Play title ďshű Adachi-ga-Hara  In Japanese
Authors Chikamatsu Hanji
Takeda Izumi
Kitamado Goichi
Takemoto Saburobŕ II

Chikamatsu Hanji's play in five acts "ďshű Adachi-ga-Hara" was originally written for the puppets theater in 1762. It was adapted for Kabuki in the 2nd lunar month of 1763 and staged at the Moritaza [casting|illustrations]. The historical background of this play is the zenkunen war, which opposed the Abe clan, ruler of the northern provinces of Japan (ďshű), to the Minamoto clan. The latter clan, led by Minamoto no Yoriyoshi and his son Minamoto no Yoshiie, defeated the former clan, led by Abe no Yoritoki and his two sons, Abe no Sadat˘ and Abe no Munet˘. After the war, the two sons became fugitives and the play is about their actions and their last murder attempts against their victor. The playwrights also integrated within this drama two famous ďshű legends, the ogress of Adachi-ga-Hara and the ut˘ bird.


"ďshű Adachi-ga-Hara" is made up of 5 acts:

Act Scene In Japanese In English
I 1 鶴が岡仮屋 Tsurugaoka Kariya
At the Temporary House in Tsurugaoka
  2 吉田社頭 Yoshida Shat˘
In front of the Yoshida Shrine
  3 八幡太郎館 Hachiman Tar˘ Yakata
At Hachiman Tar˘'s Mansion
II 1 外が浜 Soto-ga-Hama
At the Soto-ga-Hama Beach
  2 善知鳥文治住家 Ut˘ Bunji Sumika
At Ut˘ Bunji's home
III 1 朱雀堤 Shushaka Zutsumi
At Shushaka Embankment
  2 環の宮明御殿 Tamaki-no-Miya Akigoten
At Prince Tamaki's Empty Palace
IV 1 道行千里の岩田帯 Michiyuki Senri no Iwata Obi
The Medicine Peddlers' Travel
  2 一つ家 Hitotsuya
The Solitary House
  3 谷底 Tanisoko
The Bottom of the Ravine
V 1 小松柵 Komatsu-ga-Saku
At the Komatsu Palisade
You need a Japanese Language Kit installed within your system in order to be able to read the characters
Key words Abe Munet˘
Abe Sadat˘
Abe Yoritoki
Ennosuke Shijűhassen
Ennosuke Shin'enshutsu Jűshű
Gidayű Ky˘gen
Iwata Obi
Kamakura Gongor˘ Kagemasa
Minamoto Yoriyoshi
Minamoto Yoshiie
Tsuru Goroshi
Yoshida Jinja

Act I, scene 1: Tsurugaoka Kariya
At the Temporary House in Tsurugaoka
This scene is no more part of the current Kabuki repertoire.

The imperial messenger ďe Koretoki comes from Ky˘to to the temporary house in Tsurugaoka in Kamakura of Minamoto no Yoshiie, commonly called Hachiman Tar˘, the head of the Genji Clan. Hachiman Tar˘ was the victor of the Zenkunen war, which ended with the death of Abe no Yoritoki, the complete defeat of the Abe clan and its followers in ďshű.

Received by Hachiman Tar˘ and his retainers including Kamakura Gonnokami Kagenari and Uriwari Shir˘, ďe Koretoki conveys to Hachiman Tar˘ an Imperial edict to grant an amnesty to the chűnagon Katsura Norikuni, who has been exiled to ďshű Province. He also tells Hachiman Tar˘ to go up to Ky˘to and look for a missing sword named Totsuka, one of the three Imperial treasures.

A group of villagers comes to present 20 cranes to Hachiman Tar˘. The warlord accepts them, saying that he will release them as sacred birds after attaching a gold tag to their legs.

Kagenari notices wild geese flying in an irregular formation and warns Hachiman Tar˘ that this is a sign of soldiers lying in ambush. Hachiman Tar˘ is pleased with Kagenari's carefulness and reveals that he has tested Kagenari's caution by making some of his Soldiers lurk in the bush.

Act I, scene 2: Yoshida Shat˘
In front of the Yoshida Shrine
--> A dedicated summary: "Yoshida Shat˘"

Prince Tamaki-no-Miya arrives with his retinue at the Yoshida Shrine. Shigasaki Ikomanosuke, a retainer of Hachiman Tar˘, tells the prince that he has been ordered to escort him. Koiginu, a courtesan in love with Ikomanosuke, flirts with the young man. Uriwari Shir˘, another retainer of Hachiman Tar˘, falsely tells Ikomanosuke that his master is calling him. Ikomanosuke goes away while Uriwari tries to seduce Koiginu but he has to stop when a professional bird catcher arrives. The bird catcher, who is named Hanbŕ and who is secretly at the service of the Abe Brothers, puts a letter into the sleeve of Prince Tamaki-no-Miya's lady-in-waiting Kushige no Naishi's kimono while pretending to perform a dance. Kushige throws it back and the others ladies-in-waiting surrounds the bird catcher. He tries to fight them but fails and runs away. Then, Kushige takes the prince away with her. Taira Kenj˘ Naokata, who is in charge of protecting the prince, arrives to look for his master. He tries to question Hanbŕ but the bird catcher kills himself with a dagger. Naokata searches the dead man's body and finds an unsigned letter asking Kushige to take Prince Tamaki-no-Miya away. Naokata suspects that this letter was written by the imperial messenger ďe Koretoki.

Act I, scene 3: Hachiman Tar˘ Yakata
At Hachiman Tar˘'s Mansion
This scene is no more part of the current Kabuki repertoire.

Among the koshimoto, Kaede is particularly eager to be loved by Ikomanosuke. As she makes up her face in the front room Uriwari Shir˘ scolds her and drives her into another room.

Koiginu comes to see Ikomanosuke, saying she has been told by Uriwari Shir˘ that Ikomanosuke is calling her. Telling her that Shir˘ did so without his knowledge, Ikomanosuke makes her hide in a room. Kaede enters and tries to seduce Ikomanosuke without success.

ďe Koretoki brings a sword in a box and presents it to Hachiman Tar˘'s wife Shikitae, asking her to kill her father Naokata with it. He failed to keep Prince Tamaki-no-Miya in safe custody and therefore he has to be punished. He also asks his retainer Kasahara Gunki to hand his love letter to Shikitae.

The brothel-owner Tomoz˘ comes to call back Koiginu, who has eloped from his house of assignation. Ikomanosuke, disguising himself as Hachiman Tar˘, tries to scare off Tomoz˘ but the disguise is soon discovered. Princess Yaehata, Hachiman Tar˘'s younger sister, settles the dispute by paying Koiginu's ransom to Tomoz˘. Princess Yaehata, who is also in love Ikomanosuke, asks the courtesan to give him up. So indebted is she to Princess Yaehata that Koiginu cannot help but agree, though most reluctantly. Ikomanosuke gets angry, however, and demands that Koiginu return to him all his love letters in which he has pledged his perpetual love for her. Among the letters, he finds a paper on which the name of Koiginu's deceased father, Abe no Yoritoki, is written. Now that it has become known that Koiginu is a member of the Abe clan, with which his clan has been fighting, Ikomanosuke declares he no longer can love her.

Hachiman Tar˘ appears and, calling a group of pardoned exiles, tells them that they are now free to go anywhere. After they have gone, Katsura Noriuji, son of the late Katsura Norikuni, an exiled court noble, presents himself. Hachiman Tar˘, declaring that Noriuji is the rightful successor to his father as a chűnagon, orders his koshimoto to help him wear a court noble's costume. He then makes Noriuji sit in the place of honor in the room. Noriuji demands that Hachiman Tar˘ take appropriate measures to find the missing Totsuka sword and locate Prince Tamaki-no-Miya. He also suspects that Naokata may have had a hand in the disappearance of Prince Tamaki-no-Miya but, since Naokata is also Hachiman Tar˘'s father-in-law, Hachiman Tar˘ may be conniving at his crime as well.

After Noriuji has gone ďe Koretoki appears and demands that Hachiman Tar˘ behead Naokata but he refuses, saying it will become more difficult to locate Prince Tamaki-no-Miya if Naokata is dead. Koretoki then makes Kasahara Gunki bring Ikomanosuke and Koiginu to Hachiman Tar˘'s presence. Then he asks Hachiman Tar˘ to execute the pair for their illicit love. Hachiman Tar˘ takes up a sword and instead of killing Ikomanosuke and Koiginu, strikes and kills Gunki, blaming him for handing a love letter to Shikitae. He then declares that he will expel Ikomanosuke from his clan.

Gunki's younger brother Gunroku comes to avenge his brother's death but is repelled by Ikomanosuke and Koiginu. Uriwari Shir˘ also comes to attack Ikomanosuke but Ikomanosuke valiantly fights him off.

Act II, scene 2: Soto-ga-Hama
At the Soto-ga-Hama Beach
--> A dedicated summary: "Bunji Sumika"

While his wife is diving near the Soto-ga-Hama Beach to gather shellfish, the diver Ch˘ta tries to seduce Otani, the wife of Ut˘ Bunji. He quickly dives into the sea when Takaemon, the local magistrate, comes with the village headman, who reads to all the official government order not to kill any crane with a gold tag attached to one of its legs.

Otani goes to the doctor's to buy medicine for her son Kiyod˘. When she comes back to Soto-ga-Hama Beach she meets her husband Bunji, who tells her that he will be able to get enough money to buy the very expensive medicine needed to cure his son's disease.

Soto-ga-Hama Nambei, a local gambler and money-lender, who has lent money to Bunji, comes to demand the repayment to Bunji. The hunter promises to pay back in two or three days and goes away. Nambei tries to catch hold of Otani but he has to release her as Ch˘ta comes out of the sea and interrupts him.

Later that night, Bunji shoots down a crane, takes the gold tag and quickly runs away.

Act II, scene 2: Ut˘ Bunji Sumika
At Ut˘ Bunji's home
--> A dedicated summary: "Bunji Sumika"

The village official Sh˘emon visits the dwelling of Ut˘ Bunji. As Bunji is absent, Sh˘emon shows and reads his wife Otani the government order not to kill any crane with a gold tag attached to its leg.

After Sh˘emon has gone, Soto-ga-Hama Nambei comes with a brothel proprietor to buy Otani as a courtesan. Otani does not agree but there is no more money at home as everything was sold or pawned to buy medicine to save her son's life. Bunji returns and hands to Nambei the gold tag as a partial repayment of his debt. The brothel proprietor goes away but Nambei stays in the house to receive the remaining part of the debt. Bunji writes a letter and asks Otani to take it to the military governor's office, saying that the letter is to inform the local authorities that Soto-ga-Hama Nambei has killed a sacred crane. In fact, the letter says that Bunji himself has killed the crane but Otani, who is illiterate, can't read it.

Bunji prays at the household Buddhist altar, saying that he is offering his last prayer to the spirits of both Abe no Yoritoki and Bunji's father Yasuhide. His father served the Abe clan when it ruled ďshű. Hearing this, Nambei reveals to Bunji that he is in fact Abe no Munet˘, one of the two sons of Abe no Yoritoki, and that together with his elder brother, Sadat˘, he is planning to avenge the death of their father.

Otani gladly comes back, carrying a huge amount of money given as a reward for the letter denouncing the crane killer. She is surprised, however, to know that the killer mentioned in Bunji's letter was not Nambei but Bunji himself. When Otani starts crying, her son Kiyod˘ rises from his bed and suddenly falls. He is dead. When a group of torite, led by the military governor Shinobu Gunji, comes to arrest Bunji, Nambei offers himself as the criminal, showing the gold tag as the evidence of his offence. Nambei tells Bunji that he has taken his place in order to be able to confront Minamoto no Yoshiie in Ky˘to. Bunji tries to kill himself, holding himself responsible for the death of Kiyod˘, who is not his real son but the son of Abe no Sadat˘. Nambei dissuades him, saying that Bunji's help is indispensable to the Abe family's fight for revenge.

Act III, scene 1: Shushaka Zutsumi
At Shushaka Embankment
--> A dedicated summary: "Shushaka Zutsumi"

Sodehagi, a blind woman beggar, lives with her little daughter Okimi in a hut on the river bank at Shushaka near Shichij˘ in Ky˘to. She used to be better off but was reduced to poverty when she was disowned by her father, Taira no Kenj˘ Naokata, who opposed her marriage.

Naokata, who was ordered by his master to find the missing Prince Tamaki-no-Miya, happens to meet Yaehata, Minamoto no Yoshiie's younger sister, in front of Sodehagi's hut. While they are talking, Ikomanosuke, a younger retainer of Yoshiie and his lover Koiginu appear and perform a simple wedding ceremony, exchanging cups of sake offered by Sodehagi.

Naokata recognizes his daughter but refrains from admitting it. Some of Naokata's retainers come to tell him that ďe Koretoki has said that Naokata must kill himself if he cannot find Prince Tamaki-no-Miya in a day or two. As Naokata hurries away, Sodehagi follows him, led by Okimi by the hand.

Act III, scene 2: Tamaki-no-Miya Akigoten
At Prince Tamaki-no-Miya's Empty Palace
Part I: Shikitae Shisha | Messenger Shikitae

Shikitae, daughter of Taira Kenj˘ Naokata and wife of Hachiman Tar˘, visits the mansion of Prince Tamaki-no-Miya in Ky˘to, which is being taken care of by Kenj˘ and his wife in the absence of the prince. She tells her father as Yoshiie's emissary that Hachiman Tar˘ is going to attack Kenj˘ for his failure to locate the missing prince. Kenj˘ is not so much surprised as pleased, for the fact that Hachiman Tar˘ has designated Shikitae as his messenger is a clear indication that he will never divorce her in spite of the fact that she is Kenj˘'s daughter.

Act III, scene 2: Tamaki-no-Miya Akigoten
At Prince Tamaki's Empty Palace
Part II: Ya-no-Ne | The Arrowhead

Hachiman Tar˘ unexpectedly presents himself. Kenj˘ shows Hachiman Tar˘ an anonymous letter asking Lady-in-Waiting Kushige to take Prince Tamaki-no-Miya away. Judging by this letter, says Kenj˘, he believes that Prince Tamaki-no-Miya has been abducted by the Abe brothers, Sadat˘ and Munet˘, who are planning to fight the Genji clan with Prince Tamaki-no-Miya as leader of the rebellious force. Hachiman Tar˘ endorses this view and says that he will be able to get a clue to the enemy's plot if he questions Nambei, who is held by his men for his crime of killing a sacred crane.

The chűnagon Katsura Noriuji, a court noble, who in fact is Abe no Sadat˘ in disguise, then arrives with a branch of a plum tree bearing white flowers. Hachiman Tar˘ calls Nambei to him and asks whether he is in fact Abe no Munet˘. When Nambei says no, Hachiman Tar˘ shows him the white banner used by his father during the Zenkunen war against the Abe clan and the arrowhead used by the enemy leader Abe no Yoritoki. Nambei holds the arrowhead in his mouth and with it cuts his own shoulder. With the blood-stained arrowhead he writes a poem on the white banner. Hachiman Tar˘ takes Nambei into an inner room for further questioning. Noriuji also withdraws after advising Kenj˘ to kill himself honorably.

Act III, scene 2: Tamaki-no-Miya Akigoten
At Prince Tamaki-no-Miya's Empty Palace
Part III: Sodehagi Saimon | The Song of Sodehagi
--> A dedicated summary: "Sodehagi Saimon"

Led by her daughter Okimi by the hand, Sodehagi comes in the snow to the front of the mansion. Kenj˘ notices her presence and recognizes her as Sodehagi but coldly slams the door shut. His wife Hamayű then appears and advises her to appeal to her father for pardon by telling her story in the form of a beggar's song. Sodehagi does so, singing to the accompaniment of her shamisen. Sodehagi then shows a letter written by her husband. By reading it, Kenj˘ realizes that her husband is Abe no Sadat˘. At the same time he recognizes the handwriting as being identical with that of Katsura Noriuji. It begins to snow heavily and Sodehagi collapses. Okimi takes off her outer garment and places it on her mother. Hamayű also takes off her coat and flings it to Sodehagi across the fence.

Nambei, escaping from the room to which he is confined, comes to see Sodehagi and Okimi and reveals his true identity as Abe no Munet˘. He asks Sodehagi to kill Kenj˘, who stands in the way of the Abe brothers' plan to assassinate Hachiman Tar˘.

As the three persons are about to go away, Hachiman Tar˘'s voice is heard calling. Munet˘ tells Sodehagi and Okimi to hide and goes back to meet his arch enemy. Hachiman Tar˘, instead of arresting him, gives him a gold tag attached to a red rope that will allow him to travel throughout the country. Munet˘ thanks him and takes his leave.

Sodehagi, torn between conflicting loyalties, kills herself. Kenj˘ too commits suicide. Katsura Noriuji is about to leave when he is called by Hachiman Tar˘, who knows that he is in reality Abe no Sadat˘. The rebel is furious and reveals his true identity through an amazing bukkaeri. Munet˘ comes back, intent on attacking Hachiman Tar˘, but is dissuaded by Sadat˘. The Abe brothers are allowed to freely leave the palace. They will meet again on the battefield in a near future.

Act IV, scene 1: Michiyuki Senri no Iwata Obi
The Medicine Peddlers' Travel

Ikomanosuke and Koiginu, who have fled from Ky˘to, are on their way to ďshű, disguised as medicine peddlers. Koiginu is pregnant and wears an iwata obi. Though it is a long and lonely journey, love made their journey a happy one.

Act IV, scene 2: Hitotsuya
The Solitary House
--> A dedicated summary: "Hitotsuya"

A solitary hut stands in the wilderness of the desolate plain of Adachi-ga-Hara in ďshű. The owner of the hut is an aged woman with piercing eyes. She is the hag of Adachi-ga-Hara. If a traveler, who comes to the door to have a light for his tobacco, is found to have money, she would kill him and rob him of his money. She is almost an ogress.

A young woman, who is presently living with the old woman, comes home, accompanied by a young drug peddler, whom she met on her way home. She enters the house, leaving the young man at the door. He waits for some time but the young woamn does not reappear in spite of the fact that she said she would soon come out to meet him. The old woman comes to the door and tells him that the girl has already gone to bed. The young peddler pretends to go away but secretly enters the house through the back entrance.

Ikomanosuke and Koiginu come to the door. Since Koiginu is not well, they would like to spend the night in this hut. She is in the last month of pregnancy and is suffering from stomach pain. Ikomanosuke goes out to buy medicine, guided by the old woman. Soon she comes home alone and tells the frightened Koiginu that she wants something from her. Discovering that the old woman wants the embryo, Koiginu tries to escape from her. The old woman, however, manages to kill her, and takes the embryo out of the body.

Ikomanosuke returns and he discovers the body of Koiginu. He opens the old woman's room and finds her in a ceremonial robe, seated respectfully in front of a young boy, who is none other than Prince Tamaki-no-Miya. She tells him that she is in fact Iwate, the wife of the late Abe no Yoritoki. She took the embryo from Koiginu as medicine to cure Prince Tamaki-no-Miya, who is deaf-mute. Ikomanosuke tells her that Koiginu is in fact her own daughter. Unmoved, the old woman says that she knew it from the amulet-case Koiginu had on her.

The girl who returned home before Ikomanosuke and Koiginu is actually Kushige. Receiving the blood of the embryo, Kushige accidentally lets it drop into the valley, and strangely vapor rises from the bottom of the valley. Kushige is in fact Shinra Sabur˘ Yoshimitsu in disguise, the younger brother of Hachiman Tar˘. He appears on stage in male attire and declares that the angry waves indicate the existence of the Imperial sword of Totsuka concealed in the ravine. Moreover, Prince Tamaki-no-Miya is in fact Hachiman Tar˘'s son Yatsuwakamaru. He has been pretending to be deaf-mute. Angry at the deception, Iwate tries to kill Yatsuwakamaru but is interrupted by the drug peddler, who in fact is Kamakura Gongor˘ Kagemasa, one of Hachiman Tar˘'s faithful retainers. Iwate's plot against Hachiman Tar˘ having been foiled, Iwate stabs herself and jumps into the ravine.

Act IV, scene 3: Tanisoko
The Bottom of the Ravine
--> A dedicated summary: "Hitotsuya"

Yoshimitsu goes down to the bottom of the ravine where the body of Iwate is lying. Abe no Sadat˘ appears from behind a rock and hands to Yoshimitsu the Imperial sword of Totsuka as a token of thanks for Hachiman Tar˘'s benevolence toward his brother Munet˘. Yoshimitsu, in the name of Hachiman Tar˘, cancels the excommunication of Ikomanosuke in appreciation of his lover's death, which has led to the recovery of the Imperial sword.

Act V, scene 1: Komatsu-ga-Saku
At the Komatsu Palisade
This scene is no more part of the current Kabuki repertoire.

The poster of the production of "ďshű Adachi-ga-Hara", which was staged in April 1978 at the National Theatre

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