APRIL 2015

4 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, Heisei Nakamuraza), 2 on Shikoku island (Kanamaruza), 2 in Nagoya (Chűnichi Theatre), 1 shows in Ky˘to (Minamiza) and 1 tour (Ichikawa Ebiz˘ Tour)!

  • Nakamura Ganjir˘, Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Kataoka Nizaemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Shibajaku, Ichikawa Sadanji, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura T˘z˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Kataoka Takatar˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘ and Nakamura Kinnosuke perform at the Kabukiza!
  • Nakamura Tokiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Onoe Sh˘roku and young actors perform at the Kanamaruza!
  • Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Band˘ Yajűr˘ and Nakamura Shid˘ perform at the Heisei Nakamuraza!
  • Ichikawa Ennosuke, Kataoka Ainosuke and the Omodakaya guild performs at the Chűnichi Theatre!
  • Ichikawa Ebiz˘ is on tour!
  • Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Ichikawa Kudanji, Kataoka Ichiz˘ and Kamimura Kichiya perform at the Minamiza!
  • Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 April 2015 (Shigatsu ďkabuki)
    April Grand Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Goban Taiheiki (Yamashina Kankyo)

    Rokkasen Sugata no Irodori

  • Henj˘
  • Bun'ya
  • Narihira
  • Kisen
  • Kuronushi
  • Kuruwa Bunsh˘ (Yoshidaya)

    Evening

    Kajiwara Heiz˘ Homare no Ishikiri
    (Ishikiri Kajiwara)

    Narikomaya Kabuki no Nigiwai (K˘j˘)

    Shinjű Ten no Amijima (Kawash˘)

    Shakky˘

    Casting

    Nakamura Ganjir˘, Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Kataoka Nizaemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Shibajaku, Ichikawa Sadanji, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura T˘z˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Kataoka Takatar˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Nakamura Kikaku, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Matsumoto Kingo, Nakamura Toranosuke

    Comments

    Nakamura Ganjir˘ IV celebrates his shűmei in T˘kyo at the Kabukiza!

  • Yamashina Kankyo
    (The Retreat at Yamashina)
    : This is a play based on a sensational incident in the early 18th century. On March 14, 1701, for reasons unknown, Asano Takumi-no-Kami, a young samurai lord, attacked Kira K˘zuke-no-Suke, a high shogunal official, during a ceremony at the Sh˘gun's palace. The Sh˘gun was furious and Asano was forced to commit ritual suicide that very day and his domain confiscated. Asano's head retainer ďishi Kuranosuke (Nakamura Senjaku) retreats with his son Chikara (Nakamura Kazutar˘) in Yamashina in the east of Ky˘to to prepare for avenging his master's death by attacking and killing Kira. He spends his days in idleness in pleasure quarters to hide his true intention, taking every caution against spies sent from Kira. He sends back his mother and divorces his wife who visited him and scolded him for being unloyal to his deceased master. He and Chikara have seen through their servant Okahei's true identity as a spy from Kira, and Chikara stabs Okahei. Okahei (Ichikawa Somegor˘) is impressed with Kuranosuke's distress and loyalty, so he discloses the arrangement inside of Kira's mansion to Kuranosuke pretending to play the game of go. Featuring also Nakamura T˘z˘, Kataoka Takatar˘ and Nakamura Kikaku.
  • Rokkasen: a rare full-length performance of a humorous series of dances, which show the six ancient poetic geniuses famous from classical Japanese literature, reinterpreted to the tastes of Edo period audiences. Ono no Komachi, the only woman of the six, was famous as a great beauty and in this dance, all the other poets are in love with her. You can enjoy the change of the atmosphere from that of the Heian period imperial court to that of common people in the Edo period. Starring Nakamura Kaishun (Ono no Komachi), Nakamura Baigyoku (Ariwara no Narihira), Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘ (Kisen), Kataoka Nizaemon (Bun'ya no Yasuhide), Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon (ďtomo no Kuronushi) and Ichikawa Sadanji (S˘j˘ Henj˘). Featuring also Nakamura Shibajaku (Okaji).
  • Yoshidaya: the roots of this play go back to the earliest days of Kabuki. Izaemon, the son of a wealthy family, has been disowned for loving a courtesan and now has nothing but a paper kimono. This role is a classic example of the wagoto or soft style of acting that is one of the representative acting styles of the Kansai region. Nakamura Ganjir˘ stars as Izaemon, a role that is a specialty of his family's Kansai acting style. Featuring Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Ganjir˘'s father, as his lover, the courtesan ďgiya Yűgiri (Izaemon's lover), Matsumoto K˘shir˘ and Kataoka Hidetar˘ as the proprietor and proprietress of the Yoshidaya teahouse. Featuring also Nakamura Karoku and Nakamura Matagor˘.
  • Ishikiri Kajiwara: the Heike general Kajiwara (Matsumoto K˘shir˘) is asked to test the sharpness of a sword by slicing two live human beings in half. He deliberately makes the sword fail the test to keep the sword, a priceless heirloom belonging to the enemy Genji clan, from falling into the hands of his Taira clan. A miracle has convinced Kajiwara to change sides. Kajiwara finally demonstrates the true power of the sword by cutting a large stone basin in two. Featuring also Nakamura Kinnosuke and Band˘ Hikosabur˘.
  • K˘j˘: usually the taking of a new acting name is accompanied by a k˘j˘, or ceremonial stage announcement, where all the stars of the company congratulate the holder of the new name. This month, the k˘j˘ takes the form of a play, where star actors congregate in front of a Kabuki theatre run by the manager, and compliment the new Nakamura Ganjir˘. Ganjir˘ is an important acting name in ďsaka and this is his first performance in T˘ky˘ with his new acting name.
  • Kawash˘: this late love suicide play by Chikamatsu Monzaemon is considered by many to be his masterpiece. The paper seller Jihŕ (Nakamura Ganjir˘) is in love with the courtesan Koharu (Nakamura Shibajaku) and all those around them are afraid that they will commit love suicide. Jihŕĺs wife Osan urgently pleads with Koharu to pretend that she does not love Jihŕ any more, in order to save his life. In the first and most famous scene in the Kawash˘ teahouse, Jihŕĺs brother Magoemon (Nakamura Baigyoku) masquerades as a samurai to find out Koharuĺs true feelings. Jihŕ listens in from the outside and is astonished to hear her say that she does not want to commit love suicide. In a rage, Jihŕ breaks off all relations with her, while Magoemon is moved to learn that she has done this out of consideration for Osanĺs feelings. This play is a classic example of the ďsaka style of acting. Featuring also Kataoka Hidetar˘ and Ichikawa Somegor˘.
  • Shakky˘:
    (The Stone Bridge)
    There are many plays about shishi or lion spirits in the Asian tradition, but the shishi is not actually a lion, it is a mythical animal that guards the stone bridge (Shakky˘) leading to the Buddhist paradise of Monju, the god of wisdom. Featuring Ichikawa Somegor˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘ and Nakamura Toranosuke in the roles of the shishi.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Kanamaruza (Konpira)
    Dates 11 ~ 26 April 2015 (Shikoku Konpira Kabuki ďshibai)
    MatinÚe

    Ise Ondo Koi no Netaba

  • Okkake/Jiz˘-mae/Futami-ga-Ura
  • Aburaya/Okuniwa
  • Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura (Yoshinoyama)

    Evening

    Ashiya D˘man ďuchi Kagami (Kuzu-no-Ha)

    Soga Moy˘ Tateshi no Goshozome
    (Gosho no Goroz˘)

    Casting

    Nakamura Tokiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Onoe Sh˘roku, Onoe Matsuya, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Nakamura Baishi, Band˘ Kametoshi, Onoe Ukon

    Comments

    31st edition of the Spring Kabuki performance Shikoku Konpira Kabuki ďshibai at the Kanamaruza on Shikoku island!

  • Ise Ondo: this play is famous for its classical depiction of a woman who must pretend to reject her lover for his sake and for the beautiful and gruesome dance-like killing scene at the end, done to the music of the Ise pleasure quarters. Fukuoka Mitsugi (Onoe Kikunosuke), a young apprentice at the holy Shrine of Ise tries to help find the stolen treasured sword of his clan out of duty to his former lord. Mitsugi has the sword in his possession, but must now find the certificate of authentication and in order to get it for him, Okon (Nakamura Baishi), a courtesan who is in love with Mitsugi must pretend to forsake Mitsugi. But he believes that she has truly betrayed him and further angered by the humiliating accusations of Manno (Nakamura Tokiz˘), the head maid of the Aburaya brothel, Mitsugi inadvertently draws the sword, said to be cursed, and the rampage begins. Featuring also Band˘ Kamesabur˘ and Onoe Matsuya in the roles of the cook Kisuke and the courtesan Oshika.
  • 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 Sh˘roku as Tadanobu, with Nakamura Baishi as Shizuka. Featuring also Band˘ Kametoshi as Hayami no T˘ta.
  • Kuzu-no-Ha: Abe no Yasuna, a court astrologer in disgrace, has married a beautiful woman named Kuzu-no-Ha, not knowing that she is actually a fox that has taken human form to repay his kindness in saving his life. The couple has a child and lives happily together until the real woman whose form the fox borrowed appears. Knowing that she can no longer stay, Kuzu-no-Ha writes a tearful farewell poem on the paper screen and returns to the wilderness. Starring Nakamura Tokiz˘ as Kuzu-no-Ha and Onoe Matsuya as Yasuna.
  • Gosho no Goroz˘: a portrait of the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters at the height of its splendor. Rival gangs dressed in the height of fashion exchange stately speeches before fighting in the elaborate poetic cadences of Kawatake Mokuami, the last great playwright of Kabuki. Goroz˘ is the handsome leader of a gang, but his lover, the top courtesan Satsuki pretends to reject him to save his life. Tragedy strikes when Goroz˘ is driven to revenge. Starring Onoe Kikunosuke as Goroz˘, Onoe Sh˘roku as his rival in love and Nakamura Baishi as the courtesan Satsuki (Goroz˘'s lover).
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Heisei Nakamuraza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 1 April ~ 3 May 2015 (Y˘shun ďkabuki)
    Full Spring Merriness Grand Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Futatsu Ch˘ch˘ Kuruwa Nikki (Sum˘ba)

    Kanjinch˘

    Shin Sarayashiki Tsuki no Amagasa
    (Sakanaya S˘gor˘)

    Evening

    Imoseyama Onna Teikin
    (Mikasayama Goten)

    Takatsuki

    Kiwametsuki Banzui Ch˘bŕ

    Casting

    Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Nakamura Shid˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Nakamura Kotar˘, Band˘ Shingo, Nakamura Tsurumatsu, Nakamura Kunio, Nakamura Muneo, Nakamura Yoshio, Namino Naoya

    Comments

    The Heisei Nakamuraza is back next year in T˘ky˘ in Asakusa. There was no Heisei Nakamuraza in T˘ky˘ for 3 years, following the sudden death of its creator Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVIII. The new zagashira is Nakamura Kankur˘.

  • Sum˘ba: "Futatsu Ch˘ch˘" means "two butterflies" and also comes from the fact that two sum˘ wrestlers who play important roles in the full length play have names beginning with "ch˘": Ch˘kichi and Ch˘gor˘. In order to help his master Yamazakiya Yogor˘ (Nakamura Shid˘) buy out the contract of the beautiful Azuma (Band˘ Shingo), the senior wrestler Nuregami Ch˘gor˘ throws a match, letting the younger wrestler Hanaregoma Ch˘kichi win, hoping to get his help. But Ch˘kichi loses his temper and the two end up competing in a test of pride. Starring popular actor Band˘ Yajűr˘ as Ch˘gor˘ and Nakamura Shid˘ as Ch˘kichi.
  • Kanjinch˘: probably the most popular Kabuki play today, it includes dance, comedy and the heart-warming pathos of a band of heroes during their last days. Disguised as a band of traveling priests the fugitive general Yoshitsune and his small band of retainers are stopped at a road barrier. They escape only through the quick thinking of the head retainer, a warrior priest named Musashib˘ Benkei, who improvises the text of an elaborate imperial decree. Having escaped danger Benkei and the others describe their days of glory and hardships on the road to escape in a moving dance. This program stars Nakamura Hashinosuke in the role of Benkei, with Nakamura Shichinosuke and Nakamura Kankur˘ as Yoshitsune and the barrier keeper Togashi.
  • Sakanaya S˘gor˘: S˘gor˘ (Nakamura Kankur˘), a fish seller, has taken a vow to not drink, but when he learns about his sister's unjust murder at the hands of a daimy˘ lord, a death that they were told was execution for her wrongdoing, he starts to drink again. Drunk, he storms into the lord's mansion to seek an apology. This play by Meiji playwright Kawatake Mokuami is known for its realistic portrayal of members of the common class during the Edo period and highlights their fierce pride and frustration at the privileges of the dominant samurai class. Featuring also Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Shid˘ and Band˘ Yajűr˘.
  • Mikasayama Goten: a fantastic Kabuki period play showing intrigues in the imperial court in the earliest days of Japan. The dictator Soga no Iruka has set up his own court and now seeks to destroy his opponent Kamatari. A mysterious fisherman named Fukashichi (Nakamura Shid˘) comes as a messenger from Kamatari, claiming to bring a message of surrender. Meanwhile, Iruka's younger sister, Princess Tachibana (Nakamura Kotar˘) has fallen in love with a handsome young man named Motome (Nakamura Hashinosuke). But Motome is actually the son of Kamatari and says that he will only grant her love if she will cut off Iruka's head. Moreover, a country girl named Omiwa (Nakamura Shichinosuke) has also followed Motome. Omiwa's blood and the work of all these people combined are what is necessary to finally defeat the magical powers of the evil Iruka.
  • Takatsuki: in this relatively modern dance-comedy adapted from the style of classical Ky˘gen farces, the servant Jir˘kaja (Nakamura Kankur˘) is ordered by his lord (Kataoka Kamez˘) to buy a takatsuki, which is a kind of ceremonial sake cup on a stand. Jir˘kaja does not understand his lord's orders and is persuaded by a fast-talking geta clog salesman (Nakamura Kunio) to buy a pair of clogs instead, thinking that this is the stand for which he was sent. After drinking a good amount of sake, he brings his purchase to the lord and responds to the lord's anger with a dance on the clogs, a virtuoso routine inspired by tap dancing, showing off the dancing skills of Nakamura Kankur˘.
  • Banzui Ch˘bŕ: in the early Edo period, gallant men like Banzuiin Ch˘bŕ led the commoners. But this incurred the wrath of members of the samurai class, who were theoretically in control. This play begins with a recreation of Kabuki in its earliest days, then a fight breaks out which is settled by Ch˘bŕ (Nakamura Hashinosuke). But this frustrates the ambitions of the samurai Mizuno (Band˘ Yajűr˘) who invites Ch˘bŕ to visit. All of Ch˘bŕ's men tell him not to go because it is a trap, but Ch˘bŕ decides to meet his end and bids farewell to his wife (Nakamura Shichinosuke) and son. Finally, Ch˘bŕ is killed when he is defenseless in the bath.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Chűnichi Theatre (Nagoya)
    Dates 4 ~ 26 April 2015 (Shigatsu Hanagata Kabuki)
    April Young Actors Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Ayatsuri Sanbas˘

    Yukinoj˘ Henge

    Evening

    Shin Hakkenden

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ennosuke, Kataoka Ainosuke, Ichikawa Ukon, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Omez˘, Band˘ Shűch˘, Band˘ Minosuke, Sawamura S˘nosuke, Arashi Kitsusabur˘, Nakamura Hayato, Nakamura Mantar˘, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Umemaru

    Comments

    A special program in Nagoya with Ichikawa Ennosuke and Kataoka Ainosuke at the top of the bill:

  • Ayatsuri Sanbas˘:
    (The Puppet Sanbas˘)
    The Sanbas˘ is part of the ritual play "Okina", a prayer for prosperity and in Kabuki the vigorous Sanbas˘ dance is often performed separately. To make the dance especially auspicious, the old man Okina and attendant Senzai appear as well. In Kabuki, the Sanbas˘ dance appears in all kinds of versions. In this particular version, the Sanbas˘ is actually a giant marionette (Ichikawa Ukon), dancing lightly until his antics tangle his strings, creating problems for his puppeteer (Ichikawa Omez˘).
  • Yukinoj˘ Henge: this is the story of the fictious Kabuki actor Nakamura Yukinoj˘. His parents were driven to suicide by three local officials when the actor was just a child. He grew up to become a well-known onnagata. In 1863, he travels with his Kabuki troupe to Edo. When he discovers his three archenemies in the audience, he plots revenge! Starring Ichikawa Ennosuke as Yukinoj˘ and 2 others roles. Featuring also Kataoka Ainosuke, Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Omez˘, Sawamura S˘nosuke, Band˘ Takesabur˘ and Arashi Kitsusabur˘.
  • Shin Hakkenden:
    New Version of "the Eight Dog Warriors"
    The original novel is an immense epic by 19th century novelist Takizawa Bakin published over many years, but eventually reaching one-hundred and sixty volumes. This is a rare performance of the new version of "the Eight Dog Warriors" and follows the adventures of the eight dog warriors. The demon king Sutokuin who wishes to gain control of the world possesses steward ďgigaya Sadamasa (Kataoka Ainosuke) and changes a daughter of the loyal retainer of the shogunate Princess Fuse (Nakamura Yonekichi) and Satomi Yoshinari (Nakamura Tanenosuke) into dogs. As Princess Fuse laments this and tries to kill herself, a fairy appears and tells her fate. The eight crystal beads of her rosary, each engraved with the Chinese characters of one of the Confucian virtues, emerge from Princess Fuse's body and go flying through the air. Miraculously, each will be found with a newborn baby. These eight children, all of whom have the character inu for "dog" in their names, vow to put down these turbulent times and disperse in all directions. Years have passed. The shogunate has lost its power and the world has become more and more turbulent. One of the eight dog warriors Inuzuka Shino (Nakamura Mantar˘) hopes to enter government service with his treasured sword Murasamemaru. Sadamasa disguises himself as a masterless samurai Aboshi Samojir˘ (Kataoka Ainosuke), exchanges Murasamemaru with a false aword, takes Shino's fiancee Hamaji (Nakamura Umemaru) away with him and stabs her mother with Murasamemaru to death. A houseboy Gakuz˘ with a real name Inukawa S˘suke (Band˘ Minosuke) discovers that Shino and he have the same crystal beads, and they decide to associate with each other as brothers. Shino is now pursued by the police as he has presented a false sword to the shogunate Ashikaga Shigeuji (Ichikawa Omez˘). As Shino cuts Shigeuji's retainer Inukai Genpachi (Kataoka Ainosuke), they see a crystal bead emerge from the wound and know that they are kindred spirits with the same crystal beads; they also decide to associate with each other as brothers. The three dog warriors Shino, S˘suke and Genpachi go to seek other dog warriors to defeat Samojir˘. At the same time Samojir˘ makes advances to the most popular courtesan, but she is Inusaka Keno (Nakamura Hayato) in disguise who has come there to avenge his father on Sadamasa. Samojir˘ tries to kill Keno and Hamaji, but he becomes unable to practice magic as he is doused with Hamaji's blood, and flees away. Finally all the eight dog warriors gather to pursue Sadamasa who has shown his true nature as Sutokuin. Starring Kataoka Ainosuke in the four roles of Sutokuin, ďgigaya, Aboshi Samojir˘ and Inukai Genpachi. Featuring also Ichikawa Ukon (Inuyama D˘setsu), Ichikawa Monnosuke and Band˘ Shűch˘. Ichikawa Ennosuke appears only in a speech on stage.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Minamiza (Ky˘to)
    Dates 17 ~ 25 April 2015 (Ichikawa Ebiz˘ Tokubetsu K˘en)
    Ichikawa Ebiz˘ Special Performances
    Program

    Michiyuki Hatsune no Tabi (Yoshinoyama)

    K˘j˘

    Migawari Zazen

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Ichikawa Kudanji, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Nakamura Ky˘z˘, ďtani Hiromatsu

    Comments

    Ichikawa Kudanji IV celebrates his shűmei in Ky˘to at the Minamiza with the patronage of the young star Ichikawa Ebiz˘.

  • 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 Ichikawa Kudanji as Tadanobu, with Kamimura Kichiya as Shizuka.
  • K˘j˘: Ichikawa Michiyuki taking a new acting name Ichikawa Kudanji IV and Ichikawa Ebiz˘ are present. There is a close relationship between the stage and the audience in Kabuki and this is shown by these ceremonial stage announcements where the actors address the audience directly.
  • Migawari Zazen: a dance play adopted from a classical ky˘gen farce. A man (Ichikawa Ebiz˘) wants nothing more than to visit his lover Hanako, but he has one important problem, his homely and overbearing wife (Kataoka Ichiz˘). He creates a scheme saying that he will be practicing Zen meditation all night and has his servant (Ichikawa Kudanji) take his place while he visits Hanako. He returns, giddy from a night of pleasure and tells his story to his servant in dance, unaware that his wife has discovered his deception and has taken his servant's place.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Ichikawa Ebiz˘ Tour
    Dates 28 February ~ 9 April 2015 (Ichikawa Ebiz˘ Tokubetsu K˘en)
    Ichikawa Ebiz˘ Special Performances
    Program

    Genji Monogatari

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ebiz˘

    Comments

    A 18-city tour for Ichikawa Ebiz˘. Among these dates, Ichikawa Ebiz˘ is in Fukuoka at the Hakataza from the 3rd to the 5th of April and in T˘ky˘ at the Orchard Hall the 8th and the 9th of April.

     
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