Sojuro-zukin (宗十郎頭巾)

"Sojuro-zukin" is a kind of hood for men. It was worn only by men of samurai family.


Sojuro-zukin is said to have originated from "chano-shikoro-zukin" (brown-colored hood with 'shikoro') which was firstly worn by Sojuro SAWAMURA Ⅰ (Kabuki actor) in 1736, who played the role of UME no Yoshibei at Edo Nakamura-za Theater wearing the zukin, which became all the rage at that time and began to be called Sojuro-zukin.

Just as "sosho-zukin" (hood worn by the teacher of tea ceremony, or other artistic skills), Sojuro-zukin covers the wearer's head, and its characteristic is "shikoro" (big, decorative cloth shaped like a diamond) seen above the forehead. The horizontal cloth, which covers the mouth and the jaws, can be pulled down to show the wearer's face, and the color of Sojuro-zukin is, in most cases, black, brown, dark blue, or the like.

Sojuro-zukin seen in the drama

Sojuro-zukin is often worn by a cool, aged samurai or the like such as Daemon NIPPON from Hamamatsu-ya in "Aoto Zoshi Hana no Nishikie" (the title of the play about exhilarating action of five thieves), or Obo Kichisa from Otakegura in "{Sannin Kichisa Kuruwa no Hatsugai}" (the title of the play about the personal relationships of three thieves), when they are under an incognito in Kabuki. In a well-known letter sent from Ryoma SAKAMOTO to Kao HIRAI, Ryoma advised Kao to prepare Sojuro-zukin for her emperor-loyalist activities in male attire; this indicates that Sojuro-zukin was generally used by people at that time.

And it was "Kurama Tengu" (the title of a Japanese historical novel series and the name of the hero who appears in it) written by Jiro OSARAGI what made Sojuro-zukin famous the most. From Vol. Ⅲ (titled "Sojuro-zukin") of the series, Sojuro-zukin became the trademark of the hero Kurama Tengu, or Denzen KURATA, and the image took root when Kanjuro ARASHI starred as Kurama Tengu in its cinematized pieces. Sojuro-zukin of Kurama Tengu won children's overwhelming popularity, probably because Kurama Tengu was intriguing for them not only in its incognito appearance but also in its role as a champion of justice with its identity concealed. Influenced by the movie, the fair-skinned champion of justice and Sojuro-zukin became an inseparable match in the historical drama after that.

When playing swordplay, children mimicked Kurama Tengu using their "furoshiki" (wrapping cloth) instead of Sojuro-zukin, but they always had trouble making shikoro. Sojuro-zukin is not a piece of cloth, and shikoro is attached to it with sewing, so furoshiki cannot replace Sojuro-zukin in the first place, but all the more, children loved Sojuro-zukin.

Popular name

Sojuro-zukin is commonly called "zukin of Kurama Tengu," or, after its shape, "ika-zukin" (squid-shaped hood).

Sojuro-zukin and movies

In 1936, a movie titled "Sojuro-zukin" was released, which was starred by Kanjuro ARASHI. Incidentally, Kanjuro ARASHI starred in as many as 40 movies named "Kurama Tengu," which were released during the period from 1927 to 1956.

[Original Japanese]