Stage names:

Sawamura Chjr I In Japanese
Sawamura Sjr In Japanese
Sawamura Chjr I In Japanese
Sawamura Rokunosuke In Japanese

Guild: Izutsuya

Line number: SHODAI (I)

Poetry names: Skei, Kion

Existence: 1675 ~ 24th day of the 1st lunar month of 1734 [1]


Father-in-law: Yamashita Kyemon I

Adopted brother: Sawamura Kodenji I

Sons: Kasane Izutsu Tjr, Sawamura Chjr II

Disciples: Sawamura Sjr I, Sawamura Bunji, Sawamura Minegor I (?) [4], Sawamura Minegor II (?) [4], Sawamura Masagor, Sawamura Koday


1675 ~ 1701: born in Kyto in the district of Miyagawa-ch. His father Bicchya Rokuroemon was a renowned dance teacher in the Imperial Capital and his adopted brother Sawamura Kodenji I was a promising wakaonnagata actor. He received the name of Sawamura Rokunosuke and became a reputed musician (drums).

1st lunar month of 1701: Sawamura Rokunosuke decided to shift to acting and took the name of Sawamura Chjr I. He made his first appearance on stage in Kyto at Ebisuya Kichirb's theater, playing the role of Yamagata Oribe in the drama "Shin Yome Kagami", which was produced by Yamashita Hanzaemon I.

11th lunar month of 1701 ~ 10th lunar month of 1703: Chjr settled in saka and performed in the productions of Kataoka Nizaemon I, notably the drama "Ransetsu Oredake", which was staged in the 1st lunar month of 1702 to commemorate the passing away of Arashi San'emon II.

Fall 1703: Chjr returned to Kyto.

11th lunar month of 1703 ~ 10th lunar month of 1712: Chjr performed in Kameya Kumenoj's and Ebisuya Kichirb's theaters.

11th lunar month of 1709: Chjr played the role of Fujiya Izaemon, the most important role of the great Genroku actor Sakata Tjr I who passed away a few days before the performance. This was a great challenge for Chjr, who spent all his time and energy perfecting his acting skills in order to please Sakata Tjr I's fans. His stage partner in the role of the courtesan Ygiri, Izaemon's lover, was Yoshizawa Ayame I. The performance was successful and contributed a lot to the rising fame of Chjr.

7th lunar month of 1711: Chjr played the role of Asama Tomoenoj [2] in the drama "Keisei Asama-ga-Dake", which was staged in the same theater; his stage partners were Yoshizawa Ayame I (the courtesan Miura) and Yamashita Kyemon I (Wadaemon). The performance was a big success and was extended up to october 1711.

11th lunar month of 1712: second stay in saka. Chjr played the role of Inarinosuke in the drama "Inari Daimy Shintaku no Kawado", which was produced by Mitsuyama Shichisabur.

11th lunar month of 1713: Chjr achieved a great success by playing the role of Naniwanoj in the drama "minato Kogane no Izumi", which was produced by Yamamoto Hikogor.

Summer 1715: Chjr became zamoto.

1st lunar month of 1716: Chjr produced in saka the drama "kazari Monomi Guruma", starring the great wakaonnagata actor Ogino Yaegiri I in the role of Ono no Komachi.

1716: Chjr gave to his young disciple Someyama Kijr the name of Sawamura Zengor.

11th lunar month of 1716: Sawamura Chjr temporarily took the name of Sawamura Sjr and produced in saka the kaomise drama "Kogane no Ichigura" in which he performed with Sawamura Zengor and Anegawa Shinshir I. He held his new name only during this performance.

2nd lunar month of 1717: Chjr produced in saka the dramas "Keisei Chibiki no Ishi" and Chikamatsu Monzaemon's "Keisei Kokusen'ya" in which Sawamura Zengor was well received by the public, notably for his performance in the second play as he had to replace the star Anegawa Shinshir I for the main role of Watnai.

11th lunar month of 1717: Chjr produced in saka at the Naka no Shibai the kaomise drama "Inari Yashiki Daikoku Bashira" in which he played the role of Inamatsu Genjr; his stage partner for the role of Oshige, Genjr's spouse, was the young wakaonnagata Sanogawa Mangiku.

12th lunar month of 1717: Chjr produced in the same theater the kiri kygen "saka Shinj Hajimari" [3], in which he played the role of Masuya Kanb.

12th lunar month of 1719: Chjr produced in Kyto Adachi Saburzaemon's kaomise drama "Yamato ji Meoto Izumi", starring Ogino Yaegiri in the role of Oshige.

11th/12th lunar months of 1720: Chjr produced in Kyto at Miyako Manday's theater the kaomise drama "Gosha no Yonegura Fukki no Aimuko" and the kiri kygen "Hamadaya Shirozuki no Yone", in which he played the roles of Tamamatsu Inabanosuke and Eguchi Tazaemon.

11th lunar month of 1721: Chjr produced in Kyto at Miyako Manday's theater the kaomise drama "Inari Fuku In'y no Kanegura", in which he played the role of Inamura Tomojr.

Fall 1722: Chjr went to saka.

11th lunar month of 1722: Chjr played at the Naka no Shibai the role of Takamatsu Gennai in the drama "Odori Hotei", which was produced by Takeshima Kzaemon II.

11th lunar month of 1723: Chjr played at the Naka no Shibai the role of Fujiwara Nakamitsu in the kaomise drama "Chshin Futaba no Matsu", which was produced by Matsushima Hytar.

11th lunar month of 1724: Chjr played the role of Tamamatsu Inabanosuke in the kaomise drama "Senbon Matsu Hi-no-De no Maizuru", which was produced in saka by Sakakiyama Shirotar I and Sawamura Kiyojr.

11th lunar month of 1730: Chjr played in Kyto at Hayagumo Chday's theater the role of Umematsu Takaemon in Sawamura Bunji's kaomise drama "Inari Yakata Manp no Kura", which was produced by Arashi Koroku I.

9th lunar month of 1732: first Kabuki adaptation of Matsuda Bunkd and Hasegawa Senshi puppet theater drama "Dan no Ura Kabuto Gunki", which was produced in Kyto by Sakakiyama Shirotar I at Miyako Manday's theater; Chjr played the role of Shigetada [casting].

12th lunar month of 1733: Chjr appeared on stage for the last time, in Kyto, playing the role of Kanki in Chikamatsu Monzaemon's masterpiece "Kokusen'ya Gassen", which was produced by Anegawa Chiyosabur I.

24th day of the 1st lunar month of 1734 [1]: Chjr died.


Sawamura Chjr I was an outstanding actor, without doubt the most representative tachiyaku for the Shtoku and Kyh eras, and a successful zamoto. He spent all his career in the the Kamigata area and there was no record of any stay in Edo.

Sawamura Chjr I was the founder of the Sawamura clan, whose main line, the Sawamura Sjr line, was famous for his Edo wagoto style, which takes its roots in Chjr's acting.

[1] The 24th day of the 1st lunar month of the 19th year of the Kyh era was the 27th of February 1734 in the western calendar.

[2] The role of Tomoenoj was played for the first time by the Edo actor Nakamura Shichisabur I in the 1st lunar month of 1698 and became one of the most famous wagoto roles.

[3] This drama was a shinjmono based on the story of Chemon and his lover Ichinoj. The 17th day of the 5th lunar month of the 3rd year of the Tenna era (the 11th of June 1683 in the western calendar), the courtesan Yamatoya Ichinoj and her lover Goze no Chemon committed suicide together in saka. This event caused quite a stir and three saka theaters decided to capitalize on the situation by simultaneously producing the same month the first shinjmono of Kabuki history.

[4] Sawamura Chjr I was most likely the master of both Sawamura Minegor I and Sawamura Minegor II. Not recorded in Nojima Jusabur's book "Kabuki Jinmei Jiten".

Sawamura Chjr I playing the role of Yuge Dky in the drama "Wash Futatsuishi", which was performed in Kyto in Spring 1727

Prints & Illustrations

The Sawamura Sjr line of actors

The Sawamura Chjr line of actors

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