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
Nakamura Ganjir˘ IV celebrates his shűmei in T˘kyo at the Kabukiza!
(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˘zukenosuke, 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˘.
(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