Sadayakko Kawakami (川上貞奴)

I tried to reproduce a poster of Sada Yacco painted by Alfredo Muller displayed in the Former Residence of Sadayakko Kawakami.

Sadayakko (1871 – 1946) retired from the stage as an actress after the sixth anniversary of her husband’s death in 1917. Her husband, Otojiro Kawakami (1864 – 1911) passed away in 1911. She established her company, ‘Kawakami Silk Fabric Co., Ltd’ in Nagoya in 1918 to produce and sell high-quality silk cloth for export. She built a house in Nagoya and lived there with a former friend of hers, Momosuke Fukuzawa, as a business partner.

Many materials related to Sadayakko and Momosuke are displayed in the Former Residence of Sadayakko Kawakami and are open to the public. As the interior of that time is reproduced, we can see the furnishings, Sadayakko’s favorite items and their lifestyle. And including the above poster we can also see many materials from when she was active as an actress.

I was very impressed to know that Otojiro and Sadayakko KAWAKAMI toured various places in America and Europe as a theatrical company of Otojiro KAWAKAMI in the Meiji era, before Sadayakko lived in this house in the Taisho era

They sailed across the sea in 1899, crossed the United States while performing, and went to Europe. Sadayakko also performed at the Paris Expo in 1900 and was awarded a medal from the French government. So she became famous overnight with name of ‘Madame Sada Yacco’. How amazing their activeness was!

They lived in the era when they couldn’t get any benefits from the modern conveniences yet. To make a voyage, to communicate with someone, to have a meal, to stay at a hotel, and to move somewhere in foreign countries how severe and difficult problems they must have had! I’m really excited to know the fact that there were Japanese who were active in the world as the pioneers of an international person in the Meiji era.

If you are interested in Sadayakko Kawakami, I recommend visiting there and seeing many valuable materials.


貞奴(1871 – 1946)は、夫の川上音次郎(1864 – 1911)の死後、7回忌を経て1917年に女優を引退しています。1918年には輸出向け高級絹布を生産販売する「川上絹布株式会社」を名古屋で設立し、その後旧知の仲である福澤桃介の事業パートナーとして名古屋に居を構え生活を共にしました。