Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami (菅原伝授手習鑑?) is a Japanese bunraku and kabuki play jointly written by Takeda Izumo I, Takeda Izumo II, Namiki Sōsuke and Miyoshi Shōraku. Along with Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura and Kanadehon Chūshingura, it is one of the three most famous and popular plays in the kabuki repertoire. Sugawara was first performed as a puppet play in August 1746 at the Takemoto-za in Osaka, debuting on the kabuki stage the following month in Kyoto. The Edo debut was held at the Ichimura-za the following March.
The play is set in the 9th century, and is based on the life of Heian period court noble and government official Sugawara no Michizane (referred to as Kan Shōjō in the play), who was exiled to Kyūshū when he lost favor at court and was falsely accused of conspiring to seize the throne. A fictional set of triplets named Umeōmaru, Sakuramaru, and Matsuōmaru, characters invented for the play, also play a major role, each individually proving their loyalty and service to Kan Shōjō in different scenes. The antagonist is Fujiwara no Shihei (藤原時平?), whose name is written with the same kanji as the historical Fujiwara no Tokihira.
Like most full-length five-act kabuki plays, Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami is very rarely performed in full. Instead, a selection of scenes will be chosen, or a single scene will be combined with scenes from other plays, dance dramas, or other pieces to form a day's program. The most popular, and most frequently performed, scene from this play is Terakoya (寺子屋, "temple school"), the third scene of Act IV. The Yasui no Hama (Act II, second scene) and Kitasaga (Act IV, second scene) scenes have only been performed in bunraku, never yet in kabuki. The Kurumabiki (Act III, first scene) scene is considered to be a paragon of the aragoto form, and of the essence of kabuki.
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