Play title Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura  In Japanese
Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees
Authors Takeda Izumo II
Miyoshi Sh˘raku
Namiki Senryű I

The play "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura" was originally written for the puppet theater (Bunraku) and staged for the first time in the 11th lunar month of 1747 in ďsaka at the Takemotoza. It was adapted for Kabuki the following year and staged for the first time in the 1st lunar month of 1748 in Ise with Kataoka Nizaemon IV (Tokaiya Ginpei, Yokawa no Zenji Kakuhan) and Yamamoto Koheiji (Tadanobu). It was performed for the first time in a city licensed theater in the 5th lunar month of 1748, in Edo at the Nakamuraza [casting].

In modern times, the "Heisoto" scene was revived a few times. Here is the list of all performances from the end of WWII to the end of the 20th century:

Date Theater Musashib˘ Benkei Tosab˘ Sh˘son
1954/06 Misonoza (Nagoya) Nakamura Fukusuke V Nakamura Kichijűr˘ II
1968/03 National Theatre (T˘ky˘) Ichikawa Yaoz˘ IX Nakamura Kamon II
1978/05 Asahiza (ďsaka) Ichikawa Sumiz˘ VII Ichikawa Nakaz˘
1980/07 Kabukiza (T˘ky˘) Band˘ Hikosabur˘ VIII Kataoka Roen VI
1983/10 Kabukiza (T˘ky˘) Nakamura Kash˘ III Nakamura Kikaku I
1984/09 Minamiza (Ky˘to) Nakamura Kash˘ III Ichikawa Engor˘
1988/07 Kabukiza (T˘ky˘) Nakamura Karoku V Ichikawa Engor˘
2005/09 Hakataza (Fukuoka) Ichikawa En'ya II Ichikawa Kin'ya

The "Horikawa Gosho Heisoto" scene (in English "Before the Outer Wall of the Horikawa Palace"), which is commonly called "Heisoto", is the last scene of the 1st act of "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura". It is staged on rare occasions, as part of a t˘shi ky˘gen production of "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura".

Key words Genpei Kassen
Gidayű Ky˘gen
Horikawa Gosho
Imo Arai
Minamoto Yoritomo
Minamoto Yoshitsune
Musashib˘ Benkei

Previous scene: "Kawagoe J˘shi"

Horikawa Gosho Heisoto
Before the Outer Wall of the Horikawa Palace

Tosab˘ Sh˘son, another warrior-priest, enters with his retinue. He has been sent by Yoritomo to capture Yoshitsune. He is opposed by Benkei, and a spectacular fight ensues. Benkei cuts off everyone's head, including Tosanobo's. Benkei then realizes that the palace is empty and his lord and the rest have gone. He flings Tosab˘'s head from him, saying it will lead him in the direction in which Yoshitsune has gone. Then he poses triumphantly with the rest of the heads (imo arai).

Source: Aubrey and Giovanna Halford in "The Kabuki Handbook"

Next scene: "Torii Mae"

The actors Ichikawa Omez˘ I (left side, one knee on the ground) and Matsumoto Kunigor˘ (riding the horse) playing the roles of the warrior-priests Musashib˘ Benkei and Tosab˘ Sh˘son in the "Heisoto" scene of the drama "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura", which was staged in the 9th lunar month of 1799 at the Ichimuraza

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