Tale of the Soga Brothers

Tale of the Soga Brothers

Are you familiar with Kabuki theater? It is one of Japan’s theatrical performance styles known for it’s colorful, elaborate stage productions and ‘onnagata,’ female roles played my men.


Soga Monogatari (The Soga Story) is one of Kabuki theater’s three most famous plays. The play is an interpretation of events that began here in Izu during the 12th century.

The east Izu city of Ito is named after a powerful samurai family, and the most famous member of that clan was Sukechika Ito. The Soga Story begins when Suketsune Kudo (a nephew and son in law of Ito) inherits an estate that Ito wanted his son (Saburo Kawazu) to inherit. While Kudo was away, Ito took over the estate and made his daughter divorce his nephew.

Ito gave the estate to Kawazu, which did not sit well with Kudo. So, in October of 1176, assassins hired by Kudo ambushed and killed Kawazu during a hunting expedition in the southern part of present day Ito.


Kawazu had two sons who swore revenge, and they achieved their goal during a hunting trip near Mt. Fuji in 1193.

The site where Kawazu was ambushed and killed is now preserved as his grave. Locals call this place ‘Chi Zuka’ (blood mound).

For more information about the events, see the Revenge of the Soga Brothers

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