Hojo Kudai Meika no Isaoshi (北条九代名家功)

Hojo Kudai Meika no Isaoshi is the title of kabuki kyogen play. It was written by Mokuami KAWATAKE. It was performed for the first time at Nakamura-za Theater in Tokyo in November, 1884. It is Jidaimono (Historical drama). It is one of Shin Kabuki Juhachi ban (18 programs of new Kabuki).

Summary and outline

The world of "Taiheiki" (The Record of the Great Peace) is covered, consisting of three parts; the first, the second, the third parts. As the story of Takatoki HOJO from the first part had a good reputation, only this part is performed today. It was written as a part of campaign to improve dramas upon the request of `kyuko kai,' a group of intellectuals that aim to modernize classic kabuki. It is a drama which represents "Katsurekimono," realistic historical dramas that were actively produced at that time.

The regent Yasutoki HOJO spent degenerate days, drinking sake, enjoying dogfight, dengaku (ritual music and dancing in shrines and temples). He was outraged when he heard that a ronin(masterless samurai), Saburo ADACHI killed Takatoki's favorite dog that had attacked Saburo's mother. Takatoki ordered to kill ADACHI. His vassals including OSARAGI Mutsunokami and Jonosuke AKITA Nyudo persuaded Takatoki by saying, `Please do not kill someone unnecessarily because today is the anniversary of your ancestor, Yoshitoki HOJO's death,' and Takatoki unwillingly accepted to save ADACHI.

When Takatoki had the second drinking session with his concubine, Kinugasa, strange clouds trailed, and there was a gust. A few a priest-like dressed Dengaku performer came up in front of Takatoki after all the people around him left, leaving behind only Takatoki. They were Karasu Tengu (crow-billed goblin) that came to tease Takatoki. Takatoki, who didn't know that, started to dance, asking them to teach him Dengaku Mai (Dengaku Dance).
They sang an unlucky song, `you don't see a shojo star of Tenno-ji Temple.'

Takatoki fainted after Tengu (long-nosed goblin) teased and bullied him. He was cared for by OSARAGI Mutsunokami and Jonosuke AKITA Nyudo, who rushed to the place where he was after hearing what happened to Takatoki, and Takatoki found out that he had been cheated. Then, jeering laughter of Tengu (long-nosed goblin) rang in the sky, Takatoki became angry and glared at the sky with a naginata (Japanese halberd) in his hand.


While "Katsurekimono" has died out, the play of "Takatoki" is still performed. This is because the topic on the stupidity of a person of power, which is common now and in the old days, a simple and clear story outline, the interesting Tengu Mai (dance), and a well-kown dialogue, ` Hojo kyudai menmen taru' (the Hojo clan lasted for nine generations), are loved by audiences. An innovative production where Takatoki was sitting to the side as the drama was unfolded was based on the idea of Danjuro ICHIKAWA (the ninth generation) at the time of the first performance.

In addition, it focuses on the stupidity of a person of power, which is a feature of this kyogen play.
Kaoru OSANAI mentioned that `glaring at the sky, which is meaningless, is a typical thing that Takatoki would do,'

Danjuro dedicated to learn another main character, Yoshisada NITTA, asking a scholar to study and reproduce Kacchu (armor and helmet) of Yoshisada, to draw a picture of Yoshisada's tachi nagashi at Inamuragasaki to give his friends. However, after playing Yoshisada, it was completely unpopular.

At the first performance, all the things but Tengu mai was unpopular. The cartoon (drawn by Kyosai KAWANABE), which criticized the play, was published by Robun KANAGAKI in `Kabuki Shinpo' (Kabuki Newspaper), and caused controversy.

`It is the illustration of Takatoki who was dancing Tengu mai, and nothing seems wrong with the picture on first glance.'
`Aside from Takatoki looking like Danjuro's, all the Tengu that dragged Takatoki about resembled members of Kyuko.'
`somebody discovered that the number of Tengu is the same as the number of members, and the family names of the members appeared by tracing the faces and wings of Tengu like they did when they tried to find a picture.'
`That is, it meant that Danjuro was tossed about by the members of Kyuko, and Danjuro became angry at first.'
`The members of Kyuko also criticized it.'
`After examination on the matter, Hikosaku KUBOTA, who was one of Kyogen writers and was the editor of "Kabuki Shinpo" (Kabuki Newspaper), was determined to be the one who did such a thing, and thus, Mr. KUBOTA came to be in the firing line.'
`This incident was resolved after Mr. Kubota submitted an apologizing letter.' (By Kido OKAMOTO, "Meiji Gekidan Ranpu no Motonite" published by Iwanami bunko, in 1993)

Roles at the first performance

Takatoki HOJO, Yoshisada NITTA, the ninth generation, Danjuro ICHIKAWA

His favorite concubine, Kinugasa, the fourth generation, Fukusuke NAKAMURA (later known as Utaemon NAKAMURA [the fifth generation])

OSARAGI Mutsunokami, Gonjuro ICHIKAWA

[Original Japanese]