Tōyama no Kin-san

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Tōyama no Kin-san (遠山の金さん?) is a popular character based on the historical Tōyama Kagemoto, a samurai and official of the Tokugawa Shogunate during the Edo Period of Japanese history. In kabuki and kōdan, he was celebrated under his childhood name, Kinshirō, shortened to Kin-san. He was said to have left home as a young man, and lived among the commoners, even having a tattoo of flowering sakura trees on his shoulder. This story developed into a legend of helping the common people.

The novelist Tatsurō Jinde (陣出達郎) wrote a series of books about Kin-san. Noted actor Chiezō Kataoka starred in a series of eight Toei jidaigeki films about him. Several Japanese television networks have aired series based on the character. These variously portrayed him pretending to be a petty hood or a yojimbo while solving crimes as the chief of police.

People famous for having portrayed Kin-san on television include kabuki stars Nakamura Umenosuke IV and Ichikawa Danshirō, singers Yukio Hashi and Teruhiko Saigō, and actors Ryōtarō Sugi, Hideki Takahashi, Hiroki Matsukata, and Kōtarō Satomi. Saigō and Satomi portrayed Kin-san in the series Edo o Kiru.

Film versions[edit]

Eight films from Toei starred Chiezō Kataoka:

  • Irezumi Hangan
  • Chizakura Hangan
  • Edokko Hangan to Furisode Kozo (The Edo Official and Apprentice) (1959)
  • Gozonji Irezumi Hangan (The Official with Tattoo) (1960)
  • Hayabusa Bugyō (Falcon Magistrate) (1957)
  • Hinotama Bugyō (Fireball Magistrate) (1958)
  • Tatsumaki Bugyō (Whirlwind Magistrate) (1959)
  • Sakura Hangan

Television series[edit]

  • Tōyama no Kin-san Torimono Chō starring Shunji Natsume on Fuji Television
  • Tōyama no Kin-san starring Ebizō Ichikawa on Nippon Television
  • Tōyama no Kin-san Torimono Chō starring Nakamura Umenosuke IV on TV Asahi (NET)
  • Gozonji Tōyama no Kin-san starring Ichikawa Danshirō on TV Asahi (NET)
  • Gozonji Kin-san no Torimono Chō starring Yukio Hashi on TV Asahi (NET)
  • Tōyama no Kin-san on NET, renamed TV Asahi
    • starring Ryōtarō Sugi from 1975 to 1979 (Sugi also sang the theme song)
    • starring Hideki Takahashi from 1982 to 1986
  • Meibugyō Tōyama no Kin-san starring Hiroki Matsukata on TV Asahi
  • Edo o Kiru starring Teruhiko Saigō and later Kotarō Satomi on TBS, 1975 to 1994
  • Tōyama no Kin-san on TV Asahi starring Ken Matsudaira, beginning in January, 2007
  • Oh Edo Rocket (anime) featured Toyama as a continuing minor character