Sannin Kichisa Kuruwa no Hatsugai (a title of Japanese Kabuki) (三人吉三廓初買)

Sannin Kichisa Kuruwa no Hatsugai is a Kabuki program in the late Edo period written by Mokuami KAWATAKE.
A play dealing with the lives of ordinary people
Seven sections
Due to the organization of the performance, it is also called 'Sannin Kichi Tomoe no Hatsugai' (a title of Japanese Kabuki).
A common name is 'Sannin kichisa.'
First performed in the new year of 1860 at the Ichimura-za Theater in Edo.

Overview and story line

It is a Shiranami-mono (stage works with thieves and lowlifes) in which three robbers (Ojo Kichisa, Osho Kichisa and Obo Kichisa) kill each other by punitive justice regarding the one hundred ryo (currency unit) of money and a short sword 'Koshinmaru.'
Okawabata Koshinzuka no ba is especially famous. Ojo Kichisa, who robbed 100 ryo of koban (former Japanese oval gold coin) from a prostitute named 'Otose,' Obo Kichisa, who tried to take that money, and Osho Kichisa, who tried to break apart the two struggling with each other, hit it off with each other at Okawabata. It starts when the three of them bond as Gikyodai (associate with each other as brothers) under a plum tree in connection with the tradition of 'Oath of the Peach Garden' in the "Romance of the Three Kingdoms."
In the 'Okawabata Koshinzuka no ba,' a long line with seven-and-five syllable meter by Ojo Kichisa is famous: 'the moon is misty and 白魚の、かがりも霞む sky of the spring … this implies that something good is going to happen even from the spring, the first season of the four.'
Yaoya Oshichi (greengrocer Oshichi) who appears in "Yaoya Oshichi (greengrocer Oshichi)," Shoka Bencho of the Kissho-in Temple in Sugamo, and Kichisaburo are established as robbers and a story is made around these three. As the whereabouts of the 100 ryo and the noted sword 'Koshinmaru' keep changing, the complicated personal relationships around the three Kichisa begin to be revealed.

Supplemental explanation

It was written by the good combination of Mokuami KAWATAKE and then-famous actor Kodanji ICHIKAWA IV. Kodanji himself played the roles of Osho Kichisa and Bunri at the debut performance in Ichimura-za. However, the episode about the tragic love of Bunri and Hitoe, a prostitute of Yoshiwara, is often omitted and seldom performed these days.
In this case, it is called 'Sannin Kichi Tomoe no Hatsugai.'

At the time of the debut performance, the popularity of Shikan NAKAMURA IV (then Fukusuke NAKAMURA) in the next theater was greater and Sannin Kichisa Kuruwa no Hatsugai was not commercially successful. However, it was one of the best works for Mokuami, and he regarded this program as the representative work of his.

The influence of folk beliefs in the Edo period can be seen in this program such as the line of 'a story for the night of koshin,' which compares the three robbers to the three wise monkeys of 'Mizaru' (see no evils) 'Iwazaru' (hear no evil) and 'Kikazaru' (hear no evil) (monkeys that defer the Buddha of koshin, Shomen Kongo), since the Oriental zodiac of the year of the debut performance was koshin/kanoe saru which comes around only once in 60 years.

Mokuami had the character Obo Kichisa of his former work of "Amimoyo toro no kikukiri" (common name 'Kozaru shichinosuke') relate to the two other Kichisa, and parodies the Kyogen (farce played during a No play cycle) of Yaoya Oshichi (greengrocer Oshichi). Also, Ojo Kichisa, who is set to be a 'beautiful young boy dressing like a woman,' is an important motif and used in other works of Mokuami such as Hanako in 'Miyakodori Nagare no Shiranami' ("Miyakodori Nagare no Shiranami") and Bentenkozo in 'Aotozoshi hana no nishikie' (Picture of flower of Aorozoshi) ("Aotozoshi hana no nishikie"). Especially in this program, the setting is twisted in which Ojo and Obo fall in love, which represents the overmature social conditions of the Edo period.

Osho's younger sister Otose has a boyfriend named Juzaburo; however, they are actually twin brother and sister who became apart when they were young. In Edo Kabuki, incestuous affairs are often dealt with by the name of 'chikushodo' (the realm of animals). Incestuous affair is the theme in "Yotsuya Kaidan" (Yotsuya Ghost Stories) and 'Yohanasake Ukinano Yokogushi' ("Yohanasake Ukinano Yokogushi"). In this program, the incestuous affair makes the play richer and more interesting by describing the agony of Osho and their father, Denkichi, who found out about their relationship, and the tragedy of the two who dream about living together happily ever after in the next life and die by the sword of Osho without realizing the terrible truth. As seen above, this program is highly valued as a work which describes the people who are bombarded with the money of 100 ryo, the sword and the fate, and as a human drama which is not just a Shiranami-mono.

Ojo Kichisa was created by the hard work of Mokuami, in order to sell Hanshiro IWAI VIII (then Kumesaburo IWAI III) who could not become popular due to his serious performance style. The role of Yaoya Oshichi, which was Hanshiro's specialty at that time, became the base for the robber dressed like a woman who used to be an itinerant actor.

As a stage performance, the way three robbers behave and act differently is highly evaluated for its visual effect.

Adapted films include the "Utamatsuri Sannin Kichisa" (1939), "Kaito Sannin Kichisa" (1954), "Ojo Kichisa" (1959) with Raizo ICHIKAWA the eighth as the leading actor, "Hibari no Ojo Kichisa" (1960) with Hibari MISORA as the leading actress; adapted stage performance includes 'Sannin Kichisa - Edo Seishun' (2003) by the Meiji-za Theatre; adapted comic book includes "Manabiya Sannin Kichisa" (2004-2006).

Casts at the debut performance

Osho Kichisa and Bunri KIYA: Kodanji ICHIKAWA IV
Yaoya Oshichi (actually Ojo Kichisa) and Hitoe CHOJIYA: Kumesaburo IWAI III (later Hanshiro IWAI VIII)
Obo Kichisa: Gonjuro KAWARASAKI I (later Danjuro ICHIKAWA IX)
Tosaemonjii Denkichi and Chobei CHOJIYA: Sanjuro SEKI IV
Kiya assistant manager Juzaburo: Uzaemon ICHIMURA the XII (later Kikugoro ONOE V)
Otose and Yoshino CHOJIYA: Kamenojo NAKAMURA
Kokonoe CHOJIYA and Oshizu the wife of Bunri: Ichinojo AZUMA
Yasaku and Kyube YAOYA: Yonejuro ICHIKAWA (later Ebijuro ICHIKAWA V)
Gunzo EBINA and Buhei KAMAYA: Hakuen ICHIKAWA
Yokici BENIYA: Hanasuke SEKI

The ways to act 'Sannin kichisa'

Ojo Kichisa
The most important thing to be careful about is that you should not be Bentenkozo.' (Kanzaburo NAKAMURA XVII)

Act as a male role even though having a heart of a female (Baiko ONOE VII)
Obo Kichisa
… although he is a profligate and villain, he is also like a spoiled boy from a good family …' (Kichiemon NAKAMURA I)
Osho Kichisa
Osho Kichisa is older then the other two and has better career, so he must be reliable as a boss person; I think such kind of a presence is the most important. It is essential to remember that his duty and obligations come from the responsibility to be above his two other sworn allies (Shoroku ONOE II).

[Original Japanese]