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  • Japanese: 河原崎座 (Kawarazaki-za)

The Kawarazaki-za was, on and off, one of the three main licensed kabuki theaters in Edo during the second half of the Edo period.

Originally founded by Kawarazaki Gonnosuke III, the Kawarazaki-za became officially recognized and licensed by local authorities to operate as one of the city's three licensed theatres in 1734, following the bankruptcy of the Morita-za. Through what was known as the hikae yagura system, the Morita-za's license was transferred to the Kawarazaki-za.

Over the next century or so, the fortunes of the Morita-za rose and fell, periodically reclaiming its license and then being forced to give it up to the Kawarazaki-za again.[1]

In 1843, with the relocation of the Nakamura-za and Ichimura-za theatres to Saruwaka-chô 1-chôme and 2-chôme respectively, the Kawarazaki-za was also moved, to Saruwaka-chô 3-chôme, in the Asakusa neighborhood, as the Tokugawa shogunate worked to construct and then control a new licensed theatre district.[2]

The Kawarazaki-za saw a number of significant moments in kabuki history take place on its stage, including the premiere in 1840 of Kanjinchô (the kabuki version of the Noh play Ataka) and the 1874 shûmei ceremony in which Ichikawa Danjûrô IX took on that name.[3]


  1. Timothy Clark, "Edo Kabuki in the 1780s," The Actor's Image, Art Institute of Chicago (1994), 28.
  2. Gallery labels, Edo-Tokyo Museum.[1]
  3. Gallery labels, Kabuki-za Gallery.[2]