The Dish Mansion at Bancho


Bancho Sarayashiki

A chambermaid’s doubts over her lover, a high-ranking official, lead to tragedy

“You should know the seriousness of a woman’s crime when she doubts the truth of an innocent man!” A high-ranking official takes rash action when the purity of his feelings is questioned by his lover. This is a New Kabuki masterpiece written during the era of early 20th-century romances.


by Komiya Akiko

Cherry blossoms at Sanno

Sanno Shrine, among the most famous cherry blossom sights at the time in Tokyo. The samurai Aoyama Harima is enjoying the blossoms when ruffians appear on the scene. They nearly come to blows, but Harima’s aunt happens to pass by and breaks up them up. She advises him to get married, going so far as to recommend a specific girl. He notes of the end of spring that even scattered petals have charm, giving this scene a deep romantic feel.

【Left】[from left]Aoyama Harima(Nakamura Baigyoku)、Gonji(Kataoka Kamezo)、Gonroku(Nakamura Kikaku) February 2005 Kabukiza Theatre
【Center】Hanaregoma Shirobe(Kataoka Gato) February 2005 Kabukiza Theatre
【Right】[from left]Mayumi(Sawamura Tanosuke)、Aoyama Harima(Bando Mitsugoro)  April 2004 Kabukiza Theatre


Household’s precious dishes

Harima is involved with the chambermaid Okiku and has no intention of marrying others. Okiku, however, hears worrying rumors that he has been discussing marriage with another. She decides to test his love for her by smashing one of the household’s treasured Korean dishes, a crime carrying the death penalty. Harima initially dismisses this as an accident, but learns from another chambermaid that it was done intentionally. He becomes enraged that the purity of his feelings has been doubted. In his fury, he kills Okiku and orders her body thrown into the well. He loses his love for life and becomes self-destructive. Hearing that the ruffians have returned, he grabs a spear and rushes out to fight them.

【Left】[from left]Okiku(Nakamura Tokizo)、Aoyama Harima(Nakamura Baigyoku) February 2005 Kabukiza Theatre
【Center1】Okiku(Nakamura Tokizo) February 2005 Kabukiza Theatre
【Center2】[from left]Okiku(Nakamura Fukusuke)、Aoyama Harima(Bando Mitsugoro) April 2004 Kabukiza Theatre
【Center3】[from left]Okiku(Nakamura Fukusuke)、Gonji(Kataoka Ichizo)、Aoyama Harima(Bando Mitsugoro) April 2004 Kabukiza Theatre
【Right】Aoyama Harima(Onoe Kurouemon) February 1959 Toyoko Hall