Enomoto Torahiko (榎本虎彦)

Torahiko ENOMOTO (February 24, 1866 - November 16, 1916) was a Kyogen (farce played during a Noh cycle) and Kabuki (traditional drama performed by male actors) writer, who lived during the Meiji and Taisho Periods. His haiku pen name was Yaburegasa. He was born in Wakayama City. He wrote masterpieces such as "Nanto Enjo" (Southern Kyoto into flame) and "Meiko Kakiemon" (Master craftsman Kakiemon), as the principal play writer attached to the Kabuki-za Theater.


It is said that his home was poor due to his father's dissipation. ENOMOTO managed to graduate from Wakayama University for himself, and became a teacher at an elementary school, but at the age of 21 he went up to Tokyo in order to study literature. He firstly became a shosei (a student who is given room and board in exchange for performing domestic duties) of Ochi FUKUCHI, and after working as a Nipposha's press reporter for two years, he became a probation writer at Kabuki-za Theater, of which Ochi was involved in the foundation and was working as the principal play writer attached to the theater. He had a close friendship with Kido OKAMOTO, who was his colleague at the newspaper company, and he also took Kido to FUKUCHI's residence to introduce him. Afterwards, he became a press reporter of Yamato Shinbun and wrote several novels for the newspaper for a while, but he became a Kabuki play writer again in 1898.

In 1904, he wrote his first Kabuki play, "Atakanoseki" (The Ataka Barrier). This was an adaptation of a story (Noh play) written by Monzaemon CHIKAMATSU, and it was performed by Chusha ICHIKAWA (the seventh). It is said that after Ochi's death in 1906 he took over the post of the principle writer attached to the Kabuki-za Theater, but the details are unknown.

Since then, he was active as a Kabuki play writer, mainly producing adaptations, and he wrote 56 pieces including unperformed and revised ones. Among them, "Nanto Enjo"written in 1909 and "Meiko Kakiemon"written in 1912 especially for Nizaemon KATAOKA (the 11th) are his masterpieces. One of his outstanding joint works is an adaptation of "Sukeroku," originally written by Ochi, which he rewrote to make it into a Kabuki play jointly with Kenji ENOKIDO, and the principle role, Gyou OGUCHIYA, was performed by Danjuro ICHIKAWA (the 9th).

His last work was "Shinkyoku Adachigahara" (New Adachigahara), which he wrote for Danshiro ICHIKAWA (the 2nd) in 1916, and he died at the age of 51 in the same year. His grave is at the Hozen-ji Temple in Fukagawa (Koto Ward), Tokyo.

[Original Japanese]