Shimotsuma Nakataka (下間仲孝)

Nakataka SHIMOTSUMA (1551 - June 28, 1616) was a busho (Japanese military commander) in the end of the Sengoku period (period of warring states) to the early Edo period. He was a bokan (a residential retainer) serving at Hongan-ji Temple. He was very good at perfomimg Noh and left densho (books on the esoterica) of Noh and records of Noh performances. He was a son of Raisho SHIMOTSUMA. His mother was a daughter of Josenbo Ryoshu. His wife was a daughter of Mitsuyori SHIMOTSUMA.

His another name was Shojin SHIMOTSUMA. He had also such names as Chushi, Yoriyuki, and Nakayasu. His childhood name was Chiyoju, his homyo (priest's name or posthumous Buddhist name) was Shojo, and his stage name was Soshu.

Aspect as a busho in the Sengoku period

He moved from place to place to fight in the Ishiyama War with Nobunaga ODA for ten years and led followers of the Ikkoshu sect. In 1580, however, when Hongan-ji Temple and Nobunaga were conciliated under the Imperial command, he became one of the three peace treaty signers. After that, he followed Kennyo of the Hongan-ji Temple and worked hard to cope with followers of the Ikkoshu sect in various districts who held out against the Oda army even after the peace treaty was concluded. After Kennyo died, he followed Junnyo. However, because Nakayo, his legitimate son, was one of friends of Mitsunari ISHIDA after the Battle of Sekigahara, there was a growing suspicion that Junnyo (Nishi Hongan-ji Temple) sided with the Western army so he disinherited Nakayo and Nakataka also confined himself at home.

Aspect as a superb Noh performer

Nakataka performed Nohgaku (the art of Noh) well and was known as Shojin SHIMOTSUMA in the history of Noh. Therefore, he is called as Shojin in this section.

Shojin studied Noh since he was young under Konparu-Dayu Gyuren and mastered all the secrets of the art of Konparu-ryu, and was famous as a leading expert of 'te-sarugaku' (amateur Noh) at that time. He was active in Noh performance and outpaced professional Noh performers by such as re-compositing and performing 'Sekidera Komachi' that had not been performed in Konparu-ryu for a long time.

He left the record called "Noh no Tomecho" from 1588 and we can see co-performers and theater audience in detail. According to this record, Shojin was the Nohgaku instructor of Hidetsugu TOYOTOMI and performed Noh in front of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI and Ieyasu TOKUGAWA. In 1615, he performed Noh at Kinri (the Imperial Palace) and there was a record that said he was the superior performer at that time in "The Diary of Gien Jugo" (Jugo: an honorary rank next to Empress Dowager, and Empress).

He was also highly regarded as a great Noh performer who sought a continued existence of the Shimotsuma clan and Hongan-ji Temple with Noh in the turbulent war period by such as giving instruction on "Dobusho" (Comments on Noh Plays), a Noh-hidensho (book of secrets of Noh), to Tadayoshi MATSUDAIRA, the fourth son of Ieyasu. Materials Shojin left such as records of "Noh no Tomecho," oral records like "Gyuren Eto Nikki" and "Shojin Kikigaki," or densho like "Dobusho" and "Butai no Zu" are regarded as valuable from the view point of Noh history.