DECEMBER 2017

2 shows in Ky˘to (ROHM Theatre), 3 in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre) and 1 in Nagoya (Chűnichi Theatre)!

  • Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘ and Band˘ Yajűr˘ perform at the ROHM Theatre!
  • Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon, Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Jakuemon, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Karoku and Nakamura Matagor˘ perform at the National Theatre
  • Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Kataoka Ainosuke, Onoe Sh˘roku, Ichikawa Danz˘, Ichikawa Chűsha, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Band˘ Kamez˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘, Sawamura S˘nosuke and Nakamura Baishi perform at the Kabukiza!
  • The Zenshinza troupe performs at the Chűnichi Theatre!
  • ROHM Theatre (Ky˘to)
    Dates 1 ~ 18 December 2017 (Kichirei Kaomise K˘gy˘)
    Annual Festive Face-Showing Performances
    MatinÚe

    Kotobuki Soga no Taimen

    Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura

  • Tokaiya
  • Funayagura
  • Daimotsu no Ura
  • Ninin Wankyű

    Evening

    R˘ben Sugi no Yurai (Nigatsud˘)

    Niwaka Jishi

    Ninj˘ Banashi Bunshichi Mottoi

    ďeyama Shuten D˘ji

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Kataoka Shinnosuke, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Fukunosuke, Nakamura Utanosuke

    Comments

    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 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

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 26 December 2017
    Program

    Imay˘ Sanbas˘

    Suda no Haru Geisha Katagi

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon, Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Jakuemon, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘

    Comments

    Revival of Namiki Gohei I's drama "Suda no Haru Geisha Katagi" (commonly called "Ume no Yoshibŕ"), which was staged for the last time in September 1878 at the National Theatre. The zagashira is Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon.

    Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 December 2017 (Jűnigatsu ďkabuki)
    December Grand Kabuki
    1st Program

    Genpei Nunobiki no Taki
    (Sanemori Monogatari)

    Tsuchi Gumo

    2nd Program

    Rakuda

    Yamatogana Ariwara Keizu
    (Ranpei Monogurui)

    3rd Program

    Mabuta no Haha

    Y˘kihi

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Kataoka Ainosuke, Onoe Sh˘roku, Ichikawa Danz˘, Ichikawa Chűsha, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Band˘ Kamez˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘, Sawamura S˘nosuke, Nakamura Baishi, Band˘ Shingo, Nakamura Matsue, Nakamura Kotar˘, Nakamura Mantar˘, ďtani Hirotar˘, ďtani Hiromatsu, Ichimura Takematsu, Nakamura Kamenoj˘, Ichimura Kitsutar˘, Kataoka Matsunosuke, Onoe Sakon, Band˘ Kamesabur˘

    Comments

    The programs for the December Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza use the sanbusei tripartite system, which is mainly used in August.

  • Sanemori Monogatari: a play about the early days of the rivalry between the Genji and Heike warrior clans. The warrior Sait˘ Bett˘ Sanemori (Kataoka Ainosuke) has been charged by the leaders of the dominant Heike clan with finding Aoi Gozen, the pregnant wife of the leader of the enemy Genji clan. He is to kill her child if it is a son who can succeed to head of the clan, but old loyalties to the Genji lead him to protect the boy. Sanemori tells the story of how Koman, the daughter of the old couple who is protecting Aoi Gozen, bravely fought to protect the sacred standard of the Genji from the Heike. Koman mysteriously comes back to life when her severed arm is rejoined to it. Featuring also Kataoka Kamez˘ as Senoo Jűr˘.
  • Tsuchi Gumo: a dance play adapted from the classical theatre. The samurai Lord Minamoto Raik˘ is famous in legend for ridding Ky˘to of demons. While Raik˘ is confined to bed with illness, a priest (Onoe Sh˘roku) from a prominent temple comes to pray for his health. In fact, the priest is actually the spirit of the earth spider which has caused Raik˘'s illness in the first place and hopes to destroy him. The spider's plan to kill Raik˘ is defeated by his retainers (the famous shitenn˘) in an exciting fight. Featuring Band˘ Hikosabur˘ as Raik˘.
  • Rakuda: this is a popular dramatization of a rakugo comic story. A petty gang boss named Rakuda (Kataoka Kamez˘) has died after eating blowfish. Hanji, one of his gang members, finds him and hopes to bury him, but has no money. When he tries to get the neighbors to contribute, everyone is overjoyed that such a nuisance is dead, but won't contribute a cent towards his burial. Finally Hanji pulls in a passing waste paper collector named Kyűroku (Ichikawa Chűsha) and forces him to carry around Rakuda's body and threaten to make it dance if the neighbors won't pay up. They get a great sum of money and start drinking together. But as he drinks, the hapless Kyűroku becomes surprisingly aggressive. Featuring also Kataoka Ainosuke.
  • Ranpei Monogurui: in order to recover a treasure, Ranpei claims to go mad at the sight of a sword. But he is unmasked and the play ends with one of the most spectacular fight scenes in Kabuki including a struggle on top of a high ladder held up on the hanamichi runway. Starring Onoe Sh˘roku as Ranpei, a role closely associated with the Onoe Sh˘roku line.
  • Mabuta no Haha:
    (The Remembered Mother)
    first performed in 1931, "Mabuta no Haha" is a play by Hasegawa Shin (1884~1963), who specialized in gritty realistic representations of the lower classes in the Edo period. Banba no Chűtar˘ (Ichikawa Chűsha) is a rough gangster, but has always regretted not knowing his mother (Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘). After helping a friend and his mother, he decides to search for his own. He believes to have found her in Ohama, the mistress of a restaurant, but she refuses to acknowledge him to protect the reputation of her daughter, who is about to be married. Unable to meet his mother, he closes his eyes and tries to imagine her as the beautiful woman he remembers, not the horror of reality.
  • Y˘kihi: this is a rare performance of a play by Osaragi Jir˘, the novelist most famous for the Robin Hood-like character Kurama Tengű. The play was originally written for a Shinpa troupe and dramatizes one of the most famous incidents in Chinese history. Yang Guifei (Y˘kihi in Japanese) was a beautiful woman from a humble family who became the mistress of the Tang emperor. His love for her was such that the entire empire nearly crumbled. The play focuses on Y˘kihi's rise and her relationship with the young court official that loves her, first brings her to the emperor and serves her faithfully as a court eunuch. Finally he begs to be the one to kill her when rebellion and a coup d'etat threaten the empire. Starring Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ in the role of Y˘kihi. Featuring also Ichikawa Chűsha.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Chűnichi Theatre (Nagoya)
    Dates 30 November ~ 2 December 2017
    (Zenshinza Nagoya Tokubetsu ~ Chűnichi Gekij˘ Sayonara K˘en)
    Zenshinza Nagoya Special Performances ~ Chűnichi Theatre Farewell Performances
    Program

    Ayatsuri Sanbas˘

    K˘j˘

    Ninj˘ Banashi Bunshichi Mottoi

    Casting

    Fujikawa Yanosuke, Kawarazaki Kunitar˘, Arashi Yoshisabur˘, Yamazaki Tatsusabur˘, Tadamura Shin'ya, Matsunami Kihachir˘, Tamaura Yűnosuke

    Comments

    Special performances of the Zenshinza troupe in Nagoya at the Chűnichi Theatre. This theater will stop its activities at the end of March 2018 as it is located inside the Chűnichi Building, which will be destroyed and rebuilt due to its old age. The k˘j˘ is about the old performances of the Zenshinza in this theater.

     
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