Play title Keisei Setsugekka  In Japanese
Common title Kari no Tayori  In Japanese
Author Kanazawa Ryûgoku I

Kanazawa Ryûgoku I's new year ni-no-kawari ishikawa-goemonmono drama "Keisei Setsugekka" was premiered in the 1st lunar month of 1830 at the Kado no Shibai [more details]. Only one act survived, an act without Ishikawa Goemon, and it became an independent drama entitled "Kari no Tayori". The main role of "Kari no Tayori", the kamiyui Goroshichi, was closely associated to the Jitsukawa Enjaku and Nakamura Ganjirô lines of actors.


"Kari no Tayori" is one act, made up of 3 scenes.

Key words Arima Onsen
Kamigata Kyôgen
Sumiyoshi Taisha

Arima Onsen Tôjiba
At the Bathhouse in Arima Spa

The play opens in a bathhouse (tôjiba) in the hot spring town of Arima. Three retainers (kashin) of the wakadono Maeno Sajima, son of a wealthy lord, are busy preparing food when Sajima returns from an excursion with his mistress (mekake) Tsukasa, who used to be one of the most beautiful keisei in the pleasure quarters (kuruwa), and other members of his entourage. Though Tsukasa has been ransomed by Sajima from bondage in the pleasure quarters, she is not very happy about the situation because she does not like him. Sajima has brought her to Arima hoping that the spa will put her in a better mood, but she is still bored and discontented.

Food and drink are now served. In order to please Tsukasa, Sajima sends her maid Otama to summon Sanni no Goroshichi [1], a kamiyui who has a shop across the way, to join the party. In the course of exchanging cups of sake with him, Tsukasa falls in love with the handsome young man (irootoko) and follows him rapturously with her eyes when he finally takes his departure.

Sajima becomes mad with jealousy, and when Tsukasa tells him that though he may have ransomed her body, he cannot buy her heart, he draws his sword in rage with the intention of killing her. The karô Takagi Jirodayû [2] intervenes, and after sending Tsukasa out of the room, gives Sajima a stern lecture about his duties as a wakadono. Sajima sets his mind at rest by saying that he will give up Tsukasa and return to the mansion. Instead, however, he plots with three of his retainers to get rid of his rival in love Goroshichi. They decide to fake a letter copying Tsukasa's handwriting from a poem she had written on a fan. A servant will deliver the fan at Goroshichi's shop while Tsukasa's maid Otama will give directly the letter to Goroshichi.

Arima Onsen Uramachi Kamiyuidoko
At the Barber Shop in the Backstreet of Arima Spa

Goroshichi is working in his shop with his assistant Yasu who is dressing the hair of a wakadanna named Yorozuya Kinnosuke. Other customers enter the shop, and the two barbers are kept busy for a while. Then, after Yasu leaves to worship at Sumiyoshi Shrine, Sajima's manservant surreptitiously deposits Tsukasa's fan. Goroshichi is gazing tenderly at the fan, which evokes rapturous memories of the beautiful Tsukasa, when Otama comes in with the fake letter.

Goroshichi is overjoyed when he reads the letter which says in effect that Sajima has been called away on sudden business and Tsukasa will be waiting for Goroshichi that night as soon as the moon has fallen. Goroshichi can hardly believe his good luck.

Arima Onsen Kaeshi Tôjiba
Back at the Bathhouse in Arima Spa

That night the plotters are lying in wait for Goroshichi, laying obstructions in the way so that he will stumble and reveal his presence. All goes as planned. When the moon has fallen, Goroshichi comes to the inn and stumbles in the dark over the obstacles. The waiting men leap out and capture Goroshichi, accusing him of being a thief trying to break into the inn. Maeno Sajima himself, who it turns out had not left on a trip after all, also comes to the scene and insists that Goroshichi be punished.

But elder retainer Takagi comes out, as well as Tsukasa and Otama. Tsukasa says that she did not write the letter, and Otama bears her out by saying that it had been handed to her not by Tsukasa but by one of the plotters who no doubt had faked it. Takagi chastises Sajima for his foolish ways, and then sends him on home to attend to his mother as word has been received that she is ailing. As for Goroshichi, he can only remark that he thought it was all too good to be true, and dejectedly leaves the inn.

He is about to walk away when Tsukasa appears at the window above him and tosses him a note. It apologizes for the trouble Tsukasa had inadvertently caused him, and goes on to say that Tsukasa had been orphaned while still a child, but that she had been born to a good family and had been betrothed to a man whose whereabouts, however, she does not know. The note also asks Goroshichi to visit her that evening so that she can apologize to him personally. But Goroshichi, who was the victim of a counterfeit letter, is a little more cautious this time. He is about to walk away, but this time he is called back by Takagi Jirodayû.

Takagi approaches him brandishing a spear. Goroshichi parries the strike skillfully, showing that he is well-versed in the fighting arts of the warriors. He can't be just a simple barber. The truth is that Takagi has suspected Goroshichi's real identity as his own nephew, Asaka Yoichirô, son of Takagi's brother Asaka Shôgen. His brother, having been without a child, had adopted a boy to become his heir. They finally had a boy, Yoichirô's stepbrother, and Yoichirô had left the Asaka family on his own in order to allow his stepbrother to become the heir of Asaka Shôgen.

As uncle and nephew are rejoicing over their unexpected reunion, Tsukasa speaks up from the side. She says that if Goroshichi is in reality Asaka Yoichirô, then he is her fiancé, because that is the name of the person to whom her parents had affianced her in childhood. As proof, she shows a charm (omamori) given her by her mother. Tsukasa real name is Ofusa and she is the daughter of the Okumura family. Goroshichi then takes out a similar omamori proving Tsukasa's claim. The two lovers are happily united.


The mon of the actor performing the role of Goroshichi is traditionally displayed on the curtain of Goroshichi's hairdresser shop.


[1] Sanni no Goroshichi is an unusual name with most the ideograms being numbers: san is three, ni is two, go is five and shichi is seven.

[2] Or Takagi Kuranoshin, depending on the production.

The actors Nakamura Utaemon III, Arashi Rikan II and Nakamura Matsue III playing the roles of the kamiyui Goroshichi, the karô Takagi Jirodayû and the keisei Tsukasa in the new year ni-no-kawari drama "Keisei Setsugekka", which was staged in the 1st lunar month of 1830 at the Kado no Shibai (print made by Utagawa Shigeharu)

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