The Tweezers



Amazing work from womanizing detective in midst of succession battle

A calligraphic piece has been stolen, and the princess has been ill for unknown reasons. Her fiancé discovers the nefarious actions behind the scenes and resolves the problems. The answer is in a pair of tweezers. So what did Danjo find as he pulled his beard? An enjoyable piece among the Eighteen Select Plays.


by Terada Shima

Trouble in the Ono Family

The mansion of Ono Harumichi. A junior servant Hidetaro and his brother, retainer Minbu, are fighting with a retainer Genba and his son Kazuma. Minbu is refusing to commit suicide to take responsibility for the loss of a treasured calligraphic piece. The master of the house Harumichi and his son Harukaze stop the fight, nothing that Minbu’s suicide will not solve the problem. In the unsettled atmosphere, there is news that a message from the lord of the realm has arrived.

【Left】[from left]Yatsurugi Kazuma(Nakamura Mantaro)、Hata Hidetaro(Bando Minosuke) October 2009 Kabukiza Theatre 【Center】[from left]Hata Hidetaro(Bando Minosuke)、Hata Minbu(Bando Shucho)、Ono Harukaze(Nakamura Matsue)、Ono Harumichi(Otani Tomoemon) May 2014 Kabukiza Theatre 【Right】Yatsurugi Genba(Ichikawa Danzo) April 2005 Kabukiza Theatre


Appearance of messenger

A messenger, the dashing Kumedera Danjo, arrives. The lord is engaged with the Ono family’s daughter, Princess Nishiki-no-Mae, but the marriage has been stalled due to her illness. Danjo has been ordered to find out what is happening. Genba dismisses him, saying that the marriage cannot proceed in her condition. Danjo asks to see the princess. She appears wearing a veil. When Genba removes the veil, Danjo is astonished to see that her hair stands straight up. However, he finds that as long as she wears a veil with a charm inside, she should not be ill. Danjo requires a meeting with Harumichi and decides to wait there for him.

[from left]Yatsurugi Genba(Ichikawa Danzo)、Nishiki-no-Mae(Ichikawa Otora)、Kumedera Danjo(Ichikawa Sadanji) May 2014 Kabukiza Theatre


Failed seduction, dancing tweezers

When a beautiful boy brings a tobacco tray, Danjo tries to seduce him, but the boy escapes. While waiting, Danjo takes out tweezers and plucks his beard. When he places them on the floor, they start to move. Danjo is surprised and wonders if the home is haunted. Soon a lady-in-waiting brings tea, and Danjo tries to seduce her as well, but she brushes him off. Danjo takes out a cigarette, but cannot remove the silver pipe from the tray. He removes his dagger, and finds it moves along with the tweezers. He notes that both are made of steel…

【Left】[from left]Hata Hidetaro(Nakamura Kantaro)、Kumedera Danjo(Ichikawa Danjuro) April 2005 Kabukiza Theatre 【Center】[from left]Kumedera Danjo(Bando Mitsugoro)、Makiginu(Nakamura Kaishun) October 2009 Kabukiza Theatre 【Right】Kumedera Danjo(Ichikawa Danjuro) April 2005 Kabukiza Theatre


Plea by Ohara Manbei

Then a farmer calling himself Ohara Manbei forces himself on the scene. He says his sister was killed while serving as a maid in the Ono household. He demands that the sister be resurrected. Genba’s attitude only fuels the farmer’s anger. Danjo writes a quick letter saying that the sister will be returned. This was a letter to the King of Hell to request the sister’s return. Danjo kills Manbei, telling him to tell the King of Hell that he’s doing fine. Danjo reveals that this was an impostor, because he knows that the real Manbei is still alive. The sister was murdered by someone as she was delivering a letter and treasure from Harukaze. When Danjo looks inside Manbei’s chest, he discovers the missing calligraphy. It becomes clear that the person who murdered the sister and stole the goods is the false Manbei.

[from left]Ohara Manbei, actually Ishihara Sehei(Kataoka Ichizo)、Kumedera Danjo(Ichikawa Danjuro) April 2005 Kabukiza Theatre


Solving the mystery

Harukaze, Harumichi and Nishiki-no-Mae appear. Harumichi thanks Danjo for the recovery of the calligraphy. When Danjo removes the princess’ veil, the illness recurs. Danjo observes that she is wearing a peculiar hairpiece, and she tells him that she had a silver hair ornament made. When he removes the ornament, the hair falls back naturally and the illness is cured. The cause of her illness was the ornament. Danjo declares that he will cure the illness for good. He thrusts a spear through the ceiling, and a ninja with a huge magnet falls to the floor. Everyone is surprised. Danjo reveals that the ornament is made of steel and that the magnet made the hair rise.

[from left]Hata Minbu(Kawarasaki Gonjuro)、Nishiki-no-Mae(Bando Kametoshi)、Kumedera Danjo(Ichikawa Danjuro)、Ono Harumichi(Otani Tomoemon)、Ono Harukaze(Ichikawa Komazo)、Yatsurugi Genba(Ichikawa Danzo) April 2005 Kabukiza Theatre


Punishment of evil, Danjo’s departure

As Danjo pressures the ninja to confess who sent him, Genba suddenly kills the ninja. Genba says unconvincingly that the man cannot be expected to tell the truth under torture. Danjo says ironically that the calligraphy has been discovered, the princess’ illness cured, and the household now made safe. Harumichi asks Genba to hand over the household’s treasured sword as a token of the marriage engagement. When Genba is about to pass it on, Danjo kills him with one blow, saying “Congratulations”. He says he has now completed his mission, having punished the criminal who stole the treasure and disrupted the marriage. He pays his respects to the audience and departs for his lord’s household.

[from left]Kumedera Danjo(Bando Mitsugoro) October 2009 Kabukiza Theatre