Play title Ukiyozuka Hiyoku no Inazuma  In Japanese
Author Tsuruya Nanboku IV

A sayaate is a scabbards clashing confrontation between two warriors. In the Kabuki world, this word is associated to the confrontation between Nagoya Sanza and Fuwa Banzaemon, who were both in love with the courtesan Katsuragi. The very first sayaate scene in Kabuki history was staged in the 3rd lunar month of 1680 at the Ichimuraza [more details].

"Sayaate" is now a 20-minute visually-striking dance look-alike popular act, which is based on the version written by Tsuruya Nanboku IV for his long drama "Ukiyozuka Hiyoku no Inazuma", which was premiered in the 3rd lunar month of 1823 at the Ichimuraza [casting]. It is accompanied by a light Nagauta ensemble.


"Ukiyozuka Hiyoku no Inazuma" was divided in two parts, 9 acts and 19 scenes. The "Sayaate" scene of this drama was the 8th and last scene of the first part. It quickly became a successful independent drama. When "Ukiyozuka Hiyoku no Inazuma" is staged as a t˘shi ky˘gen, "Sayaate" is entitled "Date Kurabe Kuruwa no Sayaate".

Key words Fuwa-nagoyamono
Tome Onna

Fuwa Banzaemon carries a sword named "Thunder" and wears a kimono decorated with a pattern of "lightning-in-the-clouds". His rival Nagoya Sanzabur˘ (Sanza for short) carries a sword named "Amorous Swallows" and wears a kimono decorated with a "swallows-in-the-rain" pattern. Unaware of each other, they make simultaneous entrances along the two raised passageways (hanamichi) through the audience. As they pass on the main stage, which represents Nakanoch˘ Street in the Yoshiwara pleasure district at cherry blossom time, their sword hilts clash. They exchange insults, remove their green sedge travelling-hats, recognize one another and draw swords to fight over the courtesan Katsuragi. The mistress of a neighbouring tea house rushes forward and persuades them to call a truce.

Source: the Fitzwilliam Museum Website


Depending on the production, the person who makes Nagoya Sanza and Fuwa Banzaemon lower their swords, is the mistress of a neighbouring tea house, the courtesan Katsuragi or a tea house bant˘. The name of the mistress of a neighbouring tea house is related to the actor, who plays the role. It is for examples Otoki when Nakamura Tokiz˘ plays the role or Oky˘ when she is played by Nakamura Shibajaku (because of his yag˘ Ky˘ya).

The actors Onoe Kikugor˘ V, Nakamura Fukusuke IV and Ichikawa Danjűr˘ IX playing the roles of Nagoya Sanza, the Kikuya mistress and Fuwa Banzaemon in the drama "Sono Omokage Kuruwa no Sayaate", which was staged in October 1898 at the Kabukiza (print made by Utagawa Kunimasa III)

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