Play title Ukiyozuka Hiyoku no Inazuma  In Japanese
Author Tsuruya Nanboku IV

Tsuruya Nanboku IV's drama "Ukiyozuka Hiyoku no Inazuma" was premiered in the 3rd lunar month of 1823 at the Ichimuraza [casting].


"Ukiyozuka Hiyoku no Inazuma" was divided in two parts, 9 acts and 19 scenes. The "Sanza Rôtaku" scene, which is also commonly called "Aza Musume" (The daughter with a birthmark), was the 7th and penultimate scene of the first part. It is always part of a tôshi kyôgen production of "Ukiyozuka Hiyoku no Inazuma" and its standard length is around 68 minutes.

Key words Sewamono


The samurai Nagoya Sanza was entrusted by his lord with a precious scroll. The scroll was stolen by the evil Fuwa Banzaemon, another retainer of Sanza's lord. Both samurai were banished from their clan.

Sanza Rôtaku
Sanza's Humble House

Sanza tries to keep up his dignity as a samurai and is loyally served by a devoted maid called Okuni. There is nothing to eat or drink, the roof leaks, the house is always full of the fishmonger, the green-grocer, the sake seller, and the rice merchant all clamouring to be paid. Okuni has an ugly birthmark on her cheek (like a lightning flash) and has long been the butt of all wits in the neighbourhood. She is in love with her master, who seems to her to be as handsome as the most famous actors of the day. She is a pathetic and lovable little figure. Sanza's wife Iwahashi has sold herself into a brothel in order to help him prosecute his search for the lost scroll and for his enemy Banzaemon. She has become the famous courtesan Katsuragi and commands an extensive clientèle. Whenever she can, she comes to Sanza to comfort and encourage him. Pressed by his creditors, Sanza determines to go to the licensed quarter that night to try to borrow some money. He dispatches Okuni to fetch his party clothes from the pawnbroker, sending the best of the household effects in their stead. While she is gone, Katsuragi comes to visit him. She comes down the hanamichi surrounded by her attendants, a glittering contrast to the misery in which her husband lives. Katsuragi brings news. She has learned in the Yoshiwara that one of her clients, known as the daijin (the millionaire), is none other than Banzaemon. Sanza can find him that very night. In the meantime, other plots are afoot. Okuni's old father, Ukiyo Matahei, is always hanging around about the place. He is a petty thief and a thoroughly bad character. Otsume, the mistress of the brothel which employs Katsuragi, now approaches him. She is in Banzaemon's pay and he has suborned her to get rid of Sanza, which she is not unwilling to do, a husband being a great handicap to a successful courtesan. for a small bribe, Matahei agrees to put poison in Sanza's drink. The two prepare the mixture.

Okuni returns with her master's best clothes in a bundle. She dresses his hair for the evening, glancing surreptitiously the while at a print she has just obtained of a young actor famous for his rôles as a lover with whom she compares Sanza to his advantage. Sanza surprises her in the act and realizes her feelings for him. He catches her hand and feels her shiver at his touch. Since after tonight he may never see her again, he makes love to her, but Okuni bursts into tears, accusing him of mocking at her ugliness. She denies that she loves him until Sanza discovers on her arm the tattooed words "My Master". Then she admits the truth. Sanza, much moved, leads her away to his sleeping room. Matahei, who has been off on his own business, has stolen a man's belt and has narrowly missed capture by the police, returns and is found in the living room by Okuni. He is in such a state of nerves that, to calm him, she gives him some of her master's sake. It is only after they have both drunk a cup that Matahei recalls that the wine is poisoned. Okuni realizes that there has been treachery. She accuses Matahei of having a hand in it, and he tries to kill her. Okuni manages to wrest the knife from him and stabs him mortally. The lamp is extinguished in the struggle. Sanza comes from the next room prepared to go out and seek Banzaemon. He calls to Okuni for a drink of water and his sedge hat. In the darkness he does not realize that she is dying. She gives him what he needs and collapses as, without a further word, he goes out into the night.

Aubrey and Giovanna Halford in "The Kabuki Handbook"


The roles of Okuni and Katsuragi are played by the same onnagata actor.

The actors Nakamura Fukusuke IV and Kataoka Gadô III playing the roles of Okuni and Nagoya Sanza in the "Sanza Rôtaku" scene of the drama "Nure Tsubame Hiyoku no Inazuma", which was staged in May 1886 at the Ichimuraza
(print made by Yôshû Chikanobu)

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