Shirakoya Okuma

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
In this Japanese name, the family name is Shirakoya.

Shirakoya Okuma (白子屋 お熊?, 1703–1727) was a Japanese woman whose crime made her the heroine of ningyō jōruri puppet plays.

Okuma was the eldest daughter of Shirakoya Shozaburo (白子屋 庄三郎?), the head of a timber wholesaler in Shin-Zaimokucho, in the business district of Nihonbashi, in the city of Edo. Okuma later married Matashiro (又四郎?).[1][2][3][4]


She was the instigator of the Shirakoya Incident (白子屋事件 Shirokiya jiken?), in which she conspired with her maid to try to kill her husband on 17 October 1726. She was caught and convicted, and on 7 December, the presiding judge Ōoka Tadasuke handed down a death sentence. On 25 February 1727, she was paraded through town and gibbeted. She was 23 years old. Her head was displayed in Asakusa, and then buried. Her grave is in Jyōshō-in (常照院 Josho Temple?) in Minato, Tokyo.[1][2][3][4]

Although the name Okuma means bear in Japanese, she was not ugly and her beauty contributed to her fame. Afterwards, Okuma and the Shirakoya Incident became the basis for multiple theatrical plays. She served as the model for Zaimokuya Okoma in the 1775 Japanese puppet play Girl in Love Old Eight Inch (恋娘昔八丈 Koi-musume Mukashi Hachijo?),[5] and for the heroine of Bai-u kosode mukashi hachi-jo, Kabuki drama written by Kawatake Mokuami.[6]

Whole story[edit]

In the early morning of 17 October 1726, while sleeping, Matashiro, husband of Kuma, was cut at the neck with a shaver by Kiku (きく?), maid of Shirakoya, when she was sixteen years old, then he fought back her in the result he was suffered a minor injury to his neck.

The Shirakoya family compromised with Matashiro's family. According to rumor, Matashiro and Kuma were unhappy married, and Kiku's motive for the crime was unexplained. Matashiro's family doubted Shirakoya's family, and reported the incident to the police on 20 November. Since the magistrate's office investigated Kiku, she made a confession solicitation of murder.[clarification needed][1][2][3][4]

The investigator took Tsune and Kuma by the collar, who confessed to the plot. Originally ante nuptial contact with Kuma and Matashiro was mercenary marriage.[clarification needed] In those days, the Shirakoya family had financial problems, and then Kuma married Matashiro for betrothal money. Kuma hated her husband, after marriage receiving menial Hisa (ひさ?) guidance, Kuma had an intimate relationship with houseboy Chuhachi (忠八?), being aware of one's daughter's adultery Tsune gave a favorable response to their love.[clarification needed][1][2][3][4]

Kuma wanted divorce, but in that case she must pay back betrothal money, and thought if he died of disease she can divorce without refunded. At the outset, they had poison plan to kill, and came the roots over Yokoyama Ryugen (横山玄柳?), a visually impaired massage practitioner, make him administer poison to Matashiro, but only upset his health but didn't result in death. When the plan failed, Tsune and Kuma were rushing into making decision that bounce Kiku into hack at Matashiro, but it bring their eggs to a bad market the plot came to light.[clarification needed][1][2][3][4]


Director of general Shozaburo, who failed oversight of one's family and employee and caused disturbance to the public, and Yokoyama Genshu, engaged in a plot in the dark were sentenced banishment from Edo. Kiku was sentenced to death, and Hisa was humiliated on parade and then went mount the scaffold for abetting Chuhachi adultery, Chuhachi was humiliate on parade and then went mount the scaffold, accessory Tsune was transportation.[clarification needed] The main offender Kuma was sentenced humiliate on parade and then went mount the scaffold for intrigue and would-be murder.[clarification needed] Before marriage, Kuma was known as acknowledged beautiful girl, during parade gather people in an effort to catch a glimpse of acknowledged wicked woman in the area along a road. It is said[by whom?] that Kuma forced to ride bareback wore dressed yellow eight length (黄八丈 kihachijo?) short-sleeved kimono which was in Edo period it was hugely expensive in white Japanese underclothes and middleclothes and wore crystal bardroll around the neck was as though cope with the expectation of looker-on florid-looking and chanting a Buddhist sura aequo animo.[clarification needed]


The beauty of Kuma and flashy performance during the parade caused repercussion in Edo.[clarification needed],[1][2][3][4] the incident has been made into numerous plays such as Kinsei eto chomon-shu (近世江都著聞集?), Kyoho Tsu-gan (享保通鑑?), Uen sho-setu yodan (兎園小説余録?), Edo masago rokujyu-jyo kou-bon (江戸真砂六十帖広本?), and Bue nenpho (武江年表?).[7]

Reference books[edit]

  • 春水為永 1916『錦帯屋雪白木屋軒並娘八丈 ; 秋色染話萩の枝折』人情本刊行會 (Japanese)
  • 1886『白子屋阿熊之記---大岡仁政』録錦耕堂, (written in Japanese)
  • 小石房子2012『白子屋お常 : 御蔵島流人伝』 (written in Japanese)
  • 舟橋聖一1960『白子屋駒子』角川書店 (written in Japanese)
  • 1928伊達騒動『幡隨院長兵衛 ; 報怨奇談 ; 白子屋お熊』(早稻田大學出版部編輯 第10巻) (written in Japanese)


  1. ^ a b c d e f 舟橋聖一1960『白子屋駒子』角川書店
  2. ^ a b c d e f 1886『白子屋阿熊之記---大岡仁政』録錦耕堂
  3. ^ a b c d e f 小石房子2012『白子屋お常 : 御蔵島流人伝』
  4. ^ a b c d e f 1928伊達騒動『幡隨院長兵衛 ; 報怨奇談 ; 白子屋お熊』(早稻田大學出版部編輯 第10巻)
  5. ^ 「恋娘昔八丈」(こいむすめむかしはちじょう)解題 (Japanese)
  6. ^ 文楽協会1965『芦屋道満大内鑑 ; 恋娘昔八丈 : お駒才三 ; 和田合戦女舞鶴 ; 艶容女舞衣 三勝半七 ; 勧進帳』(文楽床本集) (Japanese)
  7. ^ 中江克己『江戸の醜聞事件帖: 情死からクーデターまで』学研文庫 (Japanese)