Play title Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami  In Japanese
Authors Takeda Izumo I
Miyoshi Sh˘raku
Namiki Senryű I
Takeda Koizumo I (Takeda Izumo II)

The play "Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami" was originally written for the puppet theater (Bunraku) and staged for the first time in the 8th lunar month of 1746 in ďsaka at the Takemotoza. It was adapted for Kabuki the following month and staged for the first time in Ky˘to at the Kitagawa no Shibai, produced by Nakamura Kiyosabur˘ I [casting]. It was also performed for the first time in Edo, at the Ichimuraza, in the 3rd lunar month of 1747 [casting].

This great play is based on the life of Sugawara no Michizane (845~903), a renowned scholar who was promoted up to the prestigious rank of udaijin ("Right Minister", one of the 2 close advisors of the Emperor). Falsely accused by Fujiwara no Shihei, the "Left Minister" (sadaijin), of trying to hatch a plot with Prince Tokiyo to seize the power, Sugawara no Michizane was exiled to Kyűshű. He dedicated his last years in writing poems, expressing both his homesickness and his innocence. After his death, the Emperor's residence was often struck by lightning and people thought it was done by the vengeful spirit of Sugawara no Michizane. A shrine was built in Ky˘to to appease the spirit, the Kitano Tenmangű, and Sugawara no Michizane was revered as a the God of calligraphy. In the play Sugawara no Michizane is called Kan Sh˘j˘.

"At the time when the authors were working on the play, a great stir was caused in ďsaka by the birth of triplets. It was therefore decided to make use of triplets in the new production and thus it was that Matsu˘maru, Ume˘maru and Sakuramaru came into being. For the purpose of the story, the triplets are the sons of Sugawara's retainer, Shiratayű. When they were born, Sugawara stood sponsor to all three and named them after the trees he loved best, Matsu (Pine), Ume (Plum) and Sakura (Cherry). On their father's retirement, Ume˘maru took his place as Sugawara's personal retainer. At the same time his two others brothers were found equally worthy employment, one as the retainer of Prince Tokiyo and the other in the household of Sugawara's colleague, Fujiwara no Shihei. When Shihei's jealousy brought about Sugawara's downfall, the triplets became the victims of divided loyalties" (Aubrey and Giovanna Halford in "The Kabuki Handbook").

Structure The "Kamo Zutsumi" act is the second scene of the first act in the original structure of "Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami". Nowadays, it is the opening act of a t˘shi ky˘gen production. It is also sometimes staged independently.
Key words Daigo Tenn˘
Fujiwara Tokihira
Gidayű Ky˘gen
Heian Jidai
Kan Sh˘j˘
Sugawara Michizane

Young Sakuramaru serves imperial prince Tokiyo who has fallen in love with Princess Kariya, Sugawara no Michizane's beautiful adopted daughter. Sakuramaru and his wife Yae are charmed by the affair, since it reminds them of their own love. They arrange their dating for the day when Prince Tokiyo, the Minister of the Left Fujiwara no Shihei, Shihei's envoy Kiyotsura and other important personages go together to worship at the Kamo shrine. Prince Tokiyo slips away from the shrine to secretly meet Princess Kariya in an ox carriage. Meanwhile Kiyotsura is suspiciously searching for him. Kiyotsura is about to inspect the carriage but he has to confront Sakuramaru. Sakuramaru succeeds in driving Kiyotsura's soldiers away and the lovers go away from the scene, leaving a note on the carriage informing the young retainer that they plan to go to the village where Princess Kariya's real mother lives in, preferring to flee rather than being in disgrace. Kiyotsura, who is back on stage, is the first one to read the note and to understand that he has found what he was looking for. This innocent love affair being discovered, Michizane's rivals will use it as proof that he is attempting to take over the imperial court, triggering the tragedies of the play.

This summary was written by Sekidobashi Sakura (February 2002) and Sh˘riya Aragor˘ (Fall 2005)

The actors Segawa Rok˘ IV (first actor from the left), Nakamura T˘z˘ II (?), Segawa Senjo (the third actor from right), Nakamura Shichisabur˘ IV and Segawa Kamesabur˘ playing the roles of Yae, Miyoshi Kiyotsura, Sakuramaru, Prince Tokiyo and Princess Kariya in the "Kamo Zutsumi" scene of the drama "Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami", which was staged in the 8th lunar month of 1808 at the Nakamuraza

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