Kokusenya Gassen (The Battles of Koxinga)


Kokusenya Gassen (The Battles of Koxinga)

An exotic story featuring a hot-blooded hero of Chinese and Japanese descent who goes to battle in a foreign land.

A large-scale adventure story modeled after the historic figure Koxinga, still celebrated as a hero in Taiwan and China (under the name Zheng Chenggong). Here he is given the name “Kokusenya”, signifying someone allowed to use the same surname as the emperor.


by Iizuka Misa

The sandpiper and the clam

The fisherman Watonai was the son of Roikkan, a Chinese servant to the Ming emperor now exiled in Japan, and a Japanese mother. He watches as a large clam grabs a sandpiper by its beak on the shores of Hirado in Nagasaki. Realizing that neither is able to make a move, he achieves an understanding of secret war tactics. A women drifts onto the shore. She reveals that she is Princess Sendan, the sister of the Ming emperor, who has been murdered in a conspiracy by the nation of Dattan. Watonai, determined to restore the Ming dynasty to power, asks his wife to look after the princess and heads for China with his parents.

【Left】Watonai(Nakamura Kichiemon) April 2003 Kabukiza Theatre

【Right】[from left]Roikkan(Ichikawa Sadanji)、Nagisa(Sawamura Sojuro)、Watonai(Ichikawa Ennosuke)、Komutsu(Ichikawa Emiya)、Princess Sendan(Ichikawa Kamejiro) December 1998 Kabukiza Theatre


Fight with a tiger

Watonai arrives in China. He and his mother separate from his father and head to Shishigajo Castle. He seeks the aid of General Kanki, who is married to Watonai’s stepsister Kinshojo. On the way, he comes across a man-eating tiger in the bamboo fields of Senri. He overcomes the beast with his superior power. Using a charm from Ise Shrine, he bends the tiger to his will and makes it carry his mother on its back. He also defeats enemy troops from Dattan who had been hunting the tiger and forces them to take him to the castle.

Watonai(Nakamura Kichiemon) April 2003 Kabukiza Theatre


Shishigajo Castle

Roikkan joins his son Watonai in front of the castle and is reunited with his daughter Kinshojo. However, Kinshojo says she cannot let them in the castle because her husband Kanki has been summoned away by the king of Dattan. The only person she will allow into the castle is Watonai’s mother as long as her hands are bound. The mother agrees to this. They await Kanki’s return. Kinshojo promises to talk to her husband. She says she will put white powder in the river if her husband agrees to support Watonai, and red powder if he refuses.

【Left】[from left]Watonai(Onoe Shoroku)、Nagisa(Kataoka Hidetaro)、Kinshojo(Nakamura Shibajaku)、Roikkan(Nakamura Karoku) October 2012 Shimbashi Enbujo Theatre

【Center】Kinshojo(Nakamura Shibajaku) October 2012 Shimbashi Enbujo Theatre

【Right】[from left]Nagisa(Kataoka Hidetaro)、Roikkan(Nakamura Karoku) October 2012 Shimbashi Enbujo Theatre


Stepdaughter and stepmother

General Kanki returns. He listens to the plea of his wife and mother. When he realizes that they support Watonai, he attempts to stab his wife to death. The mother, shocked, moves quickly to shield her daughter. Kanki says he would like to join Watonai to revive the Ming dynasty, but it would be a humiliation if he were perceived as having changed sides for a woman. Thus, he will join forces with Watonai only after cutting off ties with his wife. Kinshojo attempts suicide out of dedication to her parent and loyalty to her husband, but her stepmother firmly stops this, saying that it would be a humiliation for Japan to let the daughter die for no reason. Kanki sees no progress in the discussion and prepares to send the stepmother back.

【Left】[from left]Kinshojo(Nakamura Shibajaku)、Kanki(Nakamura Baigyoku)、Nagisa(Kataoka Hidetaro) October 2012 Shimbashi Enbujo Theatre

【Right】Kinshojo(Nakamura Shibajaku) October 2012 Shimbashi Enbujo Theatre


Red dye in river

Watonai, standing atop the bridge, sees the river running red. Taking this as a signal that Kanki will not support him, he rushes into the castle. Watonai is an unrivaled warrior in Japan, while Kanki is a major general in China. As they confront each other, Kinshojo appears. She reveals that the red color in the river is not powder but her own blood. She has stabbed herself. She asks Kanki to join Watonai and dies. Kanki, moved by his wife’s words, resolves to join his troops with Watonai. He grants Watonai the honorific name of Kokusenya Tei Seiko and gives him Chinese clothing. The mother, satisfied with the sight of the two heroes side by side, commits suicide, saying she cannot allow her daughter to go alone to the other world. Watonai and Kanki reaffirm their determination to destroy Dattan, the enemy of their mother and wife.

【Left】Watonai(Nakamura Kichiemon) April 2003 Kabukiza Theatre

【Right】[from left]Kanki(Nakamura Baigyoku)、Nagisa(Kataoka Hidetaro)、Kinshojo(Nakamura Shibajaku)、Watonai(Onoe Shoroku) October 2012 Shimbashi Enbujo Theatre