JANUARY 2013

2 in ďsaka (Sh˘chikuza), 6 shows in T˘ky˘ (National Theatre, Asakusa K˘kaid˘, Shinbashi Enbuj˘, Zenshinza Gekij˘)!

Sh˘chikuza (ďsaka)
Dates 1 ~ 26 January 2013 (Kotobuki Hatsuharu ďkabuki)
Congratulation Early Spring Grand Kabuki
MatinÚe

Sh˘fudatsuki Kongen Kusazuri

Kenuki

Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura (Yoshinoyama)

Sanmon Gosan no Kiri (Sanmon)

Evening

Ayatsuri Sanbas˘

Ogurusu no Ch˘bŕ

K˘j˘

Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura
(Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata)

Casting

Ichikawa Ennosuke, Ichikawa En'˘, Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Kanjaku, Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Ichikawa Chűsha, Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa En'ya, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Juen, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Band˘ Shinsha, Ichikawa K˘tar˘, Ichikawa Shun'en, Kamimura Kichitar˘

Comments

The actors Ichikawa En'˘ II, Ichikawa Ennosuke IV and Ichikawa Chűsha IX celebrate their shűmei in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza.

  • Kusazuri:
    (the Tug-of-War Over the Armor)
    A short dance in the oldest style of Kabuki, leisurely and full of humor, combining the charm of an onnagata female role specialist with the larger-than-life heroism of the bombastic aragoto style of acting. The strong woman Maizuru stops the powerful, but rash, warrior Soga no Gor˘ from rushing to a fight by pulling on the set of armor he is carrying. Starring Ichikawa Emiya and Ichikawa En'ya as Maizuru and Gor˘.
  • Kenuki: in this play, which retains the light, festive atmosphere of early-period Kabuki, a princess has a mysterious ailment that makes her hair stand on end, an ailment that prevents her from carrying out her long-awaited marriage. Kumedera Danj˘ comes from the groom's household to investigate and finds a plot to take over the household when his tweezers float in mid-air. Ichikawa Ukon stars in a play that features the bombastic aragoto style of acting that is a specialty of the Ichikawa family. Featuring also Band˘ Takesabur˘, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Band˘ Shinsha, Ichikawa K˘tar˘ and Ichikawa Shun'en.
  • Yoshinoyama: a dance travel scene from the epic "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura". Now in exile and disgrace, Yoshitsune has left his lover Shizuka in the safekeeping of his trusted retainer Tadanobu. But she is unaware that this Tadanobu is actually a magical fox who has disguised himself to be near the treasured drum that Shizuka carries, a drum made from the skins of his fox parents. Starring Ichikawa Ennosuke as Tadanobu, with Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ as Shizuka. Featuring also Nakamura Kanjaku as Hayami no T˘ta.
  • Sanmon: though short, this play is one of the most visually spectacular in Kabuki. The famous villain Ishikawa Goemon (Ichikawa Chűsha) enjoys a sea of cherry blossoms while sitting on top the large gate of Nanzenji Temple. His enjoyment of the scene is cut short, though, by the appearance below of his arch-nemesis, the general Mashiba Hisayoshi (Ichikawa En'˘).
  • Ayatsuri Sanbas˘:
    (The Puppet Sanbas˘)
    The Sanbas˘ is part of the ritual play "Okina", a prayer for prosperity and in Kabuki the vigorous Sanbas˘ dance is often performed separately. To make the dance especially auspicious, the old man Okina and attendant Senzai appear as well. In Kabuki, the Sanbas˘ dance appears in all kinds of versions. In this particular version, the Sanbas˘ is actually a giant marionette (Nakamura Kanjaku), dancing lightly until his antics tangle his strings, creating problems for his puppeteer (Band˘ Shinsha). Featuring also Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ in the role of Okina.
  • Ogurusu no Ch˘bŕ: a modern comedy by Okamoto Kid˘ (1872~1939) about a famous historical event. The village of Ogurusu is famous as the place where Akechi Mitsuhide met his death. Mitsuhide assassinated his master, the warlord Nobunaga, but after only three days of ruling Japan, was killed himself, passing control to Hideyoshi. The farmer Ch˘bŕ (Ichikawa Chűsha) is the bad boy of the village and the object of everyone's laughter and contempt, until a samurai comes and hails Ch˘bŕ as a hero for killing Mitsuhide. Featuring also Nakamura Kanjaku, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa Juen, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa K˘tar˘ and Ichikawa Shun'en.
  • 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 second month of the shűmei of Ichikawa En'˘ II and Ichikawa Ennosuke IV and Ichikawa Chűsha IX in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza.
  • 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 Nakamura Senjaku (Yoshitsune), Kataoka Hidetar˘ (Shizuka Gozen), Ichikawa Juen (Kawatsura H˘gen) and Band˘ Takesabur˘ (Kawatsura H˘gen's wife Asuka).
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 27 January 2013 (Hatsuharu ďkabuki)
    Early Spring Grand Kabuki
    Program

    Yume no Ichi Otokodate Kurabe

    Casting

    Onoe Kikugor˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Ichikawa Danz˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Onoe Sh˘roku, Sawamura Tanosuke, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Band˘ Kametoshi, Onoe Ukon, Nakamura Baishi, Nakamura Mantar˘, Fujima Taiga

    Comments

    The 120th anniversary of the death of Kawatake Mokuami is celebrated at the National Theatre with the revival of a long-forgotten drama, "Yagura Daiko Otomo Yoshiwara", which was premiered in the 2nd lunar month of 1866 at the Ichimuraza. Because of some refurbishment, a brand new title is used: "Yume no Ichi Otokodate Kurabe".

    Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 January 2013 (Kotobuki Hatsuharu ďkabuki)
    Congratulation Early Spring Grand Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Kotobuki Shiki Sanbas˘

    Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami (Kurumabiki)

    Modoribashi

    Keisei Hangonk˘ (Domo Mata)

    Evening

    Hirakana Seisuiki (Sakaro)

    Kanadehon Chűshingura
    (Gion Ichiriki Jaya)

    Tsuri Onna

    Casting

    Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Kichiemon, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Fukusuke, Kataoka Gat˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, ďtani Tomoemon, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Nakamura Kash˘, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Band˘ Shűch˘, Ichimura Kakitsu, Sawamura Yoshijir˘, Sawamura S˘nosuke, Kataoka Shinnosuke, Matsumoto Kingo, ďtani Keiz˘, Nakamura Matsue, ďtani Hirotar˘, ďtani Hiromatsu, Band˘ Minosuke, Nakamura Kotar˘, Nakamura Kunio

    Comments

    The 1st anniversary of the passing away of Living National Treasure Nakamura Jakuemon IV is celebrated at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ with the staging of two of his favourite dramas, "Domo Mata" and "Gion Ichiriki Jaya". Nakamura Jakuemon IV's son Nakamura Shibajaku VII plays the roles of Otoku in the former and Okaru in the latter.

  • Kotobuki Shiki Sanbas˘: Okina is the oldest ritual in the theater. This Kabuki version shows Okina, an old man who symbolizes eternal youth, his attendant Senzai and the vigorous Sanbas˘, who perform dances solemnly for good fortune. Sanbas˘ dances vigorously, stamping and shaking bells, praying for agricultural fertility and prosperity for all. This dances features Nakamura Baigyoku, Kataoka Gat˘ and Nakamura Kaishun in the roles of Sanbas˘, Okina and Senzai.
  • Kurumabiki: this short scene shows the three brothers that dominate the drama "Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami", each with a distinctive personality. Sakuramaru (Nakamura Shichinosuke) and Ume˘maru (Band˘ Mitsugor˘) have been rendered masterless by Kan Sh˘j˘'s exile. The third brother Matsu˘maru (Nakamura Hashinosuke) serves the villain Shihei (Band˘ Yajűr˘), who is responsible for the downfall of Kan Sh˘j˘. Sakuramaru and Ume˘maru try to destroy Shihei's carriage but are stopped by Matsu˘maru and the magical glare of Shihei. Finally the brothers agree to suspend their disputes until they all meet at their father's seventieth birthday party.
  • Modoribashi: a dance play based on a legend in 10th century that a brave general Watanabe no Tsuna cut off an arm of a demon on the Modoribashi bridge in Ky˘to. Watanabe no Tsuna (Matsumoto K˘shir˘) comes across a beautiful woman (Nakamura Fukusuke) on the Modoribashi bridge and accompanies her home as he is on his way back from his master Minamoto no Yorimitsu. On the way she shows him dance and she tries to make a play for him. As he inquires her of her identity, she reveals her identity as a demon and a fight occurs between them. He cuts off an arm of the demon with his sword, but it flies away.
  • Domo Mata: the artist Matahei has been refused a professional name because of his stuttering. He makes a poor life by drawing folk paintings and decides to make one last effort to gain respectability. His wife Otoku, who is given as much to chatter as Matahei is silent, pleads his case. Turned down again by his master, Matahei decides to take his life. He draws a farewell portrait of himself, a painting so skillful that the lines seep through solid rock and this miracle convinces his master to confer a professional name. Starring Nakamura Kichiemon as Matahei and Nakamura Shibajaku as his wife Otoku. Featuring Nakamura Karoku as Matahei's master Tosa Sh˘gen Mitsunobu, ďtani Tomoemon as Utanosuke and Nakamura Kash˘ as Shűrinosuke.
  • Sakaro:
    (The Rise and Fall of the Heike Clan - Reverse Rowing)
    A period play taken from the Bunraku puppet theater which combines a historical tale with the daily life of commoners. Matsuemon (Matsumoto K˘shir˘) has married into the family of a country boatman. Having learned the special rowing skills of his father-in-law, he is invited to transport the Genji general Yoshitsune. But Matsuemon is actually the warrior Higuchi Kanemitsu, a leading retainer of a general killed by Yoshitsune and he sees this as a perfect opportunity to take his revenge. Before he can put his plan into action, though, his identity is discovered and he is captured in a spectacular battle on sea and land. Featuring Matsumoto Kingo, Nakamura Fukusuke and Nakamura Baigyoku in the roles of Gonshir˘, Ofude and Hatakeyama Shigetada.
  • 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 K˘shir˘) 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 (Nakamura Shibajaku), 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 (Nakamura Kichiemon), 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.
  • Tsuri Onna: a dance based on a classical Ky˘gen farce. A master (Nakamura Hashinosuke) longs for a wife and is told by the gods in a dream to go fishing for one. He is united with a beautiful princess (Nakamura Shichinosuke). His servant Tar˘kaja (Nakamura Matagor˘) wants a wife as well, but when he goes fishing, is stuck with a very surprising companion, played by Band˘ Mitsugor˘ in a rare, humorous, female role.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Asakusa K˘kaid˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 27 January 2013 (Shinshun Hanagata Kabuki)
    New Year Young Actors Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Kotobuki Soga no Taimen

    Kiwametsuki Banzui Ch˘bŕ

    Evening

    Hikosan Gongen Chikai no Sukedachi (Keya-mura)

    Kotobuki Hatsuharu K˘j˘

    Kanjinch˘

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Kataoka Ainosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Nakamura Kikaku, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Onoe Matsuya, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Nakamura Hayato, Nakamura Yonekichi, Band˘ Shingo, Nakamura Umemaru

    Comments

    The yearly show for young promising actors at the Asakusa K˘kaid˘ in Asakusa, a lively and colorful neighboorhood that keeps the scent of old Edo.

  • 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 Ebiz˘ as Kud˘ and some of the most popular young stars in Kabuki with Onoe Matsuya as Gor˘ and Nakamura Kazutar˘ as Jűr˘.
  • Banzui Ch˘bŕ: in the early Edo period, gallant men like Banzuiin Ch˘bŕ led the commoners. But this incurred the wrath of members of the samurai class, who were theoretically in control. This play begins with a recreation of Kabuki in its earliest days, then a fight breaks out which is settled by Ch˘bŕ (Ichikawa Ebiz˘). But this frustrates the ambitions of the samurai Mizuno (Kataoka Ainosuke) who invites Ch˘bŕ to visit. All of Ch˘bŕ's men tell him not to go because it is a trap, but Ch˘bŕ decides to meet his end and bids farewell to his wife (Kataoka Takatar˘) and son. Finally, Ch˘bŕ is killed when he is defenseless in the bath.
  • Keya-mura: Rokusuke (Kataoka Ainosuke), a sword master who lives a simple country life, is taking care of a small foundling child. He hangs the boy's kimono outside his house in the hope that the boy's relatives will see it and know where he is. One day he finds himself attacked by a woman named Osono (Nakamura Kazutar˘) who turns out to be the aunt of the child. As they talk, they find that they are in fact linked by promises of marriage although they have never met directly. Osono is searching for Ky˘goku no Takumi (Nakamura Kikaku), the killer of her father, Rokusuke's master, and Rokusuke promises to help in her vendetta.
  • Kotobuki Hatsuharu K˘j˘:
    (Stage Announcement for the New Year)
    The close relationship between the actors and the audience is shown by these stage announcements, lavish ceremonies to commemorate various important events.In this stage announcement, the popular young star of the program Ichikawa Ebiz˘ will introduce the plays in the program and celebrate the New Year.
  • 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 Ichikawa Ebiz˘ in the role of Benkei, with Kataoka Takatar˘ and Kataoka Ainosuke as Yoshitsune and the barrier keeper Togashi.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Zenshinza Gekij˘ (Kichij˘ji)
    Dates 2 ~ 9 January 2013 (Zenshinza Gekij˘ Fainaru K˘en)
    Zenshinza Gekij˘ Final Performances
    Program

    Sannin Kichisa Tomoe no Shiranami

    Casting

    Fujikawa Yanosuke, Kawarazaki Kunitar˘, Arashi Yoshisabur˘, Yamazaki Tatsusabur˘, Anegawa Shinnosuke, Matsunami Kihachir˘

    Comments

    Final Performances at the Zenshinza Gekij˘. This theater, which was built by the Zenshinza troupe in 1982, will be destroyed after 30 years of activity.

  • Sannin Kichisa:
    (Three Thieves Named Kichisa)
    The playwright Kawatake Mokuami excelled at portrayals of thieves and this short scene, with its music and poetic lines, is one of his most famous. A beautiful young woman helps out a woman who is lost on the road. But she is actually Oj˘ Kichisa, a male thief who is disguised as a woman. He steals an immense sum of money that the woman is carrying and this leads to an encounter on this riverbank of three thieves, all with the name Kichisa. The two others Kichisa are Osh˘ Kichisa, a bonze turned thief, and Ob˘ Kichisa, an ex-samurai turned thief Though they start out as rivals, they decide to become blood brothers and form a gang. Featuring Kawarazaki Kunitar˘ as Oj˘ Kichisa, Fujikawa Yanosuke as Osh˘ Kichisa and Arashi Yoshisabur˘ as Ob˘ Kichisa.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

     
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