Play title Takao Zange  In Japanese
Shinkyoku Takao Zange  In Japanese
Authors Sakurada Jisuke I (lyrics)/Namisaki Tokuji I (music)

Takao was a famous keisei name, held by 11 generations of courtesans. The second one, who was killed in the 12th lunar month of 1659 by the daimy˘ Date Tsunamune on a pleasure boat. The dance, which is nowadays entitled "Takao" or "Takao Zange", was about the apparition of the remorseful ghost of Takao. The Nagauta "Takao Zange" was premiered in the 1st lunar month of 1744 at the Ichimuraza, performed as part of the new year drama "Nanakusa Wakayagi Soga" and starring Segawa Kikujir˘ I in the role of the ghost of the keisei Takao. The Tomimoto-based dance-drama "Shinkyoku Takao Zange" was premiered in the 7th lunar month of 1782 at the Nakamuraza, starring Segawa Kikunoj˘ III in the role of the ghost of the keisei Takao. This Tomimoto version of the dance became the Kiyomoto-based dance "Takao Zange", which was successfully revived in September 1956 at the Kabukiza by the Sh˘wa star Nakamura Utaemon VI.

Key words Shosagoto

It is summer and this is the grounds of a temple close to Yoshiwara pleasure quarter. The grave of the famous keisei Takao is located in a round mound that is covered with thick green leaves. A temple bell can be heard ringing and the ghost of the keisei Takao appears at the foot of the mound, as if allured by the sound of chanting voices. She starts to talk about how hard life was when she was alive, and reminisces about how she felt when she was in love. Suddenly, the remorseful ghost of the keisei Takao reverts to a human and her voice becomes beautiful. She relates the horrors and tortures of hell, no doubt meant as a warning to those who might think of misbehaving. Then she once again disappears into the mound.


"Takao" on youtube.com: part 1/2 and part 2/2.

The actor Segawa Kikunoj˘ III portraying the courtesan Takao in a print made by Utagawa Toyokuni III in 1852

The actor Onoe Taganoj˘ II portraying the courtesan Takao in a print made by Toyohara Kunichika

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