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ďba Kagechika

ďba Kagechika (??? ~ 1180) was a Heike warrior of the late Heian period. Son of ďba Kageyoshi and brother of Matano Kagehisa, he fought alongside his father against the Genji Clan, during the H˘gen Rebellion of 1156. He was victorious in 1180 at the Battle of Ishibashiyama but was defeated a few months later at the battle of Fujikawa. He had to submit to Minamoto no Yoritomo and was decapitated the 15th of November 1180. His tsűsh˘ was Sabur˘ and he was often called ďba Sabur˘ or ďba Sabur˘ Kagechika [more details].

In Japanese: 大庭景親

ďba Sabur˘

==> ďba Kagechika

In Japanese: 大庭三郎

ďba Sabur˘ Kagechika

==> ďba Kagechika

In Japanese: 大庭三郎景親


Literally grand bant˘. The most important role, just below the owner, in an important business/store during the Edo period.

In Japanese: 大番頭


Literally the big room. The ˘beya is a single large gakuya dressing room in a Kabuki theater used by low-ranking minor supporting tachiyaku actors. The actors using word this room (˘beya) are also ˘beya or ˘beya-san.

In Japanese: 大部屋


A kimono belt.

In Japanese:

ď Bijin

ď Bijin was the Chinese concubine Wang in Japanese. Concubine to Emperor Ling, in the summer of AD 180 she became pregnant. Fearful of angering Empress He, she took drugs in an attempt to abort the child. In the spring of AD 181, she gave birth to a son, Liu Xie (the future Emperor Xian). Seven days later; she was poisoned by Empress He.

In Japanese: 王美人


Obon (also called Bon) is a Japanese Buddhist summer custom to honor the spirits of one's ancestors. This Buddhist-Confucian custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to ancestral family places and visit and clean their ancestors' graves, and when the spirits of ancestors are supposed to revisit the household altars. It traditionally includes popular dances known as bon odori [more details].

In Japanese: お盆

ďboshi Rikiya

The Kabuki role name of ďishi Chikara in "Kanadehon Chűshingura".

In Japanese: 大星力彌

ďboshi Yuranosuke

The Kabuki role name of ďishi Kuranosuke in "Kanadehon Chűshingura".

In Japanese: 大星由良之助


Literally a grand hyakush˘. During the Edo period, a ˘byakush˘ was a farmer who owned many fields.

In Japanese: 大百姓


Kabuki dramas dealing with the tragic couple of ďsaka, the greengrocer Hanbŕ and his wife Ochiyo. The most famous ones are "Shinjű Yoi G˘shin" and "Yaoya no Kondate".

In Japanese: お千代半兵衛物


Kabuki or puppet jidaimono plays set up to the Heian period. A few examples: "Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami" (Heian period), "Imoseyama Onna Teikin" (Asuka period), "Hade Kurabe Ise Monogatari" (Heian period) or "Ono no T˘fű" (Heian period).

In Japanese: 王朝物

Oda Harunaga

The Kabuki role name of the warlord Oda Nobunaga during the Edo period. Because of strict Shogunate censorship, the playwrights had to change the names. However, the changes were quite light and the audience had no problem to understand who was who.

In Japanese: 小田春永

Oda J˘shin

==> Oda Nobukatsu

In Japanese: 織田常真 | 織田常眞

Oda Nobukatsu

Oda Nobukatsu (1558~1630) was a bush˘ and a daimy˘ of the Azuchi-Momoyama period and of the beginning of the Edo period. He was the second son of Oda Nobunaga. He became the guardian of Toyotomi Hideyori after Toyotomi Hideyoshi's death. However, he betrayed the Toyotomi Clan at the Siege of ďsaka, and surrendered to Tokugawa Ieyasu. As a consequence of his betrayal, he was permitted to remain a daimy˘ by the Tokugawa shogunate. He died the 10th of June 1630. He was also called Oda J˘shin.

In Japanese: 織田信雄

Oda Nobunaga

Oda Nobunaga (1534~1582), a major daimy˘ during the Sengoku period, was the initiator of the unification of Japan in the late 16th century. He became, under the thinly disguised name of Oda Harunaga, a character in many Taik˘ki-related Kabuki dramas [more details].

In Japanese: 織田信長


==> ˘ch˘mono

In Japanese: 王代物


A spindle of thread.

In Japanese: 苧環


Odawara-juku or Odawara-shuku. The 9th (from Edo) of the 53 shukuba (post station) on the T˘kaid˘. 82 km from Edo and 409.2 km from Ky˘to [more details].

In Japanese: 小田原宿


The big stage props, like all the elements creating the scenery: buildings, trees, rocks, mountains, fields, ...

In Japanese: 大道具


A sacred holy sand, which is used in doshakaji, a practice of k˘my˘ shingon (the Mantra of Light) by the Shingon branch of Buddhism.

In Japanese: お土砂 / 御土砂


A famous 832-m mountain in the Ky˘to Prefecture. According to the legends, the dwelling of Shuten D˘ji was located on this mountain.

In Japanese: 大江山


The name of an Edo period district in Fukagawa. The name was used from the Kanbun up to the first half of the 20th century. It is nowadays the district of Shin'˘hashi 2-ch˘me in the K˘t˘ Ward. One scene in "Tsukuda no Yoarashi" was set in Ofunaguramae-ch˘.

In Japanese: 御船蔵前町


A Kabuki hy˘banki written by Anrakub˘ and published in Ky˘to by Sh˘hon'ya Kiemon in the 1st lunar month of 1699.

In Japanese: 鋸末


The Ogasawara clan was a Japanese samurai clan, which descended from an important branch of the Genji. The Ogasawara acted as governors of the Shinano province in the medieval period and as daimy˘ of territories on Kyűshű during the Edo period [more details]. Their succession troubles at the beginning of the 1800s became the main theme of some Kabuki dramas, including the famous "Ogasawara S˘d˘".

In Japanese: 小笠原氏



In Japanese:


Literally the 'Valley of Fans'. The name of an old district in Kamakura.

In Japanese: 扇ヶ谷 | 扇谷


ďkiri is another possible reading. The ˘giri is the last item of the show in classical Japanese popular performing arts including and Kabuki.

In Japanese: 大喜利


A fan shop; a fan maker.

In Japanese: 扇屋


[Visual]. An extremely prestigious rank in a hy˘banki. Possible translation: grand - extreme - superior - superior - excellent.

In Japanese: 大極上上吉


Kabuki dramas dealing with Oguri Hangan and his betrothed Princess Terute.

In Japanese: 小栗判官物


The name of the village, where Akechi Mitsuhide was killed after he assassinated the warlord Oda Nobunaga and tried to seize control of Japan. The defeated Mitsuhide was treacherously speared to death by the bandit, who was hidden in a bamboo grove.

In Japanese: 小栗栖

Ogy˘ no Matsu

A famous pine tree known as the giant pine of Negishi. The first generation pine tree was 13.63 m high, 4.09 m in circumference and was 350 years old when it was designated a natural monument in 1926. It died in 1928 and was subsequently cut down in 1930. The current ogy˘ no matsu, third generation, was planted in 1976 [more details].

In Japanese: 御行の松

Ohatsu Tenjin

The nickname of the Tsuyu Tenjinsha shrine in ďsaka.

In Japanese: お初天神


Kabuki dramas dealing with the troubles within a great daimy˘'s household.

In Japanese: お家物


A river in Shizuoka Prefecture [more details].

In Japanese: 大井川


High-ranking courtesan.

In Japanese: 花魁


A full house (for a Kabuki theater).

In Japanese: 大入

ďishi Chikara

==> ďishi Yoshikane.

In Japanese: 大石主税

ďishi Kuranosuke

==> ďishi Yoshitaka

In Japanese: 大石内蔵助

ďishi Sezaemon

ďishi Sezaemon Nobukiyo (1677~1703) 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).

In Japanese: 大石瀬左衛門

ďishi Yoshikane

ďishi Yoshikane (1688~1703) was one of the 47 r˘nin of Ak˘ (Ak˘ R˘shi). His tsűsh˘ was Chikara. He was the son of ďishi Kuranosuke, the leader of the group. 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 portrayed as ďboshi Rikiya in "Kanadehon Chűshingura".

In Japanese: 大石良金

ďishi Yoshitaka

ďishi Yoshitaka (1659~1703) was the charismatic leader of the 47 r˘nin of Ak˘ (Ak˘ R˘shi). His tsűsh˘ was Kuranosuke. 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). Yoshitaka can also be read Yoshio. He was portrayed as ďboshi Yuranosuke in "Kanadehon Chűshingura".

In Japanese: 大石良雄


ďiso-juku or ďiso-shuku. The 8th (from Edo) of the 53 shukuba (post station) on the T˘kaid˘. 66 km from Edo and 425.2 km from Ky˘to [more details].

In Japanese: 大磯宿

ďjin Tenn˘

Emperor ďjin was a legendary emperor of the 5th century, the 15th emperor of Japan according to the traditional order of succession [more details].

In Japanese: 応神天皇


The guarded entrance of the ˘oku in the Edo Castle.

In Japanese: 御錠口


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

In Japanese: 大上上吉

Oka Onitar˘

Oka Onitar˘ (1872 ~ 1943) was a Kabuki playwright, a theater critic, an author and a poet. Born in T˘ky˘ the 3rd of September 1872 and graduated from Kei˘ University, he started his career in joiurnalism in 1893. In 1908, he left the world of journalism to join the theatrical revolution initiated by the Kabuki actor Ichikawa Sadanji II. He joined the Sh˘chiku Company in 1912 and was active in the theater world as a playwright and a literay advisor up to his passing away the 29th of October 1943. His two masterpieces were "Rakuda" and "Imay˘ Satsuma Uta". His real name was Oka Yoshitar˘ and his artistic name was Kigin.

In Japanese: 岡鬼太郎

Okabe Rokuyata

==> Okabe Tadasumi

In Japanese: 岡部六弥太 | 岡部六彌太

Okabe Rokuyata Tadasumi

==> Okabe Tadasumi

In Japanese: 岡部六弥太忠澄 | 岡部六彌太忠澄

Okabe Tadasumi

Okabe Tadasumi (??? ~ 1197) was a bush˘ of the end of the Heian period to the Kamakura period. He served Minamoto no Yoshitomo, Taira no Kiyomori and Minamoto no Yoritomo. He was on the Genji during the Genpei War. His tsűsh˘ was Rokuyata.

In Japanese: 岡部忠澄

Okado Denpachir˘

==> Okado Shigetomo

In Japanese: 多門伝八郎

Okado Denpachir˘ Shigetomo

==> Okado Shigetomo

In Japanese: 多門伝八郎重共

Okado Shigetomo

Okado Shigetomo (1658~1723) was a hatamoto of the Edo period. He served as deputy inspector (metsuke) to the Shogunate during the revenge of the forty-seven r˘nin, also known as the Ak˘ Incident. His tsűsh˘ were Denpachir˘ or Sanzaemon.

In Japanese: 多門重共

Okajima Tsuneshige

Okajima Tsuneshige (1666~1703) was a bushi at the service of Lord Asano Naganori in Ak˘. He 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 Yasoemon.

In Japanese: 岡島常樹

Okajima Yasoemon

==> Okajima Tsuneshige

In Japanese: 岡島八十右衛門

Okajima Yasoemon Tsuneshige

==> Okajima Tsuneshige

In Japanese: 岡島八十右衛門常樹


A hired thief-catcher, police confidential informant or police lookout during the Edo period. They were usually from the lowest social classes and often former outlaws who served the police to avoid punishment or even execution. Some of them were also used by the police as torturer in the Edo jails.

In Japanese: 岡っ引


Literally the Big River. This is the name of the Sumida River downstream from the Azuma Bridge to the mouth of the river.

In Japanese: 大川


Literally the Bank of the Great River. The riverside along the ďkawa (the Sumida River) downstream from the Azuma Bridge to the mouth of the river, near the Island of Tsukuda.

In Japanese: 大川端


Okazaki-juku or Okazaki-shuku. The 38th (from Edo) of the 53 shukuba (post station) on the T˘kaid˘. 318.2 km from Edo and 173 km from Ky˘to [more details].

In Japanese: 岡崎宿

Okazaki Sabur˘

==> Matsudaira Nobuyasu

In Japanese: 岡崎三郎


The origins of okesa can be traced to the harbor drinking songs in Kyűshű. The Kyűshű sailors brought these songs with them when they stayed in Sado Island and in Echigo harbor cities like Izumozaki and Teradomari. These drinking songs from Kyűshű became okesa songs in Echigo.

In Japanese: おけさ

Okina (N˘)

"Okina" is a famous and ancient drama but it is not a classic drama as it does not belong to any category and has no storyline. This is more a sacred rite than a drama or dance-drama as the actors perform religiously for peace, prosperity and safety across the land [more details].

In Japanese:


The okina is one of the 3 characters in a sanbas˘mono. It was the most important character in the original drama "Okina" but, in Kabuki versions, emphasis was not on the okina but on the sanbas˘. Literally, the okina is the "old man". The okina prays on stage for long life, peace, and prosperity.

In Japanese:


A geisha house. The place where Geisha live, not the place where they meet their customers (ageya).

In Japanese: 置屋


==> Gekk˘in

In Japanese: お喜世の方


A popular Japanese speciality originating from both Hiroshima and ďsaka, made from flour, water, eggs and cabbage, with a special sauce on top of it. It means "cook what you like" and is sometimes nicknamed the "Japanese pizza" by foreigners.

In Japanese: 御好み焼


==> okurago

In Japanese: 御子良子

ďkubo Hikozaemon

==> ďkubo Tadataka

In Japanese: 大久保彦左衛門

ďkubo Ichisuke

==> ďkubo Toshimichi

In Japanese: 大久保市助

ďkubo Tadataka

ďkubo Tadataka (1560 ~ 1639), also called ďkubo Hikozaemon, was a warrior of the Sengoku and Edo periods. He was a vassal of the Tokugawa clan [more details].

In Japanese: 大久保忠教

ďkubo Toshimichi

ďkubo Toshimichi (1830 ~ 1878) was a samurai of the Satsuma Domain and he joined the movement to overthrow the ruling Tokugawa Shogunate during the Bakumatsu period. He was also known as ďkubo Ichisuke and he was one of the Three Outstanding Heroes of the Meiji Restoration [more details].

In Japanese: 大久保利通


It literally means "honourable wife" and is used for the wife of a daimy˘. An okugata was the key to many successful power struggles within or outside the clan and played an important part in strengthening a daimy˘'s grip on his territory.

In Japanese: 奥方


An in-castle doctor for the Edo shogunate.

In Japanese: 奥医師 | 奥醫師


A high-ranking maid in a daimy˘ household.

In Japanese: 奥女中


It used to be a village in the province of Harima before and during the Edo period. It is nowadays part of the city of Akashi in the Hy˘go Prefecture.

In Japanese: 大蔵谷


An old word for shrine maiden (miko) serving in the Shint˘ rituals at the Ise Shrine, preparing food (shinsen) for the gods and performing Kagura. Synonymous: okorago.

In Japanese: 御座子


Traditional Japanese amulet, purchased in temples or shrines and supposed to protect the bearer from any kind of catastrophes or devilries. In Kabuki, the omamori is always used by characters to identify some unknown relatives: a classic pattern is a story in which a brother and a sister, who received after birth the same omamori, were separated by tragic events hitting their family and who finally meet again 20 years later, in either a bordello or a Lord mansion, falling in love each other. It goes without saying that in the course of events, one will find the other's omamori and realize his/her true identity.

In Japanese: 御守り


A series of plays based on a real event: in 1737, the warrior Hayada Hachiemon, from Satsuma, killed several people in an ďsaka bath-house named Sakura, including the bath-house girl (yuna) Kikuno, whom he loved but was already engaged with a man named Sen'ya Zengobei. This sad story was dramatized in several different plays with different names for the three main characters. The girl was named not only Kikuno but also Sakuraya Oman or Koman. The killer was either Katsuma Gengobŕ or Satsuma Gengobŕ. The girl's lover was Sasano Sangobŕ or Sasanoya Sangor˘. The oman-gengobeimono are the plays dealing with this story; Namiki Gohei I's "Godairiki Koi no Fűjime", Tsuruya Nanboku IV's "Kamikakete Sango Taisetsu" and Oka Onitar˘'s "Imay˘ Satsuma Uta" are the main oman-gengobeimono in the current Kabuki repertoire.

In Japanese: おまん源五兵衛物


Make one's debut on stage. First stage appearance for a child actor, who is introduced at a very young age to the audience. He does not receive any stage name and sometimes does not even play any role. This is also the occasion to gather all the actors belonging to his family.

In Japanese: お目見得


Old province, which corresponds grosso modo to the current prefecture of Shiga.

In Japanese: 近江

ďmi Hakkei

The Eight Views of ďmi. This is a conventional set of outstanding landscape views around Lake Biwa in the ďmi province, portrayed for centuries by poets, painters or illustrators. These 8 landscapes are also the main thema of many Kabuki hengemono:

View Details In Japanese
Ishiyama no Shűgetsu The automn moon viewed from the Ishiyama Temple 石山の秋月
Hira no Bosetsu Evening snow on mount Hira 比良の暮雪
Seta no Sekish˘ Evening glow viewed from the Seta bridge 瀬田の夕照
Yabase no Kihan Sailing ship on the way back to Kusatsu, viewed from Yabase 矢橋の帰帆
Mii no Bansh˘ Evening bell at Mii Temple 三井の晩鐘
Karasaki no Yau Evening rain on Karasaki 唐崎の夜雨
Katata no Rakugan Wild goose swooping down upon Katata in Autumn 堅田の落雁
Awazu no Seiran Clearing weather after the storm in Awazu 粟津の晴嵐

In Japanese: 近江八景


A sacred portable Shint˘ shrine, paraded in during a matsuri.

In Japanese: 御神輿

ďmi ďtsu-no-Miya

The ďmi ďtsu Palace was an imperial palace built by Emperor Tenchi during the Asuka period. It was located in the city of ďtsu in the province of ďmi (nowadays Shiga Prefecture). It served as the capital of Japan for a 5-year period from 667 to 672. It was also called ďtsu-no-Miya or Shiga no Miyako [more details].

In Japanese: 近江大津宮

Omodaka Jűshu

A collection of ten dances, who were the favorites of Ichikawa Danshir˘ II and Ichikawa En'˘ I, gathered by their heir Ichikawa Ennosuke III in November 1975: "Renjishi", Sannin Katawa, "Sumidagawa", "Higaki", "Ninin Tomomori", "Buaku", "Ukiyo Buro", "Tsuri Gitsune", "Cho Hakkai" and "Yugaodana".

In Japanese: 澤瀉十種


Guild name (yag˘) for the actors Ichikawa En'˘, Ichikawa Danshir˘, Ichikawa Ennosuke, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa Juen, Ichikawa Shun'en and Ichikawa K˘tar˘.

In Japanese: 澤瀉屋


The surface, the face, the front side. A Kabuki theater is divided into two different worlds (spaces) by the stage hikimaku, the ura and the omote; the omote is the audience side.

In Japanese:

Omote Shoin

A reception hall used to welcome visitors in the yashiki of a daimy˘.

In Japanese: 表書院

Omote Zashiki

A front parlor in a Castle.

In Japanese: 表座敷


A Kabuki theater staff working in the omote space of the theater; it can be somebody in charge of welcoming the audience, selling tickets or programmes, an accountant, ... Any job directly related to the business.

In Japanese: 表方


Synonymous with j˘mon.

In Japanese: 表紋


The Onagi River. A canal built under the Tokugawa Shogunate to link the Sumida River to the Kyűnaka River. It was initially used to bring salt from the Gy˘toku area (nowadays in the city of Ichikawa) to Edo. This was an important 'artery' on the Salt Road during the Edo period.

In Japanese: 小名木川

Onagori Ky˘gen

A farewell performance done by a Kamigata actor, who is about to leave Edo and goes back to his native land, at the end of his season in an Edo theater (usually in September or October).

In Japanese: お名残狂言


Ondo is a type of Japanese folk music genre [more details].

In Japanese: 音頭


A musical piece; a song accompanied by traditional Japanese music.

In Japanese: JPN


An ogre; a devil; a demon

In Japanese:

Onib˘zu Seikichi

Onib˘zu Seikichi (1776 ~ 1805), literally Demon Bonze Seikichi, was a famous Edo thief. He was caught by the authorities and decapitated the 23rd of July 1805.

In Japanese: 鬼坊主清吉

Onihei Hankach˘

A series of historical novels written by Ikenami Sh˘tar˘. Its hero is the law enforcer Hasegawa Heiz˘, based on a real historic character named Hasegawa Nobutame [more details].

In Japanese: 鬼平犯科帳

ďnin no Ran

The troubles of ďnin or the ďnin War. An absurd succession war that destroyed completely the Imperial Capital Ky˘to between 1467 and 1477. The Sh˘gun Ashikaga Yoshimasa, who did not really like to exercice power and had nobody to succeed him, adopted in 1464 his brother Ashikaga Yoshimi, who lived in a Buddhist hermitage, far from the Shogunate administration. The succession was questioned following the unexpected birth of a son for Yoshimasa. He decided not to honour the promises he made to Yoshimi, for the benefit of his son. Yoshimi called to Lord Hosokawa Katsumoto for help. This warlord occupied the Eastern hills of Ky˘to with 100,000 warriors. Yoshimasa received the support of the "Red Monk" Yamana S˘zen Mochitoyo (Katsumoto's father-in-law), who brought an army of 90,000 soldiers to the Western hills of Ky˘to. This long war, without any decisive battle but plenty of skirmishes, was a trench warfare, whose sole noteworthy events were the frequent reversal of alliances. The two warlords died in 1473. Yoshimasa finally retired and gave the shogounal sovereignty to his son. Yoshimi also retired definitively in the Enryakuji Temple. None of these events had any impact on the war, which went on in the ruins of Ky˘to without purpose and strategy. In December 1477, the Yamana troops suddenly broke camp and left Ky˘to, bringing the ďnin war to an end. Most Japanese historians consider 1467 as the end of the Muromachi Era and the beginning of the Civil War Era (1467~1603).

In Japanese: 応仁乱


Onmy˘d˘ or inmy˘d˘. This is a traditional Japanese esoteric cosmology, mixing natural science and occultism. It was based on the Chinese philosophies of the five elements and Yin and yang. It was accepted as a practical system of divination [more details].

In Japanese: 陰陽道


Onmy˘ji or inmy˘ji. A professional practitioner of onmy˘d˘. A court astrologer. The onmy˘ji court responsibilities ranged from tasks such as keeping track of the calendar, to mystical duties such as divination and protection of the capital from evil spirits.

In Japanese: 陰陽師

Onna Bud˘

"A woman of warrior rank, or a woman of warlike spirit, capable of fighting with a man." (Charles J. Dunn and Torigoe Bunz˘ in "The Actors' Analects")

In Japanese: 女武道

Onna Date

A female otokodate. In Kabuki, the onna date is the parody of the familiar male hero turned into a female counterpart.

In Japanese: 女伊達

Onna Hinin

A female hinin.

In Japanese: 女非人

Onna Kar˘

Female senior retainer.

In Japanese: 女家老

Onna Tayű

A female street shamisen player and singer during the Edo period. Going from door to door, the onna tayű

In Japanese: 女太夫


A male actor who plays female roles in Kabuki; a female-impersonator (also called oyama).

In Japanese: 女方 (女形)

ďno D˘ken

==> ďno Harutane

In Japanese: 大野道犬 | 大野道軒

ďno Harunaga

ďno Harunaga (1569 ~ 1615) was a bush˘ of the Azuchi-Momoyama period and the early Edo period. He fought with the Toyotomi clan against the Tokugawa clan during the Siege of ďsaka and he was killed in action at the Battle of Tenn˘ji. He was the brother of ďno Harutane [more details].

In Japanese: 大野治長

ďno Harunori

ďno Harunori (???? ~ 1615) was the son of ďno Harunaga. He was at the service of Toyotomi Hideyori and he died in 1615 during the Summer Siege of ďsaka Castle.

In Japanese: 大野治徳

ďno Harutane

ďno Harutane (???~1615) was a famous warrior of the Azuchi-Momoyama period and the early Edo period. He valiantly fought with the Toyotomi clan against the Tokugawa clan during the Summer Siege of ďsaka. He was captured and executed the 22th of July 1715. His death became a legend, which was narrated in the "Hagakure": he was condemned to death by fire and, when an official came to check his remains, ďno Harutane grabbed the man's sword and stabbed him to death before dissolving into ashes. He was also called ďno D˘ken.

In Japanese: 大野治胤

Ono Imoko

Ono no Imoko was a Japanese politician and diplomat during the Asuka period [more details].

In Japanese: 小野妹子

Ono Komachi

Ono no Komachi (c.825~c.900) was a famous Japanese poet of the early Heian period. She was one of the six Rokkasen [more details].

In Japanese: 小野小町

Ono Kurobŕ

One of the Kabuki role names of ďno Kurobŕ during the Edo period. Because of strict Shogunate censorship, the playwrights had to change the names. However, the changes were quite light and the audience had no problem to understand who was who. Ono Kurobŕ was used in Tsuruya Nanboku IV's drama "Kiku no En Tsuki no Shiranami".

In Japanese: 斧九郎兵衛

ďno Kurobŕ

==> ďno Tomofusa

In Japanese: 大野九郎兵衛

ďno Kurobŕ Tomofusa

==> ďno Tomofusa

In Japanese: 大野九郎兵衛知房

ďno Shűrinosuke

==> ďno Harunaga

In Japanese: 大野修理亮

Ono Takamura

Ono no Takamura (802~853), commonly called Sangi (no) Takamura (literally 'Takamura the Councilor'), was a Japanese calligrapher and poet of the early Heian period [more details].

In Japanese: 小野篁

Ono Tetsutar˘

==> Yamaoka Tesshű

In Japanese: 小野鉄太郎 | 小野鐵太郎

Ono T˘fű

Ono no Michikaze (894~966), commonly called Ono no T˘fű, was a Japanese calligrapher of the Heian period [more details].

In Japanese: 小野道風

ďno Tomofusa

ďno Tomofusa (?~1751) was a retainer of Asano Naganori. He did not join the vendetta of the ak˘ r˘shi against the man responsible for the seppuku of their master and the downfall of his clan. His tsűsh˘ was Kurobŕ [more details].

In Japanese: 大野知房

Ono Yoshizane

Dates of birth and death unknown. He was a kugy˘ of the Heian period. He was a son of Ono no Takamura and the father of the famous poetess Ono no Komachi. As he held the title of gunji in the province of Dewa, he was commonly called Dewa Gunji.

In Japanese: 小野良真 | 小野良眞

Onodera Hidekazu

Onodera Hidekazu (1643~1703) 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 Jűnai.

In Japanese: 小野寺秀和

Onodera Hidetomi

Onodera Hidetomi (1676~1703) 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 K˘emon.

In Japanese: 小野寺秀富

Onodera Jűnai

==> Onodera Hidekazu

In Japanese: 小野寺十内

Onodera Jűnai Hidekazu

==> Onodera Hidekazu

In Japanese: 小野寺十内秀和

Onodera K˘emon

==> Onodera Hidetomi

In Japanese: 小野寺幸右衛門

Onodera K˘emon Hidetomi

==> Onodera Hidetomi

In Japanese: 小野寺幸右衛門秀富

Onoe Kikugor˘ Gekidan

A troupe created after the death of the great star Onoe Kikugor˘ VI by his stage fellows Onoe Sh˘roku II, Ichikawa Omez˘ IV, Onoe Baik˘ VII and Band˘ Hikosabur˘ VII. The first program was staged in October 1949. The troupe goals were both to keep late Onoe Kikugor˘ VI's memory alive and to focus on the creation of new dramas like the famous Kabuki adaptation in 1951 of the novel "Genji Monogatari", starring Ichikawa Ebiz˘ IX in the leading role of Hikaru-no-Kimi. The troupe still exists and occasionally gives de luxe performances, mainly at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘. The zagashira is nowadays Onoe Kikugor˘.

In Japanese: 尾上菊五郎劇団

Onoe no Kane

The Onoe Bell in the Onoe sh˘r˘ of the Yamato Hasedera Temple in the province of Yamato (nowadays the Nara Prefecture). The Onoe Bell was in one scene of Namiki Gohei I's play "Sode Nikki Banshű Meguri".

In Japanese: 尾上鐘


The Onoe-ryű is a school of Buy˘, which was established by Onoe Kikugor˘ VI in 1948. He was the first headmaster of the Onoe-ryű. The same year, Onoe Kikunoj˘ I, one of Onoe Kikugor˘ VI's students, was appointed as the second headmaster and the school's first performance took place at Shinbashi Enbuj˘ in June 1948. When Onoe Kikunoj˘ I died the 13th of August 1964, Onoe Kikunoj˘ II was appointed as 3rd headmaster.

In Japanese: 尾上流

Onogawa Kisabur˘

Onogawa Kisabur˘ (1758~1806) was a famous sum˘tori [more details].

In Japanese: 小野川喜三郎


Style and techniques used by an actor portraying an angry female ghost.

In Japanese: 怨霊事

ďoka Seidan

ďoka Seidan are the stories about the famous cases solved by the Edo magistrate ďoka Echizen-no-Kami Tadasuke (1677~1751), who had the reputation to be both sagacious and benevolent in his rulings, to find innovative ways of establishing the truth of a case, to be fair to the poor, and also to find sometimes bizarre ways of making the punishment fit the crime. As his fame spread after his death in 1751, stories about his exploits were compiled into an anthology known as the "ďoka Seidan" ("Famous Cases of ďoka"), which was dramatized in several Kabuki dramas and, from the 1970s, made into popular television series.

In Japanese: 大岡政談


An ˘oka-seidanmono is a Kabuki drama based on an ďoka Seidan.

In Japanese: 大岡政談物

ďoka Tadasuke

ďoka Tadasuke (1677 ~ 1752) was a famous Edo machi bugy˘ in the service of the Tokugawa Shogunate. His roles included chief of police, judge and jury. He was minami machi bugy˘. As he was governor (kami) of the province of Echizen before becoming machi bugy˘, he was often known as ďoka Echizen-no-Kami Tadasuke. He was highly respected as an incorruptible judge [more details].

In Japanese: 大岡忠相


Literally "great interior". The women quarters of Edo Castle. It began with the love affaire of Ejima, a high-ranking lady in the ˘oku, with the Kabuki actor Ikushima Shingor˘ [more details].

In Japanese: 大奥


The Netherlands in Japanese, with the three ideograms which were used during the Edo period.

In Japanese: 阿蘭陀


A wooden cage; a wooden cell.

In Japanese:


The ďsaka Castle. A magnificent castle built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1598. It symbolized the power of the Toyotomi clan during the Azuchi-Momoyama period. It was seriously damaged during the 1615 siege, which led to the downfall of the Toyotomi clan. Rebuilt by Tokugawa Shogunate, it was destroyed during the Meiji Restoration. It became part of a huge arsenal and was one more time destroyed during the 1945 air raids on ďsaka [more details|Jcastle.info].

In Japanese: 大阪城

ďsaka no Eki

==> ďsaka no Jin

In Japanese: 大坂の役

ďsaka no Jin

The Siege of ďsaka by the Eastern Army led by Tokugawa Ieyasu against the Western Army defending the Toyotomi clan. Also called ďsaka no Eki. It started in Fall/Winter 2014 (the "Winter Siege" (Fuyu no Jin in Japanese) from November 1614 to January 1615) and ended in Summer 1615 (the summer siege (Natsu no Jin in Japanese) in May and June 1615). The output of this bloody war was the complete destruction of both the ďsaka Castle and the line of Toyotomi Hideyoshi [more details].

In Japanese: 大坂の陣

Osanai Kaoru

Osanai Kaoru (1881 ~ 1928) was a Japanese theater director, a playwright and an actor. He was born in the city of Hiroshima the 26th of July 1881. He played a major role in the development of modern theater in Japan. He cofounded with Ichikawa Sadanji II the Jiyű Gekij˘ study group (literally 'Free Theatre'). His masterpiece, a highly-regarded drama entitled "Musuko", is still in the Kabuki repertoire. He died in Yotsuya the 25th of December 1928 [more details].

In Japanese: 小山内薫

Osaraba Denji

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

In Japanese: おさらば伝次 | おさらば傳次


Large trapdoor and lift located in the center of the stage and used to lift big structures like ˘d˘gu.

In Japanese: 大セリ


A lower class priest of Shint˘.

In Japanese: 御師


A violent (tragic or accidental) death.

In Japanese: 横死


The major licensed theaters during the Edo period (1603~1868). From Meiji, it meant the major league of Kabuki actors, performing in the big theaters, compared to the minor league of Kabuki actors (koshibai). This expression was used up to the complete disappearance of koshibai.

In Japanese: 大芝居


Kabuki dramas or dances dealing with the tragic couple of lovers Yaoya Oshichi and the temple page Kichisabur˘.

In Japanese: お七吉三物


A mandarin duck. Another possible reading is en'˘. Used also in Japanese to describe a a happily-married couple.

In Japanese: 鴛鴦


"Oshie, which literally means Pressed Picture, is a traditional form of Japanese handicraft since the Edo period. Like a jigsaw puzzle, the picture is made up of many pieces. Each piece is wrapped in beautiful kimono fabric or paper, padded with cotton in between, and is nailed/glued together to create a three-dimensionally raised ornament." (source: Blackcabbit)

In Japanese: 押絵


A maker of oshie.

In Japanese: 押絵師


An only-once impression made after performance on a piece of silk or cotton by a Kabuki actor of his face with a kumadori [more details].

In Japanese: 押隈


Literally the Big Island. ďshima is an inhabited volcanic island in the Izu archipelago. The island was used as a penal colony until the middle of the Edo period. Minamoto no Tametomo, who was defeated in the H˘gen Disturbance and many other well-known people were exiled to the ďshima [more details].

In Japanese: 大島 | 大嶋


It means literally "push and return". It is a role, a type of role and the title of a famous character performing in the aragoto style. The oshimodoshi is a demon-queller, appearing at the end of a dance-drama or a drama, to subdue a demon or a giant serpent using his large bamboo pole.

In Japanese: 押戻


The Chief Priest of a Buddhist Temple.

In Japanese: 和尚


A grand village headman. A headman of higher grade than a sh˘ya.

In Japanese: 大庄屋


Old province, which was made up of the current prefectures of Fukushima, Miyagi, Aomori, Iwate and a part of Akita.

In Japanese: 奥州

ďshű Kaid˘

It was one of the five major routes of the Edo period, going from Edo to ďshű [more details].

In Japanese: 奥州街道


Kabuki dramas or dances dealing with the couple Oshun and Izutsuya Denbŕ. The most famous oshun-denbŕmono are "Horikawa", "Kachi Zum˘ Ukina no Hanabure" or "Migawari Oshun".

In Japanese: お俊伝兵衛物


Kabuki dramas dealing with the tragic couple of ďsaka lovers Osome and Hisamatsu.

In Japanese: お染久松物

  Kabuki dramas or dances dealing with the tragic love story of the courtesan Osono and the carpenter Rokusabur˘ (commonly called Rokusa). The most famous one is "Sanzes˘ Nishiki Bunsh˘".

In Japanese: お園六三物

Osukiya B˘zu

A servant who overseas tea service and articles for tea ceremonies for daimy˘.

In Japanese: 御数寄屋坊主

ďtaka Gengo

==> ďtaka Tadao.

In Japanese: 大高源五 | 大高源吾

ďtaka Gengo Tadao

==> ďtaka Tadao.

In Japanese: 大高源五忠雄 | 大高源吾忠雄

ďtaka Tadao

ďtaka Tadao (1672~1703) was one of the shijűshichishi. His tsűsh˘ was Gengo. He was portrayed as ďwashi Bungo in "Kanadehon Chűshingura".

In Japanese: 大高忠雄


A great waterfall.

In Japanese: 大滝

Otani Kamematsu

==> Katsu Kokichi

In Japanese: 男谷亀松 | 男谷龜松

Otani Kokichi

==> Katsu Kokichi

In Japanese: 男谷小吉


The front gate of a castle.

In Japanese: 大手

Otogi Z˘shi

Otogi z˘shi is a general term for narrative literature written between the Muromachi period and the beginning of the Edo period [more details].

In Japanese: 御伽草子

Otoko Mai

A dance where a shiraby˘shi (female dancer) dressed up as a man to dance. It was popular from late Heian period to early Kamakura period.

In Japanese: 男舞


A gallant and chivalrous man. Otokodate were gangs of tough and fearless commoners originally formed to protect ordinary townspeople against the abuses of some lawless low-ranking samurai groups, probably more in fiction than reality, and who came to have more in common with protection rackets than anything else. These Robin Hood look-alike figures, who made a living with gambling, were as reckless as their ennemies. They were the ancestors of nowadays yakuza (Japanese mafia). They became the heroes of the commoners because they were said to stick up for the little ones and protect the merchants neighborhoods from the injustices of the powerful. Otokodate roles appealed a lot the Edo Kabuki audience. The most famous one is Sukeroku.

In Japanese: 男伊達

ďtomo Kuronushi

ďtomo no Kuronushi was an early Heian period courtier and poet. He was one of the six Rokkasen [more details].

In Japanese: 大伴黒主


Another name of Prince Moriyoshi.

In Japanese: 大塔宮


Literally the "great fall". ďotoshi happens when a strong and courageous hero cries bitterly in a Kabuki scene. The three most famous examples are Matsu˘maru in "Terakoya", Musashib˘ Benkei in "Benkei J˘shi" and Takechi Mitsuhide in "Taijű".

In Japanese: 大落とし


Guild name (yag˘) for the actors Onoe Kikugor˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Onoe Tatsunosuke, Onoe Ukon, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Band˘ Shinsha, Onoe Matsusuke, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Band˘ Kametoshi and Onoe Matsuya [more details].

In Japanese: 音羽屋


Popular Japanese folk pictures. These paintings were dubbed ˘tsue after their popularity in the city of ďtsu (Shiga) around the 17th century. [more details].

In Japanese: 大津絵


ďtsu-juku or ďtsu-shuku. The 53rd (from Edo) of the 53 shukuba (post station) on the T˘kaid˘ and the 69th (from Edo) of the 69 shukuba of the Nakasend˘. 479.2 km from Edo and 12 km from Ky˘to on the T˘kaid˘ [more details].

In Japanese: 大津宿


Kabuki dramas dealing with the tragic couple of ďsaka lovers Otsuma and Hachirobŕ. The most famous one is "Unagidani".

In Japanese: お妻八郎兵衛物


==> ďmi ďtsu-no-Miya

In Japanese: 大津宮


An imperial palace; a place where the emperor lives and "rules".

In Japanese: 大内


The ďuchi Clan. It was one of the most powerful and important families in Western Japan from the 12th to 14th centuries [more details].

In Japanese: 大内氏


Old province in the area that today forms the western half of Aichi Prefecture. It was also called Bishű [more details].

In Japanese: 尾張


The Owari Domain. An important feudal domain in the Edo period, which encompassed parts of Owari, Mino and Shinano provinces. Its headquarters were at Nagoya Castle and it was ruled by the Owari branch of the Tokugawa Clan. it was also called Nagoya Domain (Nagoya-han) [more details].

In Japanese: 尾張藩

ďwashi Bungo

The Kabuki role name of ďtaka Tadao in "Kanadehon Chűshingura".

In Japanese: 大鷲文吾


A boss (in the underworld); a chief; a gang leader.

In Japanese: 親分


An actor who plays old men roles in Kabuki (fukeyaku).

In Japanese: 親仁方


A (gang) boss.

In Japanese: 親方


A big roof; a large roof; the main roof (of a temple); housetop.

In Japanese: 大屋根


A school of narrative music created in Edo by ďzatsuma Shuzendayű I during the first years of the Ky˘h˘ era. This style was finally absorbed at the beginning of the Meiji era into Nagauta. This lively and bombastic style is still used in Kabuki, especially for the dramas in the aragoto style like "Shibaraku".

In Japanese: 大薩摩


The final act in a multiple-act drama. During the Edo period, when a Kabuki program was divided into two parts, the jidaimono then the sewamono, the ˘zume was the final act of the former part. Nowadays, the word is still used for the grand finale, most notably for some t˘shi ky˘gen revivals at the National Theatre.

In Japanese: 大詰


A type of nimaime in the wagoto style in a kamigata ky˘gen. A pintokona has soft attractiveness but also resolute toughness. The best examples are Fukuoka Mitsugi in "Ise Ondo Koi no Netaba", Kamiya Jihŕ in "Shinjű Ten no Amijima" and Tsuzuki Denshichi in "Kanjin Kanmon Tekuda no Hajimari" [more details].

In Japanese: ぴんとこな


A famous pleasure quarter in Ky˘to.

In Japanese: 先斗町


The traditional name in Japan for leprosy. It is called nowadays in Japan Hansen's disease.

In Japanese: 癩病

Raiden Tameemon

Raiden Tameemon (1767~1825) was a famous sum˘tori [more details].

In Japanese: 雷電爲右衞門


==> Minamoto no Yorimitsu

In Japanese: 頼光


A camel.

In Japanese: 駱駝


Traditional Japanese comic storytelling.

In Japanese: 落語


Traditional Japanese comic storyteller.

In Japanese: 落語家


An illegitimate child, son or daughter.

In Japanese: 落胤


The fall of a castle.

In Japanese: 落城


Tonsure; taking the tonsure; becoming a buddhist priest or nun.

In Japanese: 落飾


Rangiku is the beautiful spreading chrysanthemum. It is a famous pattern used on kimono [visuals].

In Japanese: 乱菊


A brawl.

In Japanese: 乱闘

Rant˘ Jiken

A brawl incident.

In Japanese: 乱闘事件

Rash˘mon Kashi

A neighborhood in Edo in Asakusa.

In Japanese: 羅生門河岸


Reigenki are Buddhist tales relating miracles. Reigenkimono are Kabuki dramas whose one of the highlights is a Buddhist miracle. The two most famous examples are "Hakone Reigen Izari no Adauchi" and "Tsubosaka Reigenki".

In Japanese: 霊験記物


A new year visitor.

In Japanese: 礼者


The current imperial era, which started the 1st May 2019. The era before Reiwa was Heisei.

In Japanese: 令和


Cold sake; sake intended to be drunk chilled.

In Japanese: 冷酒


Historical drama.

In Japanese: 歴史劇


Eleven priests, called rengy˘shű, pray for nation's prosperity and world peace during the shunie rituals at the T˘daiji.

In Japanese: 練行衆


A (secret) covenant under joint signature.

In Japanese: 連判状


The Buddhist name of the warrior Kumagai Jir˘ Naozane.

In Japanese: 蓮生


The ri was a traditional unit of measurement. It was coming from China and it was true to the Chinese length at the beginning of its usage in Japan. It evolved to become the distance that a normal person carrying a load would aim to cover on mountain roads in one hour [more details].

In Japanese:


A rickshaw.

In Japanese: 力車


Old province corresponding grosso modo to most of the current prefecture of Miyagi Prefecture and a few locations in the current Iwate Prefecture [more details].

In Japanese: 陸前


R˘ben (689~773), also known as Ry˘ben, was a Japanese Kegon priest, a renowned eighth-century Buddhist abbot presiding over the T˘daiji temple in Nara.

In Japanese: 良弁


An alley.

In Japanese: 路地


An elderly woman; a senior lady-in-waiting in the ˘oku.

In Japanese: 老女


"The Six Immortal Poets". Six outstanding poets of the 9th century, who were designated by Ki no Tsurayuki in the preface of Kokinshű, the first imperial anthology compiled in 905. These poets were Ariwara no Narihira, S˘j˘ Henj˘, Kisen, ďtomo no Kuronushi, Bun'ya no Yasuhide and Ono no Komachi (the only woman in this group).

In Japanese: 六歌仙


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

In Japanese: 六代目


Another name for the Tama River near its mouth, between Kawasaki and the ďta Ward.

In Japanese: 六郷川

Rokuhara Tandai

Rokuhara Tandai was the post of the chiefs of the Kamakura Shogunate in Ky˘to whose agency kept responsibility for security and judicial affairs in Western Japan. They also negociated with the Imperial Court. They were also the heads of a secret police, which was widely feared. Rokuhara Tandai was set up in 1221. The two chiefs were called Kitakata (the northern chief) and Minamikata (the southern chief). Kitakata was higher-ranking than Minamikata. Both posts were monopolized by the H˘j˘ clan. The agency was destroyed with the fall of Kamakura Shogunate in 1333 [more details].

In Japanese: 六波羅探題

Rokuhara Yakata

The Rokuhara Palace. A generic term for a group of mansions located in Ky˘to on the eastern side of the Kamo River in an area which is nowadays within the Higashiyama district. They were built by the Heike. The Rokuhara Palace was Taira no Shigemori's palace during his reign. During the Kamakura Shogunate, the Rokuhara Palace was used by the Rokuhara Tandai.

In Japanese: 六波羅館


The prisoner boss in a jailhouse during the Edo period.

In Japanese: 牢名主


Masterless samurai.

In Japanese: 浪人


A jailer.

In Japanese: 牢人


Kabuki technique used for a spectacular, rapid-paced, gesticulaive exit on the hanamichi. Ropp˘ means literally "six directions" (North, South, East, West, Sky, Earth). There are several types of ropp˘: tobi ropp˘ (the flying ropp˘ used by Ume˘maru in "Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami"), kitsune ropp˘ (the fox ropp˘ used by the fox Genkur˘ in "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura"), katate ropp˘ (the single-handed ropp˘ used by Benkei in "Kanjinch˘").

In Japanese: 六法


The humble house of a r˘nin.

In Japanese: 浪宅


A vassal; a retainer; a follower; a loyalist.

In Japanese: 郎党 | 郎黨


One's father; old man; one's boss.

In Japanese: 老爺


A prison; a jailhouse; the vicinity of a prison.

In Japanese: 牢屋敷


A famous a unit of currency in the Edo period. 1 ry˘ was a gold piece, which could be used to purchase up to 140 kilogrammes of rice. 1 ry˘ would be equivalent to 60,000~80,000 JPY (check a currency converter website to find the equivalent in EUR or USD).

In Japanese:


An exchange house; a money changer.

In Japanese: 両替屋


Ry˘goku is an important district in Edo/T˘ky˘. It belongs to the Sumida Ward in T˘ky˘. Ry˘goku means the two countries/provinces as the Ry˘goku Bridge was the frontier between two provinces, Musashi and Shim˘sa [more details].

In Japanese: 両国 | 両國


The Ry˘goku Bridge. A bridge in Edo/T˘ky˘ built in 1659 spanning the Sumida River just upstream of its confluence with the Kanda River. It links the eastern part of the district of Nihonbashi on the western shore of the Sumida River and Ry˘goku on the western shore of the Sumida River [more details].

In Japanese: 両国橋 | 両國橋


A hunter.

In Japanese: 猟人 | 獵人

Ry˘kan Taigu

Ry˘kan Taigu (1758~1831) was a quiet and eccentric Zen Buddhist monk who lived much of his life as a hermit. Ry˘kan was also a famous poet and calligrapher [more details].

In Japanese: 良寛大愚


A cook.

In Japanese: 料理人


A fisherman.

In Japanese: 漁師


A hunter.

In Japanese: 猟師


A luxurious traditional Japanese restaurant [more details].

In Japanese: 料亭

Ryű Bi

Ryű Bi is the Chinese Warlord Liu Bei in Japanese. Liu Bei was a warlord in the late Eastern Han dynasty who founded the state of Shu Han in the Three Kingdoms period and became its first ruler [more details].

In Japanese: 劉備

Ryűkyű Rett˘

The Ryűkyű Islands, stretching southwest from Kyűshű to Taiwan [more details].

In Japanese: 琉球列島

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