The traditional kaomise in Ky˘to. As the Minamiza is closed, it is staged at the ROHM Theatre.
Nakamura Shikan VIII and his three sons celebrate their shűmei in this theater.
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 Nakamura Baigyoku as Kud˘
and some of the most popular young stars in Kabuki with Nakamura Hashinosuke as Gor˘ and
Nakamura Shichinosuke as Jűr˘. Featuring also Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Nakamura Fukunosuke and Nakamura Utanosuke as courtesan ďiso no Tora (Jűr˘'s lover), Kobayashi no Asahina, courtesan Kewaizaka no Sh˘sh˘ (Gor˘'s lover), ďmi no Kot˘ta and Yawata no Sabur˘.
Tokaiya/Daimotsu no Ura: these are two scenes from one of the greatest classics of
the puppet theatre, which has also become a classic of Kabuki.
After the wars between the Genji and Heike clans,
the Genji are victorious and their leader Yoritomo is now Sh˘gun. But there is a falling out
between Yoritomo and his brother Yoshitsune, the brilliant general responsible for the victory.
Now Yoshitsune is fleeing through the country and this play fancifully has him encounter
several famous warriors from the Heike clan, who are not dead, as history has it. Yoshitsune (Kataoka Hidetar˘) books passage on a boat to Kyűshű, but the captain is actually
Taira no Tomomori (Nakamura Shikan), a general of the Heike clan that Yoshitsune helped to defeat.
Tomomori was supposedly killed by Yoshitsune in the final battle of the war, but in this play,
Tomomori is shown as surviving, living in disguise with the child emperor Antoku and his
nursemaid (Nakamura Tokiz˘). At one moment the captain is a gallant commoner, but in the next,
he is Tomomori, a high ranking general close to the emperor. His wife as well is a
cheerful commoner who shows her true identity as a high-ranking lady-in-waiting in the
magnificent robes of the imperial court. Tomomori uses the opportunity to try to get his
revenge on Yoshitsune but is defeated again. Finally Tomomori holds a giant anchor and plunges
into the sea. Featuring also Nakamura Ganjir˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘ and Nakamura Kankur˘ in the roles of Sagami Gor˘, Musashib˘ Benkei and Irie Tanz˘.
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 Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon as Wankyű and his son Kataoka Takatar˘ as Matsuyama.
R˘ben Sugi no Yurai: this play deals with the legendary origins of the
priest R˘ben, one of the founders of the great T˘daiji temple in Nara. Once as a
farm woman was watching over her child, he was stolen away by a giant bird.
She wandered for years looking for him and was driven mad by her desperate search.
In the scene that will be presented, finally she comes to T˘daiji where the head
priest considers a certain tree very precious since that is where he was found as
a child. A Buddhist priest took care of him and now he has risen to this great
status. When she realizes that R˘ben is none other than her long lost child,
the mother recovers her senses and there is a happy reunion.
Starring Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ as R˘ben's mother and his son Nakamura Ganjir˘ as R˘ben.
Niwaka Jishi: this lively dance evokes the atmosphere of an
Edo period festival. The highlight of the piece is the lion dance performed
by two of the handsome young men of the neighborhood.
Featuring Nakamura Tokiz˘ and Kataoka Takatar˘ as the geisha and Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Fukunosuke and Nakamura Utanosuke as the firefighters.
Bunshichi Mottoi: Ch˘bŕ spends his days and nights gambling,
but is finally made aware of his family's problems when his daughter takes a job in the pleasure quarters.
Having received the money for her contract, he shows his good side to save a young man on the edge of suicide after losing a large sum of money,
but nobody believes Ch˘bŕ, thinking that he has gambled the money away.
The performance stars Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Senjaku and Nakamura Shichinosuke
in the roles of Ch˘bŕ, Ch˘bŕ's wife Okane and Bunshichi.
This 5-star casting features also Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Band˘ Yajűr˘ and Nakamura Kazutar˘.
ďeyama Shuten D˘ji:
(The Demon of Mt. ďe)
One of the most famous stories about demons is about Shuten D˘ji,
the demon of Mt. ďe, who loved sake and
terrorized Ky˘to by kidnapping beautiful women and forcing them to serve him
before he ate them. Finally, he is defeated by the famous demon-quelling
warrior Minamoto no Raik˘ and his four followers.
Starring Nakamura Kankur˘ as Shuten D˘ji and Nakamura Shichinosuke as Raik˘.
Based on a classical N˘ play, this is a dance that was created by Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVII.
Also featuring Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Fukunosuke, Nakamura Utanosuke and Nakamura Kazutar˘.
Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website