The first Sakata Tōjūrō (1646–1709) was the most popular kabuki actor in Kyoto-Osaka during the Genroku era. He played tachiyaku roles. He pioneered the wagoto form of the Kamigata (Kansai) theatre as his counterpart in Edo, Ichikawa Danjūrō I, did the same for the aragoto form.
Sakata Tōjūrō was actor-manager (zagashira) of the Mandayū Theatre in Kyoto; and during this period, the house playwright Chikamatsu Monzaemon. Chikamatsu praised the actor's craft, including careful attention to the dramatic requirements of the script and encouraging other actors to study the actual details of a character's circumstances.
Unlike most other kabuki lineages which can be traced back in a more or less unbroken line, whether by blood or by adoption, the name of Sakata Tōjūrō was not held for over 225 years, from the death of Sakata Tōjūrō III in 1774 until the name was taken up, and the lineage restarted, by Nakamura Ganjirô III, who changed his name to Sakata Tōjūrō IV in 2005.
- Sakata Tōjūrō I (1646–1709) - Originated the wagoto form; innovator of Genroku kabuki.
- Sakata Tōjūrō II (1711–1724) - Student of Tōjūrō I.
- Sakata Tōjūrō III (1739–1774) - Adopted son of Tōjūrō II.
- Sakata Tōjūrō IV (2005–present) - Formerly Nakamura Ganjirō IV. Took on the name in order to revive the lineage, and as part of a greater effort to maintain Kamigata kabuki.
- Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Sakata Tōjūrō" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 812, p. 812, at Google Books; n.b., Louis-Frédéric is pseudonym of Louis-Frédéric Nussbaum, see Deutsche Nationalbibliothek Authority File.
- Brandon, James R. (2000). "Sakata Tojuro (1647 - 1709)," in The Cambridge Guide to Theatre, p. 959, p. 959, at Google Books
- Note: With the exception of the first in the lineage, the dates given here do not represent the birth/death dates of the actor; rather, they indicate the period during which the actor held the name Tōjūrō.
- Nussbaum, "Sakata Tōjūrō II" at p. 812, p. 812, at Google Books
- Nussbaum, "Sakata Tōjūrō III" at p. 812, p. 812, at Google Books
- Kabuki Preservation Society. (2008). Kabuki techō, p. 130.
- Brandon, James R. (2000). "Sakata Tojuro (1647 - 1709)," in The Cambridge Guide to Theatre (Martin Banham, ed.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521434379; OCLC 174890379
- Irwin, Greg. "A Talk With the National Treasure Kabuki Actor, Tojuro Sakata: What's in a Name?" Kawaraban. vol 32. Tokyo: Shinnichiya.
- Kabuki Preservation Society (伝統歌舞伎保存会? Dentō kabuki hozonkai). (2008). Kabuki Notebook 2008 (かぶき手帖 2008年版? Kabuki techō 2008). Tokyo: Japan Actors' Association (日本俳優協会編集? Nihon Haiyū Kyōkai). ISBN 978-4-902675-04-7
- Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric and Käthe Roth. (2005). Japan encyclopedia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-01753-5; OCLC 58053128