Akoya 阿古屋 (あこや)



Mugen-nō 夢幻能.

Creators of piece:
Plot of piece:
A traveling monk visits Shiogama 塩竈 shrine. A local man (shite) points out the tomb of Sanetaka 実方, exiled there by Emperor Ichijō. He was searching for the "Pine of Akoya" when he died after refusing to dismount to pay respect to a wayside goddess (dōsojin 道祖神). Revealing himself as Sanekata's ghost, the shite vanishes.As the monk prays for him, the ghost reappears and describes how he was exiled for assaulting a senior nobleman. Saved by the unexpected prayers of the monk, he is reborn in Heaven.

Fujiwara no Sanekata (d. 999) was a well-known poet, with a poem in Hyakunin isshu, and 67 poems included in imperial anthologies. In an argument with Fujiwara no Kōsei (or Yukinari, 藤原の行成), he knocked off the nobleman's lacquered cap with his shaku 笏. Emperor Ichijō punished him by assigning him a post in northern Japan, and telling him to investigate the uta-makura (poetic place names) of Mutsu.The Kakuichi version of Heike monogatari has a section entitled "Akoya no matsu" 阿古屋之松, "The Pine of Akoya" (2.9), but this only deals with Sanekata's search for the pine tree, which he learns is now to be found in the province of Dewa, not Mutsu. The full story of his exile and death appears in various premodern sources, including Kojidan 古事談, Jikkinshō 十訓抄, and Genpei jōsuiki 源平盛衰記 (book 7). The account in Genpei jōsuiki is more critical of Sanekata for his pride, and draws a parallel with his disrespect for the nobleman and the wayside goddess. It ends by relating how his longing for the capital made turn into a sparrow that haunted the Imperial Kitchens where he had once served, living off the scraps. A legend about Sanekata's ghost is mentioned by Sei Shōnagon (The Pillow Book, section 135, trans. Meredith McKinney, 2006,p. 142).

Printed text: MYS (未刊謡曲集) vol. 31, 166-169.

The piece described here is not to be confused with an earlier workentitled "Akoya no matsu," extant in Zeami's own hand, but probablyrevised from an earlier work. In "Akoya no matsu," the waki isSanekata, and the shite is the Shiogama diety. Neither work is in therepertoire. 

Sei Shōnagon refers to the "story about a man called the SecretaryCaptain, who took such pride in being one of the dancers each year thatafter he died his ghost began to haunt the area under the shrinebridge" (The Pillow Book, section 135, trans. Meredith McKinney, 2006,p. 142).

Sanekata's mound is the subject of a poem by Saigyō, who visited theplace. It is also mentioned in Bashō's Oku no hosomichi. The tomb wasrebuilt in 1722 and can be seen today in Katori-shi, Miyagi-ken.

For a summary of the legend of the burial mound (古塚), see:


To check: Zeami's Akoya no matsu.

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