Play title Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura  In Japanese
Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees
Authors Takeda Izumo II
Miyoshi Sh˘raku
Namiki Senryű I

The play "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura" was originally written for the puppet theater (Bunraku) and staged for the first time in the 11th lunar month of 1747 in ďsaka at the Takemotoza. It was adapted for Kabuki the following year and staged for the first time in the 1st lunar month of 1748 in Ise with Kataoka Nizaemon IV (Tokaiya Ginpei, Yokawa no Zenji Kakuhan) and Yamamoto Koheiji (Tadanobu). It was performed for the first time in a city licensed theater in the 5th lunar month of 1748, in Edo at the Nakamuraza [casting].


The "Okuniwa" scene is the third and last scene of the 4th act of "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura". It is often staged as the ending scene of a t˘shi ky˘gen production of "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura".

Key words Genpei Kassen
Gidayű Ky˘gen
Minamoto Yoritomo
Minamoto Yoshitsune
Noto-no-Kami Noritsune
Taira Noritsune

Previous scene: "Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata"

Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata Okuniwa
In the Inner garden of Kawatsura H˘gen's Palace

The landscape is lit by strange fox-fires. Four priests who have been bewitched by the fox's magic appear and perform a comic dance.

The ringleader of the wicked priests, Yokawa no Kakuhan, is lying in trance. He awakes and, realizing he has been bewitched by the fox, swears vengeance. Yoshitsune's voice is heard shouting; "What, Noritsune!". Kakuhan goes towards the hanamichi, but is stopped by Tadanobu who rushes upon the scene. Yoshitsune and his retainers enter calling for Noritsune and shouting their names and titles, as before a battle. Kakuhan pretends he does not understand, but, when challenged again, flings off his disguise and proclaims himself Taira no Noritsune. Yoshitsune refuses to take advantage of his enemy and they swear to meet again and engage in mortal combat.

Aubrey and Giovanna Halford in "The Kabuki Handbook"

Next scene: "Za˘d˘"

The actors Onoe Raisuke (top/left), Band˘ Mitsugor˘ II (top/center), Segawa Yűjir˘ II (top/right), Onoe Matsusuke I (bottom/left - the warrior with the halberd) and Segawa Kikunoj˘ III (bottom/right - the warrior with one knee on the ground) playing the roles of Kawatsura H˘gen, Minamoto no Yoshitsune, Kawatsura H˘gen's wife Asuka, the warrior-priest Yokawa no Zenji Kakuhan (in reality Taira no Noritsune) and Sat˘ Tadanobu in the "Okuniwa" scene of the drama "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura", which was staged in the 9th lunar month of 1799 at the Ichimuraza

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