JULY 2018

2 in ďsaka (Sh˘chikuza), 3 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre) and 2 tours (Eastern Provinces, Central Provinces)!

Sh˘chikuza (ďsaka)
Dates 3 ~ 27 July 2018
Kansai Kabuki o Ai Suru Kai Shichigatsu ďkabuki
The 27th Kansai Kabuki Lovers Society July Grand Kabuki
MatinÚe

Kuruwa Sanbas˘

Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami (Kurumabiki)

Kumo ni Magou Ueno no Hatsuhana (K˘chiyama)

Kanjinch˘

Evening

Genroku Chűshingura
(Ohama Goten Tsunatoyo-ky˘)

K˘j˘

Onna Goroshi Abura no Jigoku

Casting

Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Matsumoto Haku˘, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Ichikawa Ennosuke, Ichikawa Chűsha, Kataoka Takatar˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Matsumoto Kingo, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Sawamura S˘nosuke, Kamimura Kichiya, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Tanenosuke, ďtani Hirotar˘, Kataoka Matsunosuke

Comments

27th edition of the Kansai Kabuki Lovers Society July Grand Kabuki in ďsaka. Matsumoto Haku˘ II and his son Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X celebrate their shűmei in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza.

  • Kuruwa Sanbas˘: the sanbas˘ is an auspicious dance based on the ritual play Okina in the classical theater which shows an old man as a symbol of longevity and the energetic sanbas˘ as a symbol of fertility and prosperity. In Kabuki there are many different versions, but this particular one sets the dance in the pleasure quarters and has a beautiful top-ranking courtesan in place of the old man and a taiko mochi entertainer instead of the boisterous sanbas˘. This dance features Kataoka Takatar˘ as the courtesan, Nakamura Kazutar˘ as the shinz˘ and Nakamura Kash˘ as the taiko mochi.
  • Kurumabiki: this short scene shows the three brothers that dominate the drama "Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami", each with a distinctive personality. Sakuramaru (Nakamura Senjaku) and Ume˘maru (Nakamura Ganjir˘) have been rendered masterless by Kan Sh˘j˘'s exile. The third brother Matsu˘maru (Nakamura Matagor˘) 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.
  • K˘chiyama: the tea priest K˘chiyama (Matsumoto Haku˘) 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 (kA() 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˘ Yajűr˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘ and Ichikawa Komaz˘.
  • 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 Matsumoto K˘shir˘ in the role of Benkei, with Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon and his son Kataoka Takatar˘ as the barrier keeper Togashi and Yoshitsune.
  • Ohama Goten: there are few plays more popular in Kabuki than "Chűshingura" or the Treasury of the Forty-Seven Loyal Retainers. In the modern period, this play was reworked by Mayama Seika as "Genroku Chűshingura", a play focusing on different incidents and different characters in this revenge classic adding historical details reflecting the Genroku period. One of the most popular parts of this play shows the man that will be the next Sh˘gun, seemingly detached from the vendetta, but in fact, intensely interested in the progress of the quest of the band of loyal retainers. Starring Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon as Lord Tsunatoyo and Ichikawa Chűsha as Tominomori Sukeĺemon. With Nakamura Kazutar˘ as Okiyo, Nakamura Senjaku as Ejima and Nakamura Karoku as Tsunatoyoĺs teacher Arai Kageyű.
  • 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 in ďsaka of Matsumoto Haku˘ II and Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X. Featuring Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘.
  • Abura no Jigoku: this play has become phenomenally popular in modern times for its hard-boiled sensibility and sensuous killing scene with the protagonists slipping and struggling through puddles of spilled oil, but was virtually ignored at the time it was written. It shows Yohŕ, the wastrel son of a well-to-do merchant, who constantly tries to borrow money from Okichi, the wife of a neighboring oil merchant. Pressed for funds, he tries to blackmail her, but ends up killing her in the long, dream-like scene that gives this plays its title, "the woman killer and the hell of oil". Starring Matsumoto K˘shir˘ and En3 in the roles of Yohŕ and Okichi. Featuring also Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Ichikawa Chűsha, Band˘ Takesabur˘ and Ichikawa Komaz˘.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 5 ~ 29 July 2018
    Shichigatsu Hanagata Kabuki
    July Young Actors Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Sangoku Mus˘ Hisago no Medetaya
    (Shusse Taiheiki)

    Evening

    Genji Monogatari

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Shid˘, Ichikawa Udanji

    Comments

    The usual July Grand Kabuki programs at the Kabukiza with a troupe led by Ichikawa Ebiz˘.

  • Sangoku Mus˘ Hisago no Medetaya: This is a full-length production of a play portraying the rise of the warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi (Ichikawa Ebiz˘). Oda Nobunaga was about to realize his ambition of unifying Japan, when Akechi Mitsuhide (Nakamura Shid˘), one of his most trusted generals, raised a rebellion against him. At the time, Hashiba (later, Toyotomi) Hideyoshi was at war with the M˘ri clan in Bitchű, but as soon as he heard this news he returned to Ky˘to to avenge his lord Nobunaga's death by defeating Mitsuhide. In his youth, Hideyoshi was once apprenticed to a samurai named Matsushita Kahŕ (Ichikawa Udanji). Since Kahŕ supports Mitsuhide's clan, Hideyoshi makes him a present of the boy Jűjir˘ who was brought up as Mitsuhide's son. This gift placates the old man's anger. However, Hideyoshi discovers from the amulet that Jűjir˘ was wearing that Jűjir˘ is, in fact, his own son. After Nobunaga's death, many of Nobunaga's retainers commend Nobunaga's sons, Nobukatsu or Nobutaka, as Nobunaga's successor, but Hideyoshi objects, saying that Nobunaga's sons don't deserve to be his successor because they didn't avenge their father's death. He persuades them that Nobunaga's grandchild Sanb˘shi (Ichikawa Ebiz˘'s son Horikoshi Kangen) should be the successor and seizes real power as his guardian. Featuring also Nakamura Jakuemon (Mitsuhide's wife Satsuki), Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘ (Kahŕ's wife Kuretake) and Nakamura Kotar˘ (Hideyoshi's wife Yae).
  • Genji Monogatari: This play is an adaptation of the "Genji Monogatari", the oldest novel in the world written by Murasaki Shikibu more than 1000 years ago, and which is still popular to this day. As the play begins, Murasaki Shikibu (Ichimura Manjir˘) is writing "The Tale of Genji" in Ishiyamadera Temple. It is a moving story about the courtier Hikaru Genji (Ichikawa Ebiz˘) who was blessed with shining beauty and talent. He was born an imperial prince in the ancient capital of Ky˘to but was the subject of great envy among others at the imperial court. Furthermore, tragedy struck at an early age when he lost his mother. Anxious about his future and wishing to protect him against court intrigue, his father, Emperor Kiritsubo (Ichikawa Ebiz˘), demoted him to the rank of subject. Not understanding the reason for this, Genji felt abandoned and there was a darkness in the depths of his heart. This mixture of light and darkness inspires Murasaki Shikibu to continue the story. In this production, performers and opera singers will join the performance to create a new style of Kabuki combining the traditional performing arts with the latest technology like body-sensing and projection-mapping! Featuring also Nakamura Jakuemon, Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Kaishun and Ichikawa Udanji. The performers are Katayama Kur˘emon X, Umewaka Kish˘ II and Kanze Yoshimasa. The opera performers are Anthony Roth Costanzo (apparition of Darkness) and Zachary Wilder (apparition of Light).
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 24 July 2018
    Shichigatsu Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitsu
    July Kabuki Appreciation Class
    Program

    Nihon Furisode Hajime

    Casting

    Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Band˘ Shingo

    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 a drama ("Furisode Hajime").

  • Nihon Furisode Hajime: this dance is a rare example of a story from ancient Japanese mythology in a puppet play by Chikamatsu Monzaemon I adapted for the Kabuki theater. As part of an annual ritual, Princess Inada has been chosen to be sacrificed to a fierce serpent that lives in the mountains of Izumo. The serpent arrives in the guise of a beautiful princess, but before it can attack it is attracted to eight jars full of sake. The jars are a trap planted by the god Susanoo, who confronts the beast in its true form as an eight-headed serpent, to save the princess. Starring Nakamura Tokiz˘ as the serpent, with Nakamura Kinnosuke and Band˘ Shingo in the roles of Susanoo and Princess Inada.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Kabuki Tour in the Central Provinces
    Dates 30 June ~ 29 July 2018
    Sh˘chiku ďkabuki
    Sh˘chiku Grand Kabuki
    Program

    Ninj˘ Banashi Bunshichi Mottoi

    K˘j˘

    B˘ Shibari

    Casting

    Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Baigyoku, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Fukunosuke, Nakamura Kichinoj˘, Nakamura Baika

    Comments

    The usual July Grand Kabuki Tour in the Central Provinces. Nakamura Shikan VIII and two of his three sons, Nakamura Hashinosuke IV and Nakamura Fukunosuke III, celebrate their shűmei.

  • 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 Baika and Nakamura Hashinosuke/Nakamura Fukunosuke (alternatively) in the roles of Ch˘bŕ, Ch˘bŕ's wife Okane and Bunshichi. Featuring also Nakamura Baigyoku and Kataoka Hidetar˘.
  • 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 and Nakamura Fukunosuke III.
  • B˘ Shibari:
    (Tied to a Pole)
    A dance play based on a classical Ky˘gen farce. A master (Nakamura Kichinoj˘) is irritated that his two servants always drink his wine while he is out. He plots with his servant Tar˘kaja (Nakamura Fukunosuke) to trick the other servant Jir˘kaja (Nakamura Hashinosuke) 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

    Kabuki Tour in the Eastern Provinces
    Dates 30 June ~ 31 July 2018
    Sh˘chiku ďkabuki
    Sh˘chiku Grand Kabuki
    Program

    ďmi no Okane

    Soga Moy˘ Tateshi no Goshozome
    (Gosho no Goroz˘)

    Takatsuki

    Casting

    Onoe Kikunosuke, Ichikawa Danz˘, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Nakamura Baishi, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Mantar˘, Ichimura Kitsutar˘

    Comments

    The usual July Grand Kabuki Tour in the Eastern Provinces.

  • ďmi no Okane: Okane was a famous strong woman living on the shores of Lake Biwa and is known for stopping a runaway horse with her bare hands. This has become a Kabuki dance that combines strength and charming femininity. This production stars Nakamura Baishi as Okane.
  • Gosho no Goroz˘: a portrait of the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters at the height of its splendor. Rival gangs dressed in the height of fashion exchange stately speeches before fighting in the elaborate poetic cadences of Kawatake Mokuami, the last great playwright of Kabuki. Goroz˘ is the handsome leader of a gang, but his lover, the top courtesan Satsuki pretends to reject him to save his life. Tragedy strikes when Goroz˘ is driven to revenge. Starring Onoe Kikunosuke as Goroz˘, Band˘ Hikosabur˘ as his rival in love, Nakamura Baishi as Goroz˘'s lover, the courtesan Satsuki and Nakamura Yonekichi as ├öshű, a courtesan who is tragically killed.
  • Takatsuki: in this relatively modern dance-comedy adapted from the style of classical Ky˘gen farces, the servant Jir˘kaja (Onoe Kikunosuke) is ordered by his lord (Ichikawa Danz˘) to buy a takatsuki, which is a kind of ceremonial sake cup on a stand. Jir˘kaja does not understand his lord's orders and is persuaded by a fast-talking geta clog salesman (Nakamura Mantar˘) to buy a pair of clogs instead, thinking that this is the stand for which he was sent. After drinking a good amount of sake, he brings his purchase to the lord and responds to the lord's anger with a dance on the clogs, a virtuoso routine inspired by tap dancing, showing off the dancing skills of Onoe Kikunosuke.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

     
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