Stage name:

Sawamura Kodenji I In Japanese

Guild: Bicchűya

Line number: SHODAI (I)

Existence: 1665 ~ ???


Brother (through adoption): Sawamura Ch˘jűr˘ I

Disciple: Sawamura Otoemon I


1665 ~ 1681: he was a young bonze in a Ky˘to temple, who was adopted by Bicchűya Rokuroemon, a renowned Ky˘to dance teacher, who lived and worked in the district of Miyagawa-ch˘. The son of Bicchűya Rokuroemon, Sawamura Ch˘jűr˘ I, was the founder of the Sawamura clan.

11th lunar month of 1681: Kodenji performed as a wakashugata in ďsaka.

11th lunar month of 1686: Kodenji performed as a tachiyaku in ďsaka at Arashi Monzabur˘ I's theater. His yearly salary was 75 ry˘. His stage partners were Arashi San'emon I, Takeshima K˘zaemon I, Uemura Tatsuya, Namie Kokan I, Hanai Saijir˘, Kaneko Hikotar˘, Kawashima Kazuma, Yoshijima Kodayű, Sawai Hannosuke, Matsumoto Hy˘z˘, Ichimura Shir˘ji, ďyama Giemon, Iwakura Man'emon and Sendai Yahachi.

1693: Kodenji becomed wakaonnagata.

Fall 1694: Kodenji went to Edo.

1st lunar month of 1695: Kodenji played at the Yamamuraza the role of Katsuragi in the new year drama "Katsuragi K˘kiden".

3rd lunar month of 1698: Kodenji played at the Nakamuraza the role of Tsuyu-no-Mae in the drama "Kant˘ Koroku".

3rd lunar month of 1699: Kodenji's rank in the Edo hy˘banki, wakaonnagata section, was (superior) [visual].

3rd lunar month of 1700: Kodenji's rank in the Edo hy˘banki, wakaonnagata section, was j˘-j˘ (superior - superior) [visual].

11th lunar month of 1700: Kodenji played at the Nakamuraza the leading role of the d˘j˘jimono "D˘j˘ji".

1st lunar month of 1701: Kodenji played at the Nakamuraza the role of Ayano in the new year drama "Keisei ďsh˘kun".

3rd lunar month of 1701: Kodenji plays in the same theater the role of Hanjo-no-Mae in the sumidagawamono "Shusse Sumidagawa".

2nd lunar month of 1704: Kodenji played at the Yamamuraza the role of the keisei Hanjo in the sumidagawamono "Keisei Sumidagawa".

3rd lunar month of 1706: last recorded performance of Kodenji, who performed at the Yamamuraza in the drama "Usuyuki Ima Sakuragawa". No record afterwards.


Sawamura Kodenji I was born and raised in Kamigata, where he learnt the art of acting before coming down to Edo and becoming one of the best onnagata actor during the Genroku era. His field of excellence was nuregoto. He formed with Iwai Sagenta I and Hayakawa Hatsuse a popular threesome of onnagata in Edo.

"Sawamura Kodenji, brother of Sawamura Ch˘jűr˘, occupies a prominent place as a leading onnagata in the history of Kabuki. There was a story told of Kodenji that he visited a temple, Fujidera, in the Province of Kawachi. He travelled thither in a kago, or palanquin, and was so fatigued after his long journey that when he got out he uttered an exclamation that would have come naturally from a woman under like circumstances. Kodenji acted with the first Danjűr˘." (ZoŰ Kincaid in "Kabuki, the Popular Stage of Japan")

The Actor Sawamura Kodenji I
Artist: Torii Kiyonobu I
Date: 1695ľ1705
The Art Institute of Chicago (print in the public domain)

The Sawamura Kodenji line of actors

Prints & Illustrations

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