|SAKATA TÔJÛRÔ I|
Other name: Sakata Izaemon
Line number: SHODAI (I)
Existence: 1646 ~ 1st day of the 11th lunar month of 1709
Father: Sakata Ichiemon
Brother: Sakata Ichinojô
Nephew: Sakata Tôjûrô III's father Sakata Heishirô
1646: born in Kyôto. His ancestors lived in the northern province of Echigo and his father owns a theater in Kyôto.
11th lunar month of 1676: Tôjûrô becomes zamoto at the Miyako Mandayû's theater in Kyôto and produces the drama "Takiguchi no Yokobue", in which he plays the role of Saitô no Takiguchi.
6th day of the 1st lunar month of 1678: Yûgiri, the most famous courtesan in the Shinmachi pleasure quarter in Ôsaka, dies.
2nd lunar month of 1678: Tôjûrô produces in Ôsaka the drama "Yûgiri Nagori no Shôgatsu", in which he plays the role of Yûgiri's lover Fujiya Izaemon. This is the beginning of the wagoto style. The drama is very successful and staged with different actors in the 6th, the 10th and the 12th lunar months.
1686: Tôjûrô goes back to Kyôto.
1688: Tôjûrô plays the role of Genzaemon in the drama "Ôgumagawa Genzaemon", which is staged at Miyako Mandayû's theater.
Fall 1688: Tôjûrô achieves a great success in the same theater by playing in the drama "Keisei Tamatebako". His stage partner is Iwai Hanshirô I.
1690: Tôjûrô plays the role of Yûgiri's lover Fujiya Izaemon in the drama "Yûgiri Jûsankaiki", which is produced in Ôsaka by Araki Yojibê I and commemorates the 12th anniversary (13th memorial service) of Yûgiri, who was the most famous courtesan in the Shinmachi pleasure quarter in Ôsaka and died the 6th of the 1st lunar month of 1678. The role of Yûgiri is played by Tanishima Mondo.
1691: Tôjûrô plays in Ôsaka in the drama "Sakai no Daiji Kaichô".
3rd lunar month of 1693: premiere in Kyôto at Miyako Mandayû's theater of Chikamatsu Monzaemon's drama "Butsumo Mayasan Kaichô". This is the first drama written by Chikamatsu Monzaemon for Tôjûrô. His stage partners are Yamashita Hanzaemon I, Yoshizawa Ayame, Kirinami Senju I, Kaneko Kichizaemon and Iwai Heijirô.
7th lunar month of 1695: Tôjûrô plays at Hayagumo Chôdayû's theater (Kyôto) the role of Soga Jûrô in the drama "Soga Tayû Zome".
Spring 1696: Tôjûrô produces in the same theater the play "Kôyasan Mandô".
7th lunar month of 1697: Tôjûrô produces in the same theater the play "Daimyô Soga".
11th lunar month of 1697: Tôjûrô produces in the same theater the play "Nana Bake", in which he achieves a great success, sharing the stage with Mizuki Tatsunosuke I, who celebrates his comeback in Kamigata.
1st lunar month of 1698: Tôjûrô produces in the same theater Chikamatsu Monzaemon's drama "Kamigyô Uta Hajime" (he revised the script quite a lot himself). Tôjûrô's rank in the Kamigata hyôbanki, tachiyaku section, is jô-jô-kichi (superior - superior - excellent).
1st lunar month of 1699: Tôjûrô produces in the same theater Chikamatsu Monzaemon's drama "Keisei Hotoke no Hara". This is a huge success.
10th lunar month of 1699: Tôjûrô produces in the same theater Chikamatsu Monzaemon's drama "Amidagaike Shin Teramachi"; he plays the role of Niwazukuri Tôsuke.
1st lunar month of 1701: Tôjûrô produces at Hayagumo Chôdayû's theater (Kyôto) the drama "Keisei Sagano no Hara"; he plays the role of Izumigawa Hyakusuke.
1st lunar month of 1702: premiere at Miyako Mandayû's theater (Kyôto) of Chikamatsu Monzaemon's drama "Keisei Mibu Dainenbutsu", which is produced by Kokon Shinzaemon. The two leading actors are Tôjûrô and Arashi Kiyosaburô I.
11th lunar month of 1702: Tôjûrô becomes zamoto at Miyako Mandayû's theater and produces the play "Yomeiri Kosode"; he plays the role of Takiguchi Tawaranosuke.
1703: annus horribilis for Tôjûrô, who falls ill several times.
3rd lunar month of 1704: Tôjûrô plays the role of Fujiya Izaemon in the drama "Yûgiri Nagori no Shôgatsu", which is staged at Miyako Mandayû's theater (Kyôto).
3rd lunar month of 1705: Tôjûrô plays the roles of Hanaikada Hyakujirô and Ôenosuke in the drama "Keisei Inaba no Matsu", which is produced by his son Sakata Heishichirô at Hoteiya Umenojô's theater (Kyôto).
1706: Tôjûrô plays at Miyako Mandayû's theater the role of Soga Jûrô in the drama "Futsuka Soga".
1st lunar month of 1707: Tôjûrô plays at Hayagumo Chôdayû's theater (Kyôto) the role of Yaban Kyûsuke in the Adachi Saburôemon's drama "Ishiyamadera Chikai no Mizuumi", which is produced by Takeshima Kôjûrô.
10th lunar month of 1707: Tôjûrô plays in the same theater in the drama "Sanshô Dayû".
1st lunar month of 1708: Tôjûrô plays at Kameya Kumenojô's theater (Kyôto) the role of Yahata Gohei in Kurumaya Chûemon's drama "Fukubiki Urû no Shôgatsu".
10th lunar month of 1708: Tôjûrô appears on stage for the last time, at Kameya Kumenojô's theater, playing the role of Fujiya Izaemon in the drama "Yûgiri Nagori no Shôgatsu".
Sakata Tôjûrô was a stage giant in Kamigata during the Genroku era, who created the wagoto style. He was at his best in sewamono dramas, especially the ones dealing with the pleasure quarters. He used to say: "in acting, I think that everyday life should be the model". According to Kaneko Kichizaemon, who wrote dramas for him, "whenever a role was given to Tôjûrô, whether short or long, good or bad, he always studied it carefully".
"Sakata Tôjûrô reflected the taste and elegance of his Kyôto environment. He was romantic and natural in his acting. He left no successor, but there have always been actors faithful to his style." (Zoë Kincaid in "Kabuki, the Popular Stage of Japan")
"Le jeu de Tôjûrô se signala par une recherche très rigoureuse de réalisme, tant pour lui-même que pour ses partenaires qu'il soumettait en tant que chef de troupe à une impitoyable direction d'acteurs : "C'est dans la vie réelle, disait-il en effet, que doit résider le modèle", et de ce principe témoigne l'anecdote fameuse dont Kikuchi Kan tira en 1919 l'argument d'une pièce à succès, "L'amour de Tôjûrô" : dans un restaurant de Gion (à Kyôto), Sakata Tôjûrô poursuivit de ses assiduités l'une des femmes de l'établissement qui, désireuse d'en venir au fait, l'entraîna dans une chambre du fond et souffla la lampe qui se trouvait à l'entrée. Tôjûrô s'enfuit sur le champ. Il revint le lendemain et, abordant la femme : "grâce à vous, lui dit-il, j'ai pu préparer mon prochain rôle. Il s'agit de l'amant d'une femme mariée, et comme je n'ai jamais commis d'adultère, je me trouvais fort embarrassé (…) et pensais qu'à moins de rencontrer un tel homme et de m'imprégner de ses sentiments, je ne pourrais étudier mon rôle. Mais désormais mon souhait a été réalisé, et j'ai pu enfin le mettre au point". (propos d'acteurs, éd. 1776). Ainsi s'élabora sous l'égide de Tôjûrô une théorie du jeu (oserait-on dire : une méthode ?) dans laquelle l'expérience vécue informait étroitement l'interprétation jusqu'à créer une sorte de continuum entre l'art et la vie." (Michel Wasserman in "Théâtre classique du Japon")
"Many anecdotes have been handed down relating to Tôjûrô's extravagance. He received a large salary, but was not at all frugal, and was accustomed to say to those who remonstrated with him about his wastefulness that in order to be a great actor it was necessary to be generous-minded and reckless. He never wore a dress that had been washed; his room was lighted by candles, not by the oil wick which was general in those days. Moreover, he did not subsist on rice and vegetables, the diet of most families, then as now, but lived like a daimyô, partaking of fish and fowl. Every day he drank a cup of the rarest tea, while he warmed his sake with costly charcoal, all in the lordly manner of a feudal magnate. When actors repaired to his house for rehearsal, he received them seated on a beautiful silk cushion, with a gorgeous lacquered tobacco-box in front of him, and served his guests a sumptuous repast. Once, when he played in Ôsaka, he ordered drinking water from Kyôto to be brought to him in casks, and his rice was selected grain by grain. When he was asked the reason for this extravagance, he replied that if his rice were not properly selected the grains might be mixed with grit and his teeth be ruined; and that if he drank Ôsaka water he might become ill, and in consequence be obliged to absent himself from the stage, to the great loss of his manager. It is suspected that Tôjûrô loved advertisement more than Kyôto water, and knew how to make himself talked about by the people of his day." (Zoë Kincaid in "Kabuki, the Popular Stage of Japan")
Sakata Tôjûrô I (1693)
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