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Abe Munet˘

Abe no Munet˘ (1032 ~ 1108) was a warlord from the Abe clan. He fought with his father and his elder brother Sadat˘ during the Zenkunen war, which led to the downfall of his clan. His most notable action was his victory against the Genji forces at the Tonomi Palisade in 1061 [more details].

In Japanese: 安倍宗任

Abe Sadat˘

Abe no Sadat˘ (1019 ~ 1062) was a warlord from the Abe clan. He became the head of his in 1057 and was defeated during the Zenkunen war. He surrendered in 1062, was executed and his head was sent to Ky˘to [more details].

In Japanese: 安倍貞任

Abe Yasunari

Abe no Yasunari was the son of Abe no Yasuchika. He was a 12th century onmy˘ji at the Imperial Court. He was an important role in the Kabuki drama "Tamamo-no-Mae Asahi no Tamoto".

In Japanese: 安倍泰成

Abe Yoritoki

Abe no Yoritoki was a warlord and the head of the Abe clan during the late Heian period. He fought the Genji clan and died in 1057 during the Zenkunen war. He was the father of Abe no Sadat˘ and Abe no Munet˘ [more details].

In Japanese: 安倍頼時

Abe Seimei

Abe no Seimei (921 ~ 1005) was a famous court astrologer of the Heian period, calendars maker and spiritual adviser. He became a legendary character with mystical and magical powers in many stories [more details].

In Japanese: 安倍晴明


The Abe River is a 53.3 km long river flowing in Shizuoka Prefecture [more details].

In Japanese: 安倍川


The Abe clan. It was one of the oldest of the major Japanese clans and their leaders ruled ďshű. They were defeated by the Genji clan at the end of the Zenkunen war [more details].

In Japanese: 安倍氏


Deep-fried t˘fu [more details].

In Japanese: 油揚げ


An old district name in ďsaka. Nowadays, it is the first district (icch˘me) of Utsubo Honmachi in in Nishi Ward.

In Japanese: 油掛町


An oil shop during the Edo period.

In Japanese: 油屋

Aburaya S˘d˘

A real event, which happened in Ise in the kuruwa of Furuichi the 9th of the 6th lunar month of 1796. A doctor named Magofuku Itsuki killed 2 people and maimed seven in the Aburaya pleasure house. Magofuku Itsuki killed himself the 19th of the 6th lunar month of 1796. This killing spree inspired the playwright Chikamatsu Tokuz˘ for his masterpiece "Ise Ondo Koi no Netaba".

In Japanese: 油屋騒動


The plain of Adachi. The place is now located in the city of Nihonmatsu in Fukushima Prefecture. This is the site of the legend of the Demon-hag (Onibaba in Japanese) of Adachi-ga-Hara. "Also described variously as an ôogressö and a ôgoblin,ö her story stands out as one of the most bloodcurdling legends in a country that has no shortage of grotesque, gruesome and barbarously chilling tales. Her dreadful deeds appear to go back around 1,260 years, to the late Nara period (710~784). In those days her name is believed to have been Iwate, and she worked as a wet nurse for an aristocratic family in the Imperial capital. Then one day her high-born mistress fell ill, and Iwate was told by a seer that she could only be healed by consuming the raw liver of a pregnant woman. Ever the loyal servant, Iwate left her own small daughter to set off in search of a cure, eventually taking up residence in Japanĺs then remote and near-uncharted northeast. Years passed until, one autumn evening, a young couple with the wife heavily pregnant approached her hut and requested shelter for the night. That evening the wife went into labor and her husband dashed off to seek medication. Seizing her chance, Iwate slashed open the young womanĺs belly and began to remove her liver. In her death throes, the woman gasped, ôI came here searching for my mother, from whom Iĺd been separated in the capital.ö Then to her horror, Onibaba recognized a talisman she had given to her daughter in infancy, and at that moment realized she had murdered her own beloved offspring. Driven to madness, she turned into a full-fledged serial killer and cannibal. The exact number of her victims is not specified Ś nor likewise the circumstances of her death." (Mark Schreiber, "In search of the fearsome Onibaba" 2012). "Adachi-ga-Hara" is also the title of a famous N˘ drama which tells the story of a group of priests in search of a night's lodging in the wilds of Adachi-ga-Hara. They stop at the humble hut of a lone woman. She lets them in and, while spinning threads, speaks of her solitude. As she leaves to gather firewood, she tells the priest not to look into her inner room. His curiosity being aroused, a servant of the priests looks in the inner room and finds human bones and rotting corpses. The old woman returns in rage, revealing her true identity as a demon. Through prayers, the priests are able to quell her anger. In Kabuki, the Demon-hag of Adachi-ga-Hara is the main character of the dance-drama "Kurozuka". The old woman Iwate is also an important character in the 4th act of "ďshű Adachi-ga-Hara".

In Japanese: 安達原


Revenge; vengeance. The main thema of many Kabuki plays. The most famous one is "Kanadehon Chűshingura", based on the true story of the revenge of 47 masterless samurais against the villain responsible for the death of their master. Synonym: katakiuchi.

In Japanese: 仇討


Adauchimono is a subgenre of Kabuki or puppet drama featuring a samurai revenge-killing vendetta (adauchi). The best examples are the sogamono based on the Soga Brothers vendetta. Synonim: katakiuchimono.

In Japanese: 仇討物


Permanent curtain located at the entrance of the hanamichi. There is also sometimes, depending on the production, a temporary agemaku to allow entrance from the kamite.

In Japanese: 揚幕


House of assignation in the pleasure quarters.

In Japanese: 揚屋


A fool; an idiot. The typical role for a d˘kegata at the end of the 17th century or the first half of the 18th century.

In Japanese: 阿呆


When two heroes commit seppuku at the same time, without preliminary consultation.

In Japanese: 合腹


==> Sagamiya Masagor˘

In Japanese: 相政

Aisu Hisatada

Aisu Hisatada (1452~ 1538) was the founder of the Kage School (kenjutsu) [more details].

In Japanese: 愛洲久忠


A coproducer. A zamoto working with a second zamoto as a pair of producers.

In Japanese: 相座本


An indigo dyer; an indigo-dyeing shop.

In Japanese: 藍染屋


The Akabane Bridge. Literally the Red Feather Bridge. A famous bridge which was built in Edo on the Furukawa River. It was one of the Famous Places in the Eastern Capital series of prints made by Hiroshige. It was entitled "Snow at Akabane Bridge in Shiba".

In Japanese: 赤羽根橋

Akabane Genz˘

Akabane Genz˘ Shigekata (1669~1703) was one of the 47 r˘nin of Ak˘ (Ak˘ R˘shi). Like the others, he committed seppuku the 4th of the 2nd lunar month of the 16th year of the Genroku era (the 20th of March 1703 in the western calendar).

In Japanese: 赤埴源蔵


Literally the red banner. Other possible reading is sekki. Any kind of red banner or flag. In Kabuki or Bunraku, in Genpei-kassenmono, the Red Banner is the war flag of the Heike clan.

In Japanese: 赤旗


Literally the Red Princess. "The standard costume for hime (princesses) is a furisode (long-sleeved kimono) with matching uchikake (long outer garment) embroidered with various patterns such as the flowers of the four seasons, the shapes of clouds, or fans scattered on running water, using gold and silver threads on red fabric for both layers of the costume. This costume set is called akahime, which has also become the common name of the princess role. Red color represents the cuteness and innocence of the princess." (from Invitation to Kabuki)

In Japanese: 赤姫

Akamatsu Enshin

==> Akamatsu Norimura

In Japanese: 赤松円心

Akamatsu Norimura

Akamatsu Norimura (1277~1350) was a powerful warlord and a nyűd˘ during the Muromachi period. He supported Emperor Emperor Godaigo and Ashikaga Takauji in the struggle to overcome the Kamakura shogunate. He was also called Akamatsu Enshin [more details].

In Japanese: 赤松則村

Akashi no Ura

Akashi Bay. It was a well-known bay with a fishing village best known for its octopus. It is now part of the city of Akashi in Hy˘go Prefecture.

In Japanese: 明石浦

Akatsuki Hoshiemon

Akatsuki Hoshiemon was a famous thief (t˘zoku) of the Edo period. Born in 1759, he started his career of crime in ďsaka. He was imprisoned and was tattooed in jail. He went to Shikoku and worked with a gang of pirates there for a while. He finally settled in Edo, where he took the name of ďsakaya Kihachi. He stole some scrap metal and used it as a pledge to borrow some money. He was captured, condemmed to death and executed the 16th day of the 8th lunar month of the 4th year of the Bunka era (1807).

In Japanese: 暁星右衛門


A red-faced villain in jidaimono. Stupid but strong, he is usually the follower of a smarter and more powerful evil lord.

In Japanese: 赤っ面

Akechi Mitsuhide

Akechi Mitsuhide (1528~1582) was a general who lived during the Sengoku period of Feudal Japan. Mitsuhide served the daimy˘ Oda Nobunaga but he finally betrayed his lord in 1582. He was killed after his defeat at the Battle of Yamazaki. He became, under the thinly disguised name of Takechi Mitsuhide, the hero of many Taik˘ki-related Kabuki dramas [more details].

In Japanese: 明智光秀


Autumn in Japanese.

In Japanese:


Old province, which grosso modo corresponds to the western part of the prefecture of Hiroshima. It was also called Geishű [more details].

In Japanese: 安芸 | 安藝

Akiba Jinja

The Akiba Shrine. Several Akiba Shint˘ shrines have been built all over Japan. They are all dedicated to the Deity Akiba Gongen (kami). One of these Akiba shrines is located in Edo/T˘ky˘ in Muk˘jima (nowadays Sumida Ward). It was built at the end of the 1280s or the beginning of the 1290s.

In Japanese: 秋葉神社

Akiba Gongen

A Shint˘ kami, which is the Manifestation of Mount Akiba in Echigo Province. It is worshipped as a protector against fire [more details].

In Japanese: 秋葉権現


Ak˘ was little castle town in the Banshű province. Its modern name is Banshű-Ak˘.

In Japanese: 赤穂

Ak˘ Gishi

Literally "the Royal Retainers from Ak˘" (==> ak˘ r˘shi).

In Japanese: 赤穂義士

Ak˘ R˘shi

Literally "the Masterless Samurai from Ak˘". This expression is used for the series of events related to the vendetta of the 47 masterless samurai from Ak˘. On the 14th day of the 3rd lunar month of the 14th year of the Genroku era (the 21st of April 1701 in the western calendar), Asano Takumi-no-Kami Naganori, the young daimy˘ of the castle town of Ak˘, attacked Kira K˘zuke-no-Suke, a high Sh˘gunal official who bullied him during a ceremony at the Sh˘gun's palace. The Sh˘gun was furious and Lord Asano was forced to commit seppuku that very day and his domain confiscated. On the 14th day of the 12th lunar month of the 15th year of the Genroku era (the 30th of January 1703 in the western calendar) and the early morning of the following day, forty-seven of Asano's retainers avenged his death by attacking and killing Kira and immediately became heroes showing that even after a century of peace, the samurai value of loyalty was not yet dead. In 1748, the puppet play "Kanadehon Chűshingura" appeared and since that time has been the single most popular play in all Japanese theatre. The names of the original characters were changed due to censorship and all kinds of incidents created, but still, as the history of the original event and the portrait of the suffering of the people around the event, it provides vivid human drama that is alive and vibrant even today.
{adapted from a text published in the Earphone Guide website}

In Japanese: 赤穂浪士


"Akogi" is a famous drama. Akogi Bay was in the sacred domain of the Ise Shrine where fishing was prohibited. In this drama, the ghost of a fisherman who had been put to death by drowning for fish poaching in Akogi Bay tells the story of his agony [more details].

In Japanese: 阿漕


The Akogi Bay. A bay which is near the city of Tsu or the Grand Shrine of Ise on Ise Bay. Just off Futami-ga-Ura.

In Japanese: 阿漕浦


A domain in feudal Japan located in the province of Banshű, centered around the Ak˘ Castle. It became famous between 1701 and 1703 with a series of events building the famous story of the Ak˘ R˘shi [more details].

In Japanese: 赤穂藩


The Ak˘ Castle located in Ak˘ in the Hy˘go Prefecture. It was the headquarters of the Ak˘ Domain [more details].

In Japanese: 赤穂城



In Japanese:


An evil middle-aged woman in sewamono drama, who indulges in extortion, blackmail or murder. She is usually a clever person, who can bluff, fight and swindle. She is also often possessed with a certain sense of loyal chivalry.

In Japanese: 悪婆


An evil daikan.

In Japanese: 悪代官


==> Fujiwara Yorinaga

In Japanese: 悪左府

Akushichiby˘e Kagekiyo

==> Taira no Kagekiyo

In Japanese: 悪七兵衛景清


Literally a bad boy. This is also the title of a famous matsubamemono ("Akutar˘").

In Japanese: 悪太郎


A nun.

In Japanese:


A woman shell diver.

In Japanese: 海女

Ama Midai

The wife of a Sh˘gun or an equivalently high-ranking minister. It is an abbreviation of ama midaidokoro.

In Japanese: 尼御台

Ama Midaidokoro

==> ama midai.

In Japanese: 尼御台所


The traditional call of a candy peddler (ame-uri) to sell his candies in the streets.

In Japanese: あまいかい


The name of an old district in the eastern part of the city of Kamakura.

In Japanese: 甘縄 | 海士縄

Amano Hachir˘

Amano Hachir˘ (1831~1868) was a Bakumatsu pro-Shogunate hatamoto. He was one of the main commanders of the Sh˘gitai. He was defeated and captured at the Battle of Ueno. He died in captivity the 21st of December 1868 [more details].

In Japanese: 天野八郎


The traditional Japanese starch-jelly candy.

In Japanese:


A peddler selling candies (ame).

In Japanese: 飴売り


A 196-meter mountain in Ky˘to. H˘kokuby˘, the mausoleum of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, was built on top of this mountain.

In Japanese: 阿弥陀ヶ峰


Net fishing; fishing with a net; a net fisherman.

In Japanese: 網打ち


An imperial era in Japanese history which started the 16th day of the 11th lunar month of 1772 (the 10th of December 1772 in the western calendar) and ended the 2nd day of the 4th lunar month of 1781 (the 25th of April 1781 in the western calendar). The 2 eras before and after An'ei were Meiwa and Tenmei.

In Japanese: 安永


A masseur.

In Japanese: 按摩


==> anma

In Japanese: 按摩取


An imperial era in Japanese history which started the 27th day of the 11th lunar month of the 7th year of the Kaei era (the 15th of January 1855 in the western calendar) and ended the 18th day of the 3rd lunar month of 1860 (the 8th of April 1860 in the western calendar). The 2 eras before and after Ansei were Kaei and Man'en.

In Japanese: 安政

Ansei no Taigoku

The Ansei Purge was ordered by Ii Naosuke on behalf of the Bakufu between 1858 and 1860 to imprison, execute or exile those who did not support its authority and foreign trade policies [more details].

In Japanese: 安政の大獄


An hermit's retreat.

In Japanese: 庵室


An inlay artist, making shell inlays using fragments of blue/green abalone (aogai) shells.

In Japanese: 青貝師

Aoto Saemon Fujitsuna

Aoto Saemon Fujitsuna was a famous bushi of the Kamakura era. During the Edo period, he often appeared in novels or Kabuki dramas as a sabakiyaku role, offering a fair trial and protecting people from injustice from powerful villains. One example : the final scene of "Shiranami Gonin Otoko".

In Japanese: 青砥左衛門藤綱


The expression aragoto is an abbreviation of aramushagoto, which means literally "the reckless warrior matter". This is in fact a Kabuki bombastic style exagerrating all the aspects of the role (acting, wig, make-up (kumadori), costumes, dialogues, oversized swords) to portray valiant warriors, fierce gods or demons. This style was created in Edo by Ichikawa Danjűr˘ I and is considered a "familly art" for this line of actors. It is the opposite style of the soft wagoto created by Sakata T˘jűr˘ I in Kamigata.

In Japanese: 荒事


Tachiyaku actor performing in the aragoto style.

In Japanese: 荒事師

Arai Kageyu

Another name of Arai Hakuseki.

In Japanese: 新井勘解由

Arai Hakuseki

Arai Hakuseki (1657~1725), also called Arai Kageyu, was a Confucianist, scholar-bureaucrat, academic, administrator, writer and politician in Japan during the middle of the Edo Period, who advised the Sh˘gun Tokugawa Ienobu [more details].

In Japanese: 新井白石

Arima Onsen

Arima Onsen is an old, famous and popular hot spring town within the city limits of K˘be [more details].

In Japanese: 有馬温泉


The Arima clan. They ruled the Kurume Domain in Chikugo from the beginning of the 1600s to the beginning of the 1870s.

In Japanese: 有馬氏

Ariwara Narihira

Ariwara no Narihira (825 ~ 880) was an early Heian period courtier and poet. He was one of the six Rokkasen [more details].

In Japanese: 在原業平

Ariwara Yukihira

Ariwara no Yukihira (818~893) was a Japanese Heian period courtier and bureaucrat, who held a number of positions over the course of his life. He was for example governor of several provinces. He also served as chűnagon. He was a talented poet [more details].

In Japanese: 在原行平


The morning-glory.

In Japanese: 朝顔


A morning-glory seller.

In Japanese: 朝顔売


A light blue stage curtain used to temporarily hide some spectacular and colorful stage props. The curtain is suddenly dropped from the top and the stage set is revealed in all its splendour.

In Japanese: 浅葱幕

Asaka no Numa

The Asaka Marsh. A famus marsh located in K˘riyama in Fukushima Prefecture.

In Japanese: 安積沼 | 浅香沼 | 朝香沼


Asakusa is a famous and popular district of Edo/T˘ky˘.

In Japanese: 浅草

Asakusa Jinja

The Asakusa Shrine. A Shint˘ shrine founded in 1649 in Edo in Asakusa. Hinokuma Hamanari, Hinokuma Takenari, Haji no Nakatomo and Ebisu were enshrined in this shrine [more details].

In Japanese: 浅草神社

Asakusa Kannon

The Sens˘ji Temple is commonly called Asakusa Kannon.

In Japanese: 浅草観音

Asakusa Okura

A famous shogunate rice storehouse located in Asakusa near the Sumida River.

In Japanese: 浅草御蔵

Asama Daimy˘jin

==> Asama no ďkami

In Japanese: 浅間大明神

Asama Gongen

==> Asama no ďkami

In Japanese: 浅間権現

Asama Jinja

Asama Shrine. There are approximately 1,300 Asama Shrines in Japan. They enshrine Asama no ďkami, the deity of volcanoes in general and Mt. Fuji in particular. Also called Sengen Jinja [more details].

In Japanese: 浅間神社

Asama no ďkami

The deity of volcanoes enshrined in Asama Shrines. Also called Asama Daimy˘jin or Asama Gongen.

In Japanese: 浅間大神


A series of Kabuki dances or scenes within a drama based on the scene of a keisei's ghost appearing suddenly in front of her lover to admonish him for burning a mutual vow of love signed by the two of them. This scene was originally in the 1st act of the drama "Keisei Asama-ga-Dake", which was staged in Ky˘to in 1698 as a kaich˘mono. In the same year, a statue of Asama no ďkami was unveiled (kaich˘) in Ky˘to and the word Asama was associated to this ghost-appearing scene, even if it was not directly related to the God or the sculpture of the God.

In Japanese: 浅間物

Asano Daigaku

==> Asano Nagahiro

In Japanese: 浅野大学 | 淺野大學

Asano Daigaku Nagahiro

==> Asano Nagahiro

In Japanese: 浅野大学長広 | 淺野大學長廣

Asano Nagahiro

Asano Nagahiro (1670~1734) was the younger brother of Asano Naganori. His tsűsh˘ was Daigaku.

In Japanese: 浅野長広 | 淺野長廣

Asano Naganori

Asano Naganori (1667~1701) was a daimy˘ in the castle town of Ak˘ in the province of Banshű. He drew his sword, attempted to kill the high-ranking master of ceremony Kira Yoshihisa at Edo Castle the 21st of April 1701 and was forced to commit seppuku by the Sh˘gun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi the same day. This was the beginning of the famous story of the Ak˘ R˘shi, the 47 masterless retainers who avenged the unfair death of Asano Naganori by killing Kira Yoshihisa the 31st of January 1703. His title was Takumi-no-Kami and he was therefore also called Asano Takumi-no-Kami Naganori [more details].

In Japanese: 浅野長矩

Asano Takumi-no-Kami Naganori

==> Asano Naganori.

In Japanese: 浅野内匠頭長矩

Asano Yoshinaga

Asano Yoshinaga (1576~1613) was a feudal lord of the late Sengoku period, the Azuchi-Momoyama period and the early Edo period. He was a retainer of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu. He fought alongside Kat˘ Kiyomasa in Korea. He was kami of the Kii Province [more details].

In Japanese: 浅野幸長

Asazuma Bune

A boat used by "floating" prostitutes to do their business.

In Japanese: 浅妻船


A technique used by a Kabuki dancer to beat time by stamping the stage with his foot.

In Japanese: 足拍子


Mount Ashigara. A 1,212.5 meters moutain located at the frontier of the prefectures of Kanagawa and Shizuoka. The legendary yamanba and his son Sakata Kintoki lived on Mount Ashigara. Also called Kintokisan or Kintokiyama [more details].

In Japanese: 足柄山


The ashigaru, a foot soldier, is the lowest-ranking samurai.

In Japanese: 足軽

Ashikaga Tadayoshi

Ashikaga Tadayoshi (1306~1352) was the son of Ashikaga Sadauji and the younger brother of Ashikaga Takauji, the first Sh˘gun of the Muromachi period. He was an important general of the Nanbokuch˘ period as he played a major role in the transition from the Kamakura period to the Muromachi period [more details].

In Japanese: 足利直義

Ashikaga Takauji

Ashikaga Takauji (1305~1358) was the founder and first Sh˘gun of the Ashikaga shogunate (Muromachi period) [more details].

In Japanese: 足利尊氏

Ashikaga Yoshikazu

Ashikaga Yoshikazu (1407~1425) was the 5th Ashikaga Sh˘gun. Son of Ashikaga Yoshimochi, he ruled Japan from 1423 to 1425 during the Muromachi period [more details].

In Japanese: 足利義持

Ashikaga Yoshimasa

Ashikaga Yoshimasa (1436~1490) was the 8th Ashikaga Sh˘gun. Son of Ashikaga Yoshinori, he ruled Japan from 1449 to 1473 during the Muromachi period [more details].

In Japanese: 足利義政

Ashikaga Yoshimitsu

Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1358~1408) was the 3rd Ashikaga Sh˘gun. 3rd son of Ashikaga Yoshiakira, he ruled Japan from 1368 to 1394 during the Muromachi period [more details].

In Japanese: 足利義満

Ashikaga Yoshimochi

Ashikaga Yoshimochi (1386~1428) was the 4th Ashikaga Sh˘gun. Son of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, he ruled Japan from 1394 to 1423 during the Muromachi period [more details].

In Japanese: 足利義持

Ashikaga Yoshinori

Ashikaga Yoshinori (1394~1441) was the 6th Ashikaga Sh˘gun. Son of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, he ruled Japan from 1429 to 1441 during the Muromachi period [more details].

In Japanese: 足利義教

Ashikaga Yoshiteru

Ashikaga Yoshiteru (1536~1565), the eldest son of Ashikaga Yoshiharu, the 12th Sh˘gun of the Ashikaga shogunate, was the 13th Ashikaga Sh˘gun. He reigned from 1546 to 1565 [more details].

In Japanese: 足利義輝


Old province, which grosso modo corresponds to prefecture of Tokushima. It was also called Awa.

In Japanese: 阿州

Asobue to Awase

A series of prints made by Utagawa Toyokuni III in 1852 and associated to the 12 year-marking Chinese zodiacal signs.

In Japanese: 擬絵当合

Asuka Jidai

The Asuka Period. A period in Japan history lasting from the middle of the 6th century to 710 AD [more details].

In Japanese: 飛鳥時代


A famous drama which was written in 1465, during the Muromachi era, by Kanze Nobumitsu [more details].

In Japanese: 安宅


A successful role for a Kabuki actor.

In Japanese: 当たり役

Atsuta Jingű

The Atsuta Shrine. Located in the city of Nagoya, it is one of the most important Shint˘ shrines in Japan. The Atsuta Shrine is familiarly known as Atsuta-Sama (Venerable Atsuta) or simply as Miya (the Shrine) [more details].

In Japanese: 熱田神宮


Old province, which grosso modo corresponds to prefecture of Tokushima. It was also called Ashű.

In Japanese: 阿波

Awa Mochi

A traditional Japanese millet cake.

In Japanese: 粟餅


A famous execution ground near Ky˘to.

In Japanese: 粟田口


A footpath between rice fields.

In Japanese: 畦道

Azuchi-Momoyama Jidai

The Azuchi-Momoyama period, which started in 1573 with the first major victories of Oda Nobunaga and ended in 1603 with the fall of the Toyotomi clan, defeated by the powerful Tokugawa Ieyasu. Azuchi and Momoyama were the names of Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi castles.

In Japanese: 安土桃山時代


Old synonym for the city of Edo.

In Japanese: 吾妻


The Azuma school of Buy˘, which was created by the actor Azuma T˘z˘ II during the Meiwa/An'ei eras. The current head of the Azuma-ryű is the female master of dance Azuma Tokuya [more details].

In Japanese: 吾妻流


Kabuki or puppet dramas whose main characters are the courtesan Azuma and her lover Yamazaki Yojibŕ, who tries to ransom Azuma. In some dramas, Azuma's lover is named Yamazaki Yogor˘. The two most famous plays are "Nebiki no Kadomatsu" and "Futatsu Ch˘ch˘ Kuruwa Nikki".

In Japanese: 吾妻与次兵衛物

Azusa Miko

A miko summoning spirits by sounding the string of an azusa yumi (short musical bow)

In Japanese: 梓巫女

Azusa Yumi

A bow made from the wood of the Japanese cherry birch; a small musical bow used to summon spirits.

In Japanese: 梓弓


A lacquer tub used to wash horses' legs.

In Japanese: 馬盥


Fools! Idiots! A famous insult said by the bogus priest K˘chiyama S˘shun at the end of the eponymous drama "K˘chiyama".

In Japanese: 馬鹿め


An idiot.

In Japanese: 馬鹿者


A gambler.

In Japanese: 博奕打ち


Shogunate. Term used to designate the Sh˘gunal administration during the Kamakura, Muromachi and Edo periods. This word came from Chinese, his original meaning was "office under tent" and it was used for the headquarters of a general in expedition. The warrior Minamoto Yoritomo created the first bakufu in Kamakura in 1192, called Kamakura Bakufu, which collapsed in 1333. The second one, which was created by Ashikaga Takauji in Ky˘to in 1336, was called Muromachi Bakufu or Ashikaga Bakufu and collapsed in 1573. The third one, which was created by Tokugawa Ieyasu in Edo in 1603, was called Edo Bakufu or Tokugawa Bakufu and collapsed in 1868.

In Japanese: 幕府


Bakumatsu literally means the end (matsu) of the Bakufu, the Tokugawa Shogunate of the Edo period. The Bakumatsu period was the final years of the Tokugawa Shogunate, between 1853 and 1867 [more details].

In Japanese: 幕末

Bakumatsu no Sanshű

Literally the Three Shű of the Bakumatsu period. Three outstanding men of this important period, who had the same ideogram for Shű in their first name: Katsu Kaishű, Takahashi Deishű and Yamaoka Tesshű.

In Japanese: 幕末の三舟

Bakumatsu Yondai Hitokiri

The four great hitokiri of the Bakumatsu. These four famous hitokiri were the samurai Kawakami Gensai, Kirino Toshiaki, Tanaka Shinbŕ and Okada Iz˘ [more details].

In Japanese: 幕末四大人斬り


Shinkabuki dramas dealing with the heroes and the events of the Bakumatsu period at the end of the Edo period.

In Japanese: 幕末物


A gambler.

In Japanese: 博徒


A scene in a play.

In Japanese: 場面

Band˘ Sanjűsankasho

The Band˘ 33 Kannon Pilgrimage. A series of 33 Buddhist temples in Eastern Japan dedicated to Kannon. One of the 33 temples is the famous Sens˘ji (commonly called Asakusa Kannon) in the district of Asakusa in Edo/T˘ky˘. Band˘ is the old name for what is now the Kant˘ region [more details].

In Japanese: 坂東三十三箇所


A watchman hut.

In Japanese: 番小屋


Old province, which grosso modo corresponds to the southern and western parts of the prefecture of Hy˘g˘. It was also called Harima.

In Japanese: 播州


A sentry; a guard.

In Japanese: 番卒


A head clerk at a mercantile establishment.

In Japanese: 番頭


Kabuki dramas whose main character is the Edo otokodate Banzui Ch˘bŕ (1622?~1657?). He is often associated with another famous character named Shirai Gonpachi. Both characters really existed but they never really met.

In Japanese: 幡随長兵衛物


A playbill.

In Japanese: 番付


Term synonymous with umakata.

In Japanese: 馬士


The nickname of Beniya Kanbŕ.

In Japanese: 紅勘

Beniya Kanbŕ

Dates of birth and death unknown. During the Ansei era, Beniya Kanbŕ was originally a komamonoya and became an eccentric street performer, who appeared in Asakusa and won wide notoriety. He was a one-man band, performing on an oddly shaped homemade shamisen, a hand-held gong and drum strapped around his waist, and a flute. He was nicknamed Benikan. He became in 1864 the leading role in a dance-drama entitled "Benikan".

In Japanese: 紅屋勘兵衛


A Japanese lunch box.

In Japanese: 弁当


An alias for an actor. A stage name which is not an official one but is quite often used inside the Kabuki world.

In Japanese: 別名


The priest holding the supreme power over administration of large temples was called bett˘. It was also the second official rank in the T˘d˘za.

In Japanese: 別当 | 別當


Pictures (including ukiyoe) of beautiful women [more details].

In Japanese: 美人画


Synonymous with ama.

In Japanese: 比丘尼


Old province on the inland sea side of western Japan, which grosso modo corresponds to the Eastern part of the prefecture of Hiroshima. It was also called Bishű [more details].

In Japanese: 備後


Old province on the inland sea side of western Japan, which grosso modo corresponds to the Eastern part of the prefecture of Hiroshima. It was also called Bingo [more details].

In Japanese: 備州


Old province in the area that today forms the western half of Aichi Prefecture. It was also called Owari [more details].

In Japanese: 尾州


Traditional Japanese Lute.

In Japanese: 琵琶


Lake Biwa. Japan largest lake (235 kilometers in circumference), located in Shiga prefecture and close to the city of Ky˘to. Its name comes from its biwa shape.

In Japanese: 琵琶湖


Old province which grosso modo corresponds to what is today the southeastern part of Okayama Prefecture [more details].

In Japanese: 備前


Trading merchant.

In Japanese: 貿易商


Bokuden-ryű was a school of swordmanship which was developed by Tsukahara Bokuden.

In Japanese: 卜伝流


A fortune-teller; a diviner; a soothsayer.

In Japanese: 卜者


Bon (also called Obon) is a Japanese Buddhist summer custom to honor the spirits of one's ancestors. This Buddhist-Confucian custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to ancestral family places and visit and clean their ancestors' graves, and when the spirits of ancestors are supposed to revisit the household altars. It traditionally includes popular dances known as bon odori [more details].

In Japanese:

Bon Ky˘gen

Summer play. A summer Kabuki production, which was staged in July or August without the major actors of the troupe. In Edo, it was also a custom to stage kaidanmono as bon ky˘gen.

In Japanese: 盆狂言

Bon Odori

The traditional popular dances performed during the Bon festival.

In Japanese: 盆踊り

Boshin Sens˘

The Boshin War. This war, the "War of the Year of the Dragon", was a civil war in Japan, fought from 1868 to 1869 between forces of the ruling Tokugawa Shogunate and those seeking to return political power to the imperial court [more details].

In Japanese: 戊辰戦争


An old province of Japan in the area that is today the eastern part of Yamaguchi prefecture. It was also called Su˘ [more details].

In Japanese: 防州


"Buaku" is a famous Ky˘gen drama belonging to the family of daimy˘ plays. Buaku is also a type of /Ky˘gen mask used for tengu. It indicates a character who is only outwardly powerful but inwardly timid. In Ky˘gen, it is a comical demon mask.

In Japanese: 武悪


Roles or things related to the warrior class.

In Japanese: 武道事


A quick costum-change technique used to reveal the true identity of a character. The upper half inside part of the costum is pulled down by a stage assistant to cover the lower half outside part. Its pattern matches the one of the new upper half costum revealed by the change, creating the illusion of a real costum change.

In Japanese: 打っ返り


Old province in the area of nowadays ďita Prefecture. Along with the province of Buzen, the two provinces were also called H˘shű [more details].

In Japanese: 豊後


An old school of music in Japan. It was created by the Ky˘to musician Miyakoji Bungonoj˘ (1660~1740). Most songs from this school dealt with love affairs and shinjű. Schools like Tokiwazu, Tomimoto, Shinnai, Kiyomoto or Miyazono, were the offshoots of the Bungo school, now almost extinct. The music for the dance "Bungo D˘j˘ji" was created in 1980 in the Bungo style.

In Japanese: 豊後節


In Japanese history, the Bunka period is an imperial era which started the 11th day of the 2nd lunar month of 1804 (the 22nd of March 1804 in the western calendar) and ended the 22nd day of the 4th lunar month of 1818 (the 26th of May 1818 in the western calendar). The 2 eras before and after Bunka were Ky˘wa and Bunsei.

In Japanese: 文化

Bunka K˘r˘sha

A person who has made outstanding culture contributions in Japan. This title is awarded by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

In Japanese: 文化功労者


An imperial era in Japanese history which started the 19th day of the 2nd lunar month of 1861 (the 29th of March 1861 in the western calendar) and ended the 20th day of the 2nd lunar month of 1864 (the 27th of March 1864 in the western calendar). The 2 eras before and after Bunkyű were Man'en and Genji.

In Japanese: 文久


Popular expression used to designate the traditional puppet theater (ningy˘ j˘ruri). This word came from an ďsaka theater called Bunrakuza.

In Japanese: 文楽


In Japanese history, the Bunsei period is an imperial era which started the 22nd day of the 4th lunar month of 1818 (the 26th of May 1818 in the western calendar) and ended the 10th day of the 12th lunar month of its 13th year (the 23rd of January 1831 in the western calendar). The 2 eras before and after Bunka were Bunka and Tenp˘.

In Japanese: 文政

Bun'ya Asayasu

Bun'ya no Asayasu or Fun'ya no Asayasu was an early Heian period poet. He was the son of Bun'ya no Yasuhide [more details].

In Japanese: 文屋朝康

Bun'ya Yasuhide

Bun'ya no Yasuhide or Fun'ya no Yasuhide was an early Heian period poet. He most likely died in 885. He was one of the six Rokkasen. He was the father of Bun'ya no Asayasu [more details].

In Japanese: 文屋康秀


A ruffian; a rowdy; a tough; a rough.

In Japanese: 無頼漢


A samurai; a warrior.

In Japanese: 武士


A military commander during the feodal times.

In Japanese: 武将


Old province, which grosso modo corresponds to T˘ky˘ Metropolis, most of Saitama Prefecture and part of Kanagawa Prefecture. It was also called Musashi [more details].

In Japanese: 武州


A theater stage.

In Japanese: 舞台


Japanese traditional dance [more details].

In Japanese: 舞踊


Old province in northern Kyűshű, which grosso modo corresponds to both Fukuoka and ďita prefectures [more details]. Along with the province of Bungo, the two provinces were also called H˘shű.

In Japanese: 豊前


Japanese folding screens, which are made from several joined panels, bearing decorative painting and calligraphy. They are used to separate interiors and enclose private spaces, among other uses.

In Japanese: 屏風

Cha B˘zu

A servant in the administrative headquarters of the Tokugawa Shogunate during the Edo period. The function of a cha b˘zu was to oversee the provision of personal service and serving of meals, and to run errands, for high-ranking officials like the Sh˘gun or daimy˘ at Edo Castle.

In Japanese: 茶坊主

Cha no S˘sh˘

A master of the Tea Ceremony.

In Japanese: 茶の宗匠

Cha Zashiki

==> cha-no-yu zashiki

In Japanese: 茶座敷


==> Yodogimi.

In Japanese: 茶々


A legitimate child.

In Japanese: 嫡子

Cha-no-yu Zashiki

A tea ceremony parlor. Also called cha zashiki.

In Japanese: 茶の湯座敷


Mount Chausu. A mount in ďsaka in Tenn˘ji Park, which was said to be an old sacred burial site (nothing definitively proven so far). It was used as location of the headquarters of Tokugawa Ieyasu during the Siege of ďsaka in 1614 and 1615 [more details].

In Japanese: 茶臼山


A chinaware dealer.

In Japanese: 茶碗屋


Tea house.

In Japanese: 茶屋

Chaya Ny˘b˘

The mistress of a teahouse (chaya ny˘b˘).

In Japanese: 茶屋女房


A simple Japanese dish made by pouring green tea or hot water over cooked rice [more details].

In Japanese: 茶漬け


A city in the prefecture of Saitama located in a montainous part of Japan, nowadays near and within a National Park [more details].

In Japanese: 秩父

Chichibu Sh˘ji Shigetada

==> Hatakeyama Shigetada

In Japanese: 秩父庄司重忠


Kabuki drama or dance whose main thema is a husband, who has lost his wife and has to find some milk for his child. The first chichimoraimono was "Hana Fubuki Koi no Tekagami".

In Japanese: 乳貰物


An infant; a sacred child parading in a festival procession (matsuri).

In Japanese: 稚児


A cotton crepe fabric used for summer kimono.

In Japanese:

Chikamatsu Kanroku

Chikamatsu Kanroku Yukishige (1670~1703) was one of the 47 r˘nin of Ak˘ (Ak˘ R˘shi). Like the others, he committed seppuku the 4th of the 2nd lunar month of the 16th year of the Genroku era (the 20th of March 1703 in the western calendar).

In Japanese: 近松勘六


A Kamigata Kabuki troupe founded in 1982 by Nakamura Senjaku II to study and revive Chikamatsu Monzaemon's dramas.

In Japanese: 近松座

Chikamatsu San Kantsűmono

The three kantsűmono of Chikamatsu Monzaemon: "Nami no Tsuzumi", "Osan Mohei" and "Yari no Gonza".

In Japanese: 近松三姦通物


Chikara was the tsűsh˘ of the warriors ďishi Yoshikane and Tsuchiya Michinao.

In Japanese: 主税


Chikubu Island. An island in the northern side of Lake Biwa, which is known as the "Island of the Gods". It is the 30th stop on the 33 Temple Pilgrimage route of the Western Country, and is home to H˘gonji Temple and Tsukubusuma Shrine [more details].

In Japanese: 竹生島


Old province, which grosso modo corresponds to the southern part of the current Fukuoka Prefecture in Kyűshű. It was also called Chikuin. Along with the province of Chikuzen, the two provinces were also called Chikushű [more details].

In Japanese: 筑後


Old province, which grosso modo corresponds to the southern part of the current Fukuoka Prefecture in Kyűshű. It was also called Chikugo.

In Japanese: 筑陰


Another old province name for both Chikuzen and Chikugo. It was also called Tsukushi [more details].

In Japanese: 筑州


An old province of Japan in the area that is today part of Fukuoka Prefecture. It was also called Chikuy˘. Along with the province of Chikugo, the two provinces were also called Chikushű [more details].

In Japanese: 筑前


An old province of Japan in the area that is today part of Fukuoka Prefecture. It was also called Chikuzen [more details].

In Japanese: 筑陽


The kuruwa in the city of Sakai during the Edo period.

In Japanese: 乳守

Chinzei Hachir˘

==> Minamoto no Tametomo

In Japanese: 鎮西八郎

Chinzei Hachir˘ Tametomo

==> Minamoto no Tametomo

In Japanese: 鎮西八郎為朝


It literally means "to scatter". The chirashi is a section with a faster tempo, which is the start of the final of a traditional dance.

In Japanese: 散らし

Chiryű Jinja

The Chiryű Shrine, located in Chiryű. This famous shrine has a long history of more than 1000 years. During the Edo period, it was one of the three great shrines along the T˘kaid˘. The shrine used to sell an amulet against bites of poisonous snakes for the T˘kaid˘ travelers.

In Japanese: 知立神社


Chiryű-juku or Chiryű-shuku. Chiryű can also be read Chirifu. The 39th (from Edo) of the 53 shukuba (post station) on the T˘kaid˘. 333.2 km from Edo and 158 km from Ky˘to [more details].

In Japanese: 池鯉鮒宿

Chisui K˘ji

Flood prevention works.

In Japanese: 治水工事

Chisuji no Ito

Literally the thousand strings thread. Spider webbing made of rice paper used on a Kabuki stage by the spirit of a spider (kumo no sei).

In Japanese: 千筋の糸


Cotton dyed in red and used to simulate blood on a wounded body.

In Japanese: 血綿

Cho Hakkai

Cho Hakkai is Zhu Bajie in chinese, a major character of the 16th century novel "Journey to the West" (Saiyűki) [more details].

In Japanese: 猪八戒

Ch˘ Hi

Ch˘ Hi is the Chinese Warlord Zhang Fei in Japanese. Zhang Fei was a military general who served under the warlord Liu Bei in the late Eastern Han dynasty and early Three Kingdoms period [more details].

In Japanese: 張飛


A chobokure is a light form of narrative chanting performed by street musicians, who chant popular ditties while striking a small gong or bell.

In Japanese: ちょぼくれ


The word ch˘ch˘ means butterfly but a ch˘ch˘-uri was not a butterfly seller. This used to be during the Edo period the seller of a toy made of a piece of wire with a paper butterfly attached to the end.

In Japanese: 蝶々売


A rich man; a millionaire.

In Japanese: 長者


Literally Ultra-Kabuki [more details].

In Japanese: 超歌舞伎


a chokibune was, during the Edo period, a long flat river boat used to transport people along Edo's waterways. The people, who went to visit the pleasure quarter of Yoshiwara, were also frequently using the chokibune to go there.

In Japanese: 猪牙舟


An imperial envoy; an imperial messenger.

In Japanese: 勅使


The Ch˘meiji, the Ch˘mei Temple (literally 'Long Life Temple'), is a humble Buddhist temple in Edo/T˘ky˘, which is known for its sakuramochi and the water from its well, which is said to have cured the back pain of the third Tokugawa Sh˘gun Tokugawa Iemitsu Iemitsu's. It was built on the east side of the Sumida River in nowadays Sumida Ward.

In Japanese: 長命寺


An important manager role in a Kabuki theater. The ch˘moto was in charge of many aspects of the production: procuring money, hiring actors, settling accounts, sales management, public relationship, ...

In Japanese: 帳元


Traditional hairstyle for men during the Edo period: the hair on the top of the head was usually shaved, and the rest of the hair gathered together and tied in a topknot. This hairstyle is still used nowadays by sum˘ wrestler.

In Japanese: 丁髷

Ch˘ Ry˘

The name in Japanese of Zhang Liao. Zhang Liao was a military general serving under the warlord Cao Cao in the late Eastern Han dynasty [more details].

In Japanese: 張遼


The name in Japanese of Diaochan. Diaochan was one of the Four Beauties of ancient China. Unlike the other 3 beauties, however, there is no known evidence suggesting her existence. Diaochan is best known for her role in Luo Guanzhong's historical novel "Romance of the Three Kingdoms", which romanticises the events in the late Eastern Han dynasty and the Three Kingdoms period [more details].

In Japanese: 貂蝉


Old province, which grosso modo corresponds to the prefecture of Yamaguchi. It was also called Nagato [more details].

In Japanese: 長門


A (stone) washbasin (for ablutions when visiting a shrine or a temple).

In Japanese: 手水鉢


The killing (or cutting) of an evil person. For example, the killing of Soga no Iruka in "Iruka Chűbatsu".

In Japanese: 誅伐


Originally term chűgű meant the palace for the empress mother or empress Dowager. It evolved during the Heian period and it came to be understood as the title of the empress.

In Japanese: 中宮

Chűj˘ Hime

Princess Chűj˘ (747?~775?), sometimes called the Japanese Cinderella, was said to be the daughter of the court noble Fujiwara no Toyonari. She escaped persecution at the hands of her evil stepmother by becoming a nun at the Taima Temple in Nara [more details].

In Japanese: 中将姫


Kabuki or puppet dramas whose main character is Princess Chűj˘. There is still one in the current Kabuki repertoire: "Chűj˘ Hime".

In Japanese: 中将姫物


A chűnagon was a counselor of the second rank in the Imperial court of Japan from the 7th century to the 19th century [more details].

In Japanese: 中納言


Flying on wires from the stage over the heads of the audience to the third floor of the theater. The star Ichikawa Ennosuke is the king of chűnori.

In Japanese: 宙乗り


A middle-ranking court lady.

In Japanese: 中臈


Literally the middle theaters. A type of theater in Kamigata, classified between kodomo shibai and ˘shibai. Many actors started spent the first years of their post-child career in chűshibai before performing in ˘shibai. Others, with declining fame, moved from ˘shibai to chűshibai. Some venues were hama shibai in ďsaka or miyaji shibai in Ky˘to/ďsaka.

In Japanese: 中芝居


A loyal retainer.

In Japanese: 忠臣


Kabuki dramas or dance-dramas related to the story of the 47 faithful masterless samurai (Ak˘ R˘shi).

In Japanese: 忠臣蔵物

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