The Love Affair of Yosaburo and Otomi


Yo wa Nasake Ukina Yokogushi

A downtrodden scar-faced gangster reencounters his first love

A love story of a couple reunited after thinking each other had died. The man is downtrodden, while the woman is living the high life. Their love is reignited, but there seems little hope for happiness. This is a plot commonly seen in TV dramas but was based on a true story.


by Maekawa Fumiko

Lovers’ first encounter

Yosaburo, a handsome and good-natured man, is wandering on the beach. He passes Otomi, a former courtesan who is now the mistress of the local gangster Genzaemon. They are immediately drawn to each other.

【Left】Otomi(Onoe Kikunosuke) May 2007 Kabukiza Theatre 【Right】Yosaburo(Ichikawa Somegoro) January 2010 Kabukiza Theatre


Secret encounter

One day, when Genzaemon is away, Otomi invites Yosaburo to her second home. The couple enjoy a brief encounter, but are soon discovered by Genzaemon. Otomi dives into the sea to escape, but Yosaburo is captured. The angry Genzaemon slashes Yosaburo, leaving him 34 visible scars on his face and body, and throws him out. Otomi, close to death in the waves, is rescued by a passing boat.


Reunion at Genjidana

Three years later. Otomi, rescued from near death, is living comfortably in the Genjidana district under the protection of Tazaemon, the head clerk at the pawnbroker Izumiya. She spots Tohachi in the rain and invites him in, and kills time by powdering his face.

【Left】[from left]Oyoshi(Bando Moriwaka)、Tohachi(Kataoka Matsunosuke)、Otomi(Bando Tamasaburo) April 2005 Kabukiza Theatre 【Right】Otomi(Onoe Kikunosuke) May 2007 Kabukiza Theatre


Yasugoro the Bat

The deeply scarred Yosaburo has drifted to Kamakura and become a partner of Yasugoro, who has a bat tattoo on his face. Yosaburo is making a living by threatening people with his scary scarred face. Hoping to get money to heal the scars, he and Yasugoro the Bat visit Genjidana. Otomi initially rejects them, but tired of their pleas, she throws them a small amount of money. When the Bat is about to leave gratefully, Yosaburo breaks his silence and stops him.

【Left】Yasuguro the Bat(Ichikawa Sadanji) April 2005 Kabukiza Theatre 【Right】[from left]Yosaburo(Kataoka Nizaemon)、Yasuguro the Bat(Ichikawa Sadanji) April 2005 Kabukiza Theatre


Famous speech: Even Buddha ~

Yosaburo, covered by a scarf, approaches Otomi and says it’s been a while. Otomi suddenly recognizes his voice. He removes his scarf and pull up his sleeve, showing his scarred face and body. Otomi unconsciously puts her hands on her chest. Yosaburo criticizes her for her comfortable lifestyle, and says bitterly even Buddha would not have imagined that Otomi, who he had take for dead, was still alive. He says that everything in the house belongs to him as the would-be husband.

[from left]Yosaburo(Kataoka Nizaemon)、Otomi(Bando Tamasaburo) April 2005 Kabukiza Theatre


Appearance of Tazaemon

Tazaemon, the Izumiya clerk who is protecting Otomi, returns. The Bat owes a debt to the Izumiya shop from his father’s generation and is nervous at the sight of Tazaemon. Tazaemon remains calm and asks who Yosaburo is. Otomi quickly answers that he is her brother. Tazaemon explains to Yosaburo that he has no physical relationship with Otomi despite their connection, and gives Yosaburo a large sum of money, encouraging him to start a business.

Tazaemon(Ichikawa Sadanji) May 2007 Kabukiza Theatre


Birth certificate: Riddle resolved

After the Bat and Yosaburo leave with the money, Tazaemon departs for his shop, passing his lucky charm to Otomi. When she opens this, she discovers a birth certificate, revealing that Tazaemon is actually her brother. Yosaburo quietly returns, and learns the secret. They both give their thanks to the absent Tazaemon.

[from left]Tazaemon(Ichikawa Sadanji)、Otomi(Onoe Kikunosuke) May 2007 Kabukiza Theatre