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Seven Masks (Nanatsumen)
The Kabuki Eighteen
Seven Masks (Nanatsumen)

The mask-maker Gagoze Akaemon removes the lids of several decorative mask boxes, revealing five different masks inside including those for old people and demons. In the play’s first performance, Danjuro II used quick-change techniques to portray each of the masks. Later the play was revived with seven masks, hence the current title.

In 1893, Danjuro IX performed a new version of the play, New Seven Masks (Shin Nanatsumen), written by Fukuchi Ochi. Ichikawa Sansho performed a revised version by Yamazaki Shiko in 1936. The play was revived again in 1983 by Onoe Shoroku II, this time in a version by Tobe Ginsaku.

Premiere : Second month, 1740
Original title : The River Sumida Mirror (Sugatami Sumidagawa)
Actor : Danjuro II
Theatre : Ichimura-za, Edo
Text : Hattori Yukio, Ichikawa Danjuro Daidai. Tokyo: Kodansha, 2002.
Prints : Collection of the National Diet Library
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