Play title Nanatsu Men  In Japanese
Authors Fujimoto Tobun (1740 "Nanatsu Men")
Muraoka K˘ji I (1742 "Nanatsu Men")
Yamazaki Shik˘ (1936 "Nanatsu Men")
Tobe Ginsaku (1983 "Nanatsu Men")

"Nanatsu Men", which literally means "Seven Masks", was staged for the first time in the 2nd lunar month of 1740 at the Ichimuraza, as the second part of the drama "Sugatami Sumidagawa", with Ichikawa Ebiz˘ II playing the role of the mask-maker Gagoze Akaemon, in reality Awazu Rokur˘ Saemon. This first version was not entitled "Nanatsu Men", as Ichikawa Ebiz˘ II used only 5 masks on stage. He revived the scene in the 7th lunar month of 1742 in ďsaka at the ďnishi no Shibai, playing the role of mask-maker Gagoze Akaemon, in reality Akushichiby˘e Kagekiyo, in a drama which was entitled "Hoshiai Sakae Kagekiyo" and used 7 masks. It received the title "Nanatsu Men" and quickly went into oblivion. It was revived by Ichikawa Danjűr˘ IX and the playwright Fukuchi ďchi, who wrote a new version which was entitled "Shin Nanatsu Men" and was staged in November 1893 at the Kabukiza. The 1740 version of "Nanatsu Men" was revived by Ichikawa Sansh˘ V and the playwright Yamazaki Shik˘ in May 1936 at the Kabukiza [casting]. The 1742 version of "Nanatsu Men" was revived in January 1983 at the National Theatre, with a new script written by Tobe Ginsaku [casting].


The 1936 "Nanatsu Men" was made up of one act. The 1983 "Nanatsu Men" was made up of two acts.

Key words Jidaimono
Kabuki Jűhachiban

"Nanatsu Men" is about the mask-maker Gagoze Akaemon, in reality Awazu Rokur˘ Saemon, who removes various masks from their boxes, dancing their parts. He discovers a stolen scroll hidden in the mouth of the last mask (the seventh one), the mask of an evil character. He gives back the precious scroll to its legitimate owner, Yoshida no Sh˘sh˘.

The actors Ichikawa Ebiz˘ V (the mask) and Ichikawa Danjűr˘ VIII (in the role of Gagoze Akaemon) in the drama "Nanatsu Men" in a print made by Utagawa Toyokuni III in the 3rd lunar month of 1852

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