The traditional way of drawing lots in Japan.

In Japanese: 宝引 | 寶引


Hodogaya-juku or Hodogaya-shuku. The 4th (from Edo) of the 53 shukuba (post station) on the T˘kaid˘. 33 km from Edo and 458.2 km from Ky˘to [more details].

In Japanese: 程ヶ谷宿 (保土ヶ谷宿)


An imperial era in Japanese history which started the 13th day of the 3rd lunar month of 1704 (the 16th of April 1704 in the western calendar) and ended the 25th day of the 4th lunar month of 1711 (the 11th of June 1711 in the western calendar). The 2 eras before and after H˘ei were Genroku and Sh˘toku.

In Japanese: 宝永

H˘gen no Ran

The H˘gen Rebellion. It was a short civil war fought from the 28th of July to the 16th of August 1156 in order to resolve a dispute about Japanese Imperial succession and the degree of control exercised by the Fujiwara clan. It ended with a victory for Emperor Goshirakawa and the beginning of the Minamoto-Taira bloody rivalry [more details].

In Japanese: 保元の乱


A (street) fortune-teller.

In Japanese: 法印

H˘j˘ Masako

H˘j˘ Masako (1156~1225) was the daughter of H˘j˘ Tokimasa. She was the sister of H˘j˘ Yoshitoki, the wife of Minamoto no Yoritomo, the first Sh˘gun of the Kamakura period. She was also the mother of Minamoto no Yoriie and Minamoto no Sanetomo, the second and third Sh˘guns [more details: wikipedia/samurai-archives].

In Japanese: 北条政子

H˘j˘ Norisada

H˘j˘ no Norisada was a chief commander of the H˘j˘ clan near the end of the Kamakura Shogunate. He was Rokuhara Tandai (Kitakata, the northern chief) between 1321 and 1330. Later, he was also ruler of the Echigo and Suruga provinces. He died the 22nd of May 1333. In Kabuki, he was one (evil) character of the drama "ďt˘-no-Miya Asahi no Yoroi".

In Japanese: 北条範貞


The H˘j˘ clan was a powerful clan during the Kamakura Shogunate. The leader of the clan had the hereditary title of shikken, the highest post of power during the 13th and the beginning of the 14th centuries, controlling puppet Sh˘guns in practice. The first leader of the H˘j˘ clan was H˘j˘ no Tokimasa. 16 H˘j˘ shikken ruled in Japan from 1203 to 1333 [more details].

In Japanese: 北条氏

H˘j˘ Tokimasa

H˘j˘ no Tokimasa (1138 ~ 1215) was the first shikken of the Kamakura Shogunate from 1203 to 1205 and the powerful head of the H˘j˘ clan clan. He was the father of H˘j˘ no Yoshitoki and H˘j˘ Masako [more details].

In Japanese: 北条時政

H˘j˘ Tokimune

H˘j˘ no Tokimune (1251~1284) of the H˘j˘ clan was the eighth shikken of the Kamakura era, known for leading the Japanese forces against the invasion of the Mongols and for spreading Zen Buddhism [more details].

In Japanese: 北条時宗

H˘j˘ Yasutoki

H˘j˘ no Yasutoki (1183 ~ 1242), the eldest son of H˘j˘ no Yoshitoki and grandson of H˘j˘ no Tokimasa, was the third shikken of the Kamakura Shogunate from 1224 to 1242 [more details].

In Japanese: 北条泰時

H˘j˘ Yoshitoki

H˘j˘ no Yoshitoki (1163 ~ 1224) was the second shikken of the Kamakura Shogunate from 1205 to 1224 and head of the H˘j˘ clan clan. He was the eldest son of H˘j˘ no Tokimasa [more details].

In Japanese: 北条義時


The mausoleum of the warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the 2nd ruler of united Japan. The mausoleum was built on top of Mount Amida-ga-Mine in Ky˘to.

In Japanese: 豊国廟


The Northern Imperial Court of the Nanbokuch˘ period [more details].

In Japanese: 北朝


Kabuki plays based on foreign novels or dramas but using Japanese characters and settings. Two good examples were Kawatake Shinshichi II's drama "Kane no Yo no Naka" and Osanai Kaoru's drama "Musuko".

In Japanese: 翻案物

Honda Heihachir˘

==> Honda Tadatoki

In Japanese: 本多平八郎

Honda Heihachir˘ Tadatoki

==> Honda Tadatoki

In Japanese: 本多平八郎忠刻

Honda Masanobu

Honda Masanobu (1538~1616) was a military commander and a daimy˘ in the service of Tokugawa Ieyasu during the Azuchi-Momoyama period and Edo period. As his court title was Sado-no-Kami, kami of Sado Island, he was also called Honda Sado [more details].

In Japanese: 本多正信

Honda Masazumi

Honda Masazumi (1565~1637) was a bush˘ and a daimy˘ of the Azuchi-Momoyama period and the early Edo period. He was the eldest son of Honda Masanobu and he served Tokugawa Ieyasu. His tsűsh˘ was Yahachir˘ [more details].

In Japanese: 本多正純

Honda Sado

==> Honda Masanobu

In Japanese: 本多佐渡

Honda Tadamasa

Honda Tadamasa (1575~1631) was a daimy˘ of the early Edo period. He ruled the Kuwana Domain and then the Himeji Domain. He was the son of Honda Tadakatsu and the father of Honda Tadatoki [more details].

In Japanese: 本多忠政

Honda Tadatoki

Honda Tadatoki (1596~1626) was a daimy˘ of the Azuchi-Momoyama period and the early Edo period. He was the the eldest son of Honda Tadamasa. In 1616, Tadatoki married Tokugawa Ieyasu's granddaughter Princess Sen. His tsűsh˘ was Heihachir˘ [more details].

In Japanese: 本多忠刻

Honda Yahachir˘

==> Honda Masazumi

In Japanese: 本多弥八郎 | 本多彌八郎

Honda Yahachir˘ Masazumi

==> Honda Masazumi

In Japanese: 本多弥八郎正純 | 本多彌八郎正純


The main hall in a buddhist temple [more details].

In Japanese: 本堂


Hong˘ was an important neighbourhood in Edo, historically located in the Yamanote. It became one of the 15 official T˘ky˘ wards from 1878 to 1932, one of the 35 wards from 1932 and 1947. It was integrated within the Bunky˘ Ward in 1947. [more details].

In Japanese: 本郷


Military headquarters in feodal times. Another possible meaning: an inn officially designated as a lodging for a daimy˘ in the Edo period.

In Japanese: 本陣


Honjo was a neighborhood in Edo located on the east bank of the Sumida River.

"Honjo was home to old samurai residences, temples, and machiya, wooden houses with narrow but deep frontages that were used as shops. Included among these was the residence of K˘zukenosuke Kira, real-life samurai made famous in the Kabuki drama, The Treasury of Loyal Retainers (Chűshingura)." (from asakusa-e.com)

"The name Honjo, which may be a remnant of the estate (sh˘en) system, dated back at least to the Ky˘h˘ era (1716-1736). Over a century earlier, when Tokugawa Ieyasu established Edo as his headquarters, this area along the east bank Of the Sumida River was little more than sand dunes and marshes. Only a few villages such as Ishihara, Nakanog˘, Susaki, Oshiage and Koume, can claim to predate Edo. Honjo became an integral part of Edo in the seventeenth century when the Ry˘goku Bridge spanned the Sumida River and linked it to the rest of the city. Once the government had constructed canals to drain the land, it transferred many of its direct retainers to residences in the area. Some of the more scenic spots on the eastern bank of the Sumida-Koume and Muk˘jima, for instance-were popular as sites for the pavilions of the daimy˘ and wealthy merchants. Many of the Sh˘gun's retainers fell into straitened circumstances, however, and were little better off than the local shopkeepers who supplied their needs. By the mid-nineteenth century, Honjo was a neighborhood where the sons of samurai battled over kites and dogs on nearly an equal footing with the sons of merchants." (Sally Ann Hastings in "Neighborhood and Nation in T˘ky˘, 1905ľ1937")

In Japanese: 本所


The inner citadel; the main enclosure of a castle. Synonymous with honmaru.

In Japanese: 本城

Honjo Machi Bugy˘

One of the three machi bugy˘ in the city of Edo. The honjo machi bugy˘ was in charge of the Honjo and Fukagawa on the east bank of the Sumida River.

In Japanese: 本所町奉行


Real mud (doro) used on stage.

In Japanese: 本泥


The inner citadel; the main enclosure of a castle. Synonymous with honj˘.

In Japanese: 本丸


Spectacular water effects used on a Kabuki stage (keren).

In Japanese: 本水


The real name of a Kabuki actor.

In Japanese: 本名


The Honn˘ji is a temple of the Nichiren branch of Buddhism located in Ky˘to. This temple is most famous for the Honn˘ji Incident, which led to the death of the warlord Oda Nobunaga [more details].

In Japanese: 本能寺


An imperial era in Japanese history which started the 27th day of the 10th lunar month of 1751 (the 14th of December 1751 in the western calendar) and ended the 2nd day of the 6th lunar month of 1764 (the 30th of June 1764 in the western calendar). The 2 eras before and after H˘reki were Kan'en and Meiwa.

In Japanese: 宝暦


A police officer; a constable; a policeman.

In Japanese: 捕吏


The bank of a moat; a moat embankment.

In Japanese: 堀端

Horibe Yahŕ

Horibe Yahŕ Kanamaru (1627~1703) was one of the 47 r˘nin of Ak˘ (Ak˘ R˘shi). Like the others, he committed seppuku the 4th of the 2nd lunar month of the 16th year of the Genroku era (the 20th of March 1703 in the western calendar). He was the adoptive father of Horibe Yasubŕ.

In Japanese: 堀部弥兵衛

Horibe Taketsune

Horibe Taketsune (1670~1703) was one of the 47 r˘nin of Ak˘ (Ak˘ R˘shi). Like the others, he committed seppuku the 4th of the 2nd lunar month of the 16th year of the Genroku era (the 20th of March 1703 in the western calendar). He was the adopted son of Horibe Yahŕ. Before being adopted, he was a r˘nin named Nakayama Yasubŕ. His tsűsh˘ was Yasubŕ [more details].

In Japanese: 堀部武庸

Horibe Yasubŕ

==> Horibe Taketsune

In Japanese: 堀部安兵衛

Horibe Yasubŕ Taketsune

==> Horibe Taketsune

In Japanese: 堀部安兵衛武庸


Horie is an important district in ďsaka. It was a region with many lumber dealers. The Horie River runs between Kitahorie and Minamihorie, and vessels carrying lumber used to travel on this river. A large-scale air raid in 1945 burnt down the entire region, but after a while, people who had evacuated came back and created the furniture quarter of ďsaka. Recently, many new shops have opened up in Horie. Nowadays, the Horie district attracts attention for its fashionability.

"Horie was first developed 300 years ago when a canal was built and opened as a new transportation route. The district flourished during the Edo period as the entertainment center after Wak˘ji Temple was established in the area and became a place of religion and recreation for people of old ďsaka, where a variety of entertainment shows and events were held. [...] As we trace the history of Horie we can see how life was spent around the temple's symbolic pond and we find a new and important perspective from which we may reconstruct the multi-layered image of this unique community. Originally, Horie was the least developed swampy area in old ďsaka. Bordered by the waters of the Nagahori Canal to its north, the Nishiyokobori Canal to its east, the D˘tonbori Canal to its south, and the Kizu River to its west, the roots of the district first occurred in the very early Edo period. The development was concentrated on the riverside and the inland area was left untouched for a while until Kawamura Zuiken built the Horie Canal that runs through the center and Wak˘ji Temple was established in 1698 in a newly developed quarter named Horie Shinchi (new land). Amida-ike (Amida Pond) is located in the spacious grounds of the temple. Horie is also known as the origin of ďsaka zum˘. Although sum˘ became a popular entertainment during the Edo period, the Tokugawa government prohibited its promotion as business because of frequent disturbances and fights among the audiences. Instead, it was allowed only to be held as kanjin zum˘, or a fund-raising event for temples and shrines. While the word kanjin originally means to encourage people to follow the Buddha's teaching towards good deeds, it was commonly understood as an encouragement of donation to help temples build a new statue or repair old buildings. Because of its popularity, sum˘ became a good source of revenue for the temples to cover various expenses. In addition to sum˘, the Edo government encouraged Bunraku and Kabuki performances as well as the operation of chaya (tea houses) to promote the development of Horie Shinchi, located on the north side of the Horie Canal" (source: ďsaka Brand Center).

Kabuki performances in Horie Shinchi were called Kita-Horie Ichi-no-Gawa Shibai.

In Japanese: 堀江


A famous location in Ky˘to. The name of both a river and a street. Horikawa Street is one of the main streets running from north to south in Ky˘to. It is about 8 km from the Misono Bridge (near the Kamigamo Shrine) to the Hachij˘ Avenue near Ky˘to Station. In the past, the street was divided in two by the Hori River [more details].

In Japanese: 堀川

Horikawa Gosho

A palace built by the Genji Clan in Ky˘to during the Heian period at the crossing of Horikawa and Rokuj˘ (the sixth avenue). It was used by several Genji leaders: Minamoto no Yoshiie, Minamoto no Tameyoshi, Minamoto no Yoshitomo and, the last but not the least, Minamoto no Yoshitsune. The palace was burned down when Yoshitsune had to flee Ky˘to. Several Kabuki scenes were set in this palace: for example, "Horikawa Gosho", "Kawagoe J˘shi" or "T˘yata Monogatari".

In Japanese: 堀川御所


==> Matsuchiyama Sh˘den

In Japanese: 本竜院 | 本龍院


A fertilizer made from sardine.

In Japanese: 干鰯

Hoshino Kanzaemon

Hoshino Kanzaemon or Hoshino Shigenori (1642~1696) was a famous samurai archer from the Owari province. During the annual archery contest at the Sanjűsangend˘ in Ky˘to in 1669, he shot 12,0242 arrows over 60 meters away in 18 hours, of which about 8000 reached the target. He was the rival of Wasa Daihachir˘. His name was used by his descendants, all of them archers, up to the 10th Hoshino Kanzaemon. The 11th was not a descendant of the 1st but the archer Fujita Tsunemasa (1895~1960). He became a character in the Kabuki drama "Keisei Yamato Z˘shi" with the slightly modified name of Koshino Kanzaemon.

In Japanese: 星野勘左衛門


A traditional, high-quality, hand-made strong and absorbent paper. It does not tear nor shrink easily. For early Japanese color prints, h˘sho was the most used paper.

In Japanese: 奉書


An old province name in northern Kyűshű used for both Buzen and Bungo.

In Japanese: 豊州


Smallpox [more details].

In Japanese: 疱瘡

Hosokawa Katsumoto

Hosokawa Katsumoto (1430 ~ 1473) was a kanrei during the Muromachi period. He played a major role during the ďnin War, which was the beginning of the Sengoku period [more details].

In Japanese: 細川勝元

Hotoke Gozen

==> Tokiwa Gozen

In Japanese: 仏御前 | 佛御前

Hyaku Monogatari Kaidankai

Literally 100 Tales (hyaku monogatari) Ghost Stories (kaidan) Party (kai). In the past there used to be a popular pastime in which a group of people lit 100 candles at dusk and took turns telling ghost stories, one candle at a time being put out as each story was told. The belief was that when the last candle was put out, y˘kai or ghosts would appear [wikipedia | more details].

In Japanese: 百物語怪談会

Hyakudo Ishi

A hyakudo stone. Literally a "100 times" stone. A stone set in front of a shrine or a temple, where worshippers go back and forth in front of it to pray one hundred times.

In Japanese: 百度石


A famous wig in Kabuki. Literally "100 days". A long and overgrown black hair wig used for characters, who have not cut their hairs for at least 100 days. Used either by sick heroes (like Kat˘ Masakiyo in "Honj˘") or larger-than-life thiefs (like Ishikawa Goemon in "Sanmon").

In Japanese: 百日

Hyakunin Isshu

It can be translated as "one hundred people" (hyakunin), "one poem (each)" (isshu). A traditional poem card game with 100 poems written by 100 poets, one per card [more details].

In Japanese: 百人一首


A farmer.

In Japanese: 百姓

Hyakush˘ Ikki

A farmers riot in feudal japan.

In Japanese: 百姓一揆


A farmer's house.

In Japanese: 百姓家


A hy˘banki was a book published at the beginning of the new year, in Edo or in Kamigata, evaluating the actors and commenting their performances. For some historians, the first hy˘banki was "Yar˘ Hy˘banki", published in 1656 but others historians prefer to consider "Yakusha Hy˘banki", published in 1687, as the very first hy˘banki in Kabuki history. The evaluation systems were quite simple, dividing the actors in several categories and ranks:

J˘-j˘-kichi Superior - superior - excellent
J˘-j˘ Superior - superior
Naka no J˘-j˘ Superior - superior in the middle class
Naka no J˘ Superior in the middle class
Naka Middle

During the golden years of Kabuki, the rank j˘-j˘-kichi was not good enough to classify the best stars and several new higher levels were used. Here is an indicative list:

Dai-shigoku-j˘-j˘-kichi Grand - exceedingly - superior - superior - excellent
K˘-goku-j˘-j˘-kichi Meritorious - extreme - superior - superior - excellent
Shigoku-j˘-j˘-kichi Exceedingly - superior - superior - excellent
Goku-j˘-j˘-kichi Extreme - superior - superior - excellent
K˘-j˘-j˘-kichi Meritorious - superior - superior - excellent
ď-j˘-j˘-kichi Grand - superior - superior - excellent
Itaru-j˘-j˘-kichi Unique - superior - superior - excellent

It is worth noting the existence, depending on the period, for different systems to express several intermediate levels used between j˘-j˘ and j˘-j˘-kichi. One of these systems was based on the progressive writing of the kichi ideogram, from the first stroke to the completion of the ideogram. Another famous system used black and white for the strokes of the kichi ideogram, the full white ideogram being the lowest intermediate level and the ideogram in full black except one stroke in white being the highest intermediate level.
The last hy˘banki was published in 1890.

In Japanese: 評判記


A consultation; a conference; a council.

In Japanese: 評議


A pair of laths, or clappers, made in beech, 30 centimeters long, with a rectangular section. It is used to announce the important moments in a Kabuki show (opening, closing). It was developped long time ago, as a technique helpful in the recitation of sutras and it was used afterward in many different arts or sports like Sum˘.

In Japanese: 拍子木


Generic term for the dances in which the dancer beats time with a stamp of his feet.

In Japanese: 拍子事


Old form of Kabuki Buy˘ in which the actor simultaneously sings and dances.

In Japanese: 拍子舞


A gourd.

In Japanese: 瓢箪


Old province in Japan on the eastern coast of the Island of Kyűshű. It was also called K˘shű or Nisshű [more details].

In Japanese: 日向


One of the twelve signs of the zodiac (jűnishi). I is the sign of the boar. The month of the boar is the 10th lunar month. There are 5 boar days in the 60 days of the traditional Japanese sexagenary cycle: the 12th, 25th, 36th, 48th & 60th days. The hour of the boar (worth 2 hours in our time system) starts at 10 PM.

In Japanese:

Icchű Bushi

A school of j˘jűri. It was founded by Miyako Icchű I in Ky˘to during the second half of the 17th century. The current head of the Icchű Bushi school of music is Miyako Icchű XII.

In Japanese: 一中節

Ichiban Daiko

The beating of a traditional drum (taiko) as a signal to announce the opening of an event.

In Japanese: 一番太鼓


The first section of a Kabuki program during the Edo period. Kabuki was forbidden by the Shogunate in 1629 (women Kabuki) and 1652 (young boy Kabuki). Kabuki was finally re-authorized on several conditions. One condition was the obligation to perform drama instead of lascivious dances. The first dramas were simple one-act item but they got more and more complex and multi-acts dramas became the norm before the Genroku era, usually 4/5 acts in Edo and 3 in Kamigata. These acts were called ichiban (first act), niban (second act), sanban (third act), ... and these dramas were called yonban tsuzuki (4-act drama) or goban tsuzuki (5-act drama) in Edo and sanban tsuzuki (3-act drama) in Kamigata. The dramas structure kept on develop itself and during the Genroku era, the programs were divided into 4 sections: ichibanme (first section), nibanme (second section), sanbanme (third section) and yotateme (fourth and final section). Each section was an independent play, either in one act or several acts. During the Ky˘h˘ era, the custom was to divide a Kabuki program in 2 sections: ichibanme, the first section made up of a 3/4-act jidaimono and nibanme, the second section made up of a 1/2-act sewamono. Occasionally a third section was staged: it was often a shosagoto to conclude the program. The plot of the different sections were related somehow or other in Edo. In Kamigata they were one another independent.

Ichibanme has also the meaning of jidaimono.

Synonyms: ichibanmemono, ichibanme ky˘gen.

In Japanese: 一番目


Ichigaya is nowadays an area in the eastern portion of Shinjuku Ward. It used to be an important part of Edo. All its sub-districts have nowadays kept Ichigaya in their name.

In Japanese: 市谷

Ichigaya Kameoka Hachimangű

The Kameoka Hachiman Shrine in Ichigaya. It was built around 1479. During the Edo period, it was called Ichigawa Hachiman Shrine and, within the shrine precinct itself was located a theater and numerous tea stalls. The bustling street was known throughout Japan for being a prostitution spot. It was also one of the "One Hundred Famous Views of Edo" created by Utagawa Hiroshige [Ichigaya Hachiman Shrine, No. 41 in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo]. Destroyed at the end of WWII, it was rebuilt in 1962.

In Japanese: 市谷亀岡八幡宮 | 市谷龜岡八幡宮


The Ichihara Moor. A moor in Ky˘to on the road to the Kurama Temple. The legend said that Minamoto no Yorimitsu killed the brigand Kid˘maru. While traveling across Ichihara Moor, Kid˘maru came across a herd of wild oxen. He struck one on them three times on the head causing it to fall dead at his feet. Being a remarkably strong bandit, he stripped off the dead oxĺs skin quickly and covered himself with it, lying in wait for Minamoto no Yorimitsu to pass through the moor. However, Yorimitsu, when he saw the ox skin, ordered one of his retainers to shoot an arrow into it, forcing Kid˘maru to jump up and fight Yorimitsu, who could easily cut off Kid˘maruĺs head.

In Japanese: 市原野


An east-west avenue in Heian-ky˘, present-day Ky˘to. It was, counting from north to south, the first avenue of the imperial capital.

In Japanese: 一条


A gala for the Ichikawa-ryű.

In Japanese: 市川會


The Ichikawa school of Buy˘, which was created by Ichikawa Danjűr˘ IX who became its first iemoto. The second iemoto was Ichikawa Suisen II, the elder daughter of Ichikawa Danjűr˘ IX. The third iemoto was Ichikawa Suisen III, the daughter of Ichikawa Shinnosuke V and granddaughter of Ichikawa Danjűr˘ IX. The fourth iemoto was Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XII. The fifth iemoto and current head of the school is Ichikawa Ebiz˘ XI.

In Japanese: 市川流


One of the 3 most famous Edo theaters (Edo Sanza) [more details].

In Japanese: 市村座


Ichi-no-Tani was a Heike defensive position at Suma. It sat on a very narrow strip of shore, between mountains on the north, and the sea to the south. This made it quite defensible, but also made it difficult to maneuver troops inside the fortress. The Battle of Ichi-no-Tani in 1184 was a crucial defeat for the Heike during the Genpei War.

In Japanese: 一ノ谷

Ichi-no-Tani no Tatakai

The Battle of Ichi-no-Tani. It occured in Ichi-no-Tani in the 20th of March 1184. The Heike army was defeated by the Genji forces, led by Minamoto no Yoshitsune and Minamoto no Noriyori [more details].

In Japanese: 一ノ谷の戦い


The Ichiyama school of Buy˘, which was created in ďsaka by the actor Ichiyama Shichijűr˘ I. Ichiyama Shichijűr˘ III moved the school to Niigata. From the 4th, all dance masters were women and the name was still written "Ichiyama Shichijűr˘" but the reading became Ichiyama Nasor˘. The two important names for this school are Ichiyama Nasor˘ or Ichiyama Nasoyo. The current head of this school is Ichiyama Nasoyo VII. There are two others branches, the Naoha Ichiyama-ryű and the Matsuha Ichiyama-ryű. The Naoha Ichiyama-ryű was founded by Ichiyama Shichijűr˘ III's disciple Ichiyama Shichijűkichi in Yokohama. The last known head for the Naoha Ichiyama-ryű was Ichiyama Sh˘˘ V. The Matsuha Ichiyama-ryű was founded in T˘ky˘ by a disciple of Ichiyama Sh˘˘ III. The current head of this branch is Ichiyama Sh˘˘ IV (different ideograms for Sh˘˘) since 2004. There was an Edo branch, founded in Edo by Ichiyama Shichijűr˘ I's son Segawa Kikunoj˘ III but this school stop its activities before the end of the Edo period.

In Japanese: 市山流


A troupe of actors.

In Japanese: 一座


A well.

In Japanese: 井戸


The word iemoto, which means literally "family foundation", is used for the current head of a school of Japanese traditional art. It is also used to refer to the system of transmission of house leadership from father to son [more details]. In some Buy˘ schools of dance, there is a s˘ke (grand master) instead of an iemoto. Or there are both a s˘ke and an iemoto. The hierarchical relationship and role division between iemoto and s˘ke vary widely depending on the school.

In Japanese: 家元


Dramas or dances based on the famous Igagoe revenge. The 7th of the 11th lunar month of 1634, the villain Kawai Matagor˘ was killed at a crossroad in Iga Ueno by the swordman Araki Mataemon, who did it on behalf of his brother-in-law Watanabe Kazuma. Kawai Matagor˘ assassinated Kazuma's brother Watanabe Gendayű in 1630 in Okayama.

In Japanese: 伊賀越物

Ii Naosuke

Ii Naosuke (1815 ~ 1860) was a daimy˘ of Hikone in ďmi from 1850 to 1860 and also the tair˘ of the Tokugawa Shogunate from 1858 to 1860. He was assassinated in the Sakurada-mon Incident the 24th of March 1860 by a group of imperial loyalists [more details].

In Japanese: 井伊直弼

Ii Naotaka

Ii Naotaka (1590~1659) was a daimy˘ of the early Edo period who served under the Tokugawa Shogunate. He was the son of the famous Tokugawa general Ii Naomasa. His childhood name was Bennosuke [more details].

In Japanese: 井伊直孝


Tinkering; mending pots, pans, kettles.

In Japanese: 鋳掛


A shop or a person in the ikake business.

In Japanese: 鋳掛屋

Ikaruga Nobuyoshi

Ikaruga Nobuyoshi was a retainer of Kat˘ Kiyomasa. His tsűsh˘ was Heiji.

In Japanese: 斑鳩信好

Ikeda Daigo

Ikeda Daigo (1885~1942) was a playwright, a theater critic and a translator. He was born in T˘ky˘ the 6th of September 1885, not in the theater world as his family managed a tenpuraya in Ginza. His real name was Ikeda Ginjir˘. He graduated from Waseda University and worked on theater productions for Tsubouchi Sh˘y˘. He founded a theater troupe called Mumeikai ('the nameless troupe'), which was active during the second half of the 1910s. He worked for Ichikawa Sadanji II and he wrote several Kabuki dramas, which are still in the Kabuki repertoire like "Saig˘ to Buta-hime", "Meigetsu Hachiman Matsuri" or "Otokodate Bayari". He died the 8th of January 1942.

In Japanese: 池田大伍

Ikeda Terumasa

Ikeda Terumasa (1565~1613), also called Sanzaemon (tsűsh˘), was a Japanese daimy˘ of the Azuchi-Momoyama and Edo period. He ruled in Mino or Mikawa [more details in Japanese].

In Japanese: 池田輝政


Literally the edge of the pond. The name of a district in Edo/T˘ky˘ located near the Shinobazu Pond.

In Japanese: 池ノ端


A district in ďsaka located nowadays in Tenn˘ji Ward. It is a teramachi, a district with a large number of temples.

In Japanese: 生玉

Ikutama Jinja

An old Shint˘ shrine in ďsaka. It was moved near the ďsaka Castle when it was rebuilt by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

In Japanese: 生玉神社


An important section of Ky˘to. It is also the name of an avenue, Imadegawa D˘ri, one of the main East-West corridors in Ky˘to. It runs from the Ginkakuji (the famous Silver Pavilion), hard by Mt. Hiei in the East, West past Ky˘to University, then across the Kamogawa River.

In Japanese: 今出川

Imado Hachiman

The Imado Hachiman Shrine was built in 1063 in Asakusa near the Sumida River. In July 1937, this shrine was merged with the neighbouring Hakusan Shrine and the new entity was renamed Imado Jinja [more details].

In Japanese: 今戸八幡

Imo Arai

This expression means literally "washing potatoes". After a spectacular tachimawari, the warrior-priest Musashib˘ Benkei puts severed heads he has just cut from his enemies' bodies into a huge bucket and stirs them around with two giant poles like washing some potatoes. You can enjoy imo arai either in the "Heisoto" scene of the classic "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura" or the "Ataka no Seki" scene of "Gohiiki Kanjinch˘".

In Japanese: 芋洗い


A sweet potato digger; sweet potato digging.

In Japanese: 芋掘

Imohori no Mai

The sweet potato digging dance.

In Japanese: 芋堀の舞


Mt Imo and Mt Se. Two mountains facing each other on the opposite banks of the Yoshino River, the frontier between the Nara Prefecture (Yamato Province) and the Wakayama Prefecture (Kii Province). 260-meter Imoyama (Mt Imo) is on the northern bank of the river in the Nara Prefecture. 272-meter Seyama (Mt Se) is on the southern bank of the river in the Wakayama Prefecture. Mt Imo and Mt Se were an important feature in the classic "Imoseyama Onna Teikin".

In Japanese: 妹背山


An old province of Japan in the area that is today the eastern part of Tottori Prefecture. It was also called Inshű [more details].

In Japanese: 因幡

Inaka Musume

A countryside/village girl.

In Japanese: 田舎娘

Inaka Shibai

A village theater performance.

In Japanese: 田舎芝居

Inaka Zamurai

A countryside samurai.

In Japanese: 田舎侍

Inari Daimy˘jin

The Shint˘ kami of foxes, fertility, rice, tea, sake and agriculture [more details].

In Japanese: 稲荷大明神


A varnished deerskin leather dealer/maker.

In Japanese: 印伝屋


Karma; fate; cause and effect.

In Japanese: 因果

Inga Koz˘ Rokunosuke

In k˘dan or Kabuki, one of the members of the Kumokiri Gonin Otoko gang.

In Japanese: 因果小僧六之助


Literally, a person struck down by his/her karma (inga). A freak. A good example of ingamono in Kabuki was the tori musume.

In Japanese: 因果物


A freak (ingamono) show manager.

In Japanese: 因果物師


A retired person.

In Japanese: 隠居


A traditional pillbox (for samurai). The inr˘ is often a beautifully-crafted object, with an elaborate inlay of mother-of-pearl or lacquered with gold and silver designs.

In Japanese: 印籠


An old province of Japan in the area that is today the eastern part of Tottori Prefecture. It was also called Inaba [more details].

In Japanese: 因州


A dog.

In Japanese:


One of the twelve signs of the zodiac (jűnishi). Inu is the sign of the dog. Other possible reading: jutsu. The month of the dog is the 9th lunar month. There are 5 dog days in the 60 days of the traditional Japanese sexagenary cycle: the 11th, 24th, 35th, 47th & 59th days. The hour of the dog (worth 2 hours in our time system) starts at 8 PM.

In Japanese:

Ipponba Geta

The "one-tooth" geta [more details].

In Japanese: 一本歯下駄


A tattoo.

In Japanese: 入墨


A village located near Edo and close to the Yoshiwara pleasures quarter disctrict, full of rice fields. It became a shitamachi neighborhood in T˘ky˘, which is nowadays part of the Tait˘ Ward.

In Japanese: 入谷


Handsome young villain.

In Japanese: 色悪


A subdivision of katakiyaku: a villain who is the rival in love of the hero of a play.

In Japanese: 色敵


2 meaning depending on the periodes:

(1) Androgynous male prostitutes of the kabuki theater (first half of the 17th century).

(2) Androgynous young novice actors who appeared on stage as groups of maidservants or pages (18th century).

In Japanese: 色子


A lover; a lady-killer.

In Japanese: 色男


An old district in Shiba during the Edo period. It was part of the old Shiba Ward from 1878 to 1947. It was part of Minato Ward from 1947 to 1967 before stopping to exist as a district. The original name of this district might come from a the full name of a Chinese man, whose tombstone was located in a nearby temple. Another theory says that it was phonetically the name of an Italian priest, who was killed at the beginning of the Edo period when Christians were persecuted all over Japan.

In Japanese: 芝伊皿子町


Old province, which grosso modo corresponds to the northern part of the current Mie prefecture. It was also called Seishű.

In Japanese: 伊勢

Ise Jingű

The Ise Shrine. Located in the city of Ise, it is one of the most important Shint˘ shrines in Japan and it is dedicated to the goddess Amaterasu [more details].

In Japanese: 伊勢神宮

Ise Monogatari

The Tales of Ise. A collection of poems and narratives written during the Heian period [more details].

In Japanese: 伊勢物語

Ise Ondo

A traditional summer dance of the Ise province.

In Japanese: 伊勢音頭

Ishibashiyama no Tatakai

The Battle of Ishibashiyama. A battle of the Genpei War fought the 14th of September 1180 in Ishibashiyama near Odawara. The Genji forces, led by Minamoto no Yoritomo, were defeated by the Heike forces led by ďba Kagechika and It˘ Sukechika [more details].

In Japanese: 石橋山の戦い


Ishibe-juku or Ishibe-shuku. The 51st (from Edo) of the 53 shukuba (post station) on the T˘kaid˘. 454.7 km from Edo and 36.5 km from Ky˘to [more details].

In Japanese: 石部宿


A stone stairway.

In Japanese: 石段

Ishikawa Izu-no-Kami

==> Ishikawa Sadamasa

In Japanese: 石川伊豆守


Kabuki plays or dramas related to the life, deeds and death of the king of thieves Ishikawa Goemon, the legendary outlaw.

In Japanese: 石川五右衛門物


==> Tsukudajima

In Japanese: 石川島 | 石川嶋

Ishikawa Sadamasa

Ishikawa Sadamasa (1575~1657) was a bush˘ and hatamoto of the Azuchi-Momoyama period and of the beginning of the Edo period. He was on the Toyotomi side up to 1614, then he left ďsaka, settled in Ky˘to and sided with Tokugawa Hidetada to serve Tokugawa Ieyasu. He was also called Ishikawa Izu-no-Kami as he was the kami of Izu. He died the 13th of October 1657.

In Japanese: 石川貞政


Literally 'stone-cutting'. A stone-cutter; a stonemason.

In Japanese: 石切

Ishin no Sanketsu

The three outstanding heroes of the Meiji Restoration: Kid˘ Takayoshi (also named Katsura Kogor˘), ďkubo Toshimichi and Saig˘ Takamori.

In Japanese: 維新の三傑

Ishin Sűden

Ishin Sűden (1569~1633), also known as Konchiin Sűden, was a Zen Rinzai priest of the Azuchi-Momoyama and Edo periods. He was also a famous advisor to Tokugawa Ieyasu, and later to Tokugawa Hidetada and Tokugawa Iemitsu on religious matters and foreign affairs [more details].

In Japanese: 以心崇伝


A stone manufacturer; a dealer in stone.

In Japanese: 石屋


Ishiyakushi-juku or Ishiyakushi-shuku. The 44th (from Edo) of the 53 shukuba (post station) on the T˘kaid˘. 401.7 km from Edo and 89.5 km from Ky˘to [more details].

In Japanese: 石薬師宿


Foudation stone; cornerstone; foundation.

In Japanese:

Isogai Jűr˘zaemon

==> Isogai Masahisa

In Japanese: 磯貝十郎左衛門

Isogai Jűr˘zaemon Masahisa

==> Isogai Masahisa

In Japanese: 磯貝十郎左衛門正久

Isogai Masahisa

Isogai Masahisa (1679~1703) was one of the 47 r˘nin of Ak˘ (Ak˘ R˘shi). Like the others, he committed seppuku the 4th of the 2nd lunar month of the 16th year of the Genroku era (the 20th of March 1703 in the western calendar). His tsűsh˘ was Jűr˘zaemon.

In Japanese: 礒貝正久

Isse Ichidai

A once-in-a-lifetime performance. This expression is used for either the final official stage appearance of an elder actor or his final performance in a specific role.

In Japanese: 一世一代


The Isuzu River is a river that has both its source and its mouth in the city of Ise. Its old name was Mimosusogawa [more details].

In Japanese: 五十鈴川


In the Edo period, Itabashi was one of the Four Edo Post Towns. Itabashi was on the Nakasend˘. It became one of the 23 wards in T˘ky˘. The name itabashi literally means "plank bridge" and derives from the wooden span over the Shakujii River that dates from the Heian period [more details].

In Japanese: 板橋


[Visual]. An important and prestigious rank in a hy˘banki. Possible translation: unique - superior - superior - excellent.

A big thank to Akiko-San for the translation

In Japanese: 至上上吉


A shop making/selling yarn or fiber; the owner or the employee of such a shop.

In Japanese: 糸屋 | 絲屋

Itsukushima Jinja

The Itsukushima Shrine. A Shint˘ shrine on the island of Itsukushima (popularly known as Miyajima). It is most famous for its spectacular torii in the sea on the outskirts of the shrine [more details].

In Japanese: 厳島神社 | 嚴島神社

Itt˘ Sh˘den Mut˘-ryű

A school of swordsmanship founded by Yamaoka Tesshű [more details].

In Japanese: 一刀正伝無刀流


Itt˘-ryű, which literally means "one-sword school", was an old and important school of swordmanship. The style was developed by Itt˘sai Kagehisa [more details].

In Japanese: 一刀流

Itt˘sai Kagehisa

Originally named It˘ Yagor˘, Itt˘sai Kagehisa was a famous yet mysterious Japanese swordsman rumored never to have lost a duel. He is attributed as the founder of the Itt˘-ryű [more details].

In Japanese: 一刀斎景久


A celebration stage curtain.

In Japanese: 祝幕


Old province in Japan, which grosso modo corresponded to the western part of the prefecture of Shimane. It was also called Sekishű [more details].

In Japanese: 石見

Iwashimizu Hachimangű

A Shint˘ shrine dedicated to Hachiman, the Japanese syncretic god of archery and war. It was founded in 859 and it is located in the city of Yawata in Ky˘to Prefecture [more details].

In Japanese: 石清水八幡宮

Iwata Obi

A traditional obi used for back support after fifth month of pregnancy.

In Japanese: 岩田帯


literally "Princess I-don't-want". This is the nickname of Princess Shirabe in the drama "Shigenoi Kowakare" because she keeps on saying "iyaja iyaja", which means "I don't want (to go) I don't want (to go)".

In Japanese: いやじゃ姫


Old province, which grosso modo corresponds to the current Ehime prefecture on Shikoku island. It was also called Yoshű.

In Japanese: 伊予


A cheap traditional restautant-style bar offering a huge selection of sake and simple dishes

In Japanese: 居酒屋


Old province, which grosso modo corresponds to the eastern part of the prefecture of Shizuoka. It was also called Zushű [more details].

In Japanese: 伊豆


Old province, which grosso modo corresponds to the southern part of the current ďsaka Prefecture [more details]. It was also called Senshű.

In Japanese: 和泉

Izumi Sabur˘

==> Fujiwara Tadahira

In Japanese: 泉三郎 | 和泉三郎


Old province, which grosso modo corresponds to the southern part of the eastern part of Shimane Prefecture. It was also called Unshű [more details].

In Japanese: 出雲


The Izushi Domain. An important domain of the Edo period in the Tajima Province. The castle town of this domain was Izushi.

In Japanese: 出石藩


Jakush˘ (962 (?) ~ 1034) was a Buddhist priest of the Tendai School in Japan. He journeyed to China in 1003. He studied and taught in China up to his death in 1034.

In Japanese: 寂照


Old province, which grosso modo corresponds to the southern part of the current prefecture of Fukui. It was also called Wakasa.

In Japanese: 若州

Janome Butai

A revolving stage (mawari-butai) which is constructed to allow an inner circle to revolve in an opposite direction from an outer circle.

In Japanese: 蛇の目舞台


Literally the Snake Willow. The official name of this tree is Salix Eriocarpa. It is a species of willow native to wet lowlands of Japan. The spirit of the Snake Willow was the core of the bombastic Kabuki drama "Jayanagi".

In Japanese: 蛇柳


A manservant doing odd jobs in a nobleman's house.

In Japanese: 仕丁


A genre of film, television, and theatre in Japan. The name means "period drama", and the period is usually the Edo period. The jidaigeki dramas show show the lives of the samurai, r˘nin, farmers, craftsmen or merchants [more details].

In Japanese: 時代劇


Historical drama.

In Japanese: 時代物


A play which can be divided into two sections of equal length, one being a jidaimono and the other a sewamono drama. The two parts are loosely related one to the other.

In Japanese: 時代世話物


A Chinese legend. Jid˘ was an attendant and favorite of the Emperor Boku˘. Once, in passing near the monarch's couch, he touched a cushion with his foot. A rival reported that fact to the emperor and obtained the exile of the unfortunate attendant. But the emperor gave him a sentence of Buddha, ensuring safety and longevity. Jid˘ went away to a valley where chrysanthemum grew in profusion and from morning until night, he painted the sacred characters on their petals for fear of forgetting them. The dew, washing them away, became the elixir of everlasting youth. This legend is depicted in the dance "Kikujid˘".

In Japanese: 慈童



In Japanese: 自害


A lady-in-waiting.

In Japanese: 侍女


The Grand Chamberlain of Japan. An aide of the Emperor of Japan, who used to keep the Privy Seal and the State Seal. It has been an official civil servant since the Meiji period.

In Japanese: 侍従


Local kabuki. Kabuki which took place in farming villages from the Genroku era. This tradition has been handed down and is kept alive by many troupes all over Japan.

In Japanese: 地歌舞伎


The Jingo Temple. A Buddhist temple in Ky˘to belonging to the Shingon branch of Buddhism. It was established in 824 and it stands on Mount Takao to the northwest of Ky˘to [more details].

In Japanese: 神護寺

Jingű K˘g˘

The legendary Empress Consort Jingű. She was a mythic (no proof of real existence) Japanese empress who traditionally ruled from 201 to 269 AD [more details].

In Japanese: 神功皇后


A Shint˘ shrine.

In Japanese: 神社


Questioning; interrogation; cross examination.

In Japanese: 訊問


A (military) camp.

In Japanese: 陣所

Jippensha Ikku

Jippensha Ikku (1765~1831), whose real name was Shigeta Sadakazu, was a Japanese writer active during the late Edo period. He was the author of the comical novel "T˘kaid˘chű Hizakurige" [more details].

In Japanese: 十返舎一九


Plays whose main character is Jiraiya, the hero of the popular "Jiraiya G˘ketsu Monogatari" series of illustrated books (kusaz˘shi). The most famous jiraiyamono is Kawatake Shinshichi II's drama "Jiraiya G˘ketsu Monogatari", which is still in the Kabuki repertoire.

In Japanese: 児雷也物

Jisha Bugy˘

The jisha bugy˘ were samurai officials of the Tokugawa Shogunate in the Edo period. They were in charge of overseeing shrines and temples.

In Japanese: 寺社奉行

Ji Shibai

Local rural Kabuki performed since the Edo period in villages by men and women of all ages at festivals across the country [more details].

In Japanese: 地芝居


Subdivision of katakiyaku: a jitsuaku is an evil conspirator or a big-time cruel villain. The best example is Nikki Danj˘ in the jidaimono "Meiboku Sendai Hagi".

In Japanese: 実悪


The acting and the style of a jitsugotoshi actor.

In Japanese: 実事


Subdivision of tachiyaku: a jitsugotoshi is a wise, righteous and clever man, who appears on stage at the right time to set the record straight, to solve an enigma or foil an evil plot.

In Japanese: 実事師


Literally the "True Records" (jitsuroku) dramas. These Meiji period dramas were based on existing Kabuki dramas but both characters and stories were closer to the historical events and figures. They were still fiction works but were far less spectacular than the classics and were loaded with rationalism and realism. The results were therefore duller than the classics but fully synchronized with the trends and the spirit of the Meiji era evolutions. Two good examples of jitsurokumono, which are still in the Kabuki repertoire, are "Jitsuroku Sendai Hagi" (the "true records" version of "Meiboku Sendai Hagi") and "Jitsuroku Chűshingura" (the "true records" version of "Kanadehon Chűshingura"). Another example, without the word jitsuroku in its title, was "Youchi Soga Kariba no Akebono", which was the "true records" version of "Kotobuki Soga no Taimen".

In Japanese: 実録物


Literally "ten hands". The jitte was a special weapon used by police (torite) during the Edo period [more details].

In Japanese: 十手


Jittoku is the Tang dynasty Chinese Buddhist poet Shide in Japanese [more details].

In Japanese: 拾得


Jiuta is a style of Japanese traditional music. In Edo period, pieces which has this style was played by the shamisen in Kamigata region mainly. The name Jiuta means "song" (uta) of "local area" (ji), which means "not a song from Edo" [more details].

In Japanese: 地唄


The chorus for a performance, usually comprising six to eight people.

In Japanese: 地謡


"Jiutamai dance is among the most elegant of classical Japanese dances. Performed in castles and palaces in historic times, it was later introduced into middle-class and upper-class families. This dance has also been performed in the entertainment quarters by maiko of Ky˘to and geisha of ďsaka. Its history is said to be over 400 years old, originating with spiritual dances dedicated to the gods. Jiutamai dance did not develop for performance on a large stage; rather, this style evolved as dances performed in an intimate space where the audience was able to view the performance close at hand. As this mode of dance allows viewers and performers to share the spirit of the moment, the choreography is based on natural human movements, with subtler phrasing than the exaggerated gestures of the Kabuki dancing style. The basic movements Jiutamai are actually closer to those of N˘ performances, which influenced the dance form. As Jiuta (classical chamber music) started with the Biwa (Japanese lute) played in the Muromachi Era (16th century) when the shamisen had not yet come into vogue, it can be considered that Jiutamai dance also started at that time. Before the Meiji Era (latter 19th century), Jiutamai was simply called Mai, or dance." (from npoinfusion.org)

In Japanese: 地唄舞

Jiyű Gekij˘

A study group created by both Ichikawa Sadanji II and Osanai Kaoru. Their main goal was to introduce some European modern plays in Japan and to produce them with the troupe of Kabuki actors led by Ichikawa Sadanji II. They worked on plays written by Henrick Ibsen, Maxime Gorki, Frank Wedekind, Anton Tchekhov, Gerhart Hautpmann or Maurice de MŠterlinck. The first program, the premiere in Japan of Henrick Ibsen's "John Gabriel Borkman", was staged at the Yűrakuza in November 1909. The ninth and final program, the premiere in Japan of EugŔne Brieux's "La Foi", was staged at the Imperial Theater in September 1919. This original experience was not really conclusive but helped in the introduction of major European modern playwrights in Japan.

In Japanese: 自由劇場


A stone statue of Jiz˘, the deity guardian of common people and travellers. Jiz˘ were often built along the roads.

In Japanese: 地蔵


A rank in a hy˘banki. Possible translation: superior.

In Japanese:


A maid.

In Japanese: 女中


A little girl. Others possible readings: onna Warawa or onna Warabe.

In Japanese: 女童


The Ky˘to style high quality Japanese sweets [more details].

In Japanese: 上菓子


A j˘gashi-maker or a j˘gashi shop.

In Japanese: 上菓子屋


A good rank in a hy˘banki. Possible translation: superior - superior.

In Japanese: 上上


[Visual]. An good rank in a hy˘banki. Hankichi is in fact the upper part of the character kichi used in the j˘-j˘-kichi rank. This character is normally read shi and means man (a virtuous and noble man). We decided to translate it as half excellent (as kichi was translated as excellent). Possible translation: superior - superior - half excellent.

In Japanese: 上上士


[Visual]. A very good rank in a hy˘banki. J˘-j˘-(hanshiro)kichi is in fact j˘-j˘-kichi with the ideogram for kichi written half in white and half in black (usually the upper part in black and the lower in white). It is a rank between j˘-j˘-(shiro)kichi and j˘-j˘-kichi. This is very difficult to translate correctly this visual concept so we decided to use as a possible translation "superior - superior - (half-white) excellent".

In Japanese: 上上半白吉


[Visual]. A rank in a hy˘banki. Possible translation: superior - superior - ten.

In Japanese: 上上十


An important and prestigious rank in a hy˘banki. Possible translation: superior - superior - excellent.

In Japanese: 上上吉


[visual]. A very good rank in a hy˘banki. Possible translation: superior - superior - (small-sized) excellent.

In Japanese: 上上


[Visual]. An good rank in a hy˘banki. j˘-j˘-(shiro)hankichi is in fact j˘-j˘-hankichi (check above) with the ideogram for hankichi written in white instead of the usual black. The white hankichi is three ranks below the black hankichi (three black strokes are needed to fill the white hankichi). Possible translation: superior - superior - (white) half excellent.

In Japanese: 上上白士


[Visual]. An important rank in a hy˘banki. j˘-j˘-(shiro)kichi is in fact j˘-j˘-kichi (check above) with the ideogram for kichi written in white instead of the usual black. The white kichi is seven ranks below the black kichi (seven black strokes are needed to fill the white kichi). This is very difficult to translate correctly this visual concept so we decided to use as a possible translation "superior - superior - (white) excellent".

In Japanese: 上上白吉


An important (and very unusual) rank in a hy˘banki. j˘-j˘-sh˘kichi is in fact j˘-j˘-kichi with the ideogram for kichi smaller than the two first ideograms. This is very difficult to translate correctly this visual concept so we decided to use as a possible translation "superior - superior - little excellent".

In Japanese: 上上小吉


An imperial era in Japanese history which started the 21st day of the 2nd lunar month of 1684 (the 5th of April 1684 in the western calendar) and ended the 30th day of the 9th lunar month of 1688 (the 23rd of October 1688 in the western calendar). The 2 eras before and after J˘ky˘ were Tenna and Genroku.

In Japanese: 貞享


Literally the standard blazon. It is the official mon associated with a Kabuki actor and his line. Synonym: omotemon.

In Japanese: 定紋


A holy priest; a saint.

In Japanese: 上人


An imperial era in Japanese history which started the 18th day of the 9th lunar month of 1652 (the 20th of October 1652 in the western calendar) and ended the 13th day of the 4th lunar month of 1655 (the 18th of May 1655 in the western calendar). The 2 eras before and after J˘˘ were Keian and Meireki.

In Japanese: 承応


A lady of pleasure; a woman of the street, a prostitute; a whore.

In Japanese: 女郎


Trichonephila clavata; a silk spider [more details].

In Japanese: 女郎蜘蛛 | 上臈蜘蛛


Ballad drama. J˘ruri is chanted narration with shamisen accompaniment. It originated in the biwa-based narratives of the Muromachi period (1392-1573), taking as its material the tales of Princess J˘ruri (J˘rurihime), and, after its popularity became widespread, new narratives came to be called j˘ruri. In the Edo Period (1603-l867), j˘ruri split into several schools. At present, the word j˘ruri is closely associated to ningy˘ j˘ruri and the Gidayű school.

In Japanese: 浄瑠璃


Princess J˘ruri. According to the legend, the master of the station of Yahagi offered prayers for the birth of a child at the H˘raiji temple in the Mikawa province. The Gods answered his prayers and his wife finally gave birth to a daughter, who received the name of J˘ruri, in honour of the Buddhist Deity Yakushiny˘rai, who is said to reign in the Eastern realm of the J˘ruri World (the World of Purity). J˘ruri literally means "pure lapis-lazuli".

In Japanese: 浄瑠璃姫


An important messenger (from the Shogunate or the Imperial Court).

In Japanese: 上使


The standard official stage curtain [=> hikimaku].

In Japanese: 定式幕


A temple in Fukagawa. Many Kabuki actors' tombstones were erected there. Here is the list of the most famous ones: Arashi Otohachi I, Band˘ Hikosabur˘ I, Band˘ Hikosabur˘ II, Ichikawa Sadanji I, Iwai Tojaku, Iwai Hanshir˘ III, Iwai Hanshir˘ IV, Iwai Hanshir˘ VI, Iwai Hanshir˘ VII, Iwai Hanshir˘ VIII, Nakamura Noshio I, Nakamura Tamasuke, Nakamura T˘z˘ I, Nakamura T˘z˘ II, Nakamura Utaemon I, Nakamura Utaemon IV, ďtani Hiroemon II, ďtani Ryűzaemon II, Yamamoto Ky˘shir˘ I or Yoshizawa Ayame II. The current address of this temple is K˘t˘-ku, Hirano 2-4-25 [more details in Japanese].

In Japanese: 浄心寺


[Visual]. A good rank in a hy˘banki. J˘-(shiro)j˘ is in fact j˘-j˘ with the first ideogram written in black and the second one in white. The white is three ranks below the black (three black strokes are needed to fill the white ). Possible translation: superior - (white) superior.

In Japanese: 上白上


Old province, which grosso modo corresponds to the current prefecture of Gumma. It was also called K˘zuke.

In Japanese: 上州


Old province in the area of Ibaraki Prefecture. It was also called Hitachi [more details].

In Japanese: 常州


The tenth generation; the tenth holder of a name; the tenth actor in a lineage.

In Japanese: 十代目


The fifteenth generation; the fifteenth holder of a name; the fifteenth actor in a lineage.

In Japanese: 十五代目


The eighteenth generation; the eighteenth holder of a name; the eighteenth actor in a lineage.

In Japanese: 十八代目

Jűhachi Daitsű

Literally the eighteen daitsű. A group of famous daitsű in Edo during the Tenmei era. They were not 18 precisely but 29. 15 were fudasashi, 7 were yűjoya in Yoshiwara, 1 was a hoshika broker, 1 was a fish broker, 1 was a kamiyui, 1 was a doctor for Edo Shogunate and 1 was a machidoshiyori [more details].

In Japanese: 十八大通


The eleventh generation; the eleventh holder of a name; the eleventh actor in a lineage.

In Japanese: 十一代目


The chief priest of a buddhist temple.

In Japanese: 住持


An east-west avenue in Heian-ky˘, present-day Ky˘to. It was, counting from north to south, the tenth avenue of the imperial capital.

In Japanese: 十条

Jűman Okudo

Jűman Okudo is one of the names for the buddhist paradise. It is also the name of the area in the netherworld which has to be passed by the dead on their way to paradise.

In Japanese: 十萬億土


The twelfth generation; the twelfth holder of a name; the twelfth actor in a lineage.

In Japanese: 十二代目


Literally twelve layers. A ceremonial robe of a court lady [more details].

In Japanese: 十二単


The twelve signs of the Sino-Japanese Zodiac. Here is the list in the correct order of the zodiac: ne (rat), ushi (ox), tora (tiger), u (hare), tatsu (dragon), mi (snake), uma (horse), hitsuji (goat), saru (monkey), tori (cock), inu (dog) and i (boar).

In Japanese: 十二支


The Junis˘ Pond. Located to the west side of one Kumano Shrine, it was used as a reservoir for the hamlet of Tsunowazu. A legend said that a woman drowned herself in this pond was transformed into a giant serpent. There was a great waterfall on the eastern side of the pond. Junis˘, the name of the pond, is related to the deities enshrined at the Kumano Shrine. The Junis˘ Pond, its giant waterfall and the Junis˘ Kumano Shrine were considered as one of the One Hundred Famous Views of Edo [print].

In Japanese: 十二社池


Literally Pure Kabuki. A drama written directly for Kabuki, not an adaptation from the puppet theater or from a /Ky˘gen drama.

In Japanese: 純歌舞伎

Junkanbu Sh˘shin

The promotion to the rank of semi-executive (junkanbu). The second league of Kabuki actors.

In Japanese: 準幹部昇進


A pilgrimage; a pilgrim.

In Japanese: 巡礼

Junrei Uta

A pilgrim song.

In Japanese: 巡礼歌


The Jurakudai was a lavish palace constructed at the order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi in Ky˘to in 1586. Toyotomi Hideyoshi's nephew Toyotomi Hidetsugu became kanpaku in 1591 and the Juraku Palace became his residence. Toyotomi Hidetsugu was forced to commit seppuku in 1595 and the Jurakudai was dismantled, with many parts being reassembled at Fushimi Castle [more details].

In Japanese: 聚楽第


The god of longevity (one of the shichi fukujin). He is an old man with a long white beard and a holy staff, with a scroll tied to it on which is written the life span of every human or animal. His messenger is a deer.

In Japanese: 寿老人


The sixteenth generation; the sixteenth holder of a name; the sixteenth actor in a lineage.

In Japanese: 十六代目


The thirteenth generation; the thirteenth holder of a name; the thirteenth actor in a lineage.

In Japanese: 十三代目


The seventeenth generation; the seventeenth holder of a name; the seventeenth actor in a lineage.

In Japanese: 十七代目


A senior statesman; the most important retainer in a clan.

In Japanese: 重臣


A chief priest in a buddhist temple.

In Japanese: 住職


The fourteenth generation; the fourteenth holder of a name; the fourteenth actor in a lineage.

In Japanese: 十四代目

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