APRIL 2018

3 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, Makuhari Messe), 2 shows in Nagoya (Misonoza), 2 on Shikoku island (Kanamaruza), 1 in ďsaka (Sh˘chikuza), 1 in Ky˘to (ROHM Theatre), 1 in Noda (Noda City Culture Center) and 2 tours (Shungy˘ Special Tour, Ichikawa Ebiz˘ Special Tour)!

  • Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Ichikawa Danz˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Onoe Sh˘roku and Band˘ Hikosabur˘ perform at the Kabukiza!
  • Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon, Matsumoto Haku˘, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘ and ďtani Tomoemon perform at the Misonoza!
  • Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Onoe Matsuya, Nakamura Kotar˘, Nakamura Hashinosuke and Nakamura Fukunosuke perform at the Kanamaruza!
  • Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke are on tour (Shungy˘ Special Tour)!
  • Ichikawa Ebiz˘ is on tour (Classics Tour)!
  • Ichikawa Ennosuke, Ichikawa Udanji, Band˘ Minosuke, Onoe Ukon, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Band˘ Takesabur˘ and the Omodakaya guild perform at the Sh˘chikuza!
  • Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 April 2018
    Shigatsu ďkabuki
    April Grand Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Saig˘ to Katsu

    Ume Momiji Nishiki no Date-ori
    (Ura Omote Sendai Hagi)

    Evening

    Ehon Gapp˘-ga-Tsuji

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Ichikawa Danz˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Ichikawa Danz˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Ichikawa Sai'nyű, Band˘ Kamez˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Nakamura Matsue, Sawamura Yoshijir˘, Kataoka Matsunosuke, Nakamura Umemaru, Band˘ Kamesabur˘

    Comments

    Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon does his isse ichidai performance for the roles of the villains Tateba no Taheiji and Saeda Daigakunosuke in Tsuruya Nanboku IV's masterpiece "Ehon Gapp˘-ga-Tsuji".

  • Saig˘ to Katsu: this is a so-called 'New Kabuki' play set in the time just before the Meiji Restoration (1868). As the allied forces of the Satsuma and Ch˘shű domains led by Saig˘ Takamori (Onoe Sh˘roku) are about to attack Edo Castle, the minister of the shogunate, Katsu Kaishű (Nakamura Kinnosuke), makes desperate efforts to save the Sh˘gun's life and the people of Edo (the old name for T˘ky˘) from the fires of war. Katsu goes to Saig˘ and they talk candidly. The negotiations result in the bloodless surrender of Edo Castle.
  • Ura Omote Sendai Hagi: this is a play showing both sides of the troubles that affected the Ashikaga clan. It is based on the older play "Sendai Hagi" that describes the troubles of the Date clan in Sendai. On the outside it takes the form of a jidaimono history play, while on the inside it depicts the case of a doctor's murder in the style of a sewamono play. Sewamono plays depict the lives of ordinary people in the Edo period. Nikki Danj˘ (Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘) plans to overtake the Ashikaga household and asks the doctor ďba D˘eki (Ichikawa Danz˘) to mix a poison to assassinate Tsuruchiyo, the young heir of Ashikaga clan. D˘eki receives money as a reward, but his servant Kosuke (Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘) kills him to steal the money, putting the blame on Otake (Kataoka Takatar˘) whom he loves. The court lady Sakae Gozen (Ichimura Manjir˘) brings Tsuruchiyo poisoned cakes, but Senmatsu, the son of Tsuruchiyo's wet-nurse Masaoka (Nakamura Tokiz˘), saves Tsuruchiyo by tasting them before his young lord, as Masaoka had taught him to do. As Otake is about to be declared guilty of murdering D˘eki, Hosokawa Katsumoto's retainer Kurahashi Yajűr˘ (Onoe Sh˘roku) produces irrefutable evidence and Kosuke is found guilty. Furthermore, Katsumoto (Nakamura Kinnosuke) convicts Nikki Danj˘ after an appeal by an old retainer who risks his life. Featuring also Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘ and Band˘ Yajűr˘ in the roles of Gekizaemon and Yashio.
  • Ehon Gapp˘-ga-Tsuji: this is a rare full-length production of a revenge classic by Tsuruya Nanboku IV (1755~1829). First performed in 1810, "Ehon Gapp˘-ga-Tsuji" was a dramatization of a popular revenge case of the time. The charm of this play lies in the activity of the two villains. Daigakunosuke, a samurai who is trying to take over his clan, steals the clan's treasures and kills everyone who gets in his way. Tateba no Taheiji, a ruffian from the lowest level of society plots together with Daigakunosuke and also kills many people. This play depicts the villains' exuberant rampage until, finally, they are defeated in a revenge vendetta by the heroes. One of the special highlights of this production is that a single actor, Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, will play two different roles: that of Daigakunosuke who is a villain with power, and Tateba no Taheiji who is an evil commoner. Starring also Nakamura Tokiz˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘ and Ichikawa Danz˘.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Misonoza (Nagoya)
    Dates 1 ~ 25 April 2018
    Kokera Otoshi Shigatsu ďkabuki
    Opening Ceremony April Grand Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Kotobuki Soga no Taimen

    K˘j˘

    Kagotsurube Sato no Eizame

    Evening

    Kajiwara Heiz˘ Homare no Ishikiri
    (Ishikiri Kajiwara)

    Kanjinch˘

    Kuruwa Bunsh˘ (Yoshidaya)

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon, Matsumoto Haku˘, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘, ďtani Tomoemon, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Nakamura Yonekichi, Sawamura S˘nosuke, ďtani Hirotar˘, Matsumoto Kingo, Arashi Kitsusabur˘, Nakamura Jűjir˘, Nakamura Kichinoj˘

    Comments

    Opening of the new Misonoza with the shűmei of Matsumoto Haku˘ II and Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X.

  • 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˘. This month features a cast headed by Ichikawa Sadanji as Kud˘ and some of the most popular young stars in Kabuki with Nakamura Matagor˘ as Gor˘ and Nakamura Ganjir˘ as Jűr˘.
  • K˘j˘: the close relationship between the actors and the audience is shown by these stage announcements, lavish ceremonies to commemorate various important events. In this case, all the stars of the cast assemble to celebrate the shűmei of Matsumoto Haku˘ II and Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X.
  • Kagotsurube: one of the most sensational plays of late Kabuki, it shows a humble, pockmarked merchant from the country named Sano Jir˘zaemon (Matsumoto K˘shir˘). He is wealthy, but because of the way he looks, has never thought that it would be possible to have a woman. He and his servant go sightseeing in the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters and a chance look at top courtesan Yatsuhashi (Nakamura Jakuemon) who smiles at him, makes Jir˘zaemon fall in love. However, the pleasure quarters are full of intrigue, and on the eve of the day that Jir˘zaemon is to buy up Yatsuhashi's contract, her true love Einoj˘ (Nakamura Karoku) forces her to reject and humiliate Jir˘zaemon in the middle of the celebratory banquet. Jir˘zaemon seems to forgive her, but returns with the sword Kagotsurube to exact his revenge. Featuring also Matsumoto Haku˘ in the role of Tachibanaya Ch˘bŕ.
  • Ishikiri Kajiwara: the Heike general Kajiwara (Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon) 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 Jakuemon, Ichikawa Sadanji, Nakamura Karoku and Nakamura Matagor˘.
  • 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 Matsumoto Haku˘ in the role of Benkei, with Nakamura Ganjir˘ and Matsumoto K˘shir˘ as Yoshitsune and the barrier keeper Togashi.
  • 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. Matsumoto K˘shir˘ stars as Izaemon, a role that is a specialty of his family's Kansai acting style. Featuring Nakamura Kazutar˘ as his lover, the courtesan ďgiya Yűgiri (Izaemon's lover), Nakamura Karoku and Kataoka Hidetar˘ as the proprietor and proprietress of the Yoshidaya teahouse.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Kanamaruza (Konpira)
    Dates 7 ~ 22 April 2018
    Shikoku Konpira Kabuki ďshibai
    MatinÚe

    Ejima Ikushima

    Sayaate

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

    Evening

    Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura
    (Torii Mae)

    Kamakura Sandaiki
    (Kinugawa-mura Kankyo)

    Shakky˘

    Casting

    Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Onoe Matsuya, Nakamura Kotar˘, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Fukunosuke, Band˘ Shűch˘, Ichimura Kitsutar˘, Nakamura Baika

    Comments

    34th edition of the Spring Kabuki performance Shikoku Konpira Kabuki ďshibai at the Kanamaruza on Shikoku island! Nakamura Shikan VIII and two of his three sons, Nakamura Hashinosuke IV and Nakamura Fukunosuke III, celebrate their shűmei at the Kanamaruza!

  • Ejima Ikushima: this is a rare performance of a modern Kabuki drama about the love story of Ejima (Nakamura Kotar˘), a high-ranking lady-in-waituig during the Tokugawa era and a Kabuki actor named Ikushima Shingor˘ (Onoe Matsuya). Their love was forbidden according to strict social and class codes bcause of the low status of the actor in that period when the samurai class ruled supreme [more details about this affair].
  • Sayaate: Two rivals for the love of one of the top courtesans in the pleasure quarters encounter one another and confront each other in a series of sarcastic, poetic and stately speeches. A play full of the color and ceremony of the most stylized age of Kabuki. Featuring Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Hashinosuke and Nakamura Kaishun in the roles of Nagoya Sanza, Fuwa Banzaemon and the tea house mistress. Featuring Nakamura Shikan as a guest star!
  • Sakanaya S˘gor˘: S˘gor˘ (Nakamura Shikan), 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 Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Kotar˘ and Band˘ Shűch˘.
  • Torii Mae:
    (In Front of the Fushimi Inari Shrine)
    This is a short scene showing the troubles of Yoshitsune after his brother Yoritomo, the Sh˘gun, turns against him. Yoshitsune (Onoe Matsuya) is forced to flee from the troops sent by his brother Yoritomo. The trip will be hard and he decides he must leave behind his lover Shizuka Gozen (Nakamura Kotar˘), despite her passionate pleas to remain with him. As a reminder of himself, he presents her with a precious hand drum that he had received from the emperor. Yoshitsune's retainer Tadanobu (Nakamura Hashinosuke) rescues Shizuka from Yoritomo's troops and Yoshitsune decides to have Tadanobu protect her on the road, not knowing that this Tadanobu is actually a magical fox in disguise. Featuring also Nakamura Fukunosuke in the role of Musashib˘ Benkei.
  • Kamakura Sandaiki: a rare performance of a classical history play from the Bunraku puppet theatre, which shows a heroic warrior, unbending mother and delicate princess in romance and intrigue on a grand scale. War has placed the young samurai Miuranosuke (Nakamura Baigyoku) and his fiance Princess Toki on enemy sides. She takes care of his sick mother (Band˘ Shűch˘) despite being on opposite sides, and Miuranosuke slips away from the battle to see his mother one last time. But she refuses to see him when he should be on the battlefield and he must leave, brokenhearted. Princess Toki's father is the leader of the enemy forces and she is faced with a terrible challenge. She will only be allowed to be united with the man she loves if she kills her father. Starring Nakamura Kaishun as Princess Toki, considered to be one of the most difficult princess roles in the Kabuki repertory. Starring Nakamura Shikan in the role of Sasaki Takatsuna.
  • 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 Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Fukunosuke and Onoe Matsuya in the roles of the shishi.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website


    Shungy˘ Special Tour
    Dates 17 March ~ 5 April 2018
    Shungy˘ Tokubetsu K˘en
    The Dawn of Spring Special Performances
    Program

    Geidan

    Tsuru Kame

    Urashima

    Makura Jishi

    Casting

    Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Tsurumatsu

    Comments

    The Spring Tour of the Nakamuraya guild with performances in 12 cities. The first item (geidan) in this program is a talk.

  • Tsuru Kame: the crane (tsuru) is said to live for a thousand years, the tortoise (kame) is said to live for ten thousand years. Together, they are a traditional symbol of longevity. There is no particular plot to this play, but simply shows a visit by the empress to the Moon Pavilion where two courtiers dance as the spirits of the crane and tortoise.
  • Urashima: This dance depicts a Japanese folk tale of a young man named Urashima (Nakamura Kankur˘) 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.
  • Makura Jishi: the keisei Yayoi performs a dance expressing her bitterness toward her dreary life in the gay quarters, 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 Nakamura Shichinosuke as both the courtesan Yayoi and the spirit of the lion.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website
    Nihon Buy˘ for "Urashima"

    Ichikawa Ebiz˘ Special Tour
    Dates 1 March ~ 7 April 2018
    Ichikawa Ebiz˘ Tokubetsu K˘en
    Ichikawa Ebiz˘ Special Performances
    Program

    Genji Monogatari

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichimura Kakitsu, Ichikawa Kudanji, ďtani Hiromatsu, Katayama Kur˘emon, Kanze Yoshimasa, Miroku Tadashi, Shigeyama Ippei, Ichikawa Botan

    Comments

    The Spring Tour of Ichikawa Ebiz˘ with performances in 23 cities. A special program mixing Kabuki, and Opera. The 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 Tenor/Countertenor Miroku Tadashi. 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

    Sh˘chikuza (ďsaka)
    Dates 1 ~ 25 April 2018
    SűpÔ Kabuki Sekando
    Super Kabuki II
    Program

    ONE PIECE

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ennosuke, Ichikawa Udanji, Band˘ Minosuke, Onoe Ukon, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa Omez˘, Band˘ Shingo, Nakamura Hayato, Ichikawa Juen, Ichikawa K˘tar˘

    Comments

    The SűpÔ Kabuki Sekando drama "ONE PIECE", based on Oda Eiichir˘'s internationally popular manga "ONE PIECE", which got his first very successful stage adaptation by Ichikawa Ennosuke in October 2015/November 2015 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘. It was staged one more time in the same theater in October 2017/November 2017 ... without Ichikawa Ennosuke, who broke his left arm, and could not perform the leading roles of Luffy and Hancock. He was successfully replaced by Onoe Ukon. It is staged this month in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza for the second time (first time in March 2016 in the same theater). Most of the actors are Kabuki actors, with 3 non-Kabuki guest actors : Hira Takehiro, Kashima Noritoshi and Asano Kazuyuki. It is almost the same cast as in 2015 (minor differences).

  • ONE PIECE: "ONE PIECE", a hugely successful manga series, first appeared in the July 1997 issue of the Weekly Sh˘nen Jump magazine. As a book, the first volume was published in December 1997 and it soon gained a national reputation. The series has now reached 80 volumes and the number of copies printed of the series in Japan alone totals more than 350 million. As a result, it was awarded the Guinness World Record as "Most copies published for the same comic book series by a single author" in June 2015. The play is a marine adventure featuring the hero Luffy who explores the ocean with his diverse crew named the Straw Hat Pirates. They are in search of the worldĺs ultimate treasure known as 'One Piece' so that Luffy can become the next Pirate King. The play depicts the episode 'PARAMOUNT WAR' which is still popular among One Piece fans! Luffy engages in war determined to fight to the last in order to rescue his brother Ace who was captured!
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    ROHM Theatre (Ky˘to)
    Dates 24 April 2018
    Daisankai Kudanji no Kai
    Kudanji's Third Gala
    Program

    Tsubosaka Reigenki

    B˘ Shibari

    Casting

    Ichikawa Kudanji

    Comments

    3rd edition of the Kudanji no Kai in Ky˘to, which stars Ichikawa Ebiz˘'s disciple Ichikawa Kudanji. Kudanji no Kai literally means "Kudanji's Association".

    Noda City Culture Center
    Dates 26 April 2018
    Daisankai Kudanji no Kai
    Kudanji's Third Gala
    Program

    Tsubosaka Reigenki

    B˘ Shibari

    Casting

    Ichikawa Kudanji

    Comments

    3rd edition of the Kudanji no Kai in Ky˘to, which stars Ichikawa Ebiz˘'s disciple Ichikawa Kudanji. Kudanji no Kai literally means "Kudanji's Association".

    Makuhari Messe (Chiba)
    Dates 28 ~ 39 April 2018
    Ch˘kabuki
    Ultra-Kabuki
    Program

    Tsumoru Omoi Hana no Kaomise

    Casting

    Nakamura Shid˘, Hatsune Miku

    Comments

    The world of Kabuki and the world of Otaku collide for the second time in Kabuki history! Resulting from this spectacular collision, a new genre, the Ch˘kabuki (literally Ultra-Kabuki), was born in 2016 [more details]. Nakamura Shid˘ shares the stage with the virtual 3D creature Hatsune Miku. They perform "together" in a newly-created Ch˘kabuki drama. It is staged at the Makuhari Messe as part of the Niconico Ch˘kaigi 2018 event, an important yearly event for the Otaku tribes.

     
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