Play title Wanky Sue no Matsuyama  In Japanese
Common title Wanky  In Japanese
Authors Ki no Kaion (1708)
Watanabe Katei (1906)

"Wanky Sue no Matsuyama" was initially a puppet theater wankymono drama written by Ki no Kaion and staged at the Toyotakeza in 1708 [1]. Watanabe Katei wrote his own drama, loosely related to Ki no Kaion's original drama, entitled "Wanky Sue no Matsuyama" and premiered in March 1906 in saka at the Nakaza. It starred Nakamura Ganjir I in the role of Wan'ya Kyb.

"Wanky Sue no Matsuyama" is rarely-staged on Kabuki stages; since the end of World War II and up to the end of the 20th century, we've found only 6 records of performances in shibai between 1947 and 2000:

Date Theater Wan'ya Kyb giya Matsuyama
1947/05 Minamiza (Kyto) Nakamura Ganjir II Kataoka Roen V
1960/02 Misonoza (Nagoya) Nakamura Senjaku II Sawamura Tossh V
1960/12 Tyoko Hall (Tky) Nakamura Senjaku II tani Tomoemon VII
1961/06 Minamiza (Kyto) Nakamura Senjaku II Arashi Hinasuke X
1972/05 saka Shinkabukiza (saka) Nakamura Senjaku II Sawamura Tossh V
2000/01 Shchikuza (saka) Nakamura Ganjir III Nakamura Senjaku III

The drama "Wanky Sue no Matsuyama" is made up of 2 acts (4 scenes).

Key words Ageya
Ganjir Jnikyoku
Kamigata Kygen
Shinmachi Kuken
Taiko Mochi
Uemachi Daichi
Wan'ya Kyemon

Act I, scene 1: Shinmachi Kuken Iriguchi
At the Entrance of the Pleasure Quarters of Shinmachi Kuken

The scene is set at the entrance of the Shinmachi Kuken pleasure quarters. Shibata Sadanoshin, at the service of the Chsh clan stationed in saka, has fallen in love with the tay giya Matsuyama and hopes to raise 300 ry with which to buy out her contract (miuke). A rich merchant threatens to beat him to this goal, and he is desperate to raise the money quickly.

Along come two merchants, Tenmaya Kinosuke and Bundya Kinzabur, for whom Sadanoshin is an important client. He sounds them out on the possibility of a loan but is turned down when they learn how much he needs. The resentful Sadanoshin threatens to renegotiate their contracts, and rises to go see Wan'ya Kyb. He has heard that Kyb has just been entrusted by a feudal retainer with 300 ry for safekeeping. The two merchants inform Sadanoshin that Kyb is actually on his way to meet them here at the pleasure quarters, but they warn him that the money would be impossible to get hold of since it belongs to a powerful daimy. They also explain that since Kyb has sworn off drinking, he would be unlikely to be talked into lending the money. This gives Sadanoshin an idea. He instructs the merchants to reserve a room at the Ibarakiya [2] ageya while he himself will wait for Kyb's arrival.

Before they go, however, they spot Kyb walking toward them. Sadanoshin calls him over to explain that they are planning a party to celebrate the Setsubun Festival and are eager to have his company. Kyb declines because of his vow to remain sober, but Sadanoshin will hear none of it. A group of Ibarakiya [2] employees passes by looking for customers, and Sadanoshin reserves a room there. Kyb is practically forced to come along.

Act I, scene 2: Shinmachi Ibarakiya no Rka Zashiki
In the Hallway of the Ibarakiya in Shinmachi

The Wan'ya bant Kaemon approaches the Ibarakiya [2] and is directed to his boss. He has come to caution Kyb against drinking, as his inebriated antics have caused considerable grief, and to be particularly careful about safeguarding the money he has been entrusted with. He calls over a nakai and presses her not to serve any more drinks to Kyb, saying he has come to take his boss home. He is concerned that Kyb might have broken his vow, and the nakai confirms his worst fears; Kyb has already had plenty to drink and is being pressured to drink even more. Fearing that trying to interrupt the merrymaking party now would only make matters worse, they agree to call the tay giya Matsuyama, the courtesan Sadanoshin is infatuated with, to try to help them.

Act I, scene 3: Shinmachi Ibarakiya hiroma
In the Large Room of the Ibarakiya in Shinmachi

Kyb prepares to leave as it is quite late but is stopped by Sadanoshin, saying the fun has just begun and that he must drink from a giant sakazuki before he can go. The merchants who accompanied Kyb suggest they call a palanquin to take him home, but Sadanoshin insists on drinking further, forcing Kyb to gulp down the huge and full sakazuki. While he resists at first, Kyb is eventually prodded into draining it. Excited, Kyb claims that Setsubun Festival calls for the scattering of beans to drive out evil and invite good fortune. He rips open the bag containing the 300 ry and pours the coins into the sakazuki. He aims one of the coins at Sadanoshin's forehead and begins scattering them around the room. When the nakai or the taiko mochi scurry to pick them up, Sadanoshin orders them away. Matsuyama finally enters the room to everyone's surprise. They are even more surprised to hear her announce that she will only take Kyb for her client, devastating Sadanoshin.

Act II, scene 1: Wan'ya no Uemachi no Bess
At the Wan'ya Villa in Uemachi

The scene is set in Kyb's family's villa on the Uemachi Plateau. A letter arrives demanding that the 300 ry entrusted to Kyb be returned today. Although it has been more than three days since the party at the Ibarakiya [2], the incident has not come to light. But when the money is delivered, it will be revealed that the lord's seal that had been affixed to the bag containing the money has been torn open. This, no doubt, will result in the Wan'ya being ordered to shut down its business.

The bant Kaemon decides to take the case to Tajima Shuzen, the feudal retainer who has ties with the Wan'ya business going back to Kyb's father's era. Kyb's mother Oyoshi, though, doubts that the bant can do much and decides to take the matter into her own hands. She intends to confess to having broken the seal herself and have all the blame heaped on her so that the business may continue under Kyb's management.

Kyb finally comes back home, three days after leaving the house for the pleasure quarters of Shinmachi Kuken. Having sobered up, he brings a branch of cherry blossoms home after visiting his father's grave. Kyb apologizes for bringing ignominy to the family business. His mother consoles him, telling him to work together with his sister in the future. She also hands him an outer garment that his father had worn. The garment is a family treasure that was given by a feudal lord, and a symbol of the head of the Wan'ya household. She leaves to visit the altar where her husband is enshrined, hinting that she herself will not have much longer to live. Kyb is touched by his mother's kindness. He intends to be disowned, however, and to plead that his misdeeds should not be allowed to affect the family business. He writes a letter to Tajima Shuzen to seek his pardon and asks his sister to take it to him.

Soon the bant Kaemon comes running back with news that the breaking of the seal has finally become public and that the Wan'ya has been ordered to close down as of tomorrow. Kyb's mother has confessed to the crime and has been arrested and tied up by Shibata Sadanoshin. Kyb begins to grow delirious and mistakes his bant for the scheming Sadanoshin. Just as he is about to lose all control, the tay Matsuyama arrives at Kyb's home. Her lover does not recognize her at first but finally comes to his senses.

They are startled when a housekeeper announces that Kyb's mother has returned home safely, accompanied by none other than the feudal retainer Tajima Shuzen. It takes a moment for Kyb to grasp everything that is happening. The retainer has pardoned Kyb and his mother, who had given herself up in place of her son. Instead Shibata Sadanoshin, who has schemed to steal the 300 ry from Kyb because of his infatuation with a tay, has been arrested. Shuzen thanks Kyb for his help and announces that the family business may continue. Overjoyed, Kyb is filled with emotion and vows never gain to lose his self-control.


[1] A summary of Ki no Kaion's original drama is available in Samuel Leiter's "New Kabuki Encyclopedia".

[2] Ibarakiya or Ibaragiya. Both readings are possible.

Illustration from a June 1919 Minamiza tsuji banzuke

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