Play title Kiku no En Tsuki no Shiranami  In Japanese
Chrysanthemum Party and Moonlit Waves
Irozakari Misao no Hanamichi  In Japanese
Author Tsuruya Nanboku IV [1]

Tsuruya Nanboku IV's drama "Kiku no En Tsuki no Shiranami" was premiered in the 9th lunar month of 1821 at the Kawarasakiza [more details]. Within this drama, one Tokiwazu-based dance-drama entitled "Irozakari Misao no Hanamichi" was also staged and it starred Seki Sanjűr˘ II, Ichikawa Monnosuke III and Onoe Tamiz˘ II. The opening day was the 17th day of the 9th lunar month of the 4th year of the Bunsei era [6].

"Kiku no En Tsuki no Shiranami" fell into oblivion and was revived by the star Ichikawa Ennosuke III in October 1984 at the Kabukiza. It was also staged in September 1985 at the Minamiza and in October 1991 at the Kabukiza.


The original drama was in 11 acts (just like Kanadehon Chűshingura!). The 1984 revival was in 4 acts (13 scenes).

Key words Adauchi
Ak˘ R˘shi
Ennosuke Jűhachiban
Ennosuke Shijűhassen
Fukkatsu T˘shi Ky˘gen Jűhachiban
Gishi Ky˘gen
Hanabi Taikai
Mimeguri Jinja
Ono Kurobŕ
ďno Kurobŕ
ďno Tomofusa
Ushi no Gozen
Ushijima Jinja

Act I, scene 1: Amanawa Zenkakuji En'ya Hangan Bozen
In front of En'ya Hangan's Tombstone in the Zenkakuji Temple in Amanawa

The scene is set in the precincts of the Zenkakuji Temple in Amanawa [2]. One year has passed since the day of the seppuku of the 47 loyal retainers of En'ya Hangan. They successfully avenged the humiliation and death of their lord by killing their enemy K˘no Moron˘, the evil man responsible for the downfall of the En'ya Clan. Both the En'ya and the K˘no lordships have been rescinded and their castles confiscated. Now, on this anniversary, steps are to be initiated to reinstate the two houses. The plan has been devised by Yamana Jirozaemon, who was previously a retainer of the K˘no Clan. He has suggested that both houses should present their treasured family heirlooms (kah˘) to the Sh˘gun in their request for reinstatement. The K˘no Clan is expected to present a 9th century scroll created by the famed calligrapher Kanke. The En'ya Clan has been asked to present a priceless sword named Hanagatami. Actually, however, this is part of Yamana's evil plot to take possession of the two family treasures himself and usurp the K˘no fief, taking advantage of the fact that he is the real father of K˘no Moron˘'s adopted son K˘no Shimagor˘ Moroyasu.

To carry out the ritual of accepting the gifts, Yamana Jirozaemon comes as an official Shogunate envoy to the temple where En'ya Hangan and his faithful followers have been buried. He is accompanied by a second envoy, a man named Ishid˘ Kazumanosuke, who unlike Yamana is partial to the En'ya side. Also at the site are K˘no Shimagor˘, Moron˘'s adopted son, who has brought with him the calligraphic scroll and En'ya Nuinosuke, the brother of En'ya Hangan, who has brought with him the Hanagatami sword in a box.

As the group head off for the temple, Nuinosuke stops to leave the box containing the Hanagatami in front of En'ya Hangan's grave in an act of reverence. While he is still there, a furubone-kai named Shimobe Yogor˘ comes leading a woman named Ukihashi to the temple. Yogor˘ has from past ties a loyalty to the En'ya Clan. Ukihashi is Nuinosuke's lover, but they have been forced to part because Ukihashi's brother is in service to the K˘no Clan. However, she is now pregnant and the future father is none other than En'ya Nuinosuke. The lovers, reunited through Yogor˘'s connivance, retire to a nearby shed together, while Yogor˘ hangs around, pretending to clean the vicinity of the graves.

When Yogor˘ goes off to replenish the supply of water in his bucket, he leaves his sword behind because it impedes his movement. Now Tanegashima Rokudayű, a retainer of Yamana Jirozaemon, sneaks out. In accordance to Yamana's plan, Tanegashima has come to steal the sword Hanagatami to discredit En'ya Nuinosuke. Finding Yogor˘'s sword in front of En'ya Hangan tombstone, he quickly switches the two blades, putting Yogor˘'s sword into the box and the sword Hanagatami in the bushes, intending to return after dark to retrieve it.

Now the r˘nin Ono Sadakur˘ comes to the Zenkakuji Temple. He is the son of Ono Kurobŕ. Both father and son are considered as traitors to the En'ya Clan, as they have failed to take part in the vendetta. Instead of avenging the unfair death of their master, they have taken to debauchery and thievery. The truth is quite different as they both are loyal to the En'ya Clan despite appearances to the contrary. Ono Sadakur˘ has come secretly to pay his respects at his former master's tombstone. Sadakur˘ finds the sword hidden in the bushes and is inspecting it when Shimobe Yogor˘ returns and accosts him. They recognize each other. It happens that Sadakur˘'s wife Kakogawa, separated from Sadakur˘ in the turmoil after the vendetta, has been wandering homeless and ailing until Yogor˘ gave her shelter. As Yogor˘ is explaining these circumstances to Sadakur˘, Tanegashima comes running up and seeing the sword between the two, he hurriedly puts in a claim for the sword. Yogor˘ of course insists that it is his own. As they are trying to wrest it from each other, Tanegashima's colleague Kitamura Denji comes running to say that the others are on their way back to the temple. At this, Nuinosuke and Ukihashi emerge hurriedly from the shed, and Yogor˘ quickly leads Ukihashi away, while Sadakur˘ slips unobserved into the shed. In the meantime, Nuinosuke agitatedly retrieves the sword box from En'ya Hangan's grave.

The guests of honor in the ritual for the presentation of the family heirlooms take their respective places. K˘no Shimagor˘ places his offering in Ishid˘ Kazumanosuke's hands and Nuinosuke makes his presentation to Yamana Jirozaemon as demanded. Ishid˘ inspects the scroll made by Kanke and praises it. Yamana takes the sword out from the box and immediately pronounces it a worthless fake. Ishid˘ suspects a plot but there is nothing he can do about to clarify the situation. Yamana beats Nuinosuke humiliatingly with his fan and says that under the circumstances the En'ya Clan will never be reinstated again. Nuinosuke answers that although he is innocent of any wrongdoing, he will take responsibility by committing suicide (seppuku), but asks Ishid˘ to carry on the suit for reinstatement of the En'ya Clan. When Nuinosuke draws his sword to commit suicide, Sadakur˘ comes out of hiding to stop him. Sadakur˘ takes the blame for the Hanagatami's loss and says he will die for it instead of Nuinosuke. However, when Sadakur˘ draws his sword to kill himself, Ishid˘ stops him, saying he cannot defile the temple precincts by such a death at this moment. So it is decided on Ishid˘'s order that Sadakur˘ is expected to die by his own hand at his father Ono Kurobŕ's home, with K˘no Shimagor˘ and Tanegashima Rokudayű to act as the witnesses of the seppuku.

Act I, scene 2: Isaragomachi Ono Kurobŕ Kankyo
Ono Kurobŕ's Cottage in Isaragomachi

Ono Kurobŕ's residence in Isaragomachi in Shiba is a humble cottage (kankyo), and his henchmen are in reality all Sadakur˘'s henchmen who have been put there to check Kurobŕ's real intent. Sadakur˘ suspects that his father's show of disloyalty is faked and that Kurobŕ, like himself, is at heart loyal to the En'ya Clan.

Kurobŕ is drinking with his companions when Sadakur˘ comes unexpectedly to the cottage. Kurobŕ has disowned Sadakur˘ for his relationship with Kakogawa. Kurobŕ has adamantly refused to acknowledge Sadakur˘'s relationship with Kakogawa. At first, he resists Sadakur˘'s entry into his cottage until Sadakur˘ wins his consent by saying he has divorced Kakogawa. Sadakur˘ disappears into an inner room to prepare for his own seppuku while the others continue to drink.

Now K˘no Shimagor˘ and Tanegashima Rokudayű arrive at the cottage. Shimagor˘ explains to Kurobŕ the circumstances that have brought them here and he demands Sadakur˘'s immediate seppuku. Kurobŕ refuses. He acknowledges the fact that a retainer may be ordered to take the blame and die instead of his master, but, in this particular case, neither Kurobŕ nor Sadakur˘ are now En'ya's retainer, reviled as they are as traitors to the En'ya Clan. Therefore, there is no reason for Sadakur˘ to die in En'ya Nuinosuke's place. Sadakur˘ comes out dressed in death garments and he is holding a tray with the seppuku dagger placed on it.

An unvoiced message passes between father and son. Both suspect each other's secret loyalty to the En'ya Clan but make no outer sign of this recognition. Kurobŕ and his companions make some taunting remarks and retire to the side to continue to drink while observing the coming seppuku. As Sadakur˘ goes through the initial routine, Kurobŕ calls a halt and has an old mat brought in to be set on the recently refurbished mats of the room, not wanting Sadakur˘'s blood to stain them. As Sadakur˘ is about to take up the dagger, he watches his father intently, planning to strike Shimagor˘ if he can discern any sign of support. Kurobŕ on his part watches with the intention of striking Shimagor˘ to save Sadakur˘. In a sudden move, Sadakur˘ turns against Tanegashima and Shimagor˘ and, after a brief fight, kills both of them. Kurobŕ congratulates his son on a job well done.

Now Sadakur˘ requests as a reward a secret scroll known to be in his father's possession. This scroll contains secrets black magic formulas, which should prove useful in defeating Yamana's conspiracy. Under the current circumstances, Sadakur˘ will have to face up to charges of having killed members of the K˘no Clan. Therefore, he asks his father to take the blame and die as a substitute for his son, leaving him free to complete his mission.

Kurobŕ explains in turn that he has put on his act of traitorous cowardice as a way of staying alive until after the vendetta. Then, in case the vendetta ended in failure, he would have still been available to carry out a second vendetta against the enemy. As the first vendetta has succeeded beyond all expectations, it has left Kurobŕ with only a badly tainted reputation. Kurobŕ's seppuku should restore his reputation and this is one of Sadakur˘'s main goals.

Kurobŕ offers Sadakur˘ a poem card with half a poem written on it. He tells his son that there is another card with the remaining half of the poem, in the hands of the former adopted son of a retainer of the K˘no house named Kakisaka. This adopted son has later left his foster family and his whereabouts are now unknown, but he is none other than Sadakur˘'s twin brother.

Kurobŕ stabs himself, satisfied, as he is sure that his son Sadakur˘ will carry out his plan and restore his reputation. Sadakur˘ reveals to his father that he already has a band of 46 motivated warriors [5] to aid him in breaking into the Yamana Mansion to retrieve the missing treasures that Yamana has claimed for himself in the name of the Sh˘gun.

Act I, scene 3: Yamana Yakata Omote Mon
At the Front Gate of the Yamana Mansion

Sadakur˘ has now taken the guise of the larger-than-life robber Akatsuki Hoshigor˘, the head of a powerful gang of 46 so-called robbers (gishi in disguise). They are about to break into the Yamana Mansion using Kurobŕ's black magic scroll. The members of the gang are assembled before the gateway of the Yamana Mansion waiting for one of them, a yamabushi named Bansh˘in Kaizan, who has managed to sneak inside to open the gate for them. Presently Bansh˘in Kaizan pushes the gate to open it from inside. The gishi rushes in. Outside the gate, Hoshigor˘ fights off a couple of the Yamana guards who come out to fight and repel the invaders.

Act I, scene 4: Yamana Yakata Kuroshoin
In the Inner Audience Chamber of the Yamana Mansion

Sadakur˘'s warriors scatter through the mansion in their search for the missing sword Hanagatami, fighting off enemies as they make their search. Yamana Jirozaemon, in nightwear, makes his appearance carrying the box with the calligraphic scroll in it, and is accosted by Sadakur˘'s men. Suddenly his sword spits fire and Sadakur˘ appears with the scroll of black magic held between his teeth, making a magic sign with his hands. The next instant, as Jirozaemon tries to strike at Sadakur˘, Sadakur˘ catches the box containing the precious Kanke scroll. Unfortunately, the missing sword Hanagatami is still not to be found. Sadakur˘ makes a triumphant exit holding his scroll of black magic and the box with the family heirloom in it, after fighting off a few more adversaries in a spectacular fight.

Act II, scene 1: Asakusa Shin-Torigoe Shakuya
In a Leased House in Asakusa Shin-Torigoe

The scene is set in a rented house (shakuya) located in Shin-Torigoe-ch˘, a neighborhood in Asakusa. Yogor˘ has hired an elderly woman named Otora to do the household work and care for the ailing Kakogawa. After Otora has gone off to wash Yogor˘'s discarded kimono, the furud˘guya Yahachi comes to the house to return Yogor˘'s sword, which Yogor˘ has tried to sell to obtain some money to buy medicine for Kakogawa. Yahachi says that he has been told that the sword is none other than the missing sword Hanagatami and he refuses to have anything to do with such a dangerous heirloom. Yogor˘ is perplexed as he has not been aware of the switch of blades conducted at the Zenkakuji Temple. Kakogawa comes out to inspect it and she is amazed to see that it is indeed the precious sword Hanagatami as claimed by Yahachi.

Now Otora, who has been washing Yogor˘'s kimono, comes running to ask about the brocade charm bag (omamori) she has just found in a sleeve. It has a distinctive pattern, which is used only by the K˘no Clan. Otora explains that she has once served in the K˘no Mansion. She adds that Moron˘ seduced one of his ladies-in-waiting. The woman has been banished from the mansion but has subsequently given birth to a child. There is a certificate of birth inside Yogor˘'s omamori and its birth date corresponds with Yogor˘'s birth date. As a clear consequence, Yogor˘ must be none other than K˘no Moron˘'s illegitimate son. In that case, now that both Moron˘ and his adopted son Shimagor˘ are dead, Yogor˘ must assert his identity in order to become the new leader of the K˘no Clan. Yogor˘ listens in amazement and refuses to take the matter seriously at first. However, he starts to realize that he could become a powerful lord on assertion of his rights. On Otora's instigation, he decides to kill Kakogawa who, as the wife of an En'ya Clan retainer, would be his enemy through his new identity as the heir of the K˘no Clan.

Shimobe Yogor˘ kills Kakogawa and decides to dispose of her body in the Sumida River. He wraps the body in a straw mat and is about to leave the house with it when the ishikiri Hotoke Gonbŕ, the light in his lantern having gone out, draws near to ask for a light. Yogor˘ hurriedly puts out the light in the house and tries to run away with his burden, bumping into Gonbŕ who in passing feels the damp blood flowing from Kakogawa's corpse. Yogor˘, in his haste to get away with the body, accidentally drops his omamori, which Gonbŕ picks up. Gonbŕ looks suspiciously after the fleeing figure.

Act II, scene 2: Sumidagawa Hanayashiki
In Hanayashiki near the Sumida River

En'ya Nuinosuke, in disgrace from the loss of the sword Hanagatami, is now acting as an attendant to the geisha Oky˘ (in reality Ukihashi), who is also his wife. Oky˘ (in reality Ukihashi) is supporting him through her work in the floating world. They are about to join a party which is held in Hanayashiki (Asakusa) by Hotoke Gonbŕ. The guest of honor of this party is the K˘no Clan retainer Kitamura Denji. Gonbŕ is by birth Ono Kurobŕ's son and Sadakur˘'s twin brother, but through his foster father Kakisaka, is affiliated with the enemy K˘no Clan.

Kitamura and Nuinosuke recognize each other, and Kitamura humiliates Nuinosuke by offering him a drink from a horse bucket (badarai) which is being used as a flower container. After a short clash, Nuinosuke manages to get out beyond a small garden gateway, followed by a couple of Kitamura's henchmen. A woman named Kinkanzashi no Okaru [3] emerges from the same gateway, forcing one of the men before her by screwing his arm up. Okaru has formerly served in the En'ya Mansion. She is now known as a geisha who refuses to take any man as her lover. Both her split hairpin ornament and a small lock on her kimono proclaim to all concerned that she is sealed away to all but one man, an unknown lover, who has slept with her one night during a trip to Yugasan. She possesses amazing strength and is a match for any man as she quickly proves it on stage. She is an onna date!

She sends Nuinosuke and Oky˘ (in reality Ukihashi) safely away from Hanayashiki, while Kitamura and his henchmen go to another place, leaving Gonbŕ to welcome Okaru. Gonbŕ tries to seduce her, but she effectively repulses him and goes off. When Kitamura returns, Gonbŕ explains that he has once been Kakisaka Sanpei, the adopted son of Kakisaka, a retainer of the K˘no Clan, and, as he is also a stonemason (ishikiri), he desires to be commissioned to make a memorial stone to the K˘no Clan. Kitamura refuses Gonbŕ's request, telling him that Kakisaka's daughter Ukihashi, who is Gonbŕ's foster sister, is the wife of the enemy En'ya Nuinosuke. This relationship questions Gonbŕ's loyalty to the K˘no Clan. Gonbŕ cuts off the little finger of his left hand as a proof of his sincerity, and wins the commission, as he also promises that he will kill Oky˘ (in reality Ukihashi) and her unborn child in order to end the lineage of the hated En'ya Clan.

Act II, scene 3: Mimeguri Zutsumi
A River Bank near the Mimeguri Shrine

Yoichibŕ has been making the rounds to collect donations for the construction of a memorial stone for the En'ya vendetta retainers, and having collected 50 ry˘, has gone to meet his daughter Okaru before heading for his home province again. He has in his possession the money, now wrapped in a purse provided by Okaru, made of the same material as one of her kimono. But unfortunately, as he holds up the purse in a gesture of gratitude, it is snatched away by Yogor˘, who is now calling himself the nakama Naosuke and is in Gonbŕ's service. Yogor˘ strangles the resisting Yoichibŕ and makes away with the money, but Yoichibŕ in his dying struggle, bites off the little finger of Yogor˘'s left hand.

The frightened Oky˘ (in reality Ukihashi) comes running in flight, chased by Hotoke Gonbŕ. Oky˘ (in reality Ukihashi) knows that Gonbŕ is her foster brother and she cannot understand why he wants to kill her. Gonbŕ explains the circumstances. En'ya Nuinosuke comes running after them in an attempt to save Ukihashi, but Gonbŕ strikes at Nuinosuke with his sword, wounding him in the shoulder. Nuinosuke falls into the river. Ukihashi, mortally wounded, reveals to Gonbŕ what she has learned from her father Kakisaka on his deathbed that Gonbŕ is the twin brother of Sadakur˘, and both are the sons of En'ya retainer Ono Kurobŕ. This means that Gonbŕ, while tied to the K˘no Clan through his affiliation with Kakisaka, is also tied to the En'ya Clan through his blood father Kurobŕ. Moreover, Ukihashi's husband Nuinosuke is his hereditary master through the Kurobŕ connection. Caught in the confusing conflict of loyalties, Gonbŕ embraces his dying foster sister in anguish and then disposes of her body in the Sumida River.

Hotoke Gonbŕ sees a lantern approaching and hurriedly puts his sword back in the scabbard, a motion that is noticed by Kinkanzashi no Okaru as she draws near in the dark. She stumbles on her father Yoichibŕ's body. She finds that the money is missing and that he has a severed finger in his mouth. She then notices Gonbŕ's missing finger and suspects that he is her father's killer. Gonbŕ admits to Ukihashi's murder but protests his innocence concerning Yoichibŕ. His bloody sword shows that he has killed with his sword, and a check reveals that Yoichibŕ has been strangled, not struck by the sword. Gonbŕ and Okaru decide to pose as man and wife in the future in an attempt to seek out the true culprit. However, they make a pact that they will not sleep together, Okaru putting on Yoichibŕ's pilgrim surplice and Gonbŕ taking up Yoichibŕ's rosary as their pledge of chastity. Yogor˘ comes by and watches, hidden in the dark. Gonbŕ notices him and Yogor˘ quickly strikes out Okaru's lantern before running away.

Act II, scene 4: Ry˘goku Yanagibashi
At the Yanagi Bridge in Ry˘goku

Kakogawa's corpse has been recovered from the Sumida River and is laid on the bank wrapped in a straw mat with a group of hinin hired to keep watch over it. It is the night for the fireworks festival (hanabi taikai) over the Sumida River in Ry˘goku. Sadakur˘, now the t˘zoku Akatsuki Hoshigor˘, comes seeking En'ya Nuinosuke, but the light of his lantern wavers and suddenly goes out when he arrives near the Yanagi Bridge. An eerie atmosphere prevails, and Kakogawa's ghost appears before him. Sadakur˘ is uneasy at the apparition and puts his hand to his sword, at which the ghost disappears.

Suddenly the fireworks festival starts and a shower of light appears in the night sky. In its light, the ghost appears again. When the fireworks (hanabi) die out the ghost disappears too, only to reappear with the next burst of fireworks. Now it reappears in the form of a koshimoto in formal costume, and Sadakur˘ recognizes it as his wife Kakogawa. But in a new burst of fireworks, Kakogawa flies off into the sky and disappears from sight.

Act III, scene 1: Onagigawa Kakurega
At a Hiding Place near the Onagi River

Sadakur˘, now known under the name of Akatsuki Hoshigor˘, leader of a group of gishi disguised as thieves, has another alias which is Onoda Sh˘getsu, who at his residence (kakurega) near the Onagi River, teaches a variety of arts including poetry, tea ceremony, calligraphy, fencing and other arts that he has mastered through the years. He is caring faithfully for En'ya Nuinosuke whose wound inflicted by Yogor˘ has failed to heal properly.

Inosuke, a machigakae, comes to say he has been sent to seek their cooperation in the capture of the t˘zoku Akatsuki Hoshigor˘. This leaves some of Sadakur˘'s henchmen worried about their future safety here. While the doctor ďta Ry˘chiku visits Nuinosuke in another room, Onoda takes out from its hiding place the precious calligraphic scroll he has obtained from the Yamana Mansion, and sits brooding about the unknown fate of his wife Kakogawa and his little son Ono Yoshimatsu who has been left in the care of Kakogawa's father Shikama Takubŕ. He is particularly puzzled about Kakogawa whom he thinks he has glimpsed by the river in the light of the fireworks.

Now by chance, Takubŕ comes to the house, bringing with him Yoshimatsu. They are both in pilgrimage garb and goes from house to house to ask for alms. Onoda, seeing the boy, takes pity and invites them inside for tea. Then, as he listens to Takubŕ's tale, he becomes aware that this is Kakogawa's father and that the boy is none other than his own son Yoshimatsu. Onoda wants to greet the boy but he unfortunately cannot reveal his identity. As a bandit, if he is arrested, his family members will be arrested, trialed and executed with him. So he offers instead an inordinately large amount of money as alms, leading Takubŕ to suspect something as this is not an ordinary donation.

As Takubŕ and Yoshimatsu are about to leave, the boy's sash loosens and an omamori falls to the ground, unnoticed at the time. After the two are gone, Onoda finds it and is about to run after them to return it when ďta Ry˘chiku comes out from Nuinosuke's room and tells Onoda that, as mentioned previously, the medicine needed to treat En'ya Nuinosuke is very expensive. Onoda promptly hands over the 20 ry˘ demanded, a large sum that confirms Ry˘chiku's suspicions that this man may indeed be the t˘zoku Akatsuki Hoshigor˘. He also mentions that the medicine will not be effective without the addition of the blood of a person born in the Year of the Dragon (tatsu).

Afterwards, Onoda picks up the boy's omamori again and finds the birth certificate in it that says the boy was born in the Year of the Dragon (tatsu). Making his decision, he goes running after the pair to take the boy's life for in order to save Nuinosuke's life. But now Kakogawa's ghost appears again before him, leading the boy by the hand. Onoda brings the two inside, where Yoshimatsu soon begins to doze. Kakogawa asks that Onoda provide sake so that they can legitimize their marital relationship through the ritual of exchanging a cup. Onoda hesitates because he does not want his loved ones involved. Kakogawa, however, insists that she is well aware of the situation, so Onoda takes sake from the altar to use for the ritual. Kakogawa shows distaste for drinking the sacred sake from the altar and manages to drop the cup before drinking from it. Both Onoda and Nuinosuke, who has been secretly watching from the next room, observe her strange behavior. After Kakogawa takes the boy to sleep in an inner room, Nuinosuke and Onoda discuss Kakogawa's strange attitude. They recall how Nuinosuke's wife Ukihashi has been killed by none other than her own foster brother, and wonder whether Kakogawa might also be somehow involved in a secret plot against them.

Act III, scene 2: Onagigawa Kakurega Okuzashiki
The Inner Room of a Hiding Place near the Onagi River

Kakogawa is joined by Onoda who brings in mosquito repellent smoking in a small brazier. He ascertains that both Kakogawa and the boy were born in the Year of the Dragon (tatsu). Then, when a puff on the mosquito repellent causes the flame to light up, he notices that the shadows on the wall reflect only his figure and not that of Kakogawa.

In the meantime a couple of his henchmen, who have turned traitors, come sneaking in, leading Inosuke to the residence of Akatsuki Hoshigor˘. They hide in the dark, readying themselves for the capture of the bandit. They have also stolen the scroll in order to present it to the Yamana Mansion afterwards.

Later, Sadakur˘ tries to see the boy's face in the dim light. Refraining from hugging his son, he goes to get his sword, while Kakogawa listens intently to his every move. When he comes to kill the boy, Kakogawa puts up a resistance, grabs the boy and jumps into the river outside. As Sadakur˘ watches, Kakogawa reappears in the form of a corpse floating down the river. Now Takubŕ comes again to the front entrance. He hears Onoda lamenting the fact that both Kakogawa and Yoshimatsu have drowned, leaving him with no means of saving Nuinosuke. Hearing this, Takubŕ realizes that this is indeed Ono Sadakur˘ as he has suspected. Takubŕ says Sadakur˘ that, as he approached the river, he has come across Kakogawa's body on the river bank. During his distraction at the discovery, his grandson has disappeared. These circumstances have brought him back to the house. Sadakur˘ realizes that the ghost of Kakogawa has probably come in farewell, but he cannot understand why she should have taken Yoshimatsu with her.

Suddenly a sleepy Yoshimatsu appears before them, with Kakogawa standing behind him. Yoshimatsu starts to speak in Kakogawa's voice, indicating that Kakogawa's spirit is talking through the boy. The message is that both she and Yoshimatsu were born in the Year of the Dragon (tatsu), and that her blood even in death has been preserved fresh as in life so that it will serve Sadakur˘'s purpose to save En'ya Nuinosuke's life. Sadakur˘ asks how she has met her death, and Kakogawa reveals that she has been killed by Yogor˘. She also says that Yogor˘ has the sword Hanagatami, which should be sought under a tree that is flowering out of season.

Sadakur˘ retrieves Kakogawa's corpse from the river and obtains the needed blood for the medicine which Takubŕ gives to Nuinosuke. The traitors and Inosuke suddenly leap out to attack, but Yoshimatsu, with the aid of his mother's ghost, fights the men who don't insist too long and run away. Meanwhile, Sadakur˘ strikes at one of the men and successfully retrieve the Kanke calligraphic scroll. Nuinosuke makes his appearance. He is completely cured. Now they have to find a tree flowering out of season in order to locate the missing sword Hanagatami.

Act IV, scene 1: Honjo Ishihara-ch˘ Ishiya
At the Stone Shop in Honjo Ishihara-ch˘

The nakama Naosuke, in reality Shimobe Yogor˘, works at the stone shop (ishiya) owned and managed by Gonbŕ. In the same house lives also Okaru. The two, Hotoke Gonbŕ and Kinkanzashi no Okaru, continue to pose as a married couple with a secret chastity pact. The money lender Ichimonjiya Saibŕ comes to seek the return of 50 ry˘, which he has lent to Gonbŕ. He demands that Okaru come with him to be sold off in prostitution if the loan cannot be reimbursed immediately. Gonbŕ himself is away at the moment, but the strong onna date Okaru easily throws Saibŕ out when he tries to force her to go with him. Naosuke comes to her rescue and Saibŕ retires to another room to wait for Gonbŕ's return.

Okaru goes to hang out her summer kimono which she has just washed. Naosuke tries to seduce her but he is repulsed. Hotoke Gonbŕ returns home and seeing the kimono hung out to dry, asks whose it is. Okaru says it is her own. Gonbŕ notes the unique stripe pattern on the kimono. Then he inspects two pieces of paper, each with a drawing of a wanted man. The first paper depicts Yogor˘ as the killer of Kakogawa. The other paper shows the face of the bandit Akatsuki Hoshigor˘. Gonbŕ has been handed the two papers by Yamana Jirozaemon's retainer Kitamura Denji and he also has been requested to cooperate in their capture.

Saibŕ comes out to demand the return of the 50 ry˘. As Gonbŕ cannot pay back, Naosuke comes out with an unexpected offer. He takes 50 ry˘ from a purse of striped material and hands it over to Gonbŕ. Gonbŕ notes that the purse and the material of Okaru's kimono are identical. Gonbŕ is reluctant to borrow money from such a questionable source but he is really reluctant to let Saibŕ take Okaru away. Therefore, he decides on the lesser of the two evils and takes the money from Naosuke to repay Saibŕ's loan.

Afterwards, Naosuke asks Gonbŕ to write a promissory note in which he will agree to hand Okaru over if he cannot repay the loan by a certain date. Gonbŕ tentatively agrees but says he must speak to Okaru about it first. Then he takes out the omamori in which he says his seal is kept and lays it alongside the striped purse in which Naosuke's money has been kept. Naosuke looks at the omamori and recognizes it as the one he has lost. Gonbŕ informs him that it was picked up at the Mimeguri Shrine, hinting but not saying that it was the scene of Yoichibŕ's murder. Then, he takes out the drawing showing Yogor˘'s features as the killer of Kakogawa. He points out the resemblance to Naosuke, and also suggests that the striped purse is identical to Okaru's kimono. This is another hint that links Naosuke to Yoichibŕ's murder. Naosuke answers that the omamori belongs to him and recites without looking at it word for word the contents of the birth certificate. This proves he is the omamori's real owner. This also means that he is the heir of the K˘no Clan, in which case Gonbŕ would be his retainer. He also lets slip the fact that he has in his possession the sword Hanagatami, but refuses to reveal its whereabouts. He demands instead that the incriminating purse and the precious omamori be returned to him instead of Okaru as a repayment for the loan. At this point Gonbŕ notices that Naosuke's little finger on his left hand is missing, and sees this as positive proof of the murder of Yoichibŕ by Naosuke. But, on the other hand, Naosuke, the heir of the K˘no Clan, would also be Gonbŕ's master. Once again, Gonbŕ is caught in an unsolvable dilemma.

In the meantime Okaru prepares to go to bed and sends Gonbŕ upstairs so that she can sleep in the downstairs room. As the house quiets down for the night, Akatsuki Hoshigor˘ (in reality Ono Sadakur˘) comes by and spots a cherry tree outside, blooming profusely, quite out of season. He has in his possession the Kanke calligraphic scroll and is now seeking the sword Hanagatami by following Kakogawa's instructions.

He breaks into Gonbŕ's house and noticing the ornament in the hair of the sleeping Okaru, he tries to catch it. But Okaru is not asleep. She thinks it is Naosuke and, taking the hairpin, she sticks it into the intruder's arm. Preventing him from escaping, she pulls up a lamp and is amazed to find it is not Naosuke but a stranger. Sadakur˘ looks at the hair ornament and recognizes it. It happens that he is none other than Okaru's unknown lover for whom she has so far kept her chastity. Her hair ornament and his sword ornament make their respective identities clear. With this, Sadakur˘ reveals his identity both as Ono Sadakur˘ and as the bandit chief Akatsuki Hoshigor˘. He also says that he has been married to Kakogawa, but now that she is dead, he is free to be united with Okaru.

Gonbŕ, having become suspicious of the noise downstairs, peeks in and compares Sadakur˘'s features with the picture of the bandit Akatsuki Hoshigor˘, before coming into the room and announcing his presence. The lovers explain the circumstances, and Gonbŕ on his part explains to Hoshigor˘ the chastity pact between himself and Okaru, which was sealed the night of Yoichibŕ's murder at Mimeguri Shrine. Gonbŕ tries to make a deal, demanding the Kanke calligraphic scroll in exchange for Okaru, whom he will hand over along with the picture of the bandit Akatsuki Hoshigor˘. This means that Gonbŕ will not turn Hoshigor˘ over to the authorities. Hoshigor˘ on his part says that he wants to dig under the flowering cherry tree to seek the sword Hanagatami. Gonbŕ has suspected something of the sort, so now they both dig under the tree for the buried treasure. A box is uncovered and Okaru takes it up. Opening it, she finds the sword Hanagatami. But in the meantime Hoshigor˘ drops the Kanke calligraphic scroll which Gonbŕ picks up and throws up to Naosuke. Hoshigor˘ tries to run after Naosuke, but Gonbŕ stops him. By stopping Hoshigor˘, Gonbŕ drops the striped purse and the omamori. Hoshigor˘ picks up the two items. Okaru recognizes the purse, while Hoshigor˘ notes that the omamori is of the same unique design as has been seen on the wrapping of the Kanke calligraphic scroll, indicating that it is linked with the K˘no Clan. As for the purse, it definitely links Naosuke (in reality Yogor˘) to Yoichibŕ's murder.

Now Gonbŕ reveals the circumstances of Yogor˘'s lineage as the heir of the K˘no Clan, as well as his own connection to this clan which has led him to kill his own foster sister Ukihashi in order to end the En'ya line. This leads to a fight between Gonbŕ and Sadakur˘, with Okaru trying to intervene. Eventually, however, Gonbŕ is wounded by Sadakur˘, after which Gonbŕ, now dying, tells his tale (monogatari). He takes out the poem card in his possession which proves his identity as Sadakur˘'s twin brother, and admits to the dilemma in which his ties to both the En'ya Clan and the K˘no Clan have placed him. In sign of his regret to the En'ya Clan for the murder of Ukihashi, he unveils two stone memorial statues, one of En'ya Hangan and one of the En'ya Hangan's wife. Then he hands to Sadakur˘ the omamori which is Yogor˘'s only proof of identity as the heir of the K˘no Clan. Sadakur˘ throws it into the fire, thereby destroying that piece of evidence. Gonbŕ also admits he has given Yogor˘ the Kanke calligraphic scroll because of his debt to the K˘no Clan.

Now the sound of torite closing in to arrest the bandit Akatsuki Hoshigor˘ is heard outside. Okaru emerges from an inner room dressed in Sadakur˘'s garb and puts up a stiff tachimawari against the torite, while Sadakur˘ makes his escape dressed in Okaru's kimono.

Act IV, scene 2: Ushi no Gozen Sairei
At the Ushi no Gozen Festival

The scene is set at the Ushi no Gozen Shrine (Ushijima Shrine) in Muk˘jima. This is the day of the local festival (matsuri). Both Naosuke and Sadakur˘ come in, wearing the festival costume, and pass by each other. Sadakur˘ accidentally drops his scroll of sorcery. Naosuke picks it up and runs off. Sadakur˘ tries to chase after him but the festival crowd gets in his way. He is about to be arrested as the bandit Akatsuki Hoshigor˘, but his henchmen break in to help him to safely get away. Sadakur˘'s henchman Kond˘ Genshir˘ says he has chased after Naosuke but that Naosuke has flown like a bird to the huge roof (˘yane) of a nearby temple.

Sadakur˘ realizes that Naosuke has used of the magic scroll and has magically flown to the rooftop of the temple. Seeing a giant festival kite (tako) nearby, Sadakur˘ has his henchmen mount him on it and fly it so that he can approach the temple roof on it.

Act IV, scene 3: Senz˘ji ďyane
On the Large Roof of the Senz˘ji Temple

Naosuke is standing on top the impressive roof (˘yane) of the Senz˘ji [4] temple as Sadakur˘ tries to approach it, riding his big kite. But Naosuke uses the scroll's magic power against Sadakur˘ so that the kite is caused to fall. Sadakur˘ barely manages to save himself by clinging to the edge of the roof. Naosuke tries to shove him off but he fails. Sadakur˘ demands the return of the Kanke calligraphic scroll, and a fight ensues for its possession. During the fight, Naosuke accidently drops the magic scroll, leaving him powerless.

But now Sadakur˘ slips on the roof and is in danger when Okaru comes on the rooftop by breaking out of a wall. She immediately and courageously attacks Naosuke. The Kanke calligraphic scroll drops out from the bosom of Naosuke's kimono and Sadakur˘ can catch it. Okaru grabs Naosuke's left hand and, noticing that the little finger is missing, she understands she is dealing her father's killer. Naosuke tries to retrieve the scroll but Okaru fights him off. Forced to admit defeat, Naosuke confesses all, including his ambition to take the leadership of the K˘no Clan, the double murders of Sadakur˘'s wife Kakogawa and Okaru's father Yoichibŕ and the theft of the sword Hanagatami. Then he dies in a final desperate assault against Sadakur˘ and Okaru. In the meantime, the torite looking for the bandit Akatsuki Hoshigor˘ close in, gathering in the precincts of the Senz˘ji temple.


[1] The others sakusha were most likely Oto Usuke I, Matsui Yűsuke II, Katsui Genpachi, Matsui K˘z˘ II, Katsu Hy˘suke and Hanagasa Rosuke.

[2] Due to the Shogunate censorship, it was impossible to use the real names of the Ak˘ R˘shi story, not only for the people but also for some sites. Instead of the Sengakuji Temple in Takanawa in Edo, Tsuruya Nanboku IV decided to use the Zenkakuji Temple in Amanawa in Kamakura. Phonetically-speaking, there is a really thin line between the two temples and the two districts.

[3] Literally 'Golden Hairpin' Okaru.

[4] We've not found any Senz˘ji Temple in Muk˘jima on the eastern shore of the Sumida River. It is most likely, for censorship reason, the famous Sens˘ji on the western shore of the Sumida River.

[5] This a parody of the 47 members of the original Ak˘ R˘shi vendetta group. Ono Sadakur˘ + 46 gishi, it adds up!

[6] The 17th day of the 9th lunar month of the 4th year of the Bunsei era was the 12th of October 1821 in the western calendar.

The actors Nakamura Daikichi I and Onoe Kikugor˘ III playing the roles of Kakogawa and Sadakur˘ in the "Ry˘goku Yanagi Bridge" scene of the drama "Kiku no En Tsuki no Shiranami", which was staged in the 9th lunar month of 1821 at the Kawarasakiza (print made by Utagawa Toyokuni I)

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