Play title Imoseyama Onna Teikin  In Japanese
Mt Imo and Mt Se: A Tale of Womanly Virtue
Authors Chikamatsu Hanji
Miyoshi Shôraku
Matsuda Boku
Chikamatsu Tônan

The play "Imoseyama Onna Teikin" was originally written for the puppet theater (Bunraku) and staged for the first time in the 1st lunar month of 1771 in Ôsaka at Takeda Shinmatsu's theater (ex-Takemotoza). It was quickly adapted for Kabuki and staged in Kyôto in the 3rd lunar month of 1771 at the Kitagawa no Shibai [casting]. It was a long run, produced from the 25th day of the 3rd lunar month to the 10th of the 5th lunar month of 1771. For this premiere, the roles of Motome, Omiwa, Tachibana and Netarô were played by Fujimatsu Sanjûrô I, Arashi Hinasuke I, Mimasu Tokujirô I and Ogino Kichisaburô.


"Sugi Sakaya" is the second scene of the 4th act of "Imoseyama Onna Teikin". It is occasionally staged as part of a tôshi kyôgen production.

Key words Asuka Jidai
Fujiwara Kamatari
Fujiwara Tankai
Gidayû Kyôgen
Kasuga Taisha
Soga Iruka
Taika no Kaishin

In the gathering dusk Netarô, a boy employee of the sake shop named Sugi Sakaya, lights the lamp at the entrance of the shop and sees a woman covering her head with a white silk cloth enter a next-door neighbor's house, in which Motome, a head gear maker lives. When Omiwa, daughter of the proprietress of the sake shop, comes back from the village school, Netarô informs her that Motome is meeting a woman in his house. Omiwa, who is in love with Motome, becomes uneasy and asks Netarô to bring Motome to her.

When Motome comes Omiwa accuses him of his unfaithfulness to her. Motome tells her quite falsely that his guest is in the service of the Kasuga Shrine and that she has come to order a headgear for her priest husband. Omiwa feels relieved at this explanation and hands a spool of red thread to him. The spool, together with a spool of white thread held by Omiwa, symbolizes their firm pledge of love.

The woman left alone in Motome's house is in fact Tachibana, Iruka's younger sister, who is also in love with Motome. Getting impatient, Tachibana comes to the sake shop and the two women quarrel, each claiming her monopoly of Motome's love.

Meanwhile, Omiwa's mother returns to her shop. She has heard that Iruka is looking for Kamatari's son Tankai, offering a large sum of money as a reward to anyone who will find Tankai and bring him to Iruka. And she, who believes that Motome is in fact Tankai, asks him to stay in the house because she has business with him. The mischievous Netarô ties her obi to the tap of a huge sake cask with a rope. When she moves to catch hold of Motome, the tap gets loose, causing a gush of sake from the cask. In the confusion Tachibana runs out of the house, followed by Motome and Omiwa.

Text written by Hironaga Shûzaburô

The actors Kawarasaki Gonjûrô I, Ichikawa Kodanji IV and Iwai Kumesaburô III playing the roles of Motome, the decchi Netarô and Omiwa in the "Sugi Sakaya" scene of "Imoseyama Onna Teikin", which was staged in the 3rd lunar month of 1859 at the Ichimuraza (print made by Utagawa Toyokuni III)

Search this site powered by FreeFind
  Site map | Disclaimer
Contact | Main | Top | Updates | Actors | Plays | Playwrights | Programs | Links | FAQ | Glossary | Chronology | Illustrations | Prints | Characters | Derivatives | Theaters | Coming soon | News