Pen names:

Sakurada Jisuke I In Japanese
Tagawa Jisuke In Japanese
Tsuuchi Jisuke In Japanese

Others names:

Ky˘gend˘ Sak˘ I In Japanese
Kasakuraya Zenbŕ In Japanese
Sakurada Tsukuri In Japanese

Guild: Naritaya

Line number: SHODAI (I)

Poetry name: Sak˘

Existence: 1734 ~ the 27th day of the 6th lunar month of 1806 [1]


Masters: Horikoshi Nis˘ji I, Tsuuchi Jihŕ II

Disciples: Tsuruya Nanboku IV, Fukumori Kyűsuke I, Matsushima Ch˘fu I, Mimasuya Nis˘ji, Kasanui Sensuke I, Kimura Enbu, Muraoka K˘ji I, Sone Sh˘kichi I, Shimizu Sh˘shichi I


1734 ~ 1753: born in Edo; his name was Jusabur˘.

1753: he became disciple of Tsuuchi Jihŕ II and received the name of Tsuuchi Jisuke.

1757~1758: he changed his name to Tagawa Jisuke.

20th day of the 1st lunar month of 1760 [2]: his master Tsuuchi Eishi I died in Edo.

Spring 1760: he changed his name to Sakurada Jisuke I.

11th lunar month of 1760: Jisuke worked at the Ichimuraza under the supervision of the tatesakusha Kanai Sansh˘ on the kaomise drama "Ume Momiji Date no ďkido".

1761: he became disciple of Horikoshi Nis˘ji I and follows his new master to Kamigata.

Fall 1764: Jisuke went back to Edo.

11th lunar month of 1764: Jisuke worked at the Moritaza on the kaomise drama "Gyosei Kanatami no Megumi".

11th lunar month of 1765: Jisuke worked for the tatesakusha Horikoshi Saiy˘ at the Moritaza on the kaomise drama "Kachidoki Sakae Genji".

11th lunar month of 1768: supported by Ichikawa Danz˘ III, Jisuke became tatesakusha at the Ichimuraza; he worked on the kaomise drama "Otokoyama Yunzei Kurabe". Premiere at the Ichimuraza of Jisuke's dance "Oshiegusa Yoshiwara Suzume", the first version of "Yoshiwara Suzume" [more details].

11th lunar month of 1769: Jisuke moved to the Nakamuraza to work on the kaomise drama "Kawaranu Hanasakae Hachinoki".

11th lunar month of 1770: Jisuke worked at the Nakamuraza on the kaomise drama "Nue no Mori Ichiy˘ no Mato", which celebrated the shűmei of Matsumoto K˘shir˘ II, Ichikawa Danjűr˘ V, Nakamura Sh˘ch˘, Ichikawa Monnosuke II, Nakamura Shichisabur˘ III and Band˘ Sanpachi II.

11th lunar month of 1772: Jisuke worked at the Nakamuraza, along with Nakamura Jűsuke II (tatesakusha), on the kaomise drama "ďyoroi Ebid˘ Shinozuka", which celebrated the shűmei of Ichikawa Ebiz˘ III, Matsumoto K˘shir˘ IV and Ichikawa Komaz˘ III.

11th lunar month of 1773: premiere at the Nakamuraza of Jisuke's kaomise drama "Gohiiki Kanjinch˘". This 46-days long performance, which also celebrated the shűmei of Nakamura Rik˘ I, was a tremendous success.

11th lunar month of 1776: premiere at the Ichimuraza of Jisuke's Tomimoto-based dance-drama "Momo Yogiku Iro no Yo no Naka" [casting].

7th lunar month of 1778: premiere of Jisuke and Kasanui Sensuke I play "Date Kurabe Okuni Kabuki" at the Nakamuraza [casting].

11th lunar month of 1780: Jisuke worked, at the Ichimuraza on the kaomise drama "Mure Takamatsu Yuki no Shirahata".

11th lunar month of 1781: premiere at the Nakamuraza of the dance-drama "Waga Sekogakoi no Aizuchi" (commonly called "Kumo no Hy˘shimai"), which was performed within Jisuke's kaomise program "Shitenn˘ Tonoi no Kisewata" [casting].

7th lunar month of 1782: premiere at the Nakamuraza of Jisuke's Tomimoto-based dance-drama "Shinkyoku Takao Zange".

11th lunar month of 1784: Jisuke worked, along with Masuyama Kinpachi I, at the Nakamuraza on the kaomise drama "ďakinai Hiru-ga-Kojima", which celebrated the shűmei of Sanogawa Ichimatsu III and the return in Edo of ďtani Hiroemon III.

11th lunar month of 1788: premiere at the Nakamuraza of the Tokiwazu-based dance-drama "Modori Kago Iro ni Aikata" (commonly called "Modori Kago"), which was staged within Jisuke's kaomise program "T˘zum˘ Hana no Edokata", which celebrated the return in Edo of the actor Nakamura Nakaz˘ I [casting].

11th lunar month of 1789: Jisuke worked at the Nakamuraza on the kaomise drama "Komachi-mura Shibai no Sh˘gatsu"; "It is a spectacular play on a grand scale, showing a struggle between two imperial princes for the imperial throne and the almost magical powers of the great poet Ono no Komachi, also considered one of the greatest beauties of her time. In ancient times, Komachi was such a famous figure that she became the subject of many plays, one in which her poetry called forth rain and another in which a jealous rival tried to defeat her by claiming that a poem she wrote was actually plagiarized from an old poetic anthology. She proved her innocence by washing the book of the anthology and showing that the fresh ink of the supposedly old poem easily washed away." (source: Earphone Guide website for the revival in January 2008 at the National Theatre).

5th lunar month of 1794: premiere at the Kiriza of Jisuke's drama "Katakiuchi Noriai Banashi" [more details].

11th lunar month of 1796: Jisuke worked at the Kawarasakiza as a tatesakusha, along with Muraoka K˘ji I and Fukumori Kyűsuke I, on the kaomise drama "Itsukushima Yuki no Sugata Mise".

11th lunar month of 1797: Jisuke worked at the Nakamuraza as a tatesakusha on the kaomise drama "Kaikei Koky˘ no Nishikigi", which celebrated the shűmei of Arashi Shichigor˘ III.

11th lunar month of 1799: Jisuke worked at the Nakamuraza, to support his disciple Fukumori Kyűsuke I (tatesakusha) on the kaomise drama "Tametomo Yumiya no Oyafune", which celebrated the shűmei of Band˘ Mitsugor˘ III.

8th lunar month of 1803: premiere at the Nakamuraza of Jisuke's drama "Banzui Ch˘bŕ Sh˘jin Manaita", which commemorated the 1st anniversary of the passing away of Matsumoto K˘shir˘ IV [casting].

11th lunar month of 1804: Jisuke worked at the Nakamuraza, along with Fukumori Kyűsuke I, Nagawa Shimesuke I and Matsushima Hanji I, on the kaomise drama "Kiku Zum˘ Mikurai Sadame", which celebrated the shűmei of Iwai Hanshir˘ V, Ichikawa Yaoz˘ IV and Nakayama Bunshichi III, and welcomed in Edo the actors Segawa Rok˘ III and his adopted son Segawa Kamesabur˘.

27th day of the 6th lunar month of 1806 [1]: Jisuke died in Edo.


Sakurada Jisuke I was an important Edo Kabuki playwright, who created more than 150 plays and at least 30 dance dramas. Some of them were still in the current Kabuki repertoire like "Gohiiki Kanjinch˘", "Kumo no Hy˘shimai", "Yoshiwara Suzume" or "Date Kurabe Okuni Kabuki". He specialized in drama depicting contemporary life.

"Sakurada Jisuke became the first playwright of Edo, and wrote during a period of forty years. He was associated with such distinguished actors as the fifth Ichikawa Danjűr˘, the fourth Matsumoto K˘shir˘, the first Nakamura Nakaz˘, and the fifth Iwai Hanshir˘. He excelled in plays depicting real life, or sewamono, and took his characters from the varied life about him,--handsome young samurai, heroines of the gay quarters, and brave men of the people." (ZoŰ Kincaid in "Kabuki, the Popular Stage of Japan")

"He was a force in the infusion of jokes, wit, and satire into sewamono. Jisuke I was considered the most literary of Kabuki dramatists, and his lofty style was held as one reason that more of his works has not remained popular." (Samuel Leiter in "New Kabuki Encyclopedia")

"Sakurada Jisuke had a habit of frequently moving his residence. He would make a hole in his cupboard through which his rice was poured by the delivery boy from the rice shop, as he did not like people to see how much he had ordered at a time. But while he was parsimonious in some matters, in others he was prodigal. He lived in Muk˘jima, across the Sumida River from Edo, and at times bought a whole bag of charcoal, for use in the hibachi, to warm himself in the boat that took him across the river-just to make a show. The trip across the river was brief, and he was well aware he required but a small portion. When an old farmer came selling squash, Jisuke purchased his entire stock-in-trade and then presented him with one of the vegetables as a reward, after which the countryman spread the tale of the sakusha's generosity. It was a time when the fortunes of the sakusha were at the lowest ebb, when writers for the theatre were entirely subordinate to the actors, and yet the dignity of his profession must have been felt by Jisuke, for it was reported that he resented being placed under young actors." (ZoŰ Kincaid in "Kabuki, the Popular Stage of Japan")

"Sakurada Jisuke was a poet and man about town who wrote played with a social background and dance numbers, some of which were still famous." (A. C. Scott in "The Kabuki Theatre of Japan")

"When dying, Sakurada Jisuke expressed a last wish: "Do not have Buddhist ceremonies or anniversaries for me, but be careful not to neglect Edo plays." (ZoŰ Kincaid in "Kabuki, the Popular Stage of Japan")

[1] The 27th day of the 6th lunar month of the 3rd year of the Bunka era was the 11th of August 1806 in the western calendar.

[2] The 20th day of the 1st lunar month of the 10th year of the H˘reki era was the 7th of March 1760 in the western calendar.

The name of Sakurada Jisuke I in a 1769 Edo hy˘banki (the name within the red box); all the names were the sakusha at the Ichimuraza; the others are, from left to right, Sawai Chűz˘, Hirata Hanz˘ and Ogi Ginji

The Ky˘gend˘ Sak˘ line of playwrights

The Sakurada Jisuke line of playwrights

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