Play title Kosode Soga Azami no Ironui  In Japanese
Sato Moy˘ Azami no Ironui  In Japanese
Common titles Izayoi Seishin  In Japanese
Oniazami Seikichi  In Japanese
Authors Kawatake Shinshichi II
Shinoda Sasuke
Umezawa S˘roku

The drama "Kosode Soga Azami no Ironui" (commonly called "Izayoi Seishin") was premiered in the 2nd lunar month of 1859 at the Ichimuraza of Kawatake Shinshichi II's [casting]. This drama mixed the adventures of the thief Onib˘zu Seikichi, the story of the xxx, the story of the kenkyaku Yaegaki Monz˘, a real incident (the shinjű of a Kan'eiji bonze with an Edo yűjo) and the world of the Soga Brothers. It was premiered the 5th day of the 2nd lunar month of the 6th year of the Ansei era. Only the Izayoi/Seishin part has survived and it was entitled "Sato Moy˘ Azami no Ironui" from 1902.


The drama "Kosode Soga Azami no Ironui" was made up of 6 acts. 3 scenes of act IV are frequently performed nowadays. A longer version is occasionally staged, which is made up of the 3 scenes of act IV and 2 scenes at Hakuren's mansion.

Key words Sewamono
Onib˘zu Seikichi

The 100-pile breakwater (hyapponkui) by the Inase river

In the story the young priest, Seishin is discovered to be having a love affair with the geisha. Izayoi, and is banished as a punishment. Izayoi follows, begging to be allowed to accompany him but he refuses. When she eventually tells him that she carries his child, they decide that the only way out of their predicament is to die together. They leap into the river. The highlight of this first scene is the kudoki performed by Izayoi as she pleads with Seishin to take her with him. This is accompanied by extremely beautiful Kiyomoto music.

Though both characters try to drown themselves, neither actually succeeds, and in the second scene Izayoi is caught up in a large fishing net belonging to the poet Hakuren and is saved. It is the third scene however, that proves the most interesting. Seishin also hasn't drowned because he says he is too good a swimmer, an excuse that hints at his lack of backbone and weakness. As he fills his sleeves with stones in another attempt at death by drowning, his character is tested further. Along comes a young page by the name of Motome carrying 50 gold pieces. As he enters on the hanamichi both actors speak alternately in a passage of rhythmic dialogue that is superb to hear. The boy has an attack of cramps and falls to the ground in pain. At first Seishin tries to help by massaging his chest, but when he discovers the packet of money, his nature gradually changes from that of a weak but harmless young man into that of a far more sinister character. With nothing left to lose, Seishin resolves to become a thief. After much soul-searching, Seishin murders the boy and steals the money.

Text courtesy of Paul M. Griffith

A brief summary of usually-ommitted acts

Izayoi, who became Hakuren's mistress and took back her real name Osayo, decides to shaves her head and become a nun in order to pray for Seishin's soul, whom she believes dead. She leaves Hakuren, going on pilgrimage to Hakone, but she is abducted in the valley of Hell (Jigoku no Tani) by a bunch of highwaymen. She is rescued by another bandit named Seikichi and nicknamed Oniazami ('the Demon thistle'), who is none other than Seishin. Seikichi persuades Osayo to abandon her religious life and they become partners in crime. Their first evil plan is to blackmail Hakuren.

At Hakuren's mansion (2 occasionally-performed scenes)

Seikichi and Osayo confront Hakuren, only to find that he is a greater villain than they are. He has broken into the Sh˘gun's tresury and stolen a fabulous amount of golden pieces. They also realize that Hakuren, whose real name is ďdera Sh˘bŕ, is the brother of Seikichi. They learn as well that Motome, the young page, who was murdered by Seishin, is in fact Izayoi's younger brother. Seikichi and Osayo, feeling the agonies of remorse, successfully commit their shinjű and Sh˘bŕ is arrested by the police.


[1] The xxth of March 1859 in the western calendar.

The actors Ichimura Uzaemon XIII, Ichikawa Kodanji IV and Iwai Kumesabur˘ III playing the roles of Motome, Seishin and Izayoi in the drama "Kosode Soga Azami no Ironui", which was staged in the 2nd lunar month of 1859 at the Ichimuraza (print made by Utagawa Toyokuni III)

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