Play titles Yoshitsune Koshigoej˘  In Japanese
Fűkigusa Aioi Genji  In Japanese
Common titles Goto Sanba  In Japanese
Goto Sanbas˘  In Japanese
Authors Chiros˘ Shujin (the master of the Thousand Butterburs Villa)
(it might be the penname of the playwright Namiki Eisuke I)
Toyotake ďritsu (1770 revision)

The play "Yoshitsune Koshigoej˘" was originally written for the puppet theater (Bunraku) and staged for the first time in the 7th lunar month of 1754 in ďsaka at the Toyotakeza. It was a revision of two early plays, Namiki S˘suke's "Nanbantetsu Got˘ no Menuki" (1735) and "Yoshitsune Shin Fukumij˘" (1744). The title, which suggested that the play focused on Minamoto no Yoshitsune, was in fact dealing with the siege of the ďsaka Castle, led by Tokugawa Ieyasu to destroy the Toyotomi clan in 1614 and 1615. This play was quickly forbidden because of the 4th act in which Gotobŕ's wife fired a gun at Yoritomo (this was of course interpreted as an attack on the Shogunate). "Yoshitsune Koshigoej˘" was revised in 1770 by Toyotake ďritsu, who completely rewrote the 4th act for a puppet production at the Kitahorieza in ďsaka.

Here is the table of character tranlation between the drama and history:

Drama History
Minamoto Yoritomo Tokugawa Ieyasu
Minamoto Yoshitsune Toyotomi Hideyori
Izumi Sabur˘ Sanada Yukimura
Got˘ Moritsugu (Gotobŕ) Got˘ Mototsugu (Got˘ Matabŕ)
Kamei Rokur˘ Kimura Shigenari
Nishikido Tar˘ ďno Harunaga
Date Jir˘ ďno Harunori

Regarding the adaptation of this drama to Kabuki, the very first one was was staged in the 11th lunar month of 1754 at Hoteiya Umenoj˘'s theater in Ky˘to as the kaomise drama "Fűkigusa Aioi Genji" [more details]. The script (unknown playwright) was similar to "Yoshitsune Koshigoej˘"'s one but there were a few differences, the most important one was the name of the strategist (Gotobŕ in "Yoshitsune Koshigoej˘", T˘saku in "Fűkigusa Aioi Genji"). It was staged under the title of "Yoshitsune Koshigoej˘" for the first time in the 12th lunar month of 1761 in ďsaka within the precincts of the Tenma Tenjin Shrine (unknown casting). The Edo audience had to wait up to the 9th lunar month of 1790 for the first production of "Yoshitsune Koshigoej˘" in this city; it was staged at the Ichimuraza as the onagori ky˘gen of the Kamigata star Asao Tamejűr˘ I [more details].


"Yoshitsune Koshigoej˘" was a 5-act drama. "Goto Sanba" is the opening scene of the 3rd act.

Key words Date Jir˘
Fujiwara Kunihira
Fujiwara Tadahira
Fujiwara Yasuhira
Gidayű Ky˘gen
Got˘ Matabŕ
Got˘ Mototsugu
Izumi Sabur˘
Kamei Rokur˘
Kamei Shigekiyo
Kimura Shigenari
Minamoto Yoritomo
Minamoto Yoshitsune
Nishikido Tar˘
ďno Harunaga
ďno Harunori
ďsaka no Eki
ďsaka no Jin
Takeda Yakko
Toyotomi Hideyori
Yoshitsune Shitenn˘

The war between Minamoto no Yoshitsune and his elder brother Minamoto no Yoritomo, the military dictator who rules Japan with an iron hand, is imminent. Izumi no Sabur˘, a faithful retainer of Yoshitsune, has been trying to recommend a man called Gotobŕ as Yoshitsune's military strategist. At the same time, two others retainers of Yoshitsune, Nishikido Tar˘ Kunihira and Date no Jir˘, are plotting to undermine Yoshitsune's power by leading him to enjoy the pleasures of life.

At the opening of the curtain, a lighthearted dance is being performed in the presence of Yoshitsune. This dance was instigated by Nishikido and Date as part of their evil plan to bring Yoshitsune's downfall. A young samurai forces his way into the party, his face being partially hidden with a mask. This sudden intrusion makes Yoshitsune angry and the two evil retainers unmask the man. He is Kamei Rokur˘, one of Yoshitsune's young retainers, who desperately tries to alert his master by bringing up the subject of Yoshitsune's attitude. Yoshitsune is indignant at Kamei's indiscretion and angrily leaves the room, leaving Nishikido and Date to punish Kamei. A fight is about to ensue when Izumi no Sabur˘ appears on stage to appease Nishikido and Date, and also to calm Kamei. He tells everybody that the strategist Gotobŕ is about to arrive here soon to meet Yoshitsune. Nishikido and Date know that Gotobŕ has the reputation to be a great drinker. Their plan is to make him drink a lot before his meeting with Yoshitsune. If they succeed in turning him into a miserable drunkard, both Gotobŕ and Izumi will be definitively discredited.

Gotobŕ arrives on stage. He does not look like a master of strategy. Date is the first one to greet him and sake is brought to be served to Gotobŕ, who is not at ease in this palace. His meeting with Yoshitsune is extremely important and he prefers to turn off the invitation to drink. Nishikido joins the two men, urging too Gotobŕ to drink, saying that the sake has been selected by Yoshitsune specially to please Gotobŕ. The man sticks by his resolve not to drink, but the two evil retainers decide to lead Gotobŕ into temptation by starting to drink the sake themselves, commenting its excellence, noisily smacking their lips, and bringing the sake fragrance near Gotobŕ's nose. The poor visitor can't bear it anymore and he finally accepts to drink a little cup. Unfortunately for him, one sip leading to another, urged by Nishikido and Date to drink more and more, he is soon completely drunk. He falls into a drunken sleep and Nishikido and Date leave the room in full satisfaction for their plan is a success.

Yoshitsune enters the room in order to meet the sleeping Gotobŕ. He is followed by Izumi, Nishikido and Date. The two evil retainers wake Gotobŕ up, informing him that Yoshitsune has arrived. However, Gotobŕ is too drunk to realize anything. Izumi is shocked to witness Gotobŕ's drunkenness, but immediately understands that it is the result of Nishikido and Date evil deeds. He asks Yoshitsune to cancel the meeting until Gotobŕ sobers up, but Yoshitsune leaves the room in anger, ordering this pathetic drunkard to be thrown out of the palace.

Nishikido and Date order servants to throw Gotobŕ out. Izumi realizes that nothing can be done right now with such a drunkard, so he decides to retire and wait for another opportunity to introduce Gotobŕ to Yoshitsune. A group of actors, dressed as takeda yakko, arrive on stage. They hold wooden sticks to chase Gotobŕ out of the palace. Some humorous negotiations start with the drunkard, who agrees at the end to dance the sanbas˘, an auspicious dance, for the servants. An appropriate costume is provided and the music can shift to the rhythm of the sanbas˘. Gotobŕ and the takeda yakko go through a series of hilarious pantomimes followed by a lively tachimawari. A group of takeda yakko finally forms a horse, using a bucket of water as the head of the animal. Gotobŕ rides this unusual horse to make a triumphant exit by the hanamichi.

The actors Ichikawa Yaoz˘ VII, Ichikawa Danjűr˘ IX and Onoe Matsusuke IV playing the roles of Date no Jir˘, Gotobŕ and Nishikido Tar˘ Kunihira in the drama "Yoshitsune Koshigoej˘", which was staged in April 1897 at the Kabukiza (print made by K˘ch˘r˘ H˘sai)

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