Tachiyaku (立役)

Tachiyaku means the role in Kabuki (traditional performing act) of a normal adult male, and it also stands for the actor who plays the role. It does not include katakiyaku (a true villain), dokeyaku (a funny person) and fukeyaku (an old person) (currently, katakiyaku and dokeyaku as an actor's position do not exist and tachiyaku actors play those roles; these names remain only as the types of the roles). Tachiyaku covers a wide range of classes from samurai to the townspeople. In many cases, tachiyaku actors act as good people in dramas, and they come up with white makeup. Tachiyiaku actors played the leading role in Kabuki, and were considered to be in a higher class than actors in other positions. Usually zagashira (leader of a troup) is a tachiyaku.

Tachiyaku include these types of roles.

Aragoto is a righteous hero with a superhuman strength. In many cases, an aragoto is described as a person with brave and wild character, and plays the role of getting rid of the villain with fantastic numen. This is a role unique to Edo Kabuki (Kabuki of old Tokyo) and its origin lies in Kinpira SAKATA of Kinpira Joruri (one of the early Edo-Joruri). At present atagoto is mainly succeeded to the family of Danjuro ICHIKAWA. There are direct aragoto programs with an old style, such as Shibaraku and Narukami, while others include the essence of aragoto in a realistic story, such as Sukeroku and Benkei (Kanjincho).

Jitsugoto is an excellent wise man with a well-balanced common sense. In many cases, a jitsugoto solves the problems in the drama and conclude the story. Therefore jitsugoto is also called sabakiyaku (an adjudicator). In the old days, it was considered to be a main role of tachiyaku as well as wagoto, and was often played by a zagashira. It was such an important role that there was a word jitsugotoshi (jitsugoto player). One of them was Yuranosuke OBOSHI.

Wagoto is a young man who acts as a main character in a love story of a man and a woman. A handsome man with affectionate looks played this role. Wagoto was written on the second page of a banzuke (a show bill), which is the origin of the Japanese word "nimaime" (a handsome man; literally, "the second page"). This role was born from a traditional keisei-gai stories (stories of prostitutes and their clients in red-light districts) in Genroku Kabuki (Kabuki in the Genroku era). There are two types of Wagoto; one is a Kamigata (Kyoto and Osaka area) style represented by Tojuro SAKATA with the characters of Izaemon in "Yoshidaya" and Kamiji; the other is an Edo (Tokyo) style represented by Shichisaburo NAKAMURA and Sojuro SAWAMURA with the character of SOGA no Juro.

[Original Japanese]