Uiro uri (The Medicine Peddler) (外郎売)

Uiro uri is one of Kabuki juhachiban (eighteen best plays of the Ichikawa family of kabuki actors). Originally it was a part of an act in "Wakamidori Ikioi Soga" (Verdant Green and the Energetic Soga), one of so-called Sogamono (programs based on The Tale of the Soga), that later became an independent program. It was premiered at the Morita-za Theater in Edo in January 1718. The role of 'The Medicine Peddler whose true identity is SOGA no Goro' was acted by Danjuro ICHIKAWA (the 2nd).

Today, in many cases, the term 'Uiro uri' refers to the medicine peddler's long speech in the play. It is used for vocal and articulation exercises at training schools for actors and entertainers. The readings of Kanji characters and pitch accents of the speech vary with the school.

The Medicine Peddler's pitch

My master is, I guess some of you already know, 78.54 km away from Edo in the direction of Kyoto, passing through Isshiki town, Odawara City, Sagami Province, then going further from Aomono town toward Kyoto, there he lives, Rankanbashi Toraya Toemon, now he is tonsured and calls himself Ensai.

This medicine, which is available from New Year's Day to New Year's Eve, dates back to the day when a foreigner from the country of Chin (珍), named Uiro, came to our country long ago. After he visited to the Imperial Palace he hid this medicine far away, and each time when he needed, he took one pill from the space of the court cap. From this, the medicine was named 'Tochinko' by the Emperor. That is, with letters for head (頂) clearing (透) scent (香), it's pronounced Tochinko. These days, unexpectedly, this medicine has become widespread in the world; there are dishonest signs everywhere, saying it's made in Odawara, haidawara (straw bag of ash), sandawara (lid of komedawara, rice bag), sumidawara (straw bag for charcoal), etc., but it's only my master Ensai who gives 'uiro' in hiragana (Japanese syllabary characters). If you have the opportunity to go to Atami City, Hakone hotspring, or Tonosawa hotspring for the baths, or visit to Ise Jingu Shrine, be sure not to go to the wrong place. On the way to Kyoto it's on the right, on the way from Kyoto it's on the left, the store has eight ridges in eight direction and three beautiful ridges at the front; for the gables the crest of chrysanthemum and paulownia is permitted to use to prove this is the medicine of good lineage.

No matter how much I boast about the family name, for those who have no idea, it's like swallowing up real peppercorns or being asleep on a ship at night (they don't know what is going on), so I will try one pill to show you how it works. First, put one pill on the tongue like this, and down it to the stomach, then, oh, I don't know what to say, the stomach, heart, lungs and liver has become healthy, and fragrant breath comes out from the throat to cause the slight coolness in the mouth. Not only health troubles caused by eating fish, fowl, mushrooms and noodles in unsuitable combination, but also all other diseases immediately disappear as if it's a work of God. Well, the first amazing effect caused by this medicine is it makes you voluble and the motion of your tongue will be much faster and smoother than of spinning top. Once your tongue starts moving, nothing can stop it.

Sorya sorya sora sorya, mawatte kitawa, mawatte kuruwa (see, now I can speak smoothly). Awaya nondo, satarana zetsu ni ka ge sa shion, hama no futatsu wa kuchibiru no keicho (a, wa, ya are guttural; sa, ta, ra, na are lingual; ka is nasal and sa is dental; ha, ma are labial sound). Kaigo sawayaka ni (articulating clearly), akasatanahamayarawa, okosotonohomoyorowo. Hitotsu hegi hegi, hegihoshi hajikami, bonmame bongome bongobo, tsumitade tsumimame tsumizansho (together with cracker and ginger, beans, rice, burdock roots for Bon festival; and picked knotweeds, beans and pepper grains are put on a tray). Shoshazan no shasojo (a priest of Shoshazan Engyo-ji Temple), kogome no namagami (crunching uncooked rice fragments), kogome no namagami, kon-kogome no ko-namagami. Shusu (satin) hijusu (scarlet satin), shusu shuchin (satin with raised figures). Oya mo Kahe (father's name is Kahe), ko mo Kahe (the son is also Kahe), oya Kahe ko Kahe, ko Kahe oya Kahe. Furukuri no ki no furukirikuchi (the old cut end of an old chestnut tree). Amagappa ka bangappa ka (a raincoat or coarse raincoat). Kisama ga kyahan mo kawakyahan, warera ga kyahan mo kawakyahan (your gaiters are leather gaiters, our gaiters are leather gaiters, too). Shikkawabakama no shippokorobi wo, mihari harinaga ni choto nute, nute choto bundase (just sew up an open seam of the trousers with leather seat with three stitches more, and then throw it out). Kawaranadeshiko nozekichiku (a pink, a wild China pink). Nora nyorai (Tathagata in the fields) nora nyorai mi (three) nora nyorai ni (and) mu (six) nora nyorai. Issun saki no okobotoke ni oketsumazukyaru na (don't stumble on the small statue of Buddha right over there), hosomizo ni dojo nyorori (a loach is slithering through the narrow ditch). Kyo no namadara (a raw cod from the capital), Nara nama managatsuo (a raw pomfret in Nara), choto shigo kanme (just 15 or 18.75 kg). Ocha tacho (make tea), cha tacho, chatto tacho (make quickly). Cha tacho, aotake chasen de (with a green-bamboo tea whisk) ocha chatto tacha (tea is made quickly). Kuru wa kuru wa nani ga kuru (it's coming, it's coming, what's coming), Koya no yama no (of Mt. Koya) okokera (shavings) kozo (a trainee priest), tanuki hyappiki, hashi hyaku zen, tenmoku hyappai, bo happyappon (100 raccoon dogs, 100 pair of chopsticks, 100 teabowls and 100 sticks). Bugu (arms), bagu (harness), bugu bagu, mi (three) bugu bagu, awasete (altogether) bugu bagu mu (six) bugu bagu. Kiku (chrysanthemum), kiri (paulownia), kiku kiri, mi kiku kiri, awasete kiku kiri, mu kiku kiri. Mugi (wheat), gomi (dust), mugi gomi, mi mugi gomi, awasete mugi gomi, mu mugi gomi.
Ano nageshi no naganaginata wa ta ga naganaginata zo (whose long halberd is that halberd on the horizontal piece of timber in the frame of the house)?
Muko no gomagara wa e no gomagara ka magomagara ka, are koso hon no magomagara (I wonder the sesame husks over there are of perilla or ordinary sesame, they are real ordinary sesame husks). Gara-pi gara-pi kazaguruma (a pinwheel whirls with a sound). Okyagare koboshi (double meaning: get up, young monk; and a self-righting doll), okyagare koboshi, yunbe mo koboshi te mata koboshita (he spilled last night, and did it again). Ta-a-pu-po-po, ta-a-pu-po-po, chiri kara chiri kara, tsuttappo, tappo tappo iccho dako (octopus). Ochitara nite kuo (if it's dropped, boil and eat it), nitemo yaitemo kuwarenu monowa (things inedible even if they are boiled or grilled are), gotoku (trivet) tekkyu (grill), Kanakumadoji (a character in Demon Legend of Mt.Oe) ni (and), Ishikuma (a character in Demon Legend of Mt.Oe) ishimochi (drum) Torakuma (a character in Demon Legend of Mt.Oe) toragisu (rosy sandperch). Nakademo Toji no Rashomon niwa, Ibaragidoji ga udekuri gongo tsukande omusharu, kano Raiko no hizamoto sarazu (among all, at Rajomon Gate of Toji Temple, Ibaraki Doji [a character in Demon Legend of Mt.Oe] is holding 902 ml of boiled chestnuts; never leaving Raiko's [a character in Demon Legend of Mt.Oe] side). Funa kinkan siitake sadamete (a crucian carp, kumquat, shiitake mushroom, surely [similar sounds with four characters' names in Demon Legend of Mt.Oe]) gotanna (a light meal after the dinner), sobakiri (noodles made from buckwheat) somen (Japanese vermicelli), udon (Japanese wheat noodle) ka (or) gudon na koshinbochi (stupid neophyte). Kodana no koshita no koke ni komiso ga koaru zo, koshakushi komotte kosukutte koyokose (there is a little bean paste in a little tub a little under a little shelf, hold a little of a little dipper to dip a little of it and give me a little). Otto gatten da, kokoroetanbo no Kawasaki Kanagawa Hodogaya Totsuka wa hashitte yukeba, yaito wo surimuku (oh, all right, I understand; running through Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Hodogaya and Totsuka station, you'll graze the part on which moxa is burned). Sanri bakari ka, Fujisawa Hiratsuka Oisogashiya, koiso no shuku wo nanatsuoki shite, soten soso, Soshu, Odawara, Tochinko (it's not just 11.78 km to go through the stations: Fujisawa, Hiratsuka and Oiso, how busy; I got up around four o'clock at the Koiso station to bring Tochinko from Odawara City, Sagami Province). Kakure gozara nu kisen gunju no, hana no oedo no hana uiro (there is nothing to hide, Uiro is flourishing like the fine City of Edo where many people of both high and low birth live).

Are ano hana wo mite, okokoro wo oyawaragi ya to iu (they say you should relieve the tension watching that flower), ubuko hauko ni itaru made, kono uiro no gohyoban, gozonji nai towa mosare maimaitsuburi (even newborn babies or crawlers will never say that they have never heard Uiro's reputation, snail), tsuno dase bo dase (stick out your horns or tentacles) bobo mayu ni (shaggy eyebrows, then), usu kine suribachi bachi bachi guwara guwara guwara to (a mill-stone, pounder and earthenware mortar are making a noise), hame wo hazushi te konnichi oide no izure mo sama ni, agene ba nara nu, urane ba nara nu to, iki seihippari (being eager to sell this medicine to you all here today, on a spree), tohosekai no kusuri no motojime, Yakushinyorai mo shoran are to, ho-ho uyamatte, uiro wa irassharimasenu ka (asking Yakushi Nyorai [the Healing Buddha], the manager of medicine in the Pure Land, to see this; with respect, would you like Uiro)?