Stage names:

Arashi San'emon I In Japanese
Maruko San'emon In Japanese

Real name: Nishizaki San'emon

Line number: SHODAI (I)

Existence: 1635 ~ 18th day of the 10th lunar month of 1690


Brother: Arashi Kan'emon I

Son: Arashi San'emon II

Grandson: Arashi San'emon III

Disciple: Takeshima K˘zaemon II


1635 ~ 1670: born in Nishinomiya in the Settsu province. His father Nishizaki Shinpei, a r˘nin who settles in Edo to run a fishmonger shop, gives him the name of Nishizaki San'emon. The young man, not really interested in his father business, becomes actor, performing under the name of Maruko San'emon in Edo. After a few years in the Sh˘gun capital, he moves back to the Kamigata area.

1671: Maruko San'emon triomphe in the play "Keisei Sayo Arashi", in which he uses for the first time in the Kabuki history the ropp˘ technique, a revolution in the acting of tachiyaku actors. One of San'emon great lines in this play, which starts with the words "Hana no Arashi" ("a tempest of flowers"), is so famous that he decides to change his name to Arashi San'emon.

1675 ~ 1676: San'emon becomes zamoto in Ky˘to.

11th lunar month of 1677: San'emon achieves a great success in Ky˘to at the Shij˘ Kitagawa no Shibai, playing the role of Kagonuke no Yatsushi in the drama "Tanba Yosaku Tazuma Obi".

Spring 1678: San'emon plays the role of Kokuraya Gembei in the drama "Yoshino Miuke", which is staged in the same theater. His partner in the role of the courtesan Yoshinodayű is It˘ Kodayű II.

1680: his son makes his first appearance on stage as a wakaonnagata actor, playing under the name of Arashi Monzabur˘ I.

11th lunar month of 1681 ~ 10th lunar month of 1682: San'emon and Araki Yojibŕ I produce several plays together in Ky˘to.

11th lunar month of 1682 ~ 10th lunar month of 1683: San'emon and Suzuki Heizaemon I produce several plays together in ďsaka. they are the first zamoto in Kabuki history to produce a play narrating a couple of lovers double suicide (shinjűmono), based on a real incident that happened in ďsaka.

11th lunar month of 1686 ~ 10th lunar month of 1687: his son Arashi Monzabur˘ I becomes zamoto and produces several dramas in ďsaka in which San'emon plays the leading roles.

1st lunar month of 1687: San'emon's rank in "Yar˘ Tachiyaku Butai ďkagami", the first hy˘banki in Kabuki history, is j˘-j˘-kichi (superior - superior - excellent). He shares this ranking with It˘ Kodayű II.

1690: San'emon falls seriously ill and is replaced on stage by his son Arashi Monzabur˘ I. He dies in ďsaka in the 10th lunar month of 1690.


Arashi San'emon was the founder of three great lines of actors which blossomed out and declined for two centuries: the Yoshidaya guild (the Arashi San'emon and Arashi Hinasuke lines of actors) and the Ky˘ya guild (the Arashi Sangor˘ line of actors).

This actor was a precursor whose innovations like the ropp˘ technique or the shinjűmono plays had a beneficial effect on the development of Kabuki: "He greatly improved plays, wore magnificent garments, and acted to the accompaniment of flute, drum, and shamisen. His plays served Chikamatsu Monzaemon as originals when that dramatist wrote two of his best-known doll-dramas." (ZoŰ Kincaid in "Kabuki, the Popular Stage of Japan")

Arashi San'emon I (left), in the company of It˘ Kodayű II (right), as depicted in the illustrated book "Yar˘ Tachiyaku Butai ďkagami"

Prints & Illustrations

The Arashi San'emon line of actors

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