JULY 2015

5 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre, Shinbashi Enbuj˘, Nikkei Hall), 2 in ďsaka (Sh˘chikuza) and 2 tours (Eastern Provinces, Central Provinces)!

  • Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Ichikawa Ennosuke, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Kaishun, Ichikawa Sadanji, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichikawa Chűsha perform at the Kabukiza!
  • Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Kataoka Takatar˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Karoku and Kataoka Hidetar˘ perform at the Sh˘chikuza!
  • Onoe Kikunosuke, Ichikawa Danz˘ and Nakamura Baishi perform at the National Theatre!
  • Ichikawa Somegor˘, Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Kataoka Kamez˘ and Ichimura Manjir˘ perform at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘!
  • Nakamura Hashinosuke, ďtani Tomoemon, Matsumoto Kingo, Band˘ Shűch˘ and Nakamura Kotar˘ are on tour in the Central Provinces!
  • Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Senjaku and Onoe Sh˘roku are on tour in the Eastern Provinces!
  • Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 27 July 2015 (Shichigatsu ďkabuki)
    July Grand Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Nans˘ Satomi Hakkenden

    Yowa Nasake Ukina no Yokogushi (Kirare Yosa)

  • Misome
  • Genjidana
  • Kumo no Ito Azusa no Yumihari

    Evening

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

    Kaidan Botan D˘r˘

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Ichikawa Ennosuke, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Kaishun, Ichikawa Sadanji, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichikawa Chűsha, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Ukon, Nakamura Shid˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Nakamura Matsue, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa Shun'en, Nakamura Kash˘, Band˘ Minosuke, Nakamura Tanenosuke

    Comments

    July Grand Kabuki with Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and Ichikawa Ennosuke as leading stars!

  • Hakkenden:
    (The Eight Dog Warriors)
    the original novel is an immense epic by 19th century novelist Takizawa Bakin published over many years, but eventually reaching one-hundred and sixty volumes. The Satomi clan is being attacked and its lord offers his daughter Princess Fuse to the warrior that will bring him the head of the enemy. It is his loyal dog that kills and beheads the enemy and, saying that her father must not go back on his word, Princess Fuse goes with the dog. Nevertheless, the Satomi clan is defeated and one of its loyal retainers goes to rescue Princess Fuse, shooting the dog, but unfortunately shooting Princess Fuse as well. The eight crystal beads of her rosary, each engraved with the Chinese characters of one of the Confucian virtues, goes flying through the air. Miraculously, each will be found with a newborn baby. These eight children, all of whom have the character inu for "dog" in their names, eventually meet and join together to restore the Satomi clan. The play features all the stars of the company and follows the adventures of the eight dog warriors as they meet and gradually join together, leading to a climactic fight on the roof of a dizzyingly high tower.
  • Kirare Yosa: Yosabur˘ (Ichikawa Ebiz˘), the refined young son of a wealthy merchant falls in love with Otomi (Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘) the moment he first sees her on the beach. But Otomi is the mistress of a powerful gangster, and when their relationship is discovered, the two are attacked. Yosabur˘ is cut from head to toe and the two are dumped into the sea. Otomi lives and is taken in by a rich merchant while Yosabur˘ is now covered with scars. Yosabur˘ turns into a petty thief and extortionist but one day, finds that the woman he is about to blackmail is none other than Otomi, alive and well.
  • Kumo no Ito: this spectacular hengemono is about the warlord Minamoto Raik˘, who is confined to bed with illness in his palace. His devoted retainers are on night watch. The spirit of a spider, which has caused Raik˘'s illness in the first place, tries to enter the palace and hopes to destroy Raik˘. The spirit of this evil spider transforms itself in different people: a tea-bringing young servant girl, a medicine peddler, a shinz˘ and a zat˘ expert in sendai j˘ruri. At the end, this spirit appears as the beautiful and gorgeous keisei Usugumodayű, who sneaks in Raik˘'s sleeping room and tries to seduce him. Fortunately for Raik˘, his retainers can intervene in the nick of time and defeat the spider, which furiously throws out streamers of long, sticky web-like threads. Starring Ichikawa Ennosuke in the 6 roles of this hengemono. Featuring Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and Ichikawa Monnosuke in the roles of Hirai Yasumasa and Minamoto Raik˘.
  • 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 Ichikawa Ebiz˘ as Kumagai, with Nakamura Shibajaku as Kumagai's wife Sagami, Nakamura Kaishun as Fuji-no-Kata, Nakamura Baigyoku as Yoshitsune and Ichikawa Sadanji as Midaroku.
  • Botan D˘r˘: one of the most famous ghost stories in Japan shows the ghost of a beautiful young girl who visits the man she loves nightly, her way lit by a lantern decorated with peonies. The clatter of her wooden clogs announces her appearance, ôůkarannnůkoronnnnůö Originally a Chinese story, it became a Japanese classic when it was transformed into a long rakugo story by San'yűtei Ench˘ (1839~1900). Otsuyu (???) the daughter of a samurai family falls in love with a young samurai named Shinzabur˘ (???), but she falls sick and dies when he stops visiting her. Her ghost begins to visit him nightly preceded by the ghost of her nursemaid carrying a lantern decorated with peonies and he welcomes these meetings, not realizing that she is dead. But a priest sees the signs of death and protects Shinzabur˘ with holy amulets and a powerful Buddhist statue. The ghosts then bribe Shinzabur˘ĺs greedy servant Tomoz˘ (Ichikawa Chűsha) and his wife Omine (Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘) to take the amulets away. The result is that Shinzabur˘ is killed by the ghosts and Tomoz˘ and Omine run away with the money. But the money doesnĺt bring them happiness. This version of the story is not just a tale of ghosts, but shows human treachery and the revolving ironies of fate. Featuring also Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and Ichikawa Ennosuke in the role of the horse driver Kyűz˘ and San'yűtei Ench˘.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Sh˘chikuza (ďsaka)
    Dates 3 ~ 27 July 2015 (Kansai Kabuki o Ai Suru Kai Shichigatsu ďkabuki)
    The 24th Kansai Kabuki Lovers Society July Grand Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Gozonji Suzu-ga-Mori

    Kaminari Send˘

    Jiisan Baasan

    Evening

    Ehon Gapp˘-ga-Tsuji

    Casting

    Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Kataoka Takatar˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Karoku, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Ichimura Kakitsu, Ichikawa Omez˘, Sawamura Yoshijir˘, Arashi Kitsusabur˘, Kataoka Matsunosuke, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Hayato

    Comments

    24th edition of the Kansai Kabuki Lovers Society July Grand Kabuki in ďsaka.

  • Gozonji Suzu-ga-Mori: The young samurai Shirai Gonpachi (Kataoka Takatar˘) 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.
  • Kaminari Send˘: handsome boatmen crossing the Sumida River were the popular idols of the Edo period, but the only thing they feared was lightning. This humorous dance shows a boatman and the thunder god carrying his drums and dressed in an animal skin loincloth. Starring Nakamura Tokiz˘ as the female boatman.
  • Jiisan Baasan: based on a short story by Mori ďgai, this modern play by Uno Nobuo shows a loving young couple. The samurai Iori travels to Ky˘to with his lord, leaving Run, his beloved wife, behind. While there, he attacks another man in a fight over a sword and is forced into house arrest, separating him from his wife. Many years later, he returns to his home as an old man. There he meets an elderly woman and they do not recognize each other until she sees the one thing that has not changed with age, Iori's peculiar habit of putting his hand to his nose. Starring Kataoka Nizaemon and Nakamura Tokiz˘ as Iori and Run.
  • Ehon Gapp˘-ga-Tsuji: in March at the National Theatre, there will be a rare full-length performance of a revenge classic by Tsuruya Nanboku IV (1755~1829). First performed in 1810, "Ehon Gapp˘-ga-Tsuji" was a dramatization of a popular novel of the time about a revenge at Gapp˘-ga-Tsuji. Nanboku used his intimate knowledge of the top stars of the time and the talented up and coming stars to create this play, full of exciting action and sardonic humor. The heart of the play was Matsumoto K˘shir˘ V, the most famous actor of villain roles, lean, with a craggy, sinister face, in a double role, Daigakunosuke, a samurai who is trying to take over his clan, has stolen the clan treasures and killed everyone who has gotten in his way and Tateba no Taheiji, a villain from the bottom of society who plots together with Daigakunosuke. Instead of a revenge play as the triumph of good over evil, this play shows the exuberant rampage of the villains until finally, they are defeated at a terrible cost to the heroes. This revival stars Kataoka Nizaemon, one of the top Kansai actors of today in the double role of Daigakunosuke and Tateba no Taheiji. Kataoka Nizaemon strongly resembles Matsumoto K˘shir˘ V physically and in mood and will be the perfect actor to bring this powerful side of kabuki back to life.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 24 July 2015 (Shichigatsu Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitsu)
    July Kabuki Appreciation Class
    Program

    Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura

  • Tokaiya
  • Funayagura
  • Daimotsu no Ura
  • Casting

    Onoe Kikunosuke, Ichikawa Danz˘, Nakamura Baishi, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Nakamura Mantar˘, Onoe Ukon

    Comments

    Educational program at the National Theatre called Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitu ("Kabuki Appreciation Class"). This is a very interesting formula for the beginners because there is lively presentation of Kabuki (or some aspects of the art like music, stage tricks or fighting scenes) on stage, followed by the "Tokaiya" and "Daimotsu no Ura" scenes of the classic "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura".

  • 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 Mantar˘) books passage on a boat to Kyűshű, but the captain is actually Taira no Tomomori (Onoe Kikunosuke), 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 Baishi). 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. Due to an injury, Ichikawa Danz˘ stopped acting from the 4th of July 2015 at the National Theatre. He was replaced by Onoe Kikuichir˘ to play the role of Musashib˘ Benkei.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 5 ~ 27 July 2015 (Kabuki NEXT)
    Kabuki NEXT
    Program

    Aterui

    Casting

    Ichikawa Somegor˘, Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Sawamura S˘nosuke, ďtani Hirotar˘, Band˘ Shingo, Nakamura Tsurumatsu, Ichimura Kitsutar˘

    Comments

    A brand new genre was born in the Kabuki world! After Kabuki, Shinkabuki, SűpÔ Kabuki, SűpÔ Kabuki II and Roppongi Kabuki (Sci-Fi Kabuki), here comes alive Kabuki NEXT. The first Kabuki NEXT drama is "Aterui", which was written by Nakajima Kazuki for Ichikawa Somegor˘. It was staged for the first time in August 2002 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘, starring Ichikawa Somegor˘ with a non-Kabuki cast! In 2002, it was not a Kabuki or a Kabuki NEXT production. In 2015, it is revised to become the first Kabuki NEXT drama in Kabuki history, with a full Kabuki cast. The story is about the Emishi warrior Aterui (Ichikawa Somegor˘), who is fighting for the independence of the Emishi people against the Japanese army led by the general Sakanoue no Tamuramaro (Nakamura Kankur˘). The third character of "Aterui" is the Emishi beautiful woman Tate Eboshi (Nakamura Shichinosuke).

  • Aterui: it is the old days in Japan. The Imperial Court sent army to North Japan and is at war against Emishi, the disobedient residents there, to unify Japan under the Empire. A band of thieves who name themselves Tateeboshi Party of Emishi attacked people in the capital at that time. A female dancer stops that. She is Tateeboshi, the top of Tateeboshi Party. She disguised herself to reveal that the thieves assume her name and are not Emishi. Sakanoue no Tamuramaro, a young government official comes there running. A man who names himself "Wolf from the North" also comes and they capture the fake Tateeboshi Party. Through this event Wolf from the North and Tamuramaro give each other due respect. Wolf from the North and Tateeboshi had caused the anger of Arahabaki god, whom Emishi believe in, and been banished from their hometown. The real name of Wolf from the North is Aterui. He resolves to return to Emishiĺs village with Tateeboshi to defend his hometown and fight against the army of the Emperor. Having appeased the anger of Arahabaki god, he commands Emishiĺs army and fights against the army of the Emperor. Though betrayed by Bank˘ (Kataoka Kamez˘), a man of Emishi who does not welcome his return, he recovers the fort of Isawa and leads Emishi as a new leader. Tamuramaro comes to fight against Emishi as the commander-in-chief recommended by Mitama Gozen (Ichimura Manjir˘), who is his sister and a prophet of the Emperor, and Minister of the Right Fujiwara no Maretsugu (Band˘ Yajűr˘). The time was about to come when Aterui and Tamuramaro, two heroes who respect each other, are to fight it out, destined by irresistible fate.
  • Source: Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Kabuki Tour in the Central Provinces
    Dates 30 June ~ 31 July 2015 (Sh˘chiku ďkabuki)
    Sh˘chiku Grand Kabuki
    Program

    Kumo ni Magou Ueno no Hatsuhana (K˘chiyama)

    Fuji Musume

    Shikan Yakko

    Casting

    Nakamura Hashinosuke, ďtani Tomoemon, Matsumoto Kingo, Band˘ Shűch˘, Nakamura Kotar˘, Nakamura Kunio, Nakamura Shinobu, Nakamura Hashigo, Nakamura Shikimatsu

    Comments

    The usual July Grand Kabuki Tour in the central provinces!

  • K˘chiyama: the tea priest K˘chiyama (Nakamura Hashinosuke) is a skilled thief and extortionist, but cannot turn down a request to help those in need. He disguises himself as a high-ranking priest to try to gain the freedom of a girl held by a powerful samurai lord (ďtani Tomoemon) because she will not become his mistress. Using the famous poetic cadences of the late 19th century playwright Mokuami, K˘chiyama not only succeeds in his mission to rescue the girl, but he manages to extort a fair amount for himself. Featuring also Band˘ Shűch˘, Matsumoto Kingo and Nakamura Shinobu.
  • 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 Nakamura Kotar˘.
  • Shikan Yakko: a samurai footman rushes after his master in the pleasure quarters, but loses sight of him. He dances with pride in his master and enjoys his dance so much that he begins emphasizing it with vigorous foot stamping. Starring Nakamura Kunio in the role of the yakko.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Kabuki Tour in the Eastern Provinces
    Dates 30 June ~ 31 July 2015 (Sh˘chiku ďkabuki)
    Sh˘chiku Grand Kabuki
    Program

    Futatsu Ch˘ch˘ Kuruwa Nikki (Hikimado)

    K˘j˘

    Renjishi

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Kikaku, Band˘ Kametoshi, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Nakamura Toranosuke

    Comments

    Nakamura Ganjir˘ IV celebrates his shűmei touring in the eastern provinces!

  • Hikimado: originally written for the puppet theater, this play shows a tragedy of commoners caught between their duty and their feelings toward their loved ones. A sum˘ wrestler named Nuregami Ch˘gor˘ (Onoe Sh˘roku) has killed a man and takes refuge at the home of his mother. Unfortunately, her son (Nakamura Ganjir˘) has been ordered to arrest him. All of these complicated conflicts are symbolized by the lightness and darkness created by the humble skylight (hikimado in Japanese) as a rope is pulled to move a wooden shutter. Featuring also Nakamura Kazutar˘ in the role of Ohaya.
  • 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 Ganjir˘ IV. Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ will take part in this important k˘j˘.
  • 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 Nakamura Senjaku in the role of the parent shishi and his son Nakamura Toranosuke in the role of the cub.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Nikkei Hall (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 31 July 2015 (Kabuki Buy˘ K˘en)
    Kabuki Traditional Dances Performances
    Program

    Hokushű

    Sagi Musume

    Casting

    Onoe Kikunosuke

    Comments

    The 17th ďtemachiza stage performances at the Nikkei Hall in T˘ky˘.

  • Hokushű: this is a Kiyomoto-based dance in which Onoe Kikunosuke performs multiple roles or characters with different personalities who come and go in the pleasure quarter: a rich merchant going to Yoshiwara, a courtesan, a drunkard, a shinz˘ or a taiko mochi. Each role depicts the changing seasons and seasonal events. Hokushű, which literally means the northern province is in fact the pleasure district of Yoshiwara, which was located norht of the Edo Castle. This area was a highly sophisticaed, high-class venue for social interaction and entertainment.
  • Sagi Musume: one of the most famous dances in Kabuki, this figure is familiar through pictures and Japanese dolls. A beautiful young woman (Onoe Kikunosuke) all in white appears in the snowy landscape. She dances lightly of love, but then reveals that she is the spirit of a bird, a magnificent heron that struggles wounded through a snowstorm.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

     
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