Dance title Imay˘ Suma no Utsushie  In Japanese
Common title Suma no Utsushie  In Japanese
Authors Sakurada Jisuke II (lyrics)
Kiyosawa Mankichi (music)
Fujima Kanjűr˘ I (choreography)

Sakurada Jisuke II's Kiyomoto-based dance-drama "Imay˘ Suma no Utsushie" was premiered in the 5th lunar month of 1815 at the Ichimuraza of [casting]. In modern days, it was revived in March 1954 at the Kabukiza [more details]. It was staged within the program of the 1st edition of the Tsubomikai, a study group led by Nakamura Utaemon VI [more details].

Key words Akattsura
Ariwara Yukihira
Suma no Ura

On the shore of Suma in the province of Settsu, the exiled nobleman Ariwara no Yukihira is performing an elegant dance with the sisters Matsukaze [1] and Murasame [2]. The two sisters are both ama and are both in love with him. Three years have passed since the first day of his banishment to this lonely place and Yukihira has just had word that he has been pardoned. He is therefore allowed to return to Ky˘to. He does not have the heart to tell the two sisters that he is about to leave them. His farewell gifts and mementoes for the sisters are his eboshi hat, a silken garment (kariginu) and a farewell poem on a strip of paper. The sisters find the gifts after his departure. Their desolation is terrible when they realize that their lover has definitively deserted them. They run frantically toward the port.

They are impeded by the crude and lecherous ry˘shi Konohŕ (akattsura) who tries to force his unwelcome attention on Matsukaze. Murasame runs off in her attempt to catch Yukihira although Konohŕ says the boat has already left. Matsukaze loses her mind in her grief and imagines she sees Yukihira in the pine tree where the silken garment is hanging, but even in her madness she fiercely fights Konohŕ off.


Both Yukihira and Konohŕ are often performed by the same actor. The purpose is to bring out the two contrasting personalities through different forms of dancing, the courtly elegance of the nobleman and the rough uncouthness of the fisherman.


[1] Literally "pine wind".

[2] Literally "passing rain".

Nakamura Utaemon VI (right) and Jitsukawa Enjaku III (left) playing the roles of the ama Matsukaze and the ry˘shi Konobŕ in the dance-drama "Suma no Utsushie" in a print made by Tsuruya K˘kei
Print courtesy of Ted Jagoda

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