Play title Kamakura Sandaiki  In Japanese
Chronicle of Three Generations in Kamakura [1]
Authors Chikamatsu Hanji
Takemoto Saburobŕ II

The play "Kamakura Sandaiki" was originally written for the puppet theater (Bunraku) and staged for the first time in the 3rd lunar month of 1781 in Edo at the Hizenza. It was adapted for Kabuki many years later and staged for the first time in the 9th lunar month of 1794 in ďsaka, produced by the zamoto Asao Okujir˘ I at the Kado no Shibai [casting]. It was staged for the first time in Edo many years later, in the 2nd lunar month of 1818 at the Nakamuraza [casting]. The play is based on the fight between the Toyotomi and the Tokugawa clans and the Siege of ďsaka. The drama was set during an older period and names were changed to disguise the protagonists' identity and avoid the Shogunate censorship:

History Kabuki
Tokugawa Ieyasu H˘j˘ Tokimasa
Toyotomi Hideyori Minamoto Yoriie
Kimura Shigenari Miura Yoshimura [2]
Sanada Yukimura Sasaki Takatsuna
Sanada Nobuyuki Sasaki Moritsuna
Princess Sen Princess Tokiko [3]
ďsaka Castle Sakamoto Castle

The original play was in 10 acts. Only one act survived, the third one, entitled "Kinugawa-mura Kankyo" (At the Cottage in the Village of Kinugawa). Nowadays, it is staged once every 5 years.

Key words Akahime
Gidayű Ky˘gen
H˘j˘ Tokimasa
H˘j˘ Yoshitoki
Kimura Shigenari
Kome Arai
Miura Yoshimura
ďsaka no Eki
ďsaka no Jin
Sanada Nobuyuki
Sanada Yukimura
Sasaki Moritsuna
Sasaki Takatsuna
Tokugawa Ieyasu
Toyotomi Hideyori

The Tattooing
This scene is no more part of the current Kabuki repertoire [4]

At his war camp at Sh˘no-juku in Ise Province, H˘j˘ Tokimasa, a warlord, meets a farmer named Adachi T˘zabur˘, who has been captured on suspicion that he may be Takatsuna, an enemy general, in disguise. As T˘zabur˘ flatly denies this, Tokimasa calls Kagaribi, Takatsuna's wife, who has also been captured, and makes bet identify him. Kagaribi asserts that the man is her husband but T˘zabur˘ insists that he has never met her before, to say nothing of marrying her.

At this moment a retainer reports that a woman who calls herself T˘zabur˘'s wife Okuru is outside the camp and is asking for permission to meet her husband. When the woman is called in, the couple meets with a show of great pleasure. Convinced that T˘zabur˘ is a genuine farmer, Tokimasa orders his men to tattoo (irezumi) his front to save him from further trouble of mistaken identification. Tokimasa consults with his retainers, Furug˘ri Shinzaemon and Dohi Yagor˘, on how to recover Princess Toki, Tokimasa's daughter, from a house in Kinugawa Village where she is staying with Nagato, the sick mother of Sakamoto Miuranosuke Yoshimura, an enemy warrior to whom she is engaged.

Overhearing their talks, T˘zabur˘ volunteers to become an emissary entrusted with the task of taking Princess Toki back. Tokimasa accepts his offer and employs him as a low-class retainer. T˘zabur˘ puts on armor and asks Tokimasa for permission to marry Princess Toki if he succeeds in his mission. Tokimasa grants his request and delivers his dagger to T˘zabur˘ as a proof of his commission. T˘zabur˘ gladly leaves for Kinugawa Village, paying no attention to Okuru's protest against his proposed marriage to Princess Toki.

Kinugawa-mura Kankyo
At the Cottage in the Village of Kinugawa
--> A dedicated summary: "Kinugawa-mura Kankyo"

At the house of Miuranosuke in Kinugawa Village, Orachi, a housewife in the neighborhood, and Okuru, T˘zabur˘'s wife, are visiting Miuranosuke's mother Nagato. Princess Toki, Miuranosuke's fiancee, who is temporarily living in the house, is absent, having gone to buy a bottle of sake which she intends to serve Orachi. Orachi enters an inner room to rest. Okuru goes back to her house to cook. Two tsubone of H˘j˘ Tokimasa, Sanuki and Awa, visit the house and tell Miuranosuke's mother that they have come as messengers of their master to take Princess Toki back. Nagato answers that Princess Toki will never go back.

When Princess Toki returns home from shopping she flatly refuses to go back to her father. Orachi comes out of the inner room, drinks sake and teaches Princess Toki how to wash rice before boiling it (kome arai). Then she drinks all the remaining sake and goes out to buy more. The ladies-in-waiting decide to kill Miuranosuke's mother Nagato and take Princess Toki back. As they approach her room, however, they are blocked by T˘zabur˘. T˘zabur˘ tells them that he has Tokimasa's order and shows them Tokimasa's dagger as its proof. At T˘zabur˘'s advice, they retire to the village headman's house to stand by. T˘zabur˘ hides himself to bide his time.

[The Kabuki version of "Kinugawa-mura Kankyo" usually starts from here]

Miuranosuke comes back from the battlefield to see her mother, having been informed that she is seriously ill. At the gate of the house he falls unconscious due to fatigue but soon comes to when Princess Toki pours medicine into his mouth. After asking Princess Toki about his mother's condition, Miuranosuke proceeds to the doorway of his mother's room when he hears her calling to him not to open the door. She says if he is a true warrior like his late father, who was known for his unparalleled valor, he should devote himself completely to the service to his lord, never thinking for a moment of leaving the battlefield no matter how serious his mother's illness may be. Nagato's words are so stern that Miuranosuke feels he has no choice but to return to the battlefront immediately. As he tries to go, however, Princess Toki clings to him, saying that she loves him with all her heart and that she will cast her lot with him through thick and thin. In spite of her assertion Miuranosuke is not fully convinced of her loyalty to him because she is a daughter of his enemy, Tokimasa. Princess Toki asks Miuranosuke to stay until dawn for the sake of his mother whose death seems imminent. Miuranosuke agrees and the couple enters an inner room.

The tsubone Sanuki and Awa come back, intent on killing Miuranosuke's mother. Tonda Rokur˘, a retainer of Tokimasa, emerges from the well in the garden and tells the ladies-in-waiting that he has come through an underground passage he had secretly dug in order to gain entrance to the garden from outside. The ladies-in- waiting go away, having been asked by Rokur˘ to stand by outside the house. Okuru appears and, identifying herself as T˘zabur˘'s wife, leads Rokur˘ to the back of the house. Princess Toki then appears, followed by T˘zabur˘. T˘zabur˘ hands the dagger to Princess Toki and asks her to go back to her father with him. Princess Toki sternly rejects the offer. She threatens to kill him, so he runs away. Upon looking at the dagger brought by T˘zabur˘, Princess Toki correctly guesses that her father is hinting to her to kill Miuranosuke's mother with it. Instead of following his implied order, she decides to kill herself. Just as she attempts to do so, however, Miuranosuke rushes out of the inner room to stop her, He says he now has no doubt about her loyalty to him and asks her to kill her own father. Though hesitant at first, she resolutely promises to comply with his request.

Okuru, who has secretly overheard their conversation, appears to tell them that she will go to inform Tokimasa of Princess Toki's plan. Miuranosuke catches her and holds her down. Okuru then suggests to Rokur˘ to go to Tokimasa's headquarters in her place. As Rokur˘ tries to go, a spear thrust from inside the well kills him instantly. From the well appears T˘zabur˘, now resplendently dressed to reveal his true identity as Takatsuna. Here starts Takatsuna's famous monogatari. He tells Miuranosuke and Princess Toki that he paid money to make the real T˘zabur˘, a farmer and Okuru's husband, to act as his double and that when the poor T˘zabur˘ was killed in his place he disguised himself as T˘zabur˘ and successfully deceived Tokimasa.

Princess Toki takes up a spear with which she intends to kill Tokimasa when Nagato grabs it and thrusts it into her abdomen, saying that she is killing herself in order to enable Miuranosuke to fight wholeheartedly without being worried about his mother's illness.

Ishiyama Honjin
At the Headquarters in Ishiyama
This scene is no more part of the current Kabuki repertoire [4]

Escorting Princess Toki back to H˘j˘ Tokimasa's headquarters (honjin) at Ishiyama, T˘zabur˘ asks Tokimasa to let him marry her as promised, but Princess Toki does not consent to marry him. Meanwhile, two severed heads, each supposed to be Takatsuna's, are brought one by one to the headquarters. Asked by Tokimasa to identify them, T˘zabur˘ says that they are both the heads of Takatsuna's doubles.

The koshimoto Shigarami comes in to report that Miuranosuke is valiantly fighting against appalling odds. Princess Toki appeals to her father to spare Miuranosuke's life. When Tokimasa agrees, T˘zabur˘ volunteers to go to the battlefront to convey his message.

After a while T˘zabur˘ comes back with the severed head of Miuranosuke, saying that Miuranosuke, who had been fatally wounded, cut off his own head. When Tokimasa goes away to take rest, Princess Toki in despair attempts to kill herself but is interrupted by T˘zabur˘. T˘zabur˘ urges her to assassinate her father as she has promised to Miuranosuke. She says, however, that it is utterly impossible to do so since Tokimasa is very cautious. T˘zabur˘ then asks her to show him the location of Tokimasa's bedroom by a signal. Taking out his gun, which he has hidden under a stepping stone in the garden, T˘zabur˘ fires at the bedroom. H˘j˘ no Yoshitoki, Tokimasa's second son, appears to tell those who were surprised by the gunshot that Tokimasa fainted but soon recovered consciousness. T˘zabur˘ attacks him with his sword but Yoshitoki successfully defends himself with a flag and discovers T˘zabur˘'s true identity as Takatsuna. Meanwhile, Princess Toki commits suicide by cutting her throat with a dagger. Takatsuna tells Yoshitoki that his master Yoriie has already fled with his son to the Ryűkyű Island, whereupon Yoshitoki advises him to follow them to the southern islands.


[1] The title "Chronicle of Three Generations in Kamakura" comes from osakaprints.com.

[2] In "Kamakura Sandaiki", he was named Sakamoto Miuranosuke Yoshimura.

[3] In "Kamakura Sandaiki", the daughter of H˘j˘ Tokimasa was called Princess Toki, not Tokiko, and this role is one of the finest akahime roles.

[4] These acts have fallen into oblivion but they might be revived in the future to come at the National Theatre.

The actors Jitsukawa Enzabur˘ I (left) and Kataoka Nizaemon VIII (right) playing the roles of Mashiba Hisatsugu and Sasaki Takatsuna in the drama "Kamakura Sandaiki" in a mitate-e print made in 1861 by Utagawa Kunikazu

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