AUGUST 2016

7 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre), 1 in Nagoya (Chűnichi Theatre), 2 in ďsaka (National Bunraku Theatre, Kintetsu Art Kan)!

Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
Dates 9 ~ 28 August 2016 (Hachigatsu N˘ry˘ Kabuki)
August Cool-Breeze Kabuki
MatinÚe

Komochi Yamanba
(Yaegiri Kuruwa Banashi)

Gonza to Sukejű

Afternoon

Iro Momiji Tsugiki no Futsutsuka (Benikan)

T˘kaid˘chű Hizakurige

Evening

Tsuchi Gumo

Kuruwa Banashi Yamanaya Urazato

Casting

Nakamura Hashinosuke, Ichikawa Ennosuke, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Nakamura Shid˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Ichikawa Ukon, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Emiya, Band˘ Shűch˘, Matsumoto Kingo, Sawamura S˘nosuke, Ichikawa Juen, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Nakamura Kamenoj˘, Band˘ Minosuke, Nakamura Kotar˘, ďtani Hirotar˘, Band˘ Shingo, Nakamura Kunio, Nakamura Muneo, Nakamura Yoshio, Matsumoto Kintar˘, Ichikawa Danko, Namino Noriyuki, Suruga Tar˘

Comments

The usual summer program at the Kabukiza! It is entitled Hachigatsu N˘ry˘ Kabuki (literally "the August cool-breeze Kabuki"). This is the first stage appearance (omemie) of Nakamura Kankur˘'s second son Namino Noriyuki, who plays the role of a little page in the dance-drama "Tsuchi Gumo".

  • Yaegiri Kuruwa Banashi: Yamanba, or the mountain hag, has been celebrated for centuries in traditional Japanese dance and theater. In the Kabuki version, Yamanba becomes a beautiful woman, a courtesan who becomes the wife of the samurai Tokiyuki and retreats to the mountains to miraculously give birth to the powerful warrior Sakata Kintoki. This play was originally by the great Chikamatsu Monzaemon I and is a classic of Kansai style Kabuki. Nakamura Senjaku appears as the courtesan who tells the humorous story of a fight between courtesans over a handsome man and then mysteriously becomes pregnant by the spirit of her husband. Starring Nakamura Hashinosuke and Band˘ Minosuke in the roles of Yaegiri's husband Sakata Tokiyuki and the villain ďta Jűr˘.
  • Gonza to Sukejű: in this comedy by Okamoto Kid˘, two palanquin bearers constantly argue and their wives, but when they witness a murder, it changes everything in the nagaya tenement where they live. This modern play takes one of the classic stories of the wise magistrage ďoka Echizen and looks at it from the point of view of common townspeople. Starring Nakamura Shid˘ and Ichikawa Somegor˘ in the roles of Gonza and Sukejű. Featuring also Nakamura Shichinosuke, Band˘ Yajűr˘ and Kataoka Kamez˘.
  • Benikan: in the late Edo period, Beniya Kanbŕ (Benikan for short), a peddler of cosmetics, traveled through the streets of Asakusa and the Yoshiwara pleasure district performing with a shamisen made of a broomstick for the neck, a round sieve for the body of the instrument and the paddle used to scoop rice for the plectrum. He also had a drum and gong tied to his waist and played light, entertaining music on his unusual instrument. This dance recreates the figure of Benikan (Nakamura Hashinosuke) and features Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Senjaku as a variety of the colorful peddlers to be seen around Asakusa selling fans, morning glories and insects.
  • Hizakurige: this is a rare performance of what was once one of Kabukiĺs most popular plays. Based on Jippensha Ikkuĺs Edo period novel, the play follows the wandering edokko Yaji and Kita as they travel down the T˘kaid˘ highway with comic adventures along the way. Starring Ichikawa Somegor˘ as Yaji and Ichikawa Ennosuke as Kita.
  • Tsuchi Gumo: a dance play adapted from the classical theatre. The samurai Lord Minamoto Raik˘ is famous in legend for ridding Ky˘to of demons. While Raik˘ is confined to bed with illness, a priest (Nakamura Hashinosuke) from a prominent temple comes to pray for his health. In fact, the priest is actually the spirit of the earth spider which has caused Raik˘'s illness in the first place and hopes to destroy him. The spider's plan to kill Raik˘ is defeated by his retainers (the famous shitenn˘) in an exciting fight. Featuring Nakamura Shichinosuke as Raik˘. Featuring also Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Kankur˘, Ichikawa Ennosuke and Nakamura Shid˘.
  • Kuruwa Banashi Yamanaya Urazato: it is adapted from rakugo story telling based on history. Sakai S˘jűr˘ (Nakamura Kankur˘) visits pleasure quarters to attend the meeting of officers of daimy˘ lords representing the lord during his absence in Edo. He is so serious that he proposes holding the next meeting at his office to talk about the future of his domain and Japan. Other officers take no notice of this proposal and declare to introduce their regular prostitutes. As Sakai performs a rustic dance of his domain, not only is he laughed at, but they even mock at his lord as 'monkey lord.' Outraged with this, he declares that he will show his regular prostitute at the next meeting and leaves. Just then, he encounters the procession of courtesan Urazato (Nakamura Shichinosuke) and decides to take Urazato, one of the most beautiful and popular courtesan to the next meeting. Sakai visits the Yamanaya brothel and tells the proprietor Yamanaya Hy˘bŕ (Nakamura Senjaku) that he would like to accompany Urazato to the next meeting, not to be laughed at by officers of other daimy˘ lords. As the proprietor declines his wish, Urazato appears and ...
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Chűnichi Theatre (Nagoya)
    Dates 4 ~ 7 August 2016 (Ichikawa Ebiz˘ Tokubetsu K˘en)
    Ichikawa Ebiz˘ Special Performances
    Program

    Genji Monogatari

    Kabuki Casting

    Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichikawa Unosuke, Ichikawa Kudanji, ďtani Hiromatsu, Katayama Kur˘emon, Kanze Yoshimasa, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Shigeyama Ippei, Ichikawa Botan

    Comments

    A special program mixing Kabuki, and Opera. The young heir of the Naritaya guild performs in a special version of "Genji Monogatari", featuring the actors Katayama Kur˘emon X and Kanze Yoshimasa, and the Opera Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo. The script for this version of "Genji Monogatari" focuses on the story from Oborozukiyo to Suma/Akashi.

  • Genji Monogatari: Japan's oldest love story is reborn from a wondrous collaboration of Kabuki, and Opera. The Tale of Genji was written in the 11th century by Murasaki Shikibu, a lady of the Heian court. The whole story consists of 54 chapters and unfolds in a number of human relationships and romances that Hikaru-no-kimi,,the hero of the tale(acted by Ichikawa Ebiz˘), had in his life while describing to the court about life in the Heian period of Japan. This story is to recreate a new "The Tale of Genji" incorporating the essence of Kabuki, , another form of traditional Japanese theatre culture, and Opera, an art long-cultivated in Western culture. That is sometimes elegant and quiet, yet sometimes dramatic and aggressive. The beautiful four seasons of Japan are recreated on the stage which will remind audiences of profoundness Japanese sensitivity.
  • Source: Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 6 ~ 7 August 2016 (Ken no Kai)
    Program

    Kanadehon Chűshingura

  • Tepp˘ Watashi, Futatsudama
  • Kanpei Harakiri
  • Funa Benkei

    Casting

    Onoe Ukon, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Nakamura Takanosuke, Ichimura Kitsutar˘

    Comments

    2nd 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 Somegor˘ and Kamimura Kichiya are the two guest stars of this program.

  • Tepp˘ Watashi/Futatsudama/Kanpei Harakiri: this section of the classic "Kanadehon Chűshingura" is about Hayano Kanpei (Onoe Ukon) and his wife Okaru (Nakamura Yonekichi). Kanpei survives as a hunter and is desperate for the money that will allow him to become a samurai again. He encounters two former retainers of Lord En'ya Hangan who offer to allow him to participate in a vendetta to avenge Lord En'ya Hangan's death by attacking K˘ no Moron˘. Unknown to him, though, Okaru's family has decided to raise the memory by selling her into prostitution as a courtesan in the Gion district of Ky˘to. Okaru's father travels on a dark mountain road, eager to bring the first half of the money to Kanpei. But he is attacked and robbed by Sadakur˘ (Ichikawa Somegor˘), also a former retainer of Lord En'ya Hangan who has gone bad and become a thief. At this point, Kanpei aims and fires at s wild boar and instead kills Sadakur˘. He finds the purse with all the money and, thinking that is the gift of heaven, rushes home. At home, the brothel keeper is already there to collect Okaru and Kanpei wants to refuse to let her go, until he realizes where the money came from and believes that he killed Okaru's father by mistake. He urges Okaru to go to the pleasure quarters, not wanting her to know what has happened. In one of the dramatic highlights of the play, Kanpei commits suicide to atone for his multiple failures in duty.
  • Funa Benkei: although he won a war against the enemy Heike clan, the young general Yoshitsune (Nakamura Takanosuke) 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 (Onoe Ukon), who performs a dance expressing her grief at their separation. Once the boat sets sail, the spirit of the great Heike general Tomomori (Onoe Ukon), 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 (Ichikawa Somegor˘). The roles of both Shizuka and Tomomori are played by the same actor.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Dates 12 ~ 13 August 2016 (Ne no Kai)
    Program

    Shitadashi Sanbas˘ (Nagauta)

    Kangy˘ Yuki no Sugatami (Nagauta)

    Sayaate (Nagauta)

    Sesshű Gapp˘-ga-Tsuji (Gapp˘ Anshitsu)

    Comments

    18th edition of the summer program of the association Ne no Kai (the Sound Association). Only "Gapp˘ Anshitsu" is staged with Kabuki actors.

    Dates 17 ~ 21 August 2016 (Chigyokai/Kabukikai)
    Program

    Kotobuki Shiki Sanbas˘

    Kotobuki Soga no Taimen

    Onna Kurumabiki

    Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura (Sushiya)

    Comments

    22nd 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.

  • Kotobuki Shiki Sanbas˘: Okina is the oldest ritual in the theater. This Kabuki version shows Okina, an old man who symbolizes eternal youth, his attendant Senzai and the vigorous Sanbas˘, who perform dances solemnly for good fortune. Sanbas˘ dances vigorously, stamping and shaking bells, praying for agricultural fertility and prosperity for all.
  • Soga no Taimen: this is one of the oldest and most classical of all Kabuki plays. In the Edo period, every January, plays appeared about the vendetta carried out by the Soga brothers Jűr˘ and Gor˘ after eighteen years of hardship. In "Soga no Taimen" the brothers confront Kud˘ Suketsune, the man responsible for their father's death. More ceremony than play, it features each of the important Kabuki character types, including the bombastic aragoto style of Gor˘ and the soft wagoto style of Jűr˘.
  • Onna Kurumabiki: a usual practice was celebrated female impersonators to have famous male roles rewritten for them. Numerous titles of already popular plays to which the character onna (ôwomanö) was added appeared in the Kabuki repertory over the centuries, such as "Onna Narukami" ("Female Narukami") or "Onna Shibaraku" ("Female Shibaraku"). "Onna Kurumabiki" is a female parodic dance based on "Kurumabiki". The three brothers Matsu˘maru, Ume˘maru and Sakuramaru are replaced by their wives Chiyo, Haru and Yae.
  • Sushiya: this is one act of an epic originally written for the Bunraku puppet theatre. The full-length play shows the fate of various Taira generals in hiding after the victory of their enemy, the Genji. In this act, Koremori, the heir to the Taira clan is hiding in a sushi shop disguised as a humble apprentice, and Osato, the daughter of the house, falls in love with him. However, Gonta, the evil son of the house plots to gain a reward by turning in Koremori to the top Genji general Kajiwara, but in the end, he has a surprising change of heart in one of the most heart-rending scenes in Kabuki.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Dates 24 ~ 25 August 2016 (S˘ch˘kai)
    Program

    Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami

  • Kurumabiki
  • Terakoya
  • Casting

    Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Nakamura Baishi, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Umemaru

    Comments

    2nd 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.

  • Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami:
    (Sugawara and the Secrets of Calligraphy)
    Sugawara no Michizane (known in this play as Kan Sh˘j˘) was a high-ranking imperial court minister who was a brilliant calligrapher and scholar. But political rivalries forced him to be exiled to distant Kyűshű, where he died. After Michizane's death, a series of disasters in the imperial capital were attributed to his angry spirit and he was appeased by being made a god known as Tenjin, and he is now revered as the god of learning. His story was dramatized as an epic puppet drama in 1746 and the play remains a favorite in both Kabuki and the Bunraku puppet theatre.
  • Kurumabiki:
    (The Tug-of-War Over the Carriage)
    There are three brothers serving three masters. Ume˘maru serves Kan Sh˘j˘. Sakuramaru serves imperial prince Tokiyo. Kan Sh˘j˘ has been sent into exile and Tokiyo is in disgrace. Ume˘maru (Nakamura Tanenosuke) and Sakuramaru (Nakamura Umemaru) lament the disaster that has overtaken their masters. But they hear that the carriage of Fujiwara no Shihei is coming. Shihei is the villain that has sent Kan Sh˘j˘ into exile. But when the two brothers confront the carriage, they are stopped by their brother Matsu˘maru (Nakamura Kash˘), who serves Shihei. Nonetheless, they attack the carriage and are driven back by the magical powers of Shihei. The three brothers agree to meet again at the seventieth birthday of their father, Shiratayű.
  • Terakoya:
    (The Village School)
    Genz˘ (Nakamura Tanenosuke) and his wife Tonami (Nakamura Yonekichi) run a small school and are protecting Kan Sh˘j˘'s son and heir, saying that he is their son. However, word has gotten out Kan Sh˘j˘'s son is there and Genz˘ has been ordered to behead him. Moreover, Matsu˘maru (Nakamura Kash˘) is to come to inspect the head. Their only alternative is to kill one of the other students as a substitute, but all of the students are farmer's children who could never pass for the son of a court aristocrat. However, a new boy arrives that day and Genz˘ makes the terrible decision to kill him in the place of his lord. As it turns out, Matsu˘maru has sent his own son to be sacrificed, because of his family's long loyalty to Kan Sh˘j˘. But he must face the most terrible situation for a father, inspecting the head of his own son and lying when he says that it is the genuine head of the son of Kan Sh˘j˘. Finally Matsu˘maru reveals his true feelings to Genz˘ and he and his wife Chiyo (Nakamura Baishi) mourn their dead son.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Kintetsu Art Kan (ďsaka)
    Dates 29 July ~ 1 August 2016 (Sora no Kai)
    Program

    Ise Sangű Kami no Nigiwai

    Casting

    Kataoka Matsujűr˘, Kataoka Senjir˘, Kataoka Senju

    Comments

    The 2nd 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". "Ise Sangű Kami no Nigiwai", based on a famous Kamigata rakugo story, is a newly-created drama. It is staged under the supervision of Kataoka Hidetar˘ and the dance master Yamamura Tomogor˘ III. These performances are entitled Abeno Kabuki (Abeno is the name of a famous district in ďsaka).

    National Bunraku Theatre (ďsaka)
    Dates 24 ~ 25 August 2016 (Kamigata Kabukikai)
    Program

    Natsu Matsuri Naniwa Kagami

  • Sumiyoshi Torii Mae
  • Tsuribune Sabu Uchi
  • Nagamachi Ura
  • Goj˘bashi

    Dango Uri

    Comments

    26th 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 and Kataoka Hidetar˘.

  • Natsu Matsuri: this grisly murder story became a smashing hit when it was first performed in 1745 because of the chivalrous spirit of the many ďsaka characters appearing in this story, the contrast between a brutal murder and the jovial mood of a summer festival, and the splashing of real water used on the stage. Danshichi, a gallant fishmonger, does everything he can to protect the weak young son of his patron with the help of his companion Tokubŕ and the older Sabu. Although even Tokubŕ's wife Otatsu heroically helps out, in the end, Danshichi is betrayed by his evil father-in-law Giheiji and, in the most famous scene of the play, must kill him in a mud-covered fight in a lonely alley with the shouts of the local festival nearby.
  • Goj˘bashi: a short dance showing Ushiwaka, a delicate young man who actually is a powerful warrior picking fights on the Goj˘ Bridge in Ky˘to and Benkei, the stout warrior priest who challenges him.
  • Dango Uri:
    (The Dumpling Peddlers)
    the mortar and pestle used for pounding rice cakes and dumplings are a symbol of a happily married couple. This short, lively dance shows a couple peddling dumplings with a series of songs and dances.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    National N˘ Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 8 August 2016 (Sh˘ no Kai)
    Program

    Kakitsubata

    Shiokumi

    Sukeroku

    Comments

    3rd edition of the Sh˘ no Kai, a gala program which stars Nakamura Tomijűr˘ V's son Nakamura Takanosuke. Nakamura Takanosuke performs in "Kakitsubata" and "Sukeroku". His sister Watanabe Aiko performs in "Shiokumi". The long-time NHK announcer Kasai Seiji is the guest in charge of all the talking.

     
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