Nickname: Senjo Rok˘
Poetry names: Rok˘, Senjo
Blazon: the spray of tied cotton (yui wata)
Existence: 1751 ~ 4th day of the 12th lunar month of 1810
Father: Ichiyama Shichijűr˘ I (dance master)
Adoptive father: Segawa Kikunoj˘ II
Elder brother: Segawa Jok˘ I
Adopted son: Segawa Kamesabur˘
1751: born in ďsaka. His father, the dance master Ichiyama Shichijűr˘, gives him the name of Ichiyama Shichinosuke and teaches him his art.
11th lunar month of 1765: Ichiyama Shichinosuke takes the name of Ichiyama Tomisabur˘ in ďsaka.
Beginning of 1773: Segawa Kikunoj˘ II, who is on his deathbed, requests his wife Omitsu to send a messenger to ďsaka, asking the young Tomisabur˘ to come as soon as possible to Edo. Segawa Kikunoj˘ II had spotted the young man and understood his talent while on tour in ďsaka. He intends to adopt him and makes him his heir. He gives him the name of Segawa Tomisabur˘ I.
13th day of the 3rd lunar month of 1773: his adoptive father Segawa Kikunoj˘ II dies.
5th lunar month of 1774: premiere at the Ichimuraza of the Nagauta-based dance "Sono Omokage Ninin Wankyű". The roles of Wankyű and the courtesan Matsuyama are played by Ichimura Uzaemon IX and Tomisabur˘. This dance commemorates the 12th anniversary (13th memorial service) of the death of Ichimura Uzaemon VIII. The drama "Natsu Matsuri Naniwa Kagami" is produced at the Ichimuraza for the first time; Tomisabur˘ plays the role of Otatsu [casting].
11th lunar month of 1774: Segawa Tomisabur˘ I takes the name of Segawa Kikunoj˘ III.
11th lunar month of 1775: premiere at the Nakamuraza of Kanai Sansh˘'s Tomimoto-based dance-drama "Shijűhatte Koi no Showake", the first version of "Oshidori", which is staged within the kaomise drama "Hana Zum˘ Genji Biiki"; Kikunoj˘ plays the roles of the keisei Kisegawa and the spirit of the female mandarin duck [more details].
3rd lunar month of 1776: first Kabuki adaptation of Matsu Kanshi's puppet theater drama "Koi Musume Mukashi Hachij˘", which is staged at the Nakamuraza; Kikunoj˘ plays the role of Shirokiya Okoma [casting].
11th lunar month of 1777: premiere at the Ichimuraza of Nakamura Jűsuke II's Tomimoto-based (musical accompaniment is written by Namizaki Tokuji) dance-drama "Meotozake Kawaranu Nakanaka" (commonly called "Kurama Jishi"); Kikunoj˘ plays the role of Shizuka Gozen [casting].
11th lunar month of 1781: premiere at the Nakamuraza of the dance-drama "Waga Sekogakoi no Aizuchi" (commonly called "Kumo no Hy˘shimai"), which is performed within the kaomise program "Shitenn˘ Tonoi no Kisewata"; Kikunoj˘ plays the role of the shiraby˘shi Tsumagiku, in reality the spirit of a ground spider, [casting].
11th lunar month of 1784: premiere at the Kiriza of the drama "Tsumoru Koi Yuki no seki no To", which is performed within the drama "Jűni Hitoe Komachi Zakura"; Kikunoj˘ plays the roles of Ono no Komachi, the courtesan Sumizome and the spirit of Komachi's cherry tree [casting].
2nd lunar month of 1785: Kikunoj˘ performs at the Kiriza all the roles of a Nagauta-based 5-role hengemono, which is entitled "Haru-ha Mukashi Yukari no Hanabusa". 2 of these roles became independent dances, which are still part of the current repertoire: "Hane no Kamuro" (a kamuro with a Japanese battledore and shuttlecock racket) and "Shirozake Uri" (the sweet white sake seller).
1st lunar month of 1791: premiere at the Nakamuraza of the Nagauta-based dance "Taimen Hana no Harukoma", which is performed at the end of the new year program "Haru no Sekai Nigiwai Soga"; Kikunoj˘ plays the role of a courtesan [casting].
9th lunar month of 1796: the play "Hikosan Gongen Chikai no Sukedachi" is staged for the first time in Edo, simultaneously at the Kiriza and the Miyakoza; Kikunoj˘ plays the role of Ichimisai's elder daughter Osono in the former theater [casting].
1st lunar month of 1798: premiere at the Kiriza (Edo) of Namiki Gohei I's play "Tomioka Koi no Yamabiraki", commonly called "Ninin Shinbŕ"; Kikunoj˘ plays the roles of the courtesan Mikuniya Kojor˘ and Tamaya Oen [casting].
2nd lunar month of 1800: Namiki Gohei's drama "Gosan no Kiri" is staged for the first time in Edo, at the Ichimuraza in a somewhat different version titled "Sanmon Gosan no Kiri" instead of "Kinmon Gosan no Kiri"; Kikunoj˘ plays the role of Kishida's okugata [casting].
8th lunar month of 1801: first grand shűmei for the Hamamuraya guild, at the Ichimuraza; Segawa Kikunoj˘ III, Segawa Kikunosuke, Segawa Kikusabur˘ II and Segawa Matsunosuke respectively take the names of Segawa Rok˘ III, Segawa Michinosuke, Segawa Michisabur˘ I and Segawa Hamajir˘. They play together in the drama "D˘jima Tamino no Tsumikomi".
2nd lunar month of 1802: Rok˘ goes back to his native Kamigata after 29 seasons spent in Edo.
11th lunar month of 1804: Rok˘ plays the role of the musume Oriku, in reality Iga-no-Naishi, at the Nakamuraza in the kaomise drama "Kiku Zum˘ Mikurai Sadame", which celebrates the shűmei of Iwai Hanshir˘ V, Ichikawa Yaoz˘ IV and Nakayama Bunshichi III.
11th lunar month of 1807: second grand shűmei for the Hamamuraya guild, at the Nakamuraza; Segawa Rok˘ III and Segawa Michinosuke respectively take the names of Segawa Senjo and Segawa Rok˘ IV. The two actors achieve a great success by playing in the kaomise drama "Kaikei Yuki no Konoshita".
(*) "Onna Date" is still part of the current Kabuki repertoire.
Segawa Senjo was one of the most famous actors in Kabuki history, a rival of both Iwai Hanshir˘ IV (during the 18th century) and Iwai Tojaku (during the Bunka era) for the title of Edo best onnagata. He excelled in Princesses or courtesans roles and reached the goku-j˘-j˘-kichi rank (extreme - superior - superior - excellent) in the 1st lunar month of 1789 at the age of 37. As a dancer, he was outstanding in d˘j˘jimono or shakky˘mono. He was extremely rich (his yearly salary in the 11th lunar month of 1790 was 1850 ry˘) but, unlike most actors, was economical, saving his earnings and investing in houses and land in Edo or in Kamigata. His wealth was subject of many gossips and exagerations running all over the places where he performed.
The Actor Segawa Senjo as the wife of Amakawaya Gihei in the play "Kanadehon Chűshingura," performed at the Nakamura Theater in the fifth month, 1776
The Segawa Tomisabur˘ line of actors
The Segawa Kikunoj˘ line of actors
The Segawa Rok˘ line of actors
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