Invitation to Kabuki - Guidance for Kabuki appreciation
Kabuki repertoire
"Sugawara denju tenarai kagami"
Introduction of work
This is a Jidaimono Gidayu-kyogen based on the case of Sugawara Michizane, a Heian period statesman who was banished due to an intrigue planned by the Fujiwara family.
The main scenes performed today are those: commonly called 'Domyoji' describing the miracle when Kan Shojo, who has been condemned to exile due to a false accusation by Fujiwara Shihei, is parting from his aunt and daughter; commonly called 'Kurumabiki' in which there is a quarrel between the triplet brothers Umeoumaru, Sakuramaru and Matsuoumaru; commonly called 'Ga no iwai' in which Sakuramaru, blaming himself for Shojo's exile, commits seppuku (ritual suicide); and commonly called 'Terakoya' in which Matsuoumaru sacrifices his own son in order to save Kan Shusai, the son of Kan Shojo.
Since the Edo period, "Sugawara denju tenarai kagami" has been repeatedly performed as a fine example of Kabuki dramaturgy, and together with "Kanadehon chushingura" and "Yoshitsune sembonzakura" it is considered one of the 3 great masterpieces of Gidayu-kyogen.
End of 'Terakoya' scene. Chiyo played by Onoe Baiko 7th, Matsuoumaru by Nakamura Kanzaburo 17th, Sonou-no-mae by Otani Tomoemon 8th, Kan Shusai by Onoe Kikumaru 4th, Genzo by Ichimura Uzaemon 17th, and Tonami by Nakamura Jakuemon 4th, "Sugawara denju tenarai kagami" 'Terakoya' scene, December 1981
See content here concerning story and related information.
Culture Digital Library: Work explanation "Sugawara denju tenarai kagami"
Distinctive expressions
Kubi-jikken means kembun [visual confirmation and inspection] of whether or not a severed head is really that of the person in question. It also means a scene in which Kubi-jikken is done. The person who presents the severed head does his utmost to deceive the inspector by preparing a substitute, and the person doing kembun inspects the head with great care, so the scene shows a very strained situation.
In the 'Terakoya' scene, Takebe Genzo presents the severed head of a child who was a pupil at Genzo's private school, as a substitute for that of Kan Shusai, and it passed the inspection. After this, there is an unexpected development: Matsuoumaru, the kembunyaku (inspector) confesses to Genzo that the child whose head Genzo used as a substitute was Matsuoumaru's own son.
In addition to this work, there are many Gidayu-kyogen in which the substitute head in a Kubi-jikken scene is the key to story development.
Kubi-jikken scene full of strained feelings. Tonami played by Nakamura Tokizo 3rd, Takebe Genzo by Nakamura Kichiemon 1st, Matsuoumaru by Onoe Kikugoro 6th, "Sugawara denju tenarai kagami" 'Terakoya' scene, Kabukiza, January 1943
•  "Ichinotani futaba gunki"
  Common name: 'Kumagai jinya'
• "Omi genji senjin yakata"
  Common name: 'Moritsuna jinya'
> "Yoshitsune sembonzakura" Common name: 'Sushiya'