Japan’s 24 Paragons of Filial Piety


Honcho Nijushiko

Nothing will stop a princess in love

A princess discovers that her lover, who she had thought dead, is in fact alive and in mortal danger. She risks everything to save him, helped by a fox spirit sent from the gods.


by Komiya Akiko

Swapped babies

Takeda Shingen of Kai Province and Nagao Kenshin of neighboring Echigo Province are sworn enemies. The shogun has ordered the former’s son Katsuyori and the latter’s daughter Yaegaki to marry when they come of age in an attempt at reconciliation. Later, the shogun is assassinated. Takeda and Nagao promise that if they cannot find the murderer before the shogun’s second-year anniversary ceremony, they will behead their own children. Unable to find the villain in time, Katsuyori is said to have committed ritual suicide. However, that Katsuyori was actually the son of Takeda’s trusted adviser, who bore a close resemblance. The real Katsuyori had been given the name Minosaku and raised as a commoner. Minosaku, aware of his true identity, disguises himself and takes service in the Nagao family in order to retrieve a treasured helmet. The servant in that family, Nureginu, was the fake “Katsuyori’s” fiancé and has also infiltrated the Nagao household to aid the real Katsuyori in his mission.


The ten fragrances

Princess Yaegaki is mourning her fiancé after his suicide. She is sitting before a portrait she has commissioned and lights an incense blending ten fragrances in prayer. Separately, Nureginu is praying for her former lover. Then the real Katsuyori appears in his disguise as Minosaku.

【Left】Nureginu(Kataoka Hidetaro) April 2008 Kabukiza Theatre 【Center】Katsuyori(Nakamura Hashinosuke) April 2008 Kabukiza Theatre 【Right】Princess Yaegaki(Bando Tamasaburo) October 2008 Kabukiza Theatre


The shock

Yaegaki, noting the striking resemblance between the gardener and portrait, asks her servant to introduce them. The servant, who is aligned with the real Katsuyori, tries to prevent the meeting, fearing their scheme will be exposed. She finally agrees to help on condition that Yaegaki produce the treasured helmet. Yaegaki does so, and is overjoyed to be brought together with her fiancé. At that point, Yaegaki’s father Kenshin appears and sends the supposed gardener off for business.

【Left】Princess Yaegaki(Bando Tamasaburo) October 2008 Kabukiza Theatre 【Center1】[from left]Katsuyori(Nakamura Baigyoku)、Princess Yaegaki(Nakamura Kaishun) April 2002 Kabukiza Theatre 【Center2】Princess Yaegaki(Nakamura Jakuemon) November 2002 Kabukiza Theatre 【Right】[from left]Katsuyori(Nakamura Hashinosuke)、Kenshin(Kataoka Gato) April 2008  Kabukiza Theatre


Pursuit and warning

Kenshin, having seen through Minosaku/Katsuyori’s disguise, immediately sends two samurai to dispose of him. In this scene, the two samurai report the developments of the ongoing battle in mime.

【Left】Shirasuka Rokuro(Onoe Shoroku) October 2008 Kabukiza Theatre 【Center】Hara Kobunji(Ichikawa Danzo) April 2008 Kabukiza Theatre 【Right】[from left]Nureginu(Onoe Baiko)、Kenshin(Kataoka Nizaemon)、Princess Yaegaki(Onoe Kikugoro) November 1973 Kabukiza Theatre


“Would that I had wings”

Having learned that Katsuyori is in danger, Yaegaki is desperate to catch him and tell him he is being followed. The only way to catch him in time is to cross the lake. When she grabs the treasured helmet, a white fox sent by the gods appears, and the lake freezes. She races off in pursuit of her lover.

Princess Yaegaki(Bando Tamasaburo) October 2008 Kabukiza Theatre