Play titles ďgi By˘shi ďoka Seidan  In Japanese
Ten'ichib˘ ďoka Seidan  In Japanese
Common title Ten'ichib˘  In Japanese
Author Kawatake Shinshichi II

This drama was based on a famous real event, the Ten'ichib˘ Jiken, literally the Ten'ichib˘ Affair, which occurred in 1729. A yamabushi, who was from the Kishű province, came to Edo, supported by a few r˘nin, to claim that he was the illegitimate son of the 8th Sh˘gun Tokugawa Yoshimune. He was named Genji Genjib˘ Tenĺichi or Tenĺichib˘ Yoshitane. The case was investigated by an Edo magistrate, who established that it was a fraudulent claim. Tenĺichib˘ was jailed and executed. The Edo magistrate was not ďoka Tadasuke but Ina Hanzaemon. When this famous story was dramatized, the names and details and the era (Kamakura era instead of the Edo period) were changed because of censorship by the ruling Tokugawa Shogunate. For example, in the case of the villain:

Real Name Theater Name
Ten'ichib˘  天一坊 Tennichib˘  天日坊

The two most famous ten'ichib˘mono before "ďgi By˘shi ďoka Seidan" were Sakurada Jisuke III's drama "Kotoba no Hana Momiji no Yozakari", which was staged in the 8th lunar month of 1849 at the Ichimuraza with Nakamura Utaemon IV in the role of Tennichib˘, and Kawatake Shinshichi II's drama "Azuma Kudari Gojűsan Tsugi" [1], which was staged in the 8th lunar month of 1854 at the Kawarasakiza with Ichikawa Kodanji IV in the role of Tennichib˘.

Kawatake Shinshichi II's drama "ďgi By˘shi ďoka Seidan" was premiered in Janaury 1875 at the Moritaza [casting]. It was based on a famous k˘dan created by Kanda Hakuzan I, which had turned the story into a ˘oka-seidanmono. It was also possible for Kanda Hakuzan I and Kawatake Shinshichi II to use the name of Ten'ichib˘ instead of Tennichib˘. This drama was afterwards frequently performed, mainly in koshibai. The title "Ten'ichib˘ ďoka Seidan" was used for the first time in November 1889 at the Azumaza, where it was staged with Nakamura Tokiz˘ I and Sawamura Genpei IV in the roles of ďoka Echizen-no-Kami Tadasuke and Ten'ichib˘.


The current version of "Ten'ichib˘ ďoka Seidan" is made up of 7 acts (11 scenes):

Act Scene In Japanese In English
I 1 平野村感応院 Hirano-mura Kann˘in
At the Kann˘in Temple in the Village of Hirano
  2 お三婆ァ住居 Osan BabÔ Sumai
At the House of the Old Woman Osan
  3 元の感応院 Moto no Kann˘in
Back at the Kann˘in Temple
II 1 紀州加田の浦 Kishű Kada no Ura
At the Kada Bay in Kishű
III 1 美濃国長洞常楽院本堂 Mino-no-Kuni Nagahora J˘rakuin Hond˘
In the Main Hall of the J˘rakuin Temple in Nagahora in the Province of Mino
IV 1 大岡邸奥の間 ďoka-tei Oku no Ma
In the Inner Room of the ďoka Mansion
  2 大岡邸無常門 ďoka-tei Muj˘mon
Outside the Funeral Gate of the ďoka Mansion
  3 水戸家奥殿 Mito-ke Okuden
In the Inner Pavilion of the Mito Clan
V 1 奉行屋敷内広書院 Bugy˘ Yashiki-nai Hiro Shoin
In the Large Study Room inside the Mansion of the Magistrate
VI 1 大岡邸奥の間 ďoka-tei Oku no Ma
In the Inner Room of the ďoka Mansion
VII 1 大岡役宅奥殿 ďoka Yakutaku Okuden
In the Inner Pavilion of the ďoka official Residence
You need a Japanese Language Kit installed within your system in order to be able to read the characters
Key words Hitachi
Kada no Ura
Minami Machi Bugy˘
ďoka Seidan
ďoka Tadasuke
Ten'ichib˘ Jiken
Tokugawa Tsunaeda
Tokugawa Yoshimune

Act I, scene 1: Hirano-mura Kann˘in
At the Kann˘in Temple in the Village of Hirano

The scene is set at the Hirano village in the province of Kii. The farmer Sakubŕ has come to meet the priest Kann˘in at his temple [2] to ask him to release his daughter Oshimo from service as maid at the temple. Sakubŕ confesses that he is so heavily in debt that he has to sell his daughter as a courtesan in the pleasure quarters in order to retain his land. Kann˘in, who has secretly been coveting Oshimo, offers to lend Sakubŕ 50 ry˘, a huge amount of money, in exchange for allowing Oshimo to continue to work at the temple. Overjoyed, Sakubŕ accepts the loan and goes home.

Kann˘in, in a position of strength, tries to make Oshimo submit to his will, saying that if she refuses to become his lover, he will take the money back and ruin her poor father. The girl protests, saying that she already has another lover, the servant Kyűsuke. Kann˘in, burning with jealousy, decides to go off to take the money back from Sakubŕ.

Presently Kyűsuke returns from an errand and finds Oshimo in tears. She explains the situation, and Kyűsuke tentatively advises her to accede to Kann˘in's demand in order to save her father. Oshimo, however, says that she would rather die than be separated from Kyűsuke. Kyűsuke tells her that he has just received a letter from his country home in the distant province of Mino, informing him that his mother is ill and asking him to come home as soon as possible. He decides to take Oshimo with him in order to save her from Kann˘in. As they leave (kakeochi), he unwittingly drops the letter from his family in N˘shű.

Act I, scene 2: Osan BabÔ Sumai
At the House of the Old Woman Osan

H˘taku is a young disciple of Kann˘in who had been orphaned at seven and been taken over by Kann˘in. From childhood, the old woman Osan had been very kind to H˘taku because he has reminded her of her own grandson who would be about H˘taku's age but who unfortunately died at birth.

This is H˘taku's 17th birthday, so H˘taku has come to visit Osan, bringing food and sake on Kann˘in's suggestion. Osan is happy to meet him and becomes quite loquacious, particularly when she learns that H˘taku had happened to be born on exactly the same day and the same year as her dead grandson. H˘taku notices a small packet in a corner of the room and asks about it. Osan imprudently reveals him an amazing old secret. Her daughter, while in service at the mansion of a daimy˘, had an affair with a youth who had been a charge of the lord's and become pregnant. She had been sent home because of her humble station, but her high-born lover had presented her with a signed note and a sword that would prove the identity of the child to be born. However, unfortunately, mother and infant had both died at childbirth. In the meantime the youth himself later became the Sh˘gun when the direct line of succession died out. If the child had lived, Osan would have been the grandmother of the Sh˘gun's son, but instead of living in palaces, she is living out a lonely and poverty-stricken life. H˘taku, amazed at her incredible tale, is particularly interested by the fact that the Sh˘gun's dead son was born on the same day and the same year as himself. He keeps urging Osan to drink more and more, until finally she starts to doze. Then he chokes the old woman to death and robs the packet with its document and the precious testimonial sword. He also remembers to take along a packet of rat poison which Osan has happened to mention as being so potent that it could kill humans as well.

Act I, scene 3: Moto no Kann˘in
Back at the Kann˘in Temple

H˘taku returns to the Kann˘in Temple, where he finds the letter dropped by Kyűsuke. He reads it and realizes that Oshimo has eloped with Kyűsuke. Kann˘in returns in his temple. He has been unable to find Sakubŕ.

When he learns from H˘taku that Oshimo and Kyűsuke have eloped together, he suspects that the three have plotted together to fool and rob him. He asks H˘taku to prepare him a cup to medicinal tea. H˘taku complies and surreptitiously puts some of the rat poison into the tea before serving it to Kann˘in. Soon Kann˘in begins to writhe and cough up blood. H˘taku pretends to be alarmed, and then calls in a loud voice to a neighboring house. A woman named Otami comes to see what the matter is. Kann˘in suspects that this is all the doing of Kyűsuke and Oshimo and her father, and asks that they take revenge for him. Kann˘in falls dead, and Otami runs off to inform the villagers of the matter. Everything is working out just fine for H˘taku. He steals Kann˘in's money and is about to leave with it when Otami comes back. H˘taku in his alarm drops the money, and sits down hastily over it as Otami comes in.

Act II, scene 1: Kishű Kada no Ura
At the Kada Bay in Kishű

Kyűsuke and Oshimo are hurrying on their way to Kyűsuke's mother's home in the province of Mino. They are walking in the predawn dark alongside the Kada Bay. They are afraid that someone may be chasing after them, so when they see a light approaching, they hurry off to hide in a nearby thicket.

Now H˘taku approaches the site. He is carrying a big basket on his back. He has left the village with all the villagers wishing him well, believing that he would seek out Kyűsuke and take revenge for Kann˘in's death. But H˘taku, with Kann˘in's money, the Sh˘gun's document and the sword, has the intention to go to Edo to claim that he is the son of Tokugawa Yoshimune. His first plan is to do away with the identity of H˘taku. Attacked by some wild dogs, he kills one of them and, taking off his clothes, he smears it with the killed dog's blood. Disposing of the dog's body in the water, he then proceeds to change into new clothes from his basket. Next he drops the letter from Kyűsuke's home near the bloodstained clothing. All this is for the purpose of suggesting that the villain Kyűsuke has not only killed Kann˘in but also the poor and innocent H˘taku too. Now dressed as a pilgrim on his way to worship at the Ise Shrine, he is passed by Kyűsuke and Oshimo who have witnessed everything. They slip by in the dark without being spotted by H˘taku.

Now the village headman Hirano Jin'emon comes by. He stumbles on the bloodstained clothing. He recognizes it as H˘taku's. Then, he finds the letter and, after reading it, thinks that H˘taku has been killed by Kyűsuke. The evil plan of H˘taku has worked out.

Act III, scene 1: Mino-no-Kuni Nagahora J˘rakuin Hond˘
In the Main Hall of the J˘rakuin Temple in Nagahora in the Province of Mino

H˘taku, after traveling from Kishű to ďsaka and around Shikoku, has in the meantime gathered around him several followers, who believe that he is an illegitimate son (rakuin) of the Sh˘gun. He has now settled down at the J˘rakuin Temple in Mino with his two main followers Akasaka Daizen and Fujii Saky˘. At the temple H˘taku acts in a princely manner, and the two followers, as well as the temple abbot Tenchű, treat him accordingly. Tenchű the abbot too, has joined the group of followers now, and they are exchanging cups of sake to mark the occasion and seal the pact. Suddenly H˘taku completely astounds the three men by saying brazenly that he is a fake. He says that the two items in his possession, the sword and the document, are authentic, but that he himself is an impostor. Then he explains the circumstances that brought him to this point. The three men are fascinated and overpowered by H˘taku's amazing brazenness. H˘taku says that if they are angered, then they are free to kill him. The three answer that they will carry on with the original plan even though they know now that H˘taku is an impostor. If H˘taku succeeds in his plot, they will become rich thanks to him. If he is exposed, they will die with him. On this new understanding, their pact is renewed.

Tenchű mentions a former retainer of a high ranking minister who is in retirement at the temple. He suggests that he should be made a member of the conspiracy. This man, Yamanouchi Iganosuke, is well acquainted with the ways of the daimy˘ in Edo and should be very helpful. However, Yamanouchi himself, who has been eavesdropping, enters the room. He tells them that he refuses to join them. If H˘taku were in truth the Sh˘gun's son, he would join in but he has no intention of helping an impostor. At this, H˘taku throws himself before Iganosuke and tells him to kill him on the spot. Yamanouchi is impressed by H˘taku and says that he will join them in their conspiracy.

Act IV, scene 1: ďoka-tei Oku no Ma
In the Inner Room of the ďoka Mansion

Once in Edo, H˘taku has taken the name of Ten'ichib˘ and has put in his claim as being the illegitimate son of the Sh˘gun, presenting the sword and the document to prove the validity of his claim. The magistrate in charge of the case, Matsudaira Izu-no-Kami [3], has had the two items thoroughly examined. He is now convinced that they are both authentic. The Sh˘gun himself believes that Ten'ichib˘ is indeed his son and preparations are under way for a meeting between them. However, the Edo minami machi bugy˘ ďoka Echizen-no-Kami Tadasuke [4] is not satisfied with the result of the investigations. He has asked that the case should be reexamined. This has incurred the wrath of not only Matsudaira Izu-no-Kami but the Sh˘gun as well. Official messengers from the Shogunate come to inform ďoka that his request is preposterous and that he has to remain in confinement at his mansion. From the tone of the message, it can be expected that on the following day, an envoy will come with the demand that ďoka commit suicide (seppuku) for his impertinence. ďoka's faithful retainers urge ďoka to commit suicide before the envoy comes with the death message. If he does so, the danger that the ďoka household may be crushed will be avoided, and his son would be allowed to take over as his successor. They also say they will die with their master. ďoka, although he understands that they are thinking of the ďoka household's welfare, refuses to heed their advice. There is the risk that the impostor Ten'ichib˘ will put the Shogunate family in a humiliating position. There is only one other place where he can carry his petition. Fully aware that failure will mean death, he decides to go to the Mito branch of the Tokugawa Shogunate in the province of Hitachi.

Act IV, scene 2: ďoka-tei Muj˘mon
Outside the Funeral Gate of the ďoka Mansion

There is a small back gate to the ďoka residence which is the one customarily used to take the dead out from the mansion (muj˘mon). It is the duty of whoever stands guard at this entrance to check the dead if one should be scheduled to be taken through on that day. The guard on duty this particular day is quite put out when he learns that a body is to be carried out that day. Presently the palanquin bearing the corpse comes by from inside with three bearers. The guard asks for the identity of the dead man and his bearers, but the bearers refuse to answer in a serious manner. They give names which anyone in the audience knows are the names of famous characters from Kabuki plays. The guard realizes that he is being teased, but he doesn't particularly like the idea of conducting a check on a dead man's body, so he lets them through. This completely suits the company, because the three bearers are ďoka's closest retainers, and the so-called dead body is none other than ďoka himself. Because of the orders from the Shogunate that he remain in confinement at his home, ďoka is really not free to leave his mansion. Consequently he has chosen this unusual way of sneaking out secretly in order to go meet Tokugawa Tsunaeda of the Mito Domain.

Act IV, scene 3: Mito-ke Okuden
In the Inner Pavilion of the Mito Clan

Tokugawa Tsunaeda, the daimy˘ of the Mito Domain, is about to retire for the night when his attendant Yamanobe Chikara comes to inform him that the magistrate ďoka Echizen-no-Kami [4] has come requesting a meeting with him on very urgent business. Tsunaeda immediately prepares to meet him.

ďoka then brings up the Ten'ichib˘ case and says that he does not agree with Matsudaira's decision that Ten'ichib˘'s claim is authentic. He points out that although the document and sword may no doubt be authentic, Ten'ichib˘ himself seems to him to be an impostor. If he should turn out to be an impostor, the case would prove humiliating indeed to the Shogunate. Tsunaeda, after hearing ďoka's opinion, agrees to put in a word with the Sh˘gun for a reinvestigation, and asks ďoka to investigate further into Ten'ichib˘'s background. He also adds that even if an envoy from the Shogunate should come demanding his suicide, he should not pay any attention to the order.

Recalling that ďoka is supposed to be in confinement in his mansion, Tsunaeda asks how he managed to slip away from his residence. ďoka explains how he left disguised as a dead man. Tsunaeda remarks that he can't be transported back in again as a dead man. As it would be bad if he should not be in his mansion to welcome the Shogunate envoy, Tsunaeda thoughtfully arranges that Yamanobe go to ďoka's mansion as his envoy, and that ďoka go with him disguised as one of Yamanobe's attendant. Then ďoka should be able to slip in undetected into his own mansion.

Act V, scene 1: Bugy˘ Yashiki-nai Hiro Shoin
In the Large Study Room inside the Mansion of the Magistrate

Due to the Sh˘gun's orders, ďoka is conducting a reinvestigation of the Ten'ichib˘ case. Ten'ichib˘ and his three followers have been called in for further questioning. Ten'ichib˘, playing perfectly the role of the Sh˘gun's son, insists that ďoka is not showing proper respect. ďoka, however, answers that he is acting in the Sh˘gun's stead, justifying his own position of superiority.

ďoka asks Ten'ichib˘ for details, who gives him fabricated facts which have been worked out with his followers. Yamanouchi Iganosuke, who is the brain behind the conspiracy, is the one who answers ďoka's queries. ďoka insists that Ten'ichib˘ is a fake, but Yamanouchi defies him to prove his point, insisting that Ten'ichib˘ is the exact image of his father in his youth. ďoka asks how Yamanouchi, formerly a low-ranking retainer of the Kuj˘ family, should know how the Sh˘gun looked in his younger days. Yamanouchi says that the Sh˘gun's mother was from the Kuj˘ family, and that as a result, he knew the Sh˘gun as a child, having even taught him calligraphy. Whether true or not, ďoka can find no fault with Yamanouchi's reply.

ďoka continues his questioning but Yamanouchi easily pulls through all the questions. ďoka has finally to admit that he can detect any hole in Yamanouchi's stories. Unwillingly, ďoka is forced outwardly to admit defeat. He apologizes for having inconvenienced them with his suspicion, and says that he will now make arrangements for Ten'ichib˘'s meeting with his father Tokugawa Yoshimune.

Act VI, scene 1: ďoka-tei Oku no Ma
In the Inner Room of the ďoka Mansion

ďoka is still convinced that Ten'ichib˘ is an impostor. Arranging that the proposed meeting between Ten'ichib˘ and the Sh˘gun be postponed for ten days, he has announced himself as being ill and confined himself to his mansion. In the meantime, two of his trusted men have been sent to Kishű to try to probe into the real background of Ten'ichib˘. It will take his men four days to get to Kishű and four more to come back, leaving them only two days to investigate on site. It is doubtful whether they will be able to come up with any useful piece of information and bring it back in such a short time.

The ten days are up. ďoka's household is waiting anxiously for the return of the two men, but no word arrives. ďoka therefore prepares to commit suicide (seppuku), along with his wife Ozawa and his son Tadaemon. All of them are dressed in white, the color of death. But at the last moment, ďoka's two retainers come dashing in with good news. They have learned that Ten'ichib˘ is in reality an orphan temple servant named H˘taku. They have also found a valuable witness named Kyűsuke, who not only knows H˘taku by sight, but also witnessed H˘taku's death ruse with the dog's blood. ďoka is overcome with joy at these pieces of news.

Act VII, scene 1: ďoka Yakutaku Okuden
In the Inner Pavilion of the ďoka official Residence

Once again ďoka has summoned Ten'ichib˘, but this time he is outwardly very respectful in his attitude toward Ten'ichib˘, saying that arrangements have been made for his long-awaited meeting with his father. Ten'ichib˘ and his followers show signs of relief and joy. ďoka says that as a matter of protocol, he must have the document and the sword beforehand, which he will hand to the Sh˘gun prior to the meeting scheduled for next day. Ten'ichib˘ and his followers are reluctant to hand over the two items, but ďoka insists. Finally, Ten'ichib˘ consents and ďoka takes over the two items. Then he tells Ten'ichib˘ that the Sh˘gun has presented his illegitimate son with a gift of a garment. A cloth-wrapped bundle is brought in on a ceremonious tray. Ten'ichib˘ opens it and is startled to find that it contains the bloodstained garment which he had discarded at the Kada Bay. He immediately says that it is an insult to be presented with such trash. On ďoka's questioning, he insists that he has no memory of such a garment.

Kyűsuke is brought in and he calls to Ten'ichib˘ as H˘taku. Ten'ichib˘ pretends that he does not know Kyűsuke, but Kyűsuke says that they have lived for many years together under the same roof. He says that he knows that H˘taku had a certain mark on his shoulder, which should prove his identity.

By this time Ten'ichib˘ and his followers know that the game is over. Word is brought in the meantime that Yamanouchi Iganosuke, who is not present, committed suicide earlier that day. Clever man that he was, he had no doubt understood that the conspiracy was bound to fail. Ten'ichib˘ and his followers are arrested on the spot. The kanzen ch˘aku logic has prevailed.


[1] This drama was revived in June 2012 and July 2012, under the title "Tennichib˘", at the Cocoon Kabuki [more details].

[2] The temple is also named Kann˘in.

[3] Izu-no-Kami means kami of the province of Izu.

[4] Echizen-no-Kami means kami of the province of Echizen.

The actors Band˘ Hikosabur˘ V and Onoe Kikugor˘ V playing the roles of ďoka Echizen-no-Kami Tadasuke and Ten'ichib˘ in the drama "ďgi By˘shi ďoka Seidan", which was staged in January 1875 at the Moritaza (print made by Toyohara Kunichika)

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