Dance title Sagi Musume  In Japanese
Authors Horikoshi Nis˘ji I (lyrics)
Kineya Chűjir˘ (music)
Nishikawa Senz˘ II, Hanayagi Jusuke I (choreography)

The "Heron Maiden" was a role performed by the star Segawa Kikunoj˘ II in a 5-role hengemono, which was staged under the title "Yanagi Hina Shoch˘ no Saezuri" in the 4th lunar month of 1762 at the Ichimuraza. This role was revived several times, under different forms, by actors like Nakamura Utaemon IV, who performed it in the 11th lunar month of 1839 at the Nakamuraza. The current version is based on the performance done by Ichikawa Danjűr˘ IX in May 1886 at the Shintomiza.

Key words Shosagoto

The set is a frozen pond in the middle of Winter. The music from the geza is the classic sound effect for falling snow. The spirit of the heron appears on a platform, dressed in white, solitary and silent. This dance is a series of transformations, done through costum changes using either the bukkaeri or the hikinuki techniques to switch the roles. The first change turns the dancer into a young maiden in love, dressed in a beautiful red kimono, who dances the joy of love in a lively atmosphere. Her love is a short one and the next section of the dance is no more about happiness but sadness and jealousy. The dance is getting darker and the final change brings back the spirit of the heron, who frantically dances, depicting the torments of hell and pleading for pity. The highlight of this section is an ebizori pose. Then the heron maiden collapses on stage, bringing the dance to a close.

The actor Nakamura Utaemon IV playing the role of the Heron Maiden in the dance "Iwai Uta Soga no Kaomise", which was performed at the Nakamuraza in the 11th lunar month of 1839 (print made by Utagawa Kunisada I)

The actor Ichikawa Danjűr˘ IX playing the role of the Heron Maiden in the dance "Sagi Musume", which was performed at the Shintomiza in May 1886 (print made by Y˘shű Chikanobu)

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