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The Kiri-za was a temporarily licensed kabuki theater (a kari shibai or kaeyagura) established in 1784, taking over the license from the Ichimura-za which went under earlier that year. The short-lived theater saw the premiere of Jûnihitoe Komachi Zakura, a play from which the scene Seki no To later came to be frequently performed alone.

The founder of the Kiri-za, Kiri Chôkiri, was the head of a family which had been deeply involved in the theatre world for some 245 years, but had never run one of Edo's three or four officially licensed theaters before. The Ichimura-za was torn down in the 6th month of 1784, and shortly afterwards, Kiri circulated broadsheets listing out his family history and genealogy, in an effort to attract the support of both the public (potential audiences) and of the local authorities. Following an official application, Kiri received permission on 1748/10/18 to operate a theater on the site for a period of five years. The former site of the Ichimura-za was fenced in, and banners were raised declaring the site to now be home to the Kiri-za. A few days later, on 10/22, a yagura was erected announcing an upcoming season of performances, and on 10/25, construction of the new theater itself began.

Jûnihitoe Komachi Zakura was performed as the kaomise (face-showing) opening production the following month (1784/11).


  • Timothy Clark, "Edo Kabuki in the 1780s," The Actor's Image, Art Institute of Chicago (1994), 28.