Play title Goban Taiheiki  In Japanese
Author Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1706)
Watanabe Katei (1903)

Watanabe Katei's chűshinguramono "Goban Taiheiki" was premiered in June 1903 in Ky˘to at the Meijiza [more details]. It was a revised version of one act of Chikamatsu Monzaemon's 1706 eponymous puppet drama. The role of ďishi Kuranosuke became a vehicle for the Nakamura Ganjir˘ line of actors.

From the end of the Meiji era to the beginning of World War II, "Goban Taiheiki" was often staged in koshibai. The role of ďishi Kuranosuke was frequently performed by Ichikawa Shinnosuke V.

"Goban Taiheiki" is rarely-staged on Kabuki stages; since the end of World War II up to the end of 2015, we've found only 3 records of performances in ˘shibai:

Date Theater Kuranosuke Chikara Okahei
1975/01 Kabukiza (T˘ky˘) Nakamura Ganjir˘ II Nakamura Fukusuke VIII Jitsukawa Enjaku III
2015/04 Kabukiza (T˘ky˘) Nakamura Senjaku Nakamura Kazutar˘ Ichikawa Somegor˘
2015/12 Minamiza (Ky˘to) Nakamura Senjaku Nakamura Kazutar˘ Kataoka Ainosuke

Watanabe Katei's drama "Goban Taiheiki" is made up of one act, "Yamashina Kankyo" ("a Cottage in the Village of Yamashina" in English).

Key words Adauchi
Ak˘ R˘shi
Asano Naganori
Ganjir˘ Jűnikyoku
Gishi Ky˘gen
ďishi Yoshikane
ďishi Yoshitaka

Yamashina Kankyo
A Cottage in the Village of Yamashina

The scene is set in the depths of winter during the 15th year of the Genroku era in a cottage (kankyo) in the village of Yamashina. This is the temporary home of ďishi Kuranosuke, the former kar˘ of the befallen house of Lord Asano, who drew his sword, attempted to kill the high-ranking master of ceremony Kira Yoshihisa at Edo Castle the 14th day of the 3rd lunar month of the 14th year of the Genroku era [1] and was forced to commit seppuku by the Sh˘gun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi the same day. Kuranosuke has apparently given himself up to dissipation since the death of his late master. This night, he has just returned from Ky˘to, where he enjoyed himself in the pleasure quarters of the imperial city. His wife Oyoshi blames him for his dissolute behavior but he does not listen to what she says, then he quickly falls asleep. Kuranosuke's mother Senju berates her son more than his wife. She is so upset that she hits him with a goke. Kuranosuke does not repent and he only tells his wife that he want a divorce. Both at their wits' end, his mother and his wife withdraw to an inner room.

The servant Okahei, who is supposed to be illiterate, is spotted by Kuranosuke's son ďishi Chikara while reading a letter belonging to Kuranosuke. Only a spy from the enemy, Lord Kira, could do such a thing. Chikara strikes Okahei and wounds him with his sword. He is about to give the final blow when he is unexpectedly stopped by his father. Moreover, Kuranosuke praises Okahei for his loyalty to his real master, Kira Yoshihisa. Okahei is impressed by Kuranosuke's fortitude and he confesses his real identity: he is not Okahei but Takamura Ippeita, a retainer at the service of Lord Kira. He takes the decision to intelligently betray his master by explaining the precise layout of the Kira mansion in Edo with the Go stones on the goban. These important pieces of information will help the former retainers of Asano Naganori when they will take their revenge (adauchi) and kill the 15th day of the 12th lunar month of the 15th year of the Genroku era [2] the evil lord responsible for the downfall of their clan .


[1] The 14th day of the 3rd lunar month of the 14th year of the Genroku era was the 21st of April 1701 in the western calendar.

[2] The 15th day of the 12th lunar month of the 15th year of the Genroku era was the 31st of January 1703 in the western calendar.

The actor Nakamura Ganjir˘ I playing the role of ďishi Kuranosuke in the drama "Goban Taiheiki", which was staged in March 1926 at the Kabukiza

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