JANUARY 2017

2 in ďsaka (Sh˘chikuza), 7 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre, Asakusa K˘kaid˘, Shinbashi Enbuj˘) and 1 in Ky˘to (Pontoch˘ Kaburenj˘)!

  • Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Kataoka Takatar˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘ and Band˘ Takesabur˘ perform at the Sh˘chikuza!
  • Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon, Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Jakuemon, Kataoka Ainosuke, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘ and Nakamura Kazutar˘ perform at the Kabukiza!
  • Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke and Onoe Sh˘roku perform at the National Theatre
  • Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Ichikawa Ennosuke, Ichikawa Udanji, Ichikawa Chűsha and Ichikawa Monnosuke perform at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘!
  • The Zenshinza troupe perform at the Pontoch˘ Kaburenj˘!
  • Lots of young talented actors at the Asakusa K˘kaid˘!
  • Sh˘chikuza (ďsaka)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 January 2017 (Kotobuki Hatsuharu ďkabuki)
    Congratulation Early Spring Grand Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Kichirei Kotobuki Soga (Shigitatsusawa Taimen)

    Kajiwara Heiz˘ Homare no Ishikiri
    (Ishikiri Kajiwara)

    Koi Bikyaku Yamato ďrai (Ninokuchi-mura)

    Evening

    Tsuru Kame

    K˘j˘

    Kanjinch˘

    Kari no Tayori

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Kataoka Takatar˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Nakamura Kikaku, Nakamura Matsue, Kataoka Shinnosuke, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Ichikawa Fukutar˘, Nakamura Fukunosuke, Nakamura Utanosuke, Nakamura Kotar˘, Band˘ Shingo, Nakamura Baika, Nakamura Jűjir˘, Arashi Kitsusabur˘, Kataoka Matsunosuke

    Comments

    The traditional two programs for the New Year Grand Kabuki at the Sh˘chikuza with a troupe led by Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘. Nakamura Shikan VIII and his three sons, Nakamura Hashinosuke IV, Nakamura Fukunosuke III and Nakamura Utanosuke IV, celebrate their shűmei in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza. This is also the 20th anniversary of the Sh˘chikuza which is celebrated.

  • Shigitatsusawa Taimen: This piece is an act of a history play based on the legend of the vendetta of Soga brothers and performed as a festive play to celebrate the New Year. Kud˘ Suketsune, a senior vassal of Minamoto no Yoritomo is appointed to the magistrate of the hunting session at the foot of Mt. Fuji. Suketsuneĺs wife Naginoha (Kataoka Hidetar˘) comes to ďiso to visit Izusan Shrine and Hakone Shrine as a substitute for her busy husband. As the party is taking a rest, brothers who name themselves Ichiman (Nakamura Utanosuke) and Hako˘ (Nakamura Fukunosuke) appear and question them severely that the person in the palanquin must be Suketsune himself. The brothers' father Kawazu Sabur˘ was killed by Suketsune, so they watched the opportunity to avenge their father. In the midst of such disturbances Naginoha comes out of the palanquin. She tells them to wait for the chance and gives them the pass to enter the territory for the hunting ground which Suketsune left her. Featuring also Nakamura Hashinosuke in the role of Kobayashi no Asahina.
  • Ishikiri Kajiwara: the Heike general Kajiwara (Nakamura Shikan) is asked to test the sharpness of a sword by slicing two live human beings in half. He deliberately makes the sword fail the test to keep the sword, a priceless heirloom belonging to the enemy Genji clan, from falling into the hands of his Taira clan. A miracle has convinced Kajiwara to change sides. Kajiwara finally demonstrates the true power of the sword by cutting a large stone basin in two. Featuring also Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Kotar˘ and Nakamura Hashinosuke.
  • Ninokuchi-mura: in the pleasure quarters, the most important possessions were money and reputation. In danger of losing his lover, the courtesan Umegawa (Kataoka Takatar˘), the money courier Chűbŕ (Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon) 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. The role of Chűbŕ's father Magoemon is also played by Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon. Featuring also Band˘ Takesabur˘ and Nakamura Kikaku.
  • Tsuru Kame: the crane (tsuru) is said to live for a thousand years, the tortoise (kame) is said to live for ten thousand years. Together, they are a traditional symbol of longevity. There is no particular plot to this play, but simply shows a visit by the empress to the Moon Pavilion where two courtiers dance as the spirits of the crane and tortoise. Starring Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ as the empress, Nakamura Hashinosuke as the spirit of the crane, Nakamura Fukunosuke as the spirit of the tortoise and Nakamura Utanosuke as an attendant.
  • 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 Nakamura Shikan VIII, Nakamura Hashinosuke IV, Nakamura Fukunosuke III and Nakamura Utanosuke IV.
  • 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 Nakamura Shikan in the role of Benkei, with Nakamura Kaishun and Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon as Yoshitsune and the barrier keeper Togashi. Featuring also Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Fukunosuke and Nakamura Utanosuke in the roles of Kamei Rokur˘, Kataoka Hachir˘ and Suruga Jir˘.
  • Kari no Tayori: an unusual play in the ďsaka acting style originally written in the 19th century by Nakamura Utaemon III. A barber (Nakamura Ganjir˘) finds his feelings twisted one way and another by the events in the neighboring samurai mansion where the lord is trying to force Tsukasa (Nakamura Kotar˘), a beautiful woman, to become his mistress. The play shows the barber's changing reactions to two letters from the beautiful woman declaring her love for him. One letter is sincere, the other is a forgery but both turn out to be dangerous traps. Starring also Nakamura Shikan in the role of the young master Yorozuya Kinnosuke. Featuring also Band˘ Yajűr˘, Kataoka Takatar˘ and Nakamura Kikaku.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 January 2017 (Hatsuharu ďkabuki)
    Early Spring Grand Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Sh˘gun Edo o Saru

    ďtsue D˘j˘ji

    Igagoe D˘chű Sugoroku (Numazu)

    Evening

    Ii Tair˘

    Echigo Jishi

    Keisei

    Matsuura no Taiko

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon, Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Jakuemon, Kataoka Ainosuke, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Matsumoto Kingo, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Nakamura Takanosuke, Nakamura Kash˘, ďtani Hirotar˘, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Nakamura Kichinoj˘

    Comments

    The traditional two programs for the New Year Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza with a troupe led by the two Living National Treasures Nakamura Kichiemon and Band˘ Tamasabur˘.

  • Sh˘gun Edo o Saru:
    (The Sh˘gun's Surrender)
    This modern play by Mayama Seika is part of a trilogy about the fall of the Tokugawa shogunate. The shogunate official Yamaoka Tetsutar˘ (Kataoka Ainosuke) has already pleaded successfully to the imperial forces for the life of the Sh˘gun in return for his surrender. But the Sh˘gun Yoshinobu (Ichikawa Somegor˘) begins to reconsider and now Yamaoka must plead with the Sh˘gun to surrender without a struggle as he promised or he will run the risk of having the entire country fall into civil war.
  • ďtsue D˘j˘ji: "Musume D˘j˘ji" or "The Maiden at Dojoji Temple" is the most famous dance to display the alluring charm of an onnagata female role specialist and has inspired many variations. It shows the ghost of a woman who was transformed into a serpent out of passion and destroyed a temple bell. In this particular version, a mysterious figure appears as various characters famous from the cartoon like pictures called ˘tsue before revealing that this is the woman of the "D˘j˘ji" story. Featuring Kataoka Ainosuke in the 5 roles of this hengemono and Ichikawa Somegor˘ in the role of the Demon Queller.
  • Numazu: a dramatization of one of the most famous historical vendattas of the Edo period. "Numazu" is one act that tells of the sacrifices of those not directly involved in the vendetta itself but members of the same family who are indebted to the two opposing sides. The kimono merchant Jűbŕ (Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon) meets a porter Heisaku (Nakamura Karoku) as he travels west on business. They find that not only are they long-separated father and son, but that they also lie on opposite sides of the vendetta. Their loyalties prevent them from openly acknowledging their relationship. Heisaku sacrifices his life to get information from his son essential to his side's cause. Featuring Nakamura Jakuemon in the role of Heisaku's daughter Oyone.
  • 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 Band˘ Tamasabur˘ as Oshizu, Matsumoto K˘shir˘ as Ii Naosuke and Nakamura Karoku as Naosuke's Zen teacher. Featuring also Nakamura Jakuemon, Kataoka Ainosuke, Ichikawa Somegor˘ and Ichikawa Komaz˘.
  • Echigo Jishi: one of the most popular dances in the Kabuki repertory, this shows a traveling entertainer (Nakamura Takanosuke) that performed lion dances, with an adult playing the music and a child doing acrobatics like a little lion. The dance shows the feelings of the adult performer and his feelings for his home in the Echigo region and finally ends with the famous white cloth of the area as he waves long strips of cloth in a variety of different patterns. It is staged to commemorate the 6th anniversary (7th memorial service) of the passing away of Nakamura Takanosuke's father Nakamura Tomijűr˘ V.
  • Keisei: a beautiful top-rank courtesan (keisei) with her attendants makes parade along the Nakanoch˘ Boulevard of the Yoshiwara pleasure quarter in Edo. She enters a room in the brothel and expresses her pure love for her lover in a graceful manner, though complaining that he does not come how long she waits for him. Then she expresses in dance the scenic beauty in each season and the elegant atmosphere in the pleasure quarters, and her love for him grows stronger. A scene from a seven-transformation hengemono "Nijirigaki Nanatsu Iroha", this is an old-fashioned, tasteful dance. Enjoy the cultured elegance of the top-rank courtesan in the pleasure quarters acted by Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ with his new direction in the performance at Nissay Theatre in October 2011.
  • Matsuura no Taiko: Lord Matsuura (Ichikawa Somegor˘) lives next door to the enemy of the loyal retainers and is disgusted because they do not seem to be interested in avenging the death of the lord. He is especially upset because he studied with the same fighting teacher as Kuranosuke, the senior retainer who should be leading the vendetta. Moreover, he learns from the haiku teacher Takarai Kikaku (Ichikawa Sadanji) that his student ďtaka Gengo (Kataoka Ainosuke) who should be part of the vendetta left a poem suggesting that he was forgetting his former lord and going to take service with another samurai lord. Gengo's sister Onui (Nakamura Kazutar˘) serves Lord Matsuura and in disgust he is about to dismiss her, when there is a disturbance from next door. The attack has begun, and in joy, Lord Matsuura counts out the strokes of the drum, struck in a pattern that is only known by students of his fighting teacher.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 27 January 2017
    Program

    Shiranui Monogatari

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Onoe Sh˘roku

    Comments

    "Shiranui Monogatari" was originally a long novel of the same name, which was written by Ryűkatei Tanekazu (1807~1858) and started to be published in 1849, at the end of the Edo period. It was adapted by Kawatake Shinshichi II and premiered at the Kawarazakiza in the 2nd lunar month of 1853. This play is famous for its visual entertainment. The heroine, Princess Shiranui, has the magical power to turn herself into a giant earth-spider! "Shiranui Monogatari" was extremely popular in koshibai during the Meiji and Taish˘ eras. It was produced 57 times in T˘ky˘ during the Meiji era. 21 times in T˘ky˘ during the Taish˘ era. It was staged only 4 times in ˘shibai the second half of the 20th century: in January 1953 at the Mitsukoshi Gekij˘, in September 1953 at the ďsaka Kabukiza, in August 1954 at the Kabukiza and in March 1977 at the National Theatre. We had to wait almost 40 years for a revival.

    Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 27 January 2017 (Kotobuki Shinshun ďkabuki)
    Congratulation New Year Grand Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Futago Sumidagawa

    Evening

    Genpei Nunobiki no Taki
    (Yoshikata Saigo)

    K˘j˘

    Shikorobiki

    Kurozuka

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Ichikawa Ennosuke, Ichikawa Udanji, Ichikawa Chűsha, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Ukon, ďtani Tomoemon, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichikawa Unosuke, Ichimura Kakitsu, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa Juen, Ichikawa Omez˘, Ichikawa Kudanji, Nakamura Yonekichi, ďtani Hiromatsu

    Comments

    The traditional New Year Kabuki at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ with the shűmei of Ichikawa Udanji III and the hatsubutai of his son Ichikawa Ukon II.

  • Futago Sumidagawa: it is a spectacular jidaimono play, a history play written by Chikamatsu Monzaemon based on a tragic legend about twins, their mother and their retainer in Heian era (10th century). Incurring the enmity of Jirob˘ Tengű in Mt. Hiragatake, Yoshida no Sh˘sh˘ Yukifusa (Ichikawa Monnosuke) has his son Matsuwakamaru (Ichikawa Ukon) kidnapped and himself killed by Jirob˘ Tengű. Matsuwakamaru's twin brother Umewakamaru (Ichikawa Ukon) is egged on by Kageyu By˘e Kagehaya (Ichikawa En'ya) and others, who plot to take over Yoshida clan, into drawing eyes on the carp in the scroll which he kept from the Imperial Court. Then the carp pops out of the scroll and Umewakamaru conceals himself as Kagehaya advises him to wait before he catches the carp and returns it to the scroll. Sh˘sh˘'s widow Hanjo Gozen (Ichikawa Ennosuke) goes insane as a result of excessive anxiety. Awaji no Shichir˘ (Ichikawa Udanji) who was once a retainer of Yoshida clan names himself Sarushima S˘ta and makes a living as a slave trader to compensate for 10,000 gold coins he embezzled from his lord. He has 10 gold coins left to compensate for all sum as he beat a boy from the capital to death. He learns the boy is Umewakamaru and repents of what he has done. He thrusts at the ceiling and commits suicide by disembowelment in the gold coins he saved falling from the ceiling. His prayer with a concentration of his mind is heard and he becomes Shichir˘ Tengű to restore Yoshida clan. Hanjo Gozen wanders to Sumida River in search for her son Umewakamaru. Hearing from S˘ta's wife Karaito that Umewakamaru is dead, she tries to throw herself into the river. But she reunites with Matsuwakamaru and recovers her sences. Shichir˘ Tengű flies with Hanjo Gozen and Matsuwakamaru to the capital. Starring also Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and Ichikawa Chűsha.
  • Yoshikata Saigo: the full-length play shows the early rise of the Genji clan after a time of oppression. Yoshikata (Ichikawa Ebiz˘) is the lone member of the Genji clan and pretends to have no interest in reviving its fortunes, but Yukitsuna (Ichikawa Chűsha) a good-humored footman who is actually a spy, realizes his true intentions. Yoshikata is about to have a son, the general Yoshinaka, who will lead the Genji to victory, but Yoshikata himself is attacked and surrounded and dies in a spectacular scene where he falls from the top of a flight of stairs.
  • 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 Udanji III and the hatsubutai of his son Ichikawa Ukon II.
  • Shikorobiki:
    (The Tug of War Over the Armor)
    In the wars between the Genji and Heike clans, an episode at the battle of Ichi-no-Tani became famous. Kagekiyo (Ichikawa Udanji) on the Heike side and Mionoya (Nakamura Baigyoku) on the Genji side fought and when halberds and swords proved ineffective, one grabbed the flap of the other's helmet and they tugged back and forth until the flap of the armor tore off and they both fell on the ground. They laughed praising the other's strength and that began the battle in earnest. This play is a kind of parody of that incident. In a hut on Mt. Maya above present day K˘be, a beggar and a pilgrim meet and chat and suddenly, a treasure of the Heike clan appears. As they fight over the treasure, it falls off the mountain. The two follow it and eventually re-enact the tug of war over the armor.
  • 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 Ichikawa Udanji as the holy man. Featuring also Ichikawa Monnosuke and Ichikawa Chűsha as two yamabushi priests, and Ichikawa En'ya as the porter.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Asakusa K˘kaid˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 January 2017 (Shinshun Hanagata Kabuki)
    New Year Young Actors Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Otoshidama (Nenshi Goaisatsu)

    Keisei Hangonk˘ (Domo Mata)

    Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura (Yoshinoyama)

    Evening

    Otoshidama (Nenshi Goaisatsu)

    Futatsu Ch˘ch˘ Kuruwa Nikki (Sum˘ba)

    Gozonji Suzu-ga-Mori

    B˘ Shibari

    Casting

    Nakamura Kinnosuke, ďtani Keiz˘, Band˘ Minosuke, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Onoe Matsuya, Nakamura Hayato, Nakamura Umemaru, Nakamura Kamenoj˘

    Comments

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

  • Otoshidama: a special k˘j˘ for new year greetings (nenshi goaisatsu in Japanese).
  • 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 Band˘ Minosuke as Matahei and Nakamura Kazutar˘ as his wife Otoku. Featuring ďtani Keiz˘ as Matahei's master Tosa Sh˘gen Mitsunobu.
  • 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 Onoe Matsuya as Tadanobu, with Nakamura Kazutar˘ as Shizuka. Featuring also Band˘ Minosuke as Hayami no T˘ta.
  • Sum˘ba: "Futatsu Ch˘ch˘" means "two butterflies" and also comes from the fact that two sum˘ wrestlers who play important roles in the full length play have names beginning with "ch˘": Ch˘kichi and Ch˘gor˘. In order to help his master Yamazakiya Yogor˘ (Nakamura Hayato) buy out the contract of the beautiful Azuma (Nakamura Umemaru), the senior wrestler Nuregami Ch˘gor˘ throws a match, letting the younger wrestler Hanaregoma Ch˘kichi win, hoping to get his help. But Ch˘kichi loses his temper and the two end up competing in a test of pride. Starring popular actor Nakamura Kinnosuke as Ch˘gor˘ and Onoe Matsuya as Ch˘kichi.
  • Suzu-ga-Mori: The young samurai Shirai Gonpachi (Nakamura Hayato) is ambushed near the execution grounds of Edo on a dark night, but he manages to escape after a gruesome but humorous fight scene. He is watched by Banzuiin Ch˘bŕ (Nakamura Kinnosuke), an Edo boss, who is impressed with his fighting skills and agrees to give him shelter in the city. This meeting between the handsome young Gonpachi and the heroic Ch˘bŕ is one of the most famous meetings in Kabuki.
  • B˘ Shibari:
    (Tied to a Pole)
    A dance play based on a classical Ky˘gen farce. A master (Nakamura Hayato) is irritated that his two servants always drink his wine while he is out. He plots with his servant Tar˘kaja (Band˘ Minosuke) to trick the other servant Jir˘kaja (Onoe Matsuya) into demonstrating his skill at stick fighting, tying him to the stick. The master then ties up Tar˘kaja as well. But he is outsmarted when the two still manage to drink his wine while tied up. Their happy singing and dancing while tied up is a dazzling display of virtuoso dancing and star two of the finest young dancers in Kabuki.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Pontoch˘ Kaburenj˘ (Ky˘to)
    Dates 9 ~ 24 January 2017 (Zenshinza Hatsuharu Tokubetsu K˘en)
    Zenshinza Early Spring Special Performances
    Program

    Mitsu Moyau Genji no Hataage (Ushiwakamaru)

    Ninj˘ Banashi Bunshichi Mottoi

    Casting

    Arashi Keishi, Kawarazaki Kunitar˘, Fujikawa Yanosuke, Arashi Yoshisabur˘, Motomura Yűki, Nakajima K˘tar˘, Tadamura Shin'ya, Yagyű Keisuke, Yamazaki Tatsusabur˘, Hayase Einoj˘, Matsunami Kihachir˘, Arashi Ichitar˘

    Comments

    The traditional Zenshinza New Year performances in Ky˘to. As the Minamiza is closed, it is staged at the Pontoch˘ Kaburenj˘, a venue in the famous hanamachi district of Pontoch˘. The Zenshinza troupe celebrates both the 85th anniversary of its foundation and the 40th anniversary of its early spring special performances in Ky˘to.

  • Ushiwakamaru: this newly-created Kabuki drama about Ushiwakamaru (the future young general Minamoto no Yoshitsune). The three first ideograms of the title are yuki (snow), tsuki (moon) and hana (flower). Each one symbolizes one of the 3 parts of this drama. The first part is the village of Fushimi under the snow : after her husband Minamoto no Yoshitomo was murdered in 1160, Lady Tokiwa (Kawarazaki Kunitar˘) and her son Ushiwakamaru escape through the snow from Ky˘to to nearby Fushimi. She is caught by her enemy Taira no Munekiyo (Arashi Yoshisabur˘). Instead of killing her and her son, he rescue the mother and his boy. The second part is set at the Goj˘ Bridge at night under the moon. Ushiwakamaru is now a powerful warrior picking fights on the Goj˘ Bridge in Ky˘to. A stout warrior priest named Benkei challenges him. Vanquished, he becomes a disciple of Ushiwakamaru. The third part is set in Mount Kurama during the autumn leaves season. Ushiwakamaru, who cherishes the ambition of destroying the Heike clan, discovers that his new friend is actually a tengű, who promises to teach him secret tactics and war strategies.
  • 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 Fujikawa Yanosuke, Kawarazaki Kunitar˘ and Tadamura Shin'ya in the roles of Ch˘bŕ, Ch˘bŕ's wife Okane and Bunshichi. Featuring also Arashi Yoshisabur˘.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

     
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