Shinza the Barber


Kamiyui Shinza

A poetic depiction of commoners in Edo Period life

The hero Shinza is a hairdresser and a lovable rogue who fools a naïve shopkeeper, seduces the popular daughter of a timber merchant, and embarrasses the local gang leader, only to get his comeuppance by a local homeowner. A depiction of commoners in Edo with poetic dialogue and artful seasonal depictions.


by Komiya Akiko

Getting the daughter married

A widow Otsune tries to marry off her only daughter Okuma for a large dowry to turn the fortunes of her shop around. However, Okuma is in love with the shop’s clerk Chushichi. Okuma finally agrees to the arranged marriage at the tearful urging of her mother. Shinza learns of this, and tempts Chushichi and Okuma to run away together for his own nefarious reasons.

【Left】[from left]Chushichi(Nakamura Tokizo)、Okuma(Nakamura Baishi) November 2011 Shimbashi Enbujo Theatre
【Right】Shinza(Nakamura Kanzaburo) May 2012 Heisei Nakamuraza Theatre


Sharing an umbrella

Chushichi has sent Okuma ahead to Shinza’s home. Shinza beats Chushichi and announces that Okuma is going to marry him instead, then exits. Chushichi, realizing he’s been duped, prepares to throw himself into the river. He is rescued by the local don Genshichi.

【Left】[from top]Shinza(Onoe Kikugoro)、Chushichi(Nakamura Tokizo) November 2011 Shimbashi Enbujo Theatre
【Right】[from left]Chushichi(Bando Mitsugoro)、Yatagoro Genshichi(Nakamura Tomijuro) May 2005 Kabukiza Theatre


Living in the nagaya

Shinza’s nagaya (low-income residence). Shinza taunts Okuma. Genshichi appears with an offer of ten ryo in ransom money. Shinza abuses him and shoves back the cash. Genshichi is furious but decides to hold off for now.

【Left】[from left]Gonbei(Matsumoto Kotaro)、Shinkichi(Matsumoto Kinya) April 2014 Kabukiza Theatre
【Right】[from left]Zenpachi(Bando Shucho)、Shinza(Bando Mitsugoro)、Katsuyakko(Nakamura Kankuro)、Yatagoro Genshichi(Nakamura Hashinosuke) August 2013 Kabukiza Theatre


The landlord

Shinza’s landlord Chobei is asked by Zenpachi to help. He manages to convince Shinza to take 30 ryo as ransom money and release Okuma. Once that is accomplished, he outwits Shinza and gets his share.

【Left】[from left]Okaku(Ichimura Manjiro)、Chobei(Bando Yajuro) April 2014 Kabukiza Theatre
【Right】[from left]Katsuyakko(Ichikawa Somegoro)、Shinza(Nakamura Kanzaburo)、Chobei(Bando Mitsugoro) May 2005 Kabukiza Theatre


Full of hell

Several months later, Shinza has become known as a proper gangster, while Genshichi, having lost face, sees his status dwindling. Sword in hand, he waits for Shinza on Enmadobashi (King of Hell Bridge) to take his revenge.

[from left]Yatagoro Genshichi(Nakamura Hashinosuke)、Shinza(Bando Mitsugoro) August 2013 Kabukiza Theatre