Yotsuya Ghost Story


Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan

A horror story of love, desire and vengeance

The story of a fallen samurai family. Oiwa seeks relentlessly to avenge the murder of her father – without knowing that the killer was in fact her husband. She is abandoned and poisoned and suffers a brutal death, for which she takes revenge from the other world. This is interwoven with characters from Chushingura and filled with startling stage effects. A masterpiece in the horror genre involving love, desire and vengeance.


by Oshima Yukihisa

Murder: Trigger and action

Oiwa and Osode are the daughters of Yotsuya Samon, a retainer in the Enya family of Chushingura fame. He has been masterless since the termination of Enya’s household. Oiwa is the de facto wife of her father’s former colleague Tamiya Iemon, and Osode is married to Sato Yomoshichi. Samon wants to take Oiwa back from Iemon, who has become a criminal. After a bitter fight, Iemon kills him. Meanwhile, Yomoshichi’s servant Naosuke lusts after Osode. He resolves to kill her husband in order to win her for himself, but he unknowingly kills someone else. The mutilated body is wrongly thought to be the husband. The sisters agree to marry Iemon and Naosuke if they will avenge the deaths of their father and husband, respectively, without knowing that these are in fact the murderers. Meanwhile, Osode and Yomoshichi bump into other at a brothel as prostitute and client in a comical scene.

【Left】[from left]Tamiya Iemon(Ichikawa Somegoro)、Yotsuya Samon(Matsumoto Kingo) July 2013 Kabukiza Theatre 【Center1】[from left]Oiro(Nakamura Kosanza)、Osode(Nakamura Shichinosuke)、Sato Yomoshichi(Nakamura Kantaro) August 2010 Shinbashi Enbujo Theatre 【Center2】[from left]Sato Yomoshichi(Onoe Kikunosuke)、Okuda Shosaburo(Bando Kamesaburo) July 2013 Kabukiza Theatre 【Right】[from left]Naosuke Gonbei(Onoe Shoroku)、Osode(Nakamura Baishi)、Oiwa(Onoe Kikunosuke)、Tamiya Iemon(Ichikawa Somegoro) July 2013 Kabukiza Theatre


Climax: Bitterness explodes

Iemon and Oiwa are living together. Still weak after the birth of their son, Oiwa takes every opportunity to urge Iemon to find and kill her father’s murderer. Iemon, having lost his master, makes umbrellas for a living. He is fed up with this poor life and is sick of Oiwa. He betrays her by becoming engaged with the granddaughter of the rich Ito family living next door. Oiwa receives what she thinks is medicine from the neighbors to help her recover. When she drinks it, her face becomes disfigured and grotesque, and she realizes that she was betrayed by Iemon. Her hair fails out in a gruesome combing scene, driving her mad. She eventually dies. Iemon brings his new bride from next door. But he has visions of Oiwa and mistakenly kills the bride. Having lost everything, he is haunted by Oiwa and the ghost of a man he murdered. The scene involves numerous stage tricks, including the famous “door flipping” with corpses on each side.

【Left】[from left]Oyumi(Ichimura Manjiro)、Omaki(Nakamura Kamenojo)、Oume(Onoe Ukon)、Tamiya Iemon(Ichikawa Somegoro)、Ito Kihei(Ichikawa Danzo) July 2013 Kabukiza Theatre 【Center1】[from left]Tamiya Iemon(Ichikawa Ebizo)、Oiwa(Nakamura Kantaro) August 2010 Shinbashi Enbujo Theatre 【Center2】Oiwa(Nakamura Kankuro) August 2004 Kabukiza Theatre 【Right】[上から]Tamiya Iemon(Ichikawa Ebizo)、Oiwa(Nakamura Kantaro) August 2010 Shinbashi Enbujo Theatre


Demise and revenge

Yomoshichi reappears before Osode. She is now living with Naosuke and had thought him dead. Caught between her former and current husbands, she is killed by both, and Naosuke commits suicide. Iemon escapes to a mountain hut with his mother’s help, but is haunted night after night by Oiwa’s ghost in a bone-chilling scene using many amazing stage effects. He escapes to a bamboo bush but is killed by Yomoshichi’s gang, and Oiwa’s anger is finally lifted.

【Left】[from left]Tamiya Iemon(Ichikawa Somegoro)、Oiwa(Onoe Kikunosuke) July 2013 Kabukiza Theatre 【Right】[from left]Sato Yomoshichi(Onoe Kikunosuke)、Tamiya Iemon(Ichikawa Somegoro) July 2013 Kabukiza Theatre