Nakamura Kanzabur˘ celebrates his shűmei in Fukuoka at the Hakataza, playing the roles of
the spirit of the Lion, Ch˘bŕ and Benten Koz˘ in the dramas "Renjishi",
"Bunshichi Mottoi" and "Benten Musume".
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 Nakamura Hashinosuke as Kumagai, with Nakamura Senjaku as Kumagai's wife Sagami, Nakamura Shichinosuke as Fuji-no-Kata,
Nakamura Kantar˘ as Yoshitsune and
Band˘ Yajűr˘ as Midaroku.
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 is unusual because it features 2 cubs instead of one,
starring Nakamura Kanzabur˘ in the role of the parent shishi and his two sons, Nakamura Kantar˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke,
in the roles of the cubs.
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 Kanzabur˘ and
Nakamura Senjaku in the roles of Ch˘bŕ
and his wife Okane.
Gozonji Suzu-ga-Mori: The young samurai Shirai Gonpachi (Nakamura Shichinosuke) 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 Hashinosuke), 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.
K˘j˘: there is a close relationship between the stage and the
audience in Kabuki and this is shown by these ceremonial stage announcements
where the top stars of the company address the audience directly. This month,
the actors celebrate the shűmei of Nakamura Kanzabur˘.
Benten Musume: this play is a sewamono (realistic play about commoners)
written by the late 19th century playwright Mokuami who is famous for his plays about thieves.
The thief Benten Koz˘ dresses up as a woman to commit extortion, but his plans are ruined when his disguise is seen through.
In the highlight of the play, he undresses, showing his colorful tattoos and introduces himself in a famous poetic speech.
Afterwards, he is joined by the members of his gang on a riverbank, and,
using the playwright's famous poetic rhythms, in turn, they each boast of their careers as thieves.
Nakamura Kanzabur˘ stars as Benten Koz˘, with Nakamura Tomijűr˘ as Nippon Daemon, Ichikawa Sadanji as Nang˘ Rikimaru,
Nakamura Hashinosuke as Tadanobu Rihei and Nakamura Senjaku as Akaboshi Jűzabur˘.
Amagoi Gitsune: it is a 5-role modern hengemono, starring Nakamura Kantar˘.
The roles are a wild fox, the "rain-making" maiden in the service of a shrine, a blind masseur, Ono-no-T˘fű and the wife of the fox.
The main theme of this dance is the prayer for rain (amagoi) at the beginning of Summer and the
use of a fox skin to make a rain-making hand-drum.
Source: Earphone Guide website