Mizuki Tatsunosuke I

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  • Birth: 1673
  • Death: 1745/9/23[1]
  • Other Names: Yamatoya Uzaemon, Tsurukawa Tatsunosuke II, Tsuyugawa Ryûnosuke, Yamatoya Ushimatsu, Jinkurô, Seijûrô, Yamatoya (yagô)
  • Japanese: 初代水木辰之助[2] (Shodai Mizuki Tatsunosuke)

Mizuki Tatsunosuke I was an onnagata kabuki actor based primarily in Kamigata. Along with Yoshizawa Ayame I, Ogino Sawanojô, and Sodesaki Karyû, he was considered one of the "Wakaonnagata no Shitennô", and was particularly celebrated for his spear dances (yari odori) and quick-change dances (hengemono). The Mizuki school of Nihon buyô (dance) which bears his name is still active today.

Tatsunosuke was the nephew and son-in-law of actor Yamatoya Jinbei I[3]; his father was the actor Saitô Shinpachi, who specialized in comic villain roles.[4]

He was born in Osaka, and spent his early years as a wakashu child actor, playing young male roles, there, under the names Yamatoya Ushimatsu, Tsuyugawa Ryûnosuke, and Tsurugawa Tatsunosuke II.[4]

In 1688 or 1689[5], he traveled to Kyoto with his uncle, became a waka-onnagata, and began playing female roles. He made his Edo debut in 1691/8, playing the role of Ofuji of Arima in an O-ie Sôdô play written especially for him by Chikamatsu Monzaemon; he had played the same role in another play earlier that year, in Kamigata.[1][6]

Over the course of his career, Tatsunosuke traveled to Edo several times, though he mostly performed in Kyoto. He performed alongside Ichikawa Danjûrô I on a number of occasions, as well as alongside his uncle, and the famous onnagata Yoshizawa Ayame.

Like Uemura Kichiya I, Tatsunosuke also had a style of tying the obi (belt) of a kimono named after him. The Mizuki-musubi was quite similar to the Kichiya-musubi, in which the ends of the bow were weighed down, and drooped like puppies' ears; in the Mizuki-musubi knot, the drooping bits were longer.[7] At times in his career, purple hats he wore onstage (all onnagata were forced by law to wear these kerchiefs rather than full wigs onstage) became popular fashion items in both Kyoto and Edo; a shop in Edo also sold jewel caskets for a time, marketed as "souveniers of Mizuki."[4]

Tatsunosuke's dance talents are said to have been an excellent contrast to the acting skills of Yoshizawa Ayame, and diary entries from the 1698 diaries of Kaneko Kichizaemon indicate that Tatsunosuke also supervised choreography.[1]

Following his uncle's death in 1704, he retired. He was followed by a Tatsunosuke II and Tatsunosuke III, but remains the most famous member of the lineage.[1] His disciples included Mizuki Somenosuke I, Mizuki Somenosuke II, Miogi Naniwa, Yamatoya Jin'emon, Mizuki Tominosuke, and Mizuki Sawanosuke.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Mizuki Tatsunosuke (shodai)." Asahi Nihon Rekishi Jinbutsu Jiten. Accessed via Kotobank.jp, 15 May 2010.
  2. He originally wrote Mizuki with the character 椹, but changed it to 水木 in 1690.
  3. Asahi Nihon Rekishi Jinbutsu Jiten. Though, according to Kabuki21.com, the uncle was Yamatoya Jinbei II.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "Mizuki Tatsunosuke I." Kabuki21.com. Accessed 15 May 2010.
  5. the Asahi encyclopedia indicates 1688, though Kabuki21 says 1689.
  6. Kabuki21.com indicates, in another disagreement with the Kotobank source, that it was not until some years later - and in Kyoto - that he performed in this Chikamatsu piece.
  7. *Waterhouse, David. "The Hishikawa Mode." Impressions 31 (2010). p48.