AUGUST 2015

7 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre), 1 show in Yokohama (Kanagawa Arts Theatre), 1 in Nagoya (Chűnichi Theatre), 5 in ďsaka (Shinkabukiza, Orix Theatre, National Bunraku Theatre, Kintetsu Art Kan) and 1 in Naruto (Ry˘zenji Temple)!

  • Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Senjaku, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Band˘ Shűch˘ and Ichikawa Komaz˘ perform at the Kabukiza !
  • The Omodakaya guild performs at the Shinkabukiza!
  • Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and Nakamura Shid˘ perform at the Chűnichi Theatre and at the Orix Theatre!
  • All the others great Kabuki actors are on vacation ...
  • Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 6 ~ 28 August 2015 (Hachigatsu N˘ry˘ Kabuki)
    August Cool-Breeze Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Ochikubo Monogatari

    B˘ Shibari

    Afternoon

    Hirakana Seisuiki (Sakaro)

    Ky˘ Ningy˘

    Evening

    Imohori Ch˘ja

    Gion Koi Zukushi

    Casting

    Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Senjaku, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Band˘ Shűch˘, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Band˘ Minosuke, Band˘ Shingo, Nakamura Hayato, Nakamura Kotar˘, Sawamura S˘nosuke, Nakamura Kamenoj˘, Nakamura Tsurumatsu, Nakamura Toranosuke, Nakamura Kunio, Nakamura Yoshio

    Comments

    The usual summer program at the Kabukiza! It is entitled Hachigatsu N˘ry˘ Kabuki (literally "the August cool-breeze Kabuki").

  • Ochikubo Monogatari: this story is one of the oldest tales in Japanese literature and a classic tale of a lady abused by her evil stepmother. 20th century playwright Uno Nobuo dramatized this fairy tale with a light, humorous touch. The story takes place in Heian period, and is a Japanese version of Cinderella. The handsome lord Sakon no Sh˘sh˘ (Nakamura Hayato) rescues the unfortunate Ochikubo no Kimi (Nakamura Shichinosuke).
  • B˘ Shibari:
    (Tied to a Pole)
    A dance play based on a classical Ky˘gen farce. A master (Band˘ Yajűr˘) is irritated that his two servants always drink his wine while he is out. He plots with his servant Tar˘kaja (Band˘ Minosuke) to trick the other servant Jir˘kaja (Nakamura Kankur˘) into demonstrating his skill at stick fighting, tying him to the stick. The master then ties up Tar˘kaja as well. But he is outsmarted when the two still manage to drink his wine while tied up. Their happy singing and dancing while tied up is a dazzling display of virtuoso dancing and star two of the finest young dancers in Kabuki.
  • Sakaro:
    (The Rise and Fall of the Heike Clan - Reverse Rowing)
    A period play taken from the Bunraku puppet theater which combines a historical tale with the daily life of commoners. Matsuemon (Nakamura Hashinosuke) has married into the family of a country boatman. Having learned the special rowing skills of his father-in-law, he is invited to transport the Genji general Yoshitsune. But Matsuemon is actually the warrior Higuchi Kanemitsu, a leading retainer of a general killed by Yoshitsune and he sees this as a perfect opportunity to take his revenge. Before he can put his plan into action, though, his identity is discovered and he is captured in a spectacular battle on sea and land. Featuring Band˘ Yajűr˘, Nakamura Senjaku and Nakamura Kankur˘ in the roles of Gonshir˘, Ofude and Hatakeyama Shigetada.
  • Ky˘ Ningy˘: this dance tells the story of the woodcarver Hidari Jingor˘, famous for the sleeping cat on the great gate of Nikk˘. He brings a statue of a beautiful courtesan to life and then there is a spectacular fight scene with a variety of carpenterĺs tools. Starring Nakamura Kankur˘ as Jingor˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke as the doll of the courtesan.
  • Imohori Ch˘ja:
    (The Sweet-Potato-digging Millionaire)
    The widow of the Matsugae family (Band˘ Shűch˘) who reigns over the district gives a dance party to choose a husband for her daughter Midori Gozen (Nakamura Shichinosuke). They plan to choose the man who dances the best. T˘gor˘ (Nakamura Hashinosuke) the potato digger comes with his friend Jirokur˘ (Band˘ Minosuke) pretending to be the best dancer in Japan. In contrast to T˘gor˘, Jirokur˘ is a good dancer and he knows that T˘gor˘ is ardently in love with Midori Gozen. Jirokur˘ wears a mask and dances pretending to be T˘gor˘. Then asked to dance without a mask, T˘gor˘ dances badly. The widow accepts Jirokur˘'s suggestion and orders Midori Gozen to dance with T˘gor˘ and Jirokur˘. Unable to dance well, T˘gor˘ begins to express potato digging in dance. The people have never seen such an interesting dance and praise his dance to be the best in Japan. T˘gor˘ reveals his true identity and apologizes to them, but Midori Gozen would rather marry T˘gor˘ the potato digger than the best dancer. Finally they all dance expressing potato digging and congratulate T˘gor˘ and Midori Gozen.
  • Gion Koi Zukushi: on his way back from a pilgrimage to Ise Shrine to Edo, Tomegor˘ (Nakamura Kankur˘) stays at the ďtsuya, an utensil's shop of the tea ceremony, run by Jir˘hachi (Nakamura Senjaku) in Ky˘to. Jir˘hachi has invited Tomegor˘ because he owes Tomegor˘'s father a great deal in his youth and also because it is just the time of Gion Festival in Ky˘to. Tomegor˘ falls in love with Osono (Nakamura Toranosuke), the sister of Jir˘hachi's wife Otsugi (also played by Nakamura Senjaku), at first sight. Otsugi asks him to spy on Jir˘hachi whether he is in love with another woman or not. Since this spring, Jir˘hachi often came home late at night. As Otsugi suspects, Jir˘hachi is head over heels in love with Someka (Nakamura Shichinosuke), a geisha in Gion, but Someka has a patron and dislikes Jir˘hachi. In the mean while, Osono asks Tomegor˘ to take herself along to Edo; she is in love with Bunkichi (Band˘ Minosuke), a clerk of ďtsuya, but Otsugi doesn't know their relation and recommends her to marry the son of Mochimaruya. She asks Tomegor˘ to help her elope with Bunkichi. In exchange for telling Otsugi the name of a woman who Jir˘hachi loves,Tomegor˘ asks her to approve the marriage between Osono and Bunkichi. Hearing this, Jir˘hachi thinks that Tomegor˘ talked them in to humiliating him,and bears a grudge against Tomegor˘ and they quarrel with each other. They are reconciled at last to hear that Mochimaruya Tahŕ (Band˘ Yajűr˘) has given up getting Osono as his son's bride and approved the marriage between Osono and Bunkichi.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Shinkabukiza (ďsaka)
    Dates 8 ~ 30 August 2015 (21 Seki Kabuki Gumi)
    The 21st Century Kabuki Group
    Program

    Shin Suikoden

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa Shun'en, Ichikawa Juen, Ichikawa K˘tar˘, Kasahara Akira

    Comments

    A special program by the 21 Seki Kabuki Gumi, which gathers the best actors of the Omodakaya guild. "Shin Suikoden" was staged for the first time in August 2008 at Le Theatre Ginza (T˘ky˘). It was staged in June 2011 at the Chűnichi Theatre (Nagoya) and in August 2013 at the ďsaka Shinkabukiza. The story is based on "Shin Suikoden", "New Tales from the Water Margin" in English, a novel written by Yoshikawa Eiji and published in Japan between 1960 and 1963. This novel was itself based on the famous Chinese novel "Water Margin" ("Shui Hu Zhuan" in Chinese). The story of this 14th century novel is set in the Song Dynasty and it tells of how a group of 108 outlaws gathers at Mount Liang to form a sizable army before they are eventually granted amnesty by the government and sent on campaigns to resist foreign invaders and suppress rebel forces. In 1805, Kyokutei Bakin released a Japanese translation of the "Water Margin" illustrated by Hokusai. The book, which was called "Shinpen Suikogaden", (the "New Illustrated Edition of the Suikoden"), was a success during the Edo period and spurred a Japanese "Suikoden" craze.

    Chűnichi Theatre (Nagoya)
    Dates 2 ~ 10 August 2015 (Roppongi Kabuki Nagoya K˘en)
    Roppongi Kabuki Nagoya Performances
    Program

    Chikyű Nagegor˘ Uchű no Aragoto

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Nakamura Shid˘, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Ichikawa Kudanji, Nakamura Kazutar˘, ďtani Hiromatsu, Ichimura Takematsu, Ichikawa Fukutar˘

    Comments

    Roppongi Kabuki in Nagoya! The script was written by Kud˘ Kankur˘, who already did "ďedo Ribingu Deddo" in 2009 [more details] and "Tennichib˘" in 2012 [more details]. The stage direction is done by the famous movie director Miike Takashi, an expert in violent and bizarre movies who worked twice with Ichikawa Ebiz˘ in the movies Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (2011) and "Over your Dead Body" (2014). The story is about a space alien invasion of Earth. The invaders, coming from outter space, land in Edo during the Genroku period. The head of the extraterrestrial forces, Daashi Beidayű (phonetically, it is not so far from Darth Vader), is Nakamura Shid˘, the villain in this play. The savior of Planet Earth, Chikyű Nagegor˘ (Earth-Throwing Gor˘?) is Ichikawa Ebiz˘. The very first "Space Aragoto" in Japan in Kabuki history! The first Sci-Fi Kabuki drama was "The Emperor of Mars", which was staged at the University of Hawai'i in 1981. More details about "Chikyű Nagegor˘ Uchű no Aragoto" on the site of the Japan Times!

    Orix Theatre (ďsaka)
    Dates 15 ~ 23 August 2015 (Roppongi Kabuki ďsaka K˘en)
    Roppongi Kabuki ďsaka Performances
    Program

    Chikyű Nagegor˘ Uchű no Aragoto

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Nakamura Shid˘, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Ichikawa Kudanji, Nakamura Kazutar˘, ďtani Hiromatsu, Ichimura Takematsu, Ichikawa Fukutar˘

    Comments

    Roppongi Kabuki in ďsaka! The script was written by Kud˘ Kankur˘, who already did "ďedo Ribingu Deddo" in 2009 [more details] and "Tennichib˘" in 2012 [more details]. The stage direction is done by the famous movie director Miike Takashi, an expert in violent and bizarre movies who worked twice with Ichikawa Ebiz˘ in the movies Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (2011) and "Over your Dead Body" (2014). The story is about a space alien invasion of Earth. The invaders, coming from outter space, land in Edo during the Genroku period. The head of the extraterrestrial forces, Daashi Beidayű (phonetically, it is not so far from Darth Vader), is Nakamura Shid˘, the villain in this play. The savior of Planet Earth, Chikyű Nagegor˘ (Earth-Throwing Gor˘?) is Ichikawa Ebiz˘. The very first "Space Aragoto" in Japan in Kabuki history! The first Sci-Fi Kabuki drama was "The Emperor of Mars", which was staged at the University of Hawai'i in 1981. More details about "Chikyű Nagegor˘ Uchű no Aragoto" on the site of the Japan Times!

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 1 ~ 2 August 2015 (Matsuo-juku Kodomo Kabuki)
    Matsuo Academy of Kabuki ~ Kabuki for Kids Performance
    Program

    Gozonji Suzu-ga-Mori

    Koi Ny˘b˘ Somewake Tazuna
    (Shigenoi Kowakare)

    Oyako Jishi

    Comments

    The Matsuo-juku Kodomo Kabuki [website in Japanese] is a kodomo shibai troupe, founded in ďsaka in 1988 by Matsuo Hazue, the wife of Matsuo Kuniz˘ (1899~1984), whose name is closely associated to the Matsuo Artistic Awards (Matsuo Gein˘ Sh˘). The troupe is now led by Matsuo Hazue's daughter Matsuo Hideko. The troupe celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2012.

    Dates 8 ~ 9 August 2015 (Ne no Kai)
    Program

    Oshiegusa Yoshiwara Suzume

    Wakana Tsumi

    Michiyuki Tabiji no Yomeiri

    Comments

    17th edition of the summer program of the association Ne no Kai (the Sound Association). The two first items are music performances done by the Nagauta ensemble of the Onoe Kikugor˘ Gekidan. The last item is the dance drama "Michiyuki Tabiji no Yomeiri" performed by Kabuki actors.

    Dates 13 ~ 17 August 2015 (Chigyokai/Kabukikai)
    Program

    Honch˘ Nijűshik˘ (Jusshuk˘)

    Su˘ Otoshi

    Ise Ondo Koi no Netaba
    (Aburaya/Okuniwa)

    Comments

    21st edition of the common program for 2 associations, the Chigyokai (the Young Fishes Association) and the Kabukikai (the Kabuki Association), which stars stars' disciples in the leading roles of all the items in the program, with the guidance of Nakamura Kaishun ("Jusshuk˘") and Nakamura Baigyoku ("Ise Ondo").

    Dates 22 ~ 23 August 2015 (Ken no Kai)
    Program

    Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura (Yoshinoyama)

    Shunky˘ Kagami Jishi

    Comments

    1st edition of the Ken no Kai, which stars Onoe Kikugor˘ VI's great-grandson Onoe Ukon. Ken no Kai literally means "Ken's Association" with Ken being the first ideogram in Onoe Ukon's real first name Kensuke. Ichikawa Ennosuke is the guest star of this program.

  • Yoshinoyama: a dance travel scene from the epic "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura". Now in exile and disgrace, Yoshitsune has left his lover Shizuka in the safekeeping of his trusted retainer Tadanobu. But she is unaware that this Tadanobu is actually a magical fox who has disguised himself to be near the treasured drum that Shizuka carries, a drum made from the skins of his fox parents. Starring Onoe Ukon as Tadanobu, with Ichikawa Ennosuke as Shizuka.
  • Kagami Jishi: one of the most important dances for onnagata female role specialists and is an audience favorite. The maidservant Yayoi performs an auspicious lion dance for the Sh˘gun in his opulent palace, but she gradually finds herself under the control of the lion spirit. In the second half of the dance, the lion spirit itself appears and performs its crazed dance among peonies and fluttering butterflies. Starring Onoe Ukon as both Yayoi and the spirit of the lion.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Dates 24 ~ 25 August 2015 (S˘ch˘kai)
    Program

    Hikosan Gongen Chikai no Sukedachi (Keya-mura)

    Funa Benkei

    Comments

    1st edition of the S˘ch˘kai (literally "the Two Butterflies Association"), which stars Nakamura Kash˘ and his brother Nakamura Tanenosuke. Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘ and Onoe Sh˘roku are the guest stars of this program.

  • Keya-mura: Rokusuke (Nakamura Kash˘), a sword master who lives a simple country life, is taking care of a small foundling child. He hangs the boy's kimono outside his house in the hope that the boy's relatives will see it and know where he is. One day he finds himself attacked by a woman named Osono (Nakamura Shibajaku) who turns out to be the aunt of the child. As they talk, they find that they are in fact linked by promises of marriage although they have never met directly. Osono is searching for Ky˘goku no Takumi (Onoe Sh˘roku), the killer of her father, Rokusuke's master, and Rokusuke promises to help in her vendetta.
  • Funa Benkei: although he won a war against the enemy Heike clan, the young general Yoshitsune (Ichikawa Somegor˘) has gained the disfavor of his brother, the Sh˘gun, and tries to flee to Kyűshű by boat. Before he sets sail, he must say farewell to his lover Shizuka (Nakamura Tanenosuke), who performs a dance expressing her grief at their separation. Once the boat sets sail, the spirit of the great Heike general Tomomori (Nakamura Tanenosuke), killed by Yoshitsune in battle at sea, appears and attacks to take revenge for the destruction of his clan. They are only saved by the prayers of Yoshitsune's companion, the warrior-priest Benkei (Nakamura Matagor˘). The roles of both Shizuka and Tomomori are played by the same actor.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Kanagawa Arts Theatre (Yokohama)
    Dates 8 August 2015 (IDOMU)
    Challenge
    Program

    Ayatsuri Sanbas˘

    Ninin Wankyű

    Futari Bakama

    Casting

    Onoe Matsuya, Kataoka Takatar˘

    Comments

    A gala program called Idomu (Challenge) for the young actor Onoe Matsuya. Onoe Matsuya and his guest star Kataoka Takatar˘ plays the roles of Wankyű and his lover Matsuyama in "Ninin Wankyű".

    Kintetsu Art Kan (ďsaka)
    Dates 31 July ~ 2 August 2015 (Sora no Kai)
    Program

    Urashima

    Tanuki

    Hashi Benkei

    Ukiyo Banashi Hitoyo no Adauchi

    Casting

    Kataoka Matsujűr˘, Kataoka Senjir˘, Kataoka Senju

    Comments

    The 1st gala of the Sora no Kai, in ďsaka at the Kintetsu Art Kan, which stars Kataoka Matsujűr˘, Kataoka Senjir˘ and Kataoka Senju, 3 disciples of the Matsushimaya guild. Sora no Kai literally means "Sky Association".

  • Urashima: This dance depicts a Japanese folk tale of a young man named Urashima (Kataoka Senjir˘) who is invited to the Dragon Palace under the sea for saving a turtle's life. When Urashima returns back home, he finds that many year had elapsed during the few days he spent at the Dragon Palace. When he opens up the gift boxes, lovingly thinking of the Princess of the Sea who had given them to him, a puff of smoke appears and Urashima turns into an old man with silvery white hair. This dance utilizes many beautiful melodies and brilliantly expresses Urashima's feeling at the moment of change.
  • Tanuki: this humorous jiuta-based dance shows a female tanuki (Kataoka Senju) and the keeper of a Shint˘ shrine (Kataoka Matsujűr˘).
  • Hashi Benkei:
    (Benkei on the Bridge)
    There are many legends about Benkei, the warrior-priest who was the faithful companion of the general Yoshitsune. This dance shows the first meeting of Benkei and Yoshitsune. Benkei goes nightly to the bridge at the Fifth Avenue of Ky˘to, defeating men night after night and taking their swords. Finally he encounters a delicate young man that he thinks will be an easy opponent, but is defeated himself instead. This young man was Yoshitsune, under his childhood name of Ushiwakamaru. Benkei is so impressed that he becomes Yoshitsuneĺs retainer, right there and then. Starring Kataoka Matsujűr˘ as Benkei and Kataoka Senjir˘ as Ushiwakamaru.
  • Ukiyo Banashi Hitoyo no Adauchi: this newly-created Kabuki drama is based on the famous Rakugo story "Yadoya Gataki" (literally "Revenge at the Inn"). The hero is a samurai named Banji Sewakur˘ (Kataoka Matsujűr˘). Staying one night in a Japanese inn, he can't sleep as the guests next door are very noisy. Samurai register a strong complaint to the maid of the Bishűya Inn (Kataoka Senju). The noisy guests try to lower their voice, but, very quickly, they restart their loud chatter again. One of them named Genbŕ (Kataoka Senjir˘) told the others that he once had killed a samurai. After hearing this story from the next room, Banji Sewakur˘ told to the maid that he is the brother of the samurai who was killed. He says that he will take his revenge next morning. The maid tell the guests about it and they feel shocked and become silent. Next morning, Sewakur˘ is about to leave the inn. The maid is surprised and asks Sewakur˘ when he plan to avenge the death of his brother. He simply answers that it was only a lie. A very efficient one to be able to sleep normally.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website, Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website and Nihon Buy˘

    National Bunraku Theatre (ďsaka)
    Dates 8 ~ 9 August 2015 (Matsuo-juku Kodomo Kabuki)
    Matsuo Academy of Kabuki ~ Kabuki for Kids Performance
    Program

    Gozonji Suzu-ga-Mori

    Koi Ny˘b˘ Somewake Tazuna
    (Shigenoi Kowakare)

    Oyako Jishi

    Comments

    The Matsuo-juku Kodomo Kabuki [website in Japanese] is a kodomo shibai troupe, founded in ďsaka in 1988 by Matsuo Hazue, the wife of Matsuo Kuniz˘ (1899~1984), whose name is closely associated to the Matsuo Artistic Awards (Matsuo Gein˘ Sh˘). The troupe is now led by Matsuo Hazue's daughter Matsuo Hideko. The troupe celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2012.

    Dates 22 ~ 23 August 2015 (Kamigata Kabukikai)
    Program

    Futatsu Ch˘ch˘ Kuruwa Nikki

  • Sum˘ba
  • Nanba Ura Koroshi
  • Michiyuki Natane no Midarezaki
  • Hikimado
  • Comments

    25th edition of the Kamigata Kabukikai (the Kamigata Kabuki Association), a summer program in ďsaka which stars Kamigata Kabuki stars' disciples in the leading roles of all the items, with the guidance of Kataoka Nizaemon, Kataoka Gat˘ and Kataoka Hidetar˘.

    National N˘ Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 August 2015 (Sh˘ no Kai)
    Program

    Fuji Musume

    Ame no Gor˘

    Ataka

    Tamaya

    Comments

    2nd edition of the Sh˘ no Kai, a gala program which stars Nakamura Tomijűr˘ V's son Nakamura Takanosuke. Nakamura Takanosuke performs in both "Fuji Musume" and "Tamaya". His sister Watanabe Aiko performs in "Ame no Gor˘". The third item in this program is a maibayashi dedicated to the master Katayama Yűsetsu, who passed away the 13th of January 2015. Nakamura Takanosuke plays the role of Musashib˘ Benkei in "Ataka", which is in the root for the Kabuki dance-drama "Kanjinch˘". The jiutai is led by the master Katayama Kur˘emon X.

    Ry˘zenji Temple (Naruto)
    Dates 22 ~ 23 August 2015 (Ry˘zenji H˘n˘ Kabuki)
    Offering Kabuki at the Ry˘zenji Temple
    Due to an injury, Ichikawa Danz˘ stopped acting from the 4th of July 2015 at the National Theatre. This program is postponed!
    Program

    Taidan

    Keisei Awa no Naruto
    (Kuni Namari Futaba no Oizuru)

    Kanjinch˘
    Only the longevity dance of Musashib˘ Benkei

    Casting

    Ichikawa Danz˘

    Comments

    Ichikawa Danz˘ IX commemorate the 49th anniversary (50th memorial service) of the passing away of his grandfather Ichikawa Danz˘ VIII. He performs the longevity dance of Musashib˘ Benkei, a famous section from the dance-drama "Kanjinch˘", within the precincts of the Ry˘zenji temple in the city of Naruto in Tokushima Prefecture. These performances, which are called Ry˘zenji H˘n˘ Kabuki~Saraba Shikoku (Offering Kabuki at the Ry˘zenji Temple~Farewell Shikoku), will happen the 22nd and 23rd of August 2015 [more details about the passing away of Ichikawa Danz˘ VIII]. Taidan is a talk about Ichikawa Danz˘ VIII done by the long-time NHK announcer Kasai Seiji and Ichikawa Danz˘ IX. "Kuni Namari Futaba no Oizuru" is performed by a local troupe of kodomo shibai.

     
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