Stage names:

Sawamura Sjr
Sawamura Chjr I
Sawamura Rokunosuke

Guild: Izutsuya

Line number: SHODAI (I)

Poetry names: Skei, Kion

Existence: 1675 ~ 24th day of the 1st lunar month of 1734


Father-in-law: Yamashita Kyemon I

Adopted brother: Sawamura Kodenji I

Sons: Kasane Izutsu Tjr, Sawamura Chjr II

Disciples: Sawamura Sjr I, Sawamura Bunji, Sawamura Masagor, Sawamura Koday


1675 ~ 1701: born in Kyto in the district of Miyagawa-ch. His father Bicchya Rokuroemon is a renowned dance teacher in the Imperial Capital and his adopted brother Sawamura Kodenji I is a promising wakaonnagata actor. He receives the name of Sawamura Rokunosuke and becomes a reputed musician (drums).

1st lunar month of 1701: Sawamura Rokunosuke decides to shift to acting and takes the name of Sawamura Chjr I. He makes his first appearance on stage at Ebisuya Kichirb's theater, playing the role of Yamagata Oribe in the drama "Shin Yome Kagami", which is produced by Yamashita Hanzaemon I.

11th lunar month of 1701 ~ 10th lunar month of 1703: Chjr settles in saka and plays in the productions of Kataoka Nizaemon I, notably the drama "Ransetsu Oredake", which is performed in the 1st lunar month of 1702 to commemorate the memory of Arashi San'emon II.

11th lunar month of 1703 ~ 10th lunar month of 1712: Chjr returns to Kyto and plays in Kameya Kumenoj's and Ebisuya Kichirb's theaters.

11th lunar month of 1709: Chjr plays the role of Fujiya Izaemon, the most important role of the great Genroku actor Sakata Tjr I who passed away a few days before the performance. This is a great challenge for Chjr, who spends all his time and energy perfecting his acting skills in order to please Tjr's fans. His partner in the role of the courtesan Ygiri, Izaemon's lover, is Yoshizawa Ayame I. The performance is successful and contributes a lot to the fame of Chjr.

7th lunar month of 1711: Chjr plays the role of Asama Tomoenoj in the drama "Keisei Asama-ga-Dake", which is performed in the same theater. His stage partners are Yoshizawa Ayame I (the courtesan Miura) and Yamashita Kyemon I (Wadaemon). The role of Tomoenoj was played for the first time by the Edo actor Nakamura Shichisabur I in the 1st lunar month of 1698 and became one of the most famous wagoto roles. The performance is a big success and is extended up to october 1711.

11th lunar month of 1712: second stay in saka. Chjr plays the role of Inarinosuke in the drama "Inari Daimy Shintaku no Kawado", which is produced by Mitsuyama Shichisabur.

11th lunar month of 1713: Chjr achieves a great success by playing the role of Naniwanoj in the drama "minato Kogane no Izumi", which is produced by Yamamoto Hikogor.

Summer 1715: Chjr becomes zamoto.

1st lunar month of 1716: Chjr produces in saka the drama "kazari Monomi Guruma", starring the great wakaonnagata actor Ogino Yaegiri I in the role of Ono no Komachi.

1716: Chjr gives to his young disciple Someyama Kijr the name of Sawamura Zengor.

11th lunar month of 1716: Sawamura Chjr takes the name of Sawamura Sjr and produces in saka the kaomise drama "Kogane no Ichigura" in which he plays with Sawamura Zengor and Anegawa Shinshir I. He holds his new name only during this performance.

2nd lunar month of 1717: Chjr produces in saka the plays "Keisei Chibiki no Ishi" and Chikamatsu Monzaemon's "Keisei Kokusen'ya" in which Sawamura Zengor is well received by the public, notably for his performance in the second play in which he has to replace the star Anegawa Shinshir I for the main role of Watnai.

11th lunar month of 1717: Chjr produces in saka at the Naka no Shibai the kaomise drama "Inari Yashiki Daikoku Bashira" in which he plays the role of Inamatsu Genjr; his stage partner for the role of Oshige, Genjr's spouse, is the young wakaonnagata Sanogawa Mangiku.

12th lunar month of 1717: Chjr produces in the same theater the kiri kygen "saka Shinj Hajimari" [1], in which he plays the role of Masuya Kanb.

12th lunar month of 1719: Chjr produces in Kyto Adachi Saburzaemon's kaomise drama "Yamato ji Meoto Izumi", starring Ogino Yaegiri in the role of Oshige.

11th/12th lunar months of 1720: Chjr produces in Kyto at Miyako Manday's theater the kaomise drama "Gosha no Yonegura Fukki no Aimuko" and the kiri kygen "Hamadaya Shirozuki no Yone", in which he plays the roles of Tamamatsu Inabanosuke and Eguchi Tazaemon.

11th lunar month of 1722: Chjr plays the role of Takamatsu Gennai in the drama "Hotei Odori", which is produced in saka by Takeshima Kzaemon II.

11th lunar month of 1724: Chjr plays the role of Tamamatsu Inabanosuke in the drama "Senbon Matsu Hi-no-De no Maizuru", which is produced in saka by Sakakiyama Shirotar I and Sawamura Kiyojr.

11th lunar month of 1730: Chjr plays in Kyto the role of Umematsu Takaemon in Sawamura Bunji's kaomise drama "Inari Yakata Manp no Kura", which is produced by Arashi Koroku I at Hayagumo Chday's theater.

9th lunar month of 1732: first Kabuki adaptation of Matsuda Bunkd and Hasegawa Senshi puppet theater drama "Dan no Ura Kabuto Gunki", which is produced in Kyto by Sakakiyama Shirotar I at Miyako Manday's theater; Chjr plays the role of Shigetada [casting].

12th lunar month of 1733: Chjr appears on stage for the last time, in Kyto, playing the role of Kanki in Chikamatsu Monzaemon's masterpiece "Kokusen'ya Gassen", which is produced by Anegawa Chiyosabur I.


Sawamura Chjr I was an outstanding actor, without doubt the most representative tachiyaku for the Shtoku and Kyh eras, and a successful zamoto. He spent all his career in the the Kamigata area and there is no record of any stay in Edo.

Sawamura Chjr I was the founder of the Sawamura clan, whose main line, the Sawamura Sjr line, is famous for his Edo wagoto style, which takes its roots in Chjr's acting.

[1] This drama was a shinjmono based on the story of Chemon and his lover Ichinoj. The 17th day of the 5th lunar month of the 3rd year of the Tenna era (the 11th of June 1683 in the western calendar), the courtesan Yamatoya Ichinoj and her lover Goze no Chemon committed suicide together in saka. This event caused quite a stir and three saka theaters decided to capitalize on the situation by simultaneously producing the same month the first shinjmono of Kabuki history.

Sawamura Chjr I playing the role of Yuge Dky in the drama "Wash Futatsuishi", which is performed in Kyto in Spring 1727

Prints & Illustrations

The Sawamura Chjr line of actors

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