DECEMBER 2013

2 shows in Ky˘to (Minamiza) and 3 in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre)!

Minamiza (Ky˘to)
Dates 30 November ~ 26 December 2013 (Kichirei Kaomise K˘gy˘)
Annual Festive Face-Showing Performances
MatinÚe

Itsukushima Maneku Hi˘gi (Himanegi no Kiyomori)

Kanadehon Chűshingura
(Michiyuki Tabiji no Yomeiri)

Jiisan Baasan

Ninin Wankyű

Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura
(Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata)

Evening

Genroku Chűshingura
(Ohama Goten Tsunatoyo-ky˘)

K˘j˘

Kurozuka

Michiyuki Yuki no Furusato (Ninokuchi-mura)

Jiraiya

Casting

Sakata T˘jűr˘, Ichikawa En'˘, Ichikawa Ennosuke, Ichikawa Chűsha, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Kataoka Gat˘, Nakamura Kanjaku, Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Takatar˘, Kataoka Ainosuke, Onoe Sh˘roku, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Ichikawa Danshir˘, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Nakamura Kikaku, Nakamura Baishi, Band˘ Kametoshi, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa Tsukinosuke, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa Shun'en, Ichikawa Juen, Ichikawa En'ya, Band˘ Shinsha, Kataoka Shinnosuke, Nakamura Mantar˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Kataoka Matsunosuke

Comments

Ichikawa En'˘ II, Ichikawa Ennosuke IV and Ichikawa Chűsha IX celebrate their shűmei in Ky˘to at the Minamiza!

  • Himanegi no Kiyomori: Taira no Kiyomori (Kataoka Gat˘) is the powerful dictator that rules Japan in 12th century. He celebrates the completion of the Isukushima Shrine with his family and retainers. A female dancer Hotoke Gozen (Ichikawa Emisabur˘) who dances celebrating tries to kill Kiyomori to avenge her father. She is the daughter of Minamoto no Yoshitomo in disguise who was a good friend of Kiyomori. Kiyomori was ordered to kill Yoshitomo as he was opposed to the emperor. She is caught by Kiyomori's retainers, but Kiyomori is so compassionate that he forgives her. The construction of some buildings of the shrine has not been finished. But he is so powerful that he calls back the setting sun beckoning with his fan.
  • Michiyuki Tabiji no Yomeiri: this is a short dance scene that shows Honz˘ĺs wife Tonase (Nakamura Tokiz˘) and her daughter Konami (Nakamura Baishi) traveling along the T˘kaid˘ highway to Ky˘to on a desperate journey to unite her with Rikiya. The beauty of the journey and innocent happiness of the young bride contrast with the anxious feelings of the mother, aware that this trip will end in tragedy. There is also a humorous encounter with a boisterous samurai footman (Nakamura Kanjaku).
  • Jiisan Baasan: based on a short story by Mori ďgai, this modern play by Uno Nobuo shows a loving young couple. The samurai Iori travels to Ky˘to with his lord, leaving Run, his beloved wife, behind. While there, he attacks another man in a fight over a sword and is forced into house arrest, separating him from his wife. Many years later, he returns to his home as an old man. There he meets an elderly woman and they do not recognize each other until she sees the one thing that has not changed with age, Iori's peculiar habit of putting his hand to his nose. Starring Ichikawa Chűsha and Nakamura Senjaku as Iori and Run.
  • Ninin Wankyű: the fabulously wealthy Wanya Kyűbŕ (nicknamed Wankyű) is disowned by his family for falling in love with the courtesan Matsuyama. Then, when she dies, he goes mad with grief and wanders through the countryside. This dance shows him as he imagines meeting Matsuyama again and there is a lively dance recalling their happiness together before the vision fades and he is left alone. Starring Kataoka Ainosuke as Wankyű and Kataoka Takatar˘ as Matsuyama.
  • Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata: the epic "Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees" ("Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura") features many characters around the famous general Yoshitsune, but none more memorable than a magic fox that takes the guise of Tadanobu, one of Yoshitsune's most trusted retainers. The fox wants to get close to a precious drum that Yoshitsune has made from the skins of his fox parents. In this excerpt from the longer play, the fox reveals his true identity with a series of spectacular stage tricks and Yoshitsune is moved to grant him the drum. This play ends with a spectacular chűnori. Starring Ichikawa Ennosuke as the fox Tadanobu. Featuring also Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ (Yoshitsune), Kataoka Hidetar˘ (Shizuka Gozen), Ichikawa Danshir˘ (Kawatsura H˘gen), Band˘ Takesabur˘ (Kawatsura H˘gen's wife Asuka), Kataoka Ainosuke (Suruga Jir˘) and Onoe Sh˘roku (Kamei Rokur˘).
    Ichikawa Danshir˘, who fell ill, was replaced by Ichikawa Juen from the 7th of December.
  • Ohama Goten: there are few plays more popular in Kabuki than "Chűshingura" or the Treasury of the Forty-Seven Loyal Retainers. In the modern period, this play was reworked by Mayama Seika as "Genroku Chűshingura", a play focusing on different incidents and different characters in this revenge classic adding historical details reflecting the Genroku period. One of the most popular parts of this play shows the man that will be the next Sh˘gun, seemingly detached from the vendetta, but in fact, intensely interested in the progress of the quest of the band of loyal retainers. Starring Nakamura Baigyoku as Lord Tsunatoyo and Ichikawa Chűsha as Tominomori Sukeĺemon. With Kataoka Takatar˘ as Okiyo, Nakamura Tokiz˘ as Ejima and Kataoka Gat˘ as Tsunatoyoĺs teacher Arai Kageyű.
  • 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 Ichikawa En'˘ II and Ichikawa Ennosuke IV and Ichikawa Chűsha IX in Ky˘to at the Minamiza.
  • Kurozuka: a woman has grown bitter at the world after being rejected by her husband and now loves in seclusion, killing travelers and becoming a kind of demon. However, when she gives shelter to a holy man and his party, she rejoices at this opportunity to find salvation. She goes to get firewood to keep her visitors warm, cautioning them not to look into the back room, where the bodies of her victims are. She dances in joy among the dry autumn grasses under the full moon at her chance for absolution. But the porter in the holy man's party looks in the back room and they all leave in a panic. The old woman is furious at being betrayed and this transforms her into a demon, which is finally vanquished by the power of the holy man. Starring Ichikawa Ennosuke as the old woman and Nakamura Baigyoku as the holy man.
  • Michiyuki Yuki no Furusato:
    (Travel Dance to Hometown in Snow)
    A dance adaptation of the "Ninokuchi-mura" act of the drama "Koi Bikyaku Yamato ďrai". In the pleasure quarters, the most important possessions were money and reputation. In danger of losing his lover, the courtesan Umegawa (Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘), the money courier Chűbŕ (Nakamura Kanjaku) breaks the seals on a package of money entrusted to him after being taunted by a rival, even though the use of such money is punishable by death. In this scene, on their way to love suicide, the couple go through the snow covered landscape on their way to the man's home town where they will meet their end.
  • Jiraiya: Jiraiya (Nakamura Baigyoku) was in reality Ogata Hiroyuki, the son of Ogata Hirozumi who fell down in war 20 years ago. Jiraiya is now the boss of robbers in Shinano province but robs only rich people. He seeks Tsunate (Ichikawa Emiya) with whom he is to be married and finds her in a hutch in Mt. My˘k˘. An old sorcerer Senso D˘jin (Ichikawa En'ya) calls and teaches him the sorcery of toads. Having mastered it, Jiraiya uses it to fight with Tsunate against a huge serpent. Featuring also Kataoka Ainosuke and Onoe Sh˘roku.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 26 December 2013
    Program

    Chikara to Emoshichi

    Iroha Gana Shijűshichi Moji (Yasaku no Kamabara)

    Chűshingura Sugata no Eawase

    Casting

    Nakamura Kichiemon, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Nakamura Matsue, Arashi Kitsusabur˘, Sawamura Yoshijir˘, ďtani Keiz˘, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Nakamura Hayato, Nakamura Yonekichi, Kataoka Takatar˘

    Comments

    Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon is the star of these December Kabuki performances at the National Theatre. The 3 items in the program are all related to the ak˘ r˘shi story. The second item is the revival of Nagawa Shimesuke I's drama "Yasaku no Kamabara". The third item is the revival of Kawatake Mokuami's 7-role 1865 hengemono "Chűshingura Sugata no Eawase", which is based on the classic "Kanadehon Chűshingura".

    Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 1 ~ 25 December 2013 (Jűnigatsu ďkabuki)
    December Grand Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Kanadehon Chűshingura

  • Kabuto Aratame
  • Shinmotsu, Ninj˘
  • Hangan Seppuku, Shiro Akewatashi
  • Michiyuki Tabiji no Hanamuko (Ochiudo)
  • Evening

    Kanadehon Chűshingura

  • Tepp˘ Watashi, Futatsudama
  • Kanpei Harakiri
  • Gion Ichiriki Jaya
  • Uchiiri, Okuniwa Sensui, Sumibeya
  • Casting

    Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Nakamura Shid˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, ďtani Tomoemon, Ichimura Manjir˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Matsumoto Kingo, Onoe Matsuya, Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘, Sawamura S˘nosuke, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Band˘ Minosuke, Nakamura Kotar˘, Onoe Ukon, ďtani Hirotar˘, Ichimura Takematsu

    Comments

    9th month celebrating the opening of the new Kabukiza within a 1-year long cycle of kokera otoshi programs. The play "Kanadehon Chűshingura" (The Treasure of 47 Loyal Retainers) is the most popular in the Kabuki repertory and is known throughout the world.

  • Kabuto Aratame/Shinmotsu/Ninj˘: daimy˘ lords from around the country gather for an important ceremony in the presence of Tadayoshi, the younger brother of the Sh˘gun. Under the watchful eye of the official Moron˘ (Ichikawa Ebiz˘), lords En'ya Hangan (Onoe Kikunosuke) and Wakasanosuke (Ichikawa Somegor˘) have been charged with making sure everything goes according to protocol. En'ya Hangan's wife Kaoyo (Nakamura Shichinosuke) is asked to identify a helmet to be used in the ceremony. Moron˘ is in love with Kaoyo and tries to woo her, but Wakasanosuke stops him. In return, Moron˘ uses his position of authority to berate the young lord and Wakasanosuke decides to kill Moron˘. But the next morning at the Sh˘gun's mansion, Wakasanosuke's head retainer bribes Moron˘ to keep his master from causing an incident and although Wakasanosuke is about to attack Moron˘, the aged official groveling stops him. As a result, though, Moron˘ is frustrated and angry and vents his feelings on En'ya Hangan, especially after Hangan innocently brings him a letter in which Kaoyo refuses Moron˘'s love. Moron˘ steadily insults Hangan, who tries to ignore the pressure, but finally draws his sword and attacks. Drawing a sword in the Sh˘gun's palace is a crime punishable by death, but Moron˘ himself escapes with only a slight wound as others within the mansion hurry in to stop Hangan.
  • Hangan Seppuku/Shiro Akewatashi: emissaries from the Sh˘gun arrive at En'ya Hangan's mansion to announce that he has received the strictest penalty for his actions. He is ordered to commit ritual suicide and his household is to be disbanded. Hangan's hate for Moron˘ grows when he hears that Moron˘ has received no punishment. Hangan waits and waits for his head retainer, but he does not arrive. Finally, Hangan plunges in the blade. At that moment, his head retainer Yuranosuke (Matsumoto K˘shir˘) arrives from their home province. With his last breaths, Hangan gives Yuranosuke the knife he used to commit suicide and tells him to take revenge. Now that the clan has been disbanded, Hangan's men become masterless samurai. Though some urge an immediate attack on Moron˘, Yuranosuke bids them not to do anything rash. When alone in front of the closed mansion gates, though, he secretly reveals his determination that his lord will not have died in vain.
  • Ochiudo: after the death of his lord, the retainer Kanpei (Ichikawa Ebiz˘) and his lover, the lady-in-waiting Okaru (Band˘ Tamasabur˘) flee to Okaru's home, a farmer's house in the country. Kanpei feels responsible for the events since he was having a romantic tryst and was not at his master's side at the crucial moment. He tries to commit suicide, but Okaru stops him and convinces him that they should go to her home as husband and wife and wait for the right moment for him to be reinstated.
  • Tepp˘ Watashi/Futatsudama/Kanpei Harakiri: Kanpei (Ichikawa Somegor˘) lives a poor life with Okaru (Nakamura Shichinosuke) at her parents' rural home. Kanpei desperately wants to take part in the vendetta against Moron˘, but must come up with the money necessary to finance his part in it. Secretly, Okaru and her family decide that the only way to raise the money is to sell her to the pleasure quarters. On a lonely highway, a highway thief named Sadakur˘ (Nakamura Shid˘) kills her father while he is on the way home from sealing the deal and the money is stolen. In a bizarre twist of events, Kanpei kills the robber while hunting on a dark night and finds the money. The fabric of the wallet, though, seems to prove that he has murdered his father-in-law. Kanpei commits ritual suicide to take responsibility, not only for the death of this father-in-law, but also for being absent when his lord needed him most.
  • Gion Ichiriki Jaya: Yuranosuke (Matsumoto K˘shir˘) spends his days and nights in the pleasure quarters of Ky˘to in an effort to make Moron˘ believe he is not planning a vendetta. His acting is so good that even men in his own group believe he has given his life up to pleasure. Moron˘ is not so easily convinced, though, and has sent spies, including a former retainer of En'ya Hangan, to find Yuranosuke's true intentions. Yuranosuke finds himself tested to the limits by the spy, and is even forced to eat meat on the anniversary of Hangan's death, a strong taboo. Okaru (Band˘ Tamasabur˘), now a courtesan, is also at the Ichiriki Teahouse. She catches a glimpse of a letter to Yuranosuke detailing plans for the vendetta, but he sees her and offers to buy out her contract, knowing he must kill her to keep the vendetta a secret. Okaru's brother Teraoka Heiemon (Ichikawa Ebiz˘), a servant in the Hangan household, has also come to the teahouse and when he hears that Yuranosuke is to buy out her contract, he realizes his true intentions. Heiemon tries to convince Okaru to let him kill her as such an act may allow him to take part in the vendetta as well. Hearing that Kanpei is now dead, Okaru agrees, but observing their loyal actions, Yuranosuke spares Okaru and allows Heiemon to join the vendetta.
  • Uchiiri/Okuniwa Sensui/Shibabeya: disguised as firemen, En'ya Hangan's retainers attack Moron˘'s mansion on a snowy night. After a fierce fight, they find Moron˘ hiding in a charcoal shed and take revenge for their lord's wrongful death. Featuring Matsumoto K˘shir˘ and Nakamura Shid˘ in the roles of Yuranosuke and Kobayashi Heihachir˘.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

     
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