FEBRUARY 2018

3 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza), 2 in Fukuoka (Hakataza), 1 in Naruto (ďtsuka Museum of Art) and 1 in Nagoya (Chűnichi Theatre)!

Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
Dates 1 ~ 25 February 2018
Nigatsu ďkabuki
February Grand Kabuki
MatinÚe

Harukoma Iwai no K˘rai

Kiichi H˘gen Sanryaku no Maki

  • Higaki Jaya
  • Ichij˘ ďkura Monogatari
  • Shibaraku

    Ii Tair˘

    Evening

    Ichi-no-Tani Futaba Gunki (Kumagai Jin'ya)

    Kotohogu Sandai Kabuki no Nigiwai

    Kanadehon Chűshingura
    (Gion Ichiriki Jaya)

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon, Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘, Matsumoto Haku˘, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Kataoka Gat˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Ichikawa Sadanji, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Ichikawa Ennosuke, Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Band˘ Rakuzen, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Band˘ Kamez˘, ďtani Tomoemon, Ichimura Kakitsu, Ichikawa Sai'nyű, Ichikawa Udanji, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Nakamura Matsue, Nakamura Baishi, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Umemaru, Arashi Kitsusabur˘, Sawamura S˘nosuke, Onoe Ukon, Ichikawa Kudanji, Ichikawa Omez˘, Band˘ Minosuke, Ichikawa K˘tar˘, Nakamura Kichinoj˘, Nakamura Kamenoj˘, ďtani Hirotar˘, ďtani Hiromatsu, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Hayato, Nakamura Mantar˘

    Comments

    The traditional two programs for the February Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza, which celebrate the second month of the 3-generation K˘raiya shűmei (K˘raiya Sandai Shűmei) of Matsumoto Haku˘ II, Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X and Ichikawa Somegor˘ VIII.

  • Ataru Toshi Iwau Harukoma:
    (Spring Hobbyhorses and the Soga Brothers)
    The story of the revenge of the Soga brothers (sogamono) is one of the favorite themes of Kabuki. Here it is transformed into a fanciful dance using hobbyhorses, children's toys that were one of the sights of the New Year. Starring Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Kinnosuke and Nakamura Matagor˘.
  • Ichij˘ ďkura Monogatari: the world is ruled by Taira no Kiyomori, the leader of the Heike clan. Tokiwa Gozen, the widow of the head of the defeated Genji clan and mother of Yoritomo and Yoshitsune, the future leaders of the clan, has become the mistress of the dictator Kiyomori, then the wife of Lord ďkura, a seemingly simple-minded fool who spends all his time watching pretty women dance. Outraged members of the Genji clan sneak into Lord ďkura's mansion only to discover that Tokiwa Gozen's immorality and Lord ďkura's idiocy are a guise, the only way to survive in a world ruled by the enemy. This performance stars Matsumoto K˘shir˘ as Lord ďkura, Nakamura Tokiz˘ as Tokiwa Gozen, Onoe Sh˘roku as Yoshioka Kijir˘ and Kataoka Takatar˘ as Yoshioka's wife Oky˘.
  • Shibaraku:
    (Wait a Minute!)
    More ceremony than play, "Shibaraku" is one of the oldest pieces in Kabuki. Just as an evil villain is about to execute a group of loyal retainers, a voice calls out for him to wait and a hero of justice (Ichikawa Ebiz˘) appears to save the day. This play features the bombastic aragoto style of acting, which is the specialty of the Ichikawa Danjűr˘ line of actors and is part of the collection of the Eighteen Favorite Plays (Kabuki Jűhachiban) of the Ichikawa Family. Featuring also Nakamura Ganjir˘, Ichikawa Sadanji and Kataoka Takatar˘.
  • Ii Tair˘: Ii Naosuke was the head of state in Japan in 1860 when there were pressures from inside and outside the country. Imperial loyalists demanded that the Sh˘gun step down and hand over rule to the emperor to resist the foreign barbarians. The United States and other countries insisted that Japan open its doors. On March 3, at the snow-covered gate to the Sh˘gun's castle, Ii Naosuke was assassinated by imperial loyalists. This modern play by H˘j˘ Hideji features the last day before the assassination as Naosuke senses that his end is near. The deaths of an old friend and his newborn daughter make Naosuke and his mistress Oshizu think back to simpler times before he was burdened by such responsibilities. Starring Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon as Oshizu, Nakamura Jakuemon as Ii Naosuke, Nakamura Karoku as Naosuke's Zen teacher Sen'ei and Nakamura Baigyoku as Nagano Shuzen.
  • Kumagai Jin'ya: this play is a dramatization of the clash between the Genji general Kumagai Jir˘ Naozane and the Heike warrior Taira no Atsumori at the battle of Ichi-no-Tani, one of the most famous passages of the epic "Tales of the Heike". In the Kabuki version, on the cryptic orders of the Genji leader Yoshitsune, Kumagai hides the enemy warrior Atsumori and has his own son take the warrior's place. On the battlefield, Kumagai has to kill his own son in Atsumori's place. Things become worse when his wife Sagami and Atsumori's mother Fuji-no-Kata arrive at his camp. In the highlight of the play, he tells them the story of his mortal battle with Atsumori, keeping Atsumori's well-being and his own sacrifice a secret. He then shows the head of Atsumori for inspection by his leader to see if he has interpreted his orders correctly. This performance stars Matsumoto K˘shir˘ as Kumagai, with Nakamura Kaishun as Kumagai's wife Sagami, Nakamura Jakuemon as Fuji-no-Kata, Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘ as Yoshitsune, Nakamura Shikan as Kajiwara Heiji Kagetaka, Nakamura Ganjir˘ as Tsutsumi Gunji and Ichikawa Sadanji as Midaroku.
  • Kabuki no Nigiwai: this play is what is called shibai mae ('Before the Playhouse'): the stage is likened to a Kabuki theatre in the Edo period and a celebration ceremony such as a name succession and so on takes place in front of it. The scene of this month's performance is laid in Kobikich˘, the theatre district in Edo (the old name for T˘ky˘), where the current Kabukiza Theatre stands. Top-rated actors appear as chivalrous men and chivalrous women and congratulate the actors Matsumoto Haku˘ II, Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X and Ichikawa Somegor˘ VIII, three generations of actors of the K˘raiya acting house who are succeeding to those names at the same time.
  • Gion Ichiriki Jaya: "Chűshingura" is one of the most popular plays in the theatre and shows a true event when forty-seven masterless samurai avenged the death of their lord by killing his enemy. The seventh act is one of the most popular and shows the leader of the vendetta Yuranosuke as he is hiding his intention to avenge his lordĺs death by pretending to be only interested in pleasure, but also encountering key figures on his side and the side of the enemy. Yuranosuke (Matsumoto Haku˘) spends his days and nights in the pleasure quarters of Ky˘to in an effort to make their lordĺs enemy, 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 their late lord, En'ya Hangan, to find Yuranosuke's true intentions. Okaru (Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ on odd-numbered days; Onoe Kikunosuke on even-numbered days), the wife of one of the retainers is now a courtesan at the Ichiriki Teahouse, unaware that her husband is dead. Okaru's brother Heiemon (Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon on odd-numbered days; Ichikawa Ebiz˘ on even-numbered days), a servant in the Hangan household, has also come to the teahouse and the interaction of these characters becomes a matter of life and death and ends with Yuranosuke preparing to lead the vendetta.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Dates 26 February 2018
    Enjukai
    MatinÚe

    Ume no Haru
    Music only

    Tamaya
    Music only

    Kashiwa no Wakaba
    Music only

    Sanja Matsuri
    Music only

    Sukeroku
    Music only

    Izayoi
    Music only

    Michitose
    Music only

    Mutamagawa
    Music only

    Umegawa
    Music only

    Seigaiha
    Music only

    Ochiudo
    Music only

    Kanda Matsuri
    Music only

    Kairaishi
    Music only

    Gonj˘
    Music only

    Maboroshi Wankyű
    Music only

    Ch˘sei
    Music only

    Sumidagawa
    Music only

    Mutamagawa
    Music only

    Sarutori
    Music only

    Sukeroku
    Music only

    Shiki Sanbas˘
    Buy˘ with Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Kazutar˘ and Onoe Ukon

    Seigaiha
    Suodori with Ichikawa Ennosuke

    Evening

    Yoshiwara Suzume
    Suodori with Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke

    K˘j˘

    Omatsuri
    Buy˘ with Onoe Kikunosuke

    Yasuna
    Buy˘ with Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon

    Kisen
    Music only

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Ichikawa Ennosuke, Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Onoe Ukon

    Comments

    Onoe Ukon, the grandson of Kiyomoto Enjudayű VI and the son of Kiyomoto Enjudayű VII, takes the name as a music master of Kiyomoto Eijudayű VII at the Kabukiza. This is a special Kiyomoto gala program, which commemorates the 32nd anniversary (33rd memorial services) of the passing away of Kiyomoto Enjudayű VI. This program is entitled "Enjukai". Onoe Ukon's elder brother Kiyomoto Takahiro takes the name of Kiyomoto Saiju in the same program.

    Hakataza (Fukuoka)
    Dates 2 ~ 25 February 2018
    Nigatsu Hanagata Kabuki
    February Young Actors Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Iso Ijinkan

    Osome Hisamatsu Ukina no Yomiuri
    (Osome no Nanayaku)

    Evening

    Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura

  • Tokaiya
  • Funayagura
  • Daimotsu no Ura
  • Iwashi Uri Koi no Hikiami

    Casting

    Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Senjaku, Onoe Matsuya, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Kataoka Kamez˘, Nakamura Kotar˘, Band˘ Shingo, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Fukunosuke, Ichikawa Fukutar˘, Nakamura Tsurumatsu

    Comments

    Young actors performing at the Hakataza.

  • Iso Ijinkan:
    (The Foreign Settlement in Satsuma)
    This is a new play written and published in 1969 as part of a competition for plays commemorating the Meiji Restoration. The play shows events during the turbulent final years of the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate and the establishment of the new Meiji state and shows the tragedy of glass craftsman Okano Seinosuke (Nakamura Hashinosuke) and his family as they are caught in the changes of attitude of their Satsuma clan toward the West. At first the clan is violently anti-foreign and starts a war with England that leaves Seinosuke horribly disfigured when he tries to defend the glass factory from the foreigners. But then the clan decides that it needs the technology of the West and invites the foreigners in. Finally Seinosuke loses everything, including the beautiful Ruri (Nakamura Kotar˘), the daughter of the king of the Ryűkyű Islands, who has been brought up in Kagoshima as a hostage. Also featuring Kataoka Kamez˘, Onoe Matsuya and Ichikawa Monnosuke.
  • Osome no Nanayaku:
    (The 7 roles of Osome)
    The story of the love suicide of Osome, the daughter of a wealthy merchant and Hisamatsu, a handsome young man that was an apprentice in her family's shop, is one of the most popular stories in Kabuki and was dramatized countless times. In 1813, Tsuruya Nanboku IV (1755~1829) wrote up this story as a showpiece for Iwai Hanshir˘ V, an onnagata specialist in female roles. One actor plays seven of the major roles in the play: Osome, Hisamatsu, the poor Osaku, Omitsu (Hisamatsu's official fiance), Hisamatsu's sister Takegawa, the geisha Koito, Osome's mother Teish˘ and a snake charmer named Oroku. Onnagata superstar Nakamura Shichinosuke makes a virtuoso appearance in this play, acting in all seven roles, including the fastest on-stage fast change in all Kabuki. Also featuring Nakamura Kankur˘ as Oroku's fiance Kimon no Kihŕ. Featuring also Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Kamez˘ and Onoe Matsuya.
  • 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 (Nakamura Shichinosuke) books passage on a boat to Kyűshű, but the captain is actually Taira no Tomomori (Onoe Matsuya), 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 Senjaku). 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 Kankur˘, Kataoka Kamez˘ and Nakamura Hashinosuke in the roles of Sagami Gor˘, Musashib˘ Benkei and Irie Tanz˘.
  • Iwashi Uri:
    (The Princess and the Sardine Seller)
    A modern play by novelist Mishima Yukio, this recreates the leisurely, comic atmosphere of early 18th century Kabuki. A sardine seller famous for his vigorous chanting falls in love with a beautiful courtesan and disguises himself as a wealthy patron, only to discover that she is actually a princess that ran away from her family after falling in love with the call of a sardine seller. Starring Nakamura Kankur˘ as the sardine seller and Nakamura Shichinosuke as the princess.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website


    ďtsuka Museum of Art (Naruto)
    Dates 15 ~ 18 February 2018
    Sistine Kabuki
    Program

    GOEMON (Romanesuku)

    Casting

    Kataoka Ainosuke, Kamimura Kichiya Nakamura Kazutar˘

    Comments

    8th edition of the Sistine Kabuki, a Kabuki program within the Sistine Hall of the ďtsuka Museum of Art, which is located in the city of Naruto (Tokushima prefecture). Inside this museum, there are more than 1,000 replicas of priceless masterpieces of Western art, from ancient murals to modern paintings, which are reproduced in ceramic to their original size. The Sistine Hall is of course a "reproduction" of the Vatican Sistine Chapel. A newly-created "romanesque" (romanesuku) ishikawa-goemonmono is staged with Kataoka Ainosuke in the prestigious role of the legendary thief Ishikawa Goemon.

    Chűnichi Theatre (Nagoya)
    Dates 27 February 2018
    Kabuki Buy˘ Tokubetsu K˘en
    Kabuki Dance Special Performances
    Program

    K˘j˘

    Fuji Musume

    Renjishi

    Casting

    Ichikawa Udanji, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa K˘tar˘

    Comments

    A special program 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.

  • 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 actors of the line-up assemble to evocate memories of performances in Nagoya at the Chűnichi Theatre.
  • Fuji Musume: the spirit of wisteria blossoms dances of love in the form of a beautiful young maiden. One of Kabuki's most famous and colorful dances, it will feature the dancing skills of Ichikawa Emiya.
  • Renjishi: 2 entertainers dance a tale of the legendary shishi or lion-like spirits that live at the foot of a holy Buddhist mountain. There is a comic interlude with 2 Buddhist pilgrims. Then, the shishi themselves appear and perform their dance with wild shaking of their long manes. The dance shows a parent shishi forcing his cub to undergo harsh training in order to grow up strong. This theme is often associated with the training a parent actor gives his son. This performance features Ichikawa Udanji in the role of the parent shishi and Ichikawa K˘tar˘ in the role of the cub.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

     
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