JUNE 2012

4 shows in T˘ky˘ (Shinbashi Enbuj˘, National Theatre, Theatre Cocoon), 2 in Nagoya (Misonoza), 1 in Ky˘to (Minamiza) and 2 in Fukuoka (Hakataza)!

  • Ichikawa Ennosuke, Ichikawa En'˘, Sakata T˘jűr˘, Ichikawa Danshir˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘ and the actors of the Omodakaya guild perform at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘!
  • Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Kichiemon, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Matagor˘, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Shibajaku and Nakamura Kaishun perform at the Hakataza!
  • Young actors perform at the Theatre Cocoon!
  • Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Kataoka Takatar˘ and Ichikawa Sadanji perform at the Misonoza!
  • Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and Kataoka Ainosuke perform at the Minamiza!
  • Nakamura Hashinosuke and Ichikawa Danz˘ perform at the National Theatre!
  • Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 5 ~ 29 June 2012 (Rokugatsu ďkabuki)
    June Grand Kabuki

    Ogurusu no Ch˘bŕ


    Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura
    (Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata)


    Yamato Takeru


    Ichikawa Ennosuke, Ichikawa En'˘, Sakata T˘jűr˘, Ichikawa Danshir˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Ichikawa Chűsha, Ichikawa Danko, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa Tsukinosuke, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa Shun'en, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa Juen, Ichikawa K˘tar˘


    2 shűmei and 2 hatsubutai for 3 generations of Omodakaya actors! This month at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘, the Omodakaya guild commemorates the 49th anniversary (50th memorial service) of late Ichikawa En'˘ I and Ichikawa Danshir˘ III. Ichikawa Ennosuke III and his nephew Ichikawa Kamejir˘ II take the names of Ichikawa En'˘ II and Ichikawa Ennosuke IV. Ichikawa Ennosuke III's son Kagawa Teruyuki, a movie star in Japan, and Ichikawa Ennosuke III's grandson Kagawa Masaaki make their debut on stage (hatsubutai); they respectively receive the names of Ichikawa Chűsha IX and Ichikawa Danko V.

  • 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 (the new 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 Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa Tsukinosuke, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Juen, Ichikawa Shun'en and Ichikawa En'ya.
  • 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, as this year marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Kabuki actors Ichikawa En'˘ I and Ichikawa Danshir˘ III, the program includes a k˘j˘ ceremony, in which the actors line up on stage and relate their reminiscences of the two actors. K˘j˘ is the essential part of the ceremony that makes up a Kabuki actor's name-taking performance. Kabuki actors wearing traditional headpieces and dressed in formal attire line up and each give their congratulations to the name-taking actor. Now Ichikawa Ennosuke III is passing on his name to his nephew Ichikawa Kamejir˘ II, who will become Ichikawa Ennosuke IV while Ennosuke himself will become Ichikawa En'˘ II. Also, Kagawa Teruyuki, the son of Ichikawa Ennosuke III will take the Kabuki acting name of Ichikawa Chűsha IX and his son will make his first appearance on stage as Ichikawa Danko V.
  • Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata: this is Ichikawa Ennosuke III's signature piece, full of fast changes, acrobatics and his trademark flight through the air. 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 the new Ichikawa Ennosuke as the fox Tadanobu. Featuring also Sakata T˘jűr˘ (Yoshitsune), Kataoka Hidetar˘ (Shizuka Gozen), Ichikawa Danshir˘ (Kawatsura H˘gen) and Band˘ Takesabur˘ (Kawatsura H˘gen's wife Asuka).
  • Yamato Takeru: first performed in 1986, "Yamato Takeru" was the first SűpÔ Kabuki ("Super Kabuki") play that Ichikawa Ennosuke III created. SűpÔ kabuki combines the acting techniques of Kabuki with modern stage technology and techniques borrowed from other genres of theatre. With gorgeous costumes and sets, exciting fight scenes and a final flight through the air as Yamato Takeru is transformed into a great white bird, this is the most famous and spectacular of all the creations of SűpÔ Kabuki. The script is by philosopher Umehara Takeshi and describes Yamato Takeru (the new Ichikawa Ennosuke), the legendary hero from the historical chronicles of early Japan. Yamato Takeru is sent by his father the emperor (the new Ichikawa Chűsha) to go and conquer the outlying territories of Japan, first the fierce fighters of Kyűshű. Takeru vanquishes them by disguising himself as a seductive woman. Then he goes to the eastern provinces and fights fire and water and only succeeds when his wife sacrifices herself. Finally Takeru tries to return to the imperial capital, but fights with the god of Mt. Ibuki in the form of a gigantic boar. Takeru is punished for this hubris and falls sick and dies, but bursts out of his grave in the form of a giant white bird. As the centerpiece of this program to celebrate the nametaking of the new Ennosuke, this performance marks Ichikawa Ennosuke IV taking on the most famous of his uncle's spectacular creations of SűpÔ Kabuki. Featuring also Band˘ Takesabur˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa Tsukinosuke, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa Juen, Ichikawa Shun'en, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa K˘tar˘ and the new Ichikawa Danko.
  • Source: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Hakataza (Fukuoka)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 June 2012 (Rokugatsu ďkabuki)
    June Grand Kabuki

    Haru no Shirabe Musume Nanakusa

    Sannin Kichisa Tomoe no Shiranami

    Tachi Nusubito

    Kiwametsuki Banzui Ch˘bŕ


    Toki-ha Ima Kiky˘ no Hataage (Badarai)


    Hikosan Gongen Chikai no Sukedachi (Keya-mura)

    Kotobuki Utsubo Zaru


    Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Kichiemon, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Matagor˘, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura T˘z˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, ďtani Tomoemon, Nakamura Matsue, ďtani Keiz˘, Band˘ Kametoshi, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Umemaru, Nakamura Hayato


    Nakamura Matagor˘ III and his son Nakamura Kash˘ IV celebrate their shűmei in Fukuoka at the Hakataza!

  • Musume Nanakusa: in the Edo period, every New Year, plays appeared about the medieval vendetta carried out by the Soga brothers Jűr˘ and Gor˘. This colorful, old-fashioned dance mixes this tradition with that of eating porridge containing seven auspicious herbs on the seventh day of the new year. As the brothers Jűr˘ (Nakamura Kinnosuke) and Gor˘ (the new Nakamura Kash˘) prepare to face their father's murderer and take revenge, along with beautiful Shizuka Gozen (Nakamura Shibajaku), they cut the herbs, as a symbolic act of vengeance.
  • 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 Ichikawa Somegor˘ as Oj˘ Kichisa, Nakamura Baigyoku as Osh˘ Kichisa and Onoe Sh˘roku as Ob˘ Kichisa.
  • Tachi Nusubito: the farces of the classical Ky˘gen theater have universal appeal, showing the relationships of masters and servants and husbands and wives. In this particular dance play, a farmer named Manbŕ (Band˘ Mitsugor˘) carries a precious sword, which is made of gold. The thief Kurobŕ (The new Nakamura Matagor˘) quietly removes the sword from Manbŕ in a crowd. When Manbŕ finds his sword missing and notices Kurobŕ wearing it, a loud dispute ensues. Manbŕ and Kurobŕ must both explain who owns the sword, first in words, then in dance to a magistrate (Nakamura Karoku), who must try to figure out who tells the truth.
  • 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 (Nakamura Kichiemon). But this frustrates the ambitions of the samurai Mizuno (Kataoka Nizaemon) 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 (Nakamura Kaishun) and son. Finally, Ch˘bŕ is killed when he is defenseless in the bath. Featuring also Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Onoe Sh˘roku, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Nakamura T˘z˘ and the new Nakamura Kash˘.
  • Badarai: based on the true historical story of Akechi Mitsuhide who betrayed his lord Oda Nobunaga and ruled Japan for a few short days before being defeated by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, this play focuses on Mitsuhide and his tortured relationship with the arrogant and unreasonable lord Nobunaga. It is one of the few period plays by Tsuruya Nanboku IV still performed today and brings the same sharp psychological insight and eye for the attractiveness of evil characters that make his ghost plays and plays about commoners so powerful. Featuring Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Kichiemon, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Baigyoku and the new Nakamura Kash˘ in the roles of Takechi Mitsuhide (because of strict censorship, the real names were not used), Shih˘ten Tajima-no-Kami, Mitsuhide's wife Satsuki, Oda Harunaga and Mori no Ranmaru.
  • 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 Matagor˘ III and his son Nakamura Kash˘ IV.
  • Keya-mura: Rokusuke (the new Nakamura Matagor˘), 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 Shibajaku) 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 the killer of her father, Rokusuke's master, and Rokusuke promises to help in her vendetta. Featuring also Nakamura Kichiemon, Nakamura Karoku and Nakamura T˘z˘.
  • Utsubo Zaru: in front of a Shrine, Lady Miyoshino (Onoe Sh˘roku) captures a monkey and asks the saruhiki (Band˘ Mitsugor˘) to sell her the monkey so that she can use its skin to make a leather quiver. At first, the saruhiki refuses, but when Miyoshino shows that she is about to kill the monkey, he reluctantly agrees to part with his monkey. Fortunately, the monkey dance will bring a happy ending to "Utsubo Zaru". Featuring also Ichikawa Somegor˘.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website, except "Utsubo Zaru"

    Shibuya Bunkamura Theatre Cocoon (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 15 June ~ 7 July 2012



    Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Shid˘


    13th edition of the original Cocoon Kabuki performance, which recreates the atmosphere of the Edo koshibai and brings the actors closer to the audience.

  • Tennichib˘: Cocoon Kabuki began in 1994 in the bustling district of Shibuya, enrapturing the audience and continuously evolving since its first presentation. The thirteenth project is based on a work by Kawatake Mokuami (1816~1893) who is known as one of the greatest Kabuki playwright of the Tokugawa Period (1603~1867). Since its premiere 150 years ago, the play is rewritten by the modern popular Japanese scriptwriter Kud˘ Kankur˘ and directed by the original founder of Cocoon Kabuki, Kushida Kazuyoshi. The story is centered on H˘saku, later to be known as Tennichib˘ (Nakamura Kankur˘), who heads towards Kamakura posing as the illegitimate child of the Sh˘gun Yoritomo. During this journey, he encounters a thief, Jirai Tar˘ (Nakamura Shid˘) and his wife Oroku (Nakamura Shichinosuke) and thus the story unfolds his fateful destiny. Full of hopes and dreams and aiming to be conquerors, the young characters battle their way through. This production features core members of the new generation of Kabuki actors: Nakamura Kankur˘ returns to Cocoon Kabuki under his newly inherited stage name, with co-stars Nakamura Shichinosuke and Nakamura Shid˘. A unique collaboration across diverse theatrical genres, this performance will be another epic addition to the repertoire of Kabuki presented at Cocoon Kabuki.
  • Source: Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website website

    Misonoza (Nagoya)
    Dates 3 ~ 26 February 2012 (Rokugatsu ďkabuki)
    June Grand Kabuki

    Natsu Matsuri Naniwa Kagami

  • Sumiyoshi Torii Mae
  • Tsuribune Sabu Uchi
  • Nagamachi Ura
  • Su˘ Otoshi


    Ishikawa Goemon


    Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Kataoka Takatar˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichimura Kakitsu, Ichikawa Omez˘, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Nakamura Baishi, Nakamura Mantar˘


  • Natsu Matsuri: this grisly murder story became a smashing hit when it was first performed in 1745 because of the chivalrous spirit of the many ďsaka characters appearing in this story, the contrast between a brutal murder and the jovial mood of a summer festival, and the splashing of real water used on the stage. Danshichi, a gallant fishmonger, does everything he can to protect the weak young son of his patron with the help of his companion Tokubŕ and the older Sabu. Although even Tokubŕ's wife Otatsu heroically helps out, in the end, Danshichi is betrayed by his evil father-in-law Giheiji and, in the most famous scene of the play, must kill him in a mud-covered fight in a lonely alley with the shouts of the local festival nearby. This program stars Ichikawa Ebiz˘ as Danshichi, with Ichikawa Omez˘, Ichikawa Sadanji and Ichikawa Ebiz˘ as Issun Tokubŕ, Tsuribune Sabu and Otatsu.
  • Su˘ Otoshi:
    (The Dropped Coat)
    This play transforms a classical Ky˘gen farce into Kabuki dance. Delivering a message for his lord, the servant Tar˘kaja (Ichikawa Danjűr˘) charms a princess and in reward for a dance showing a famous battle, he receives a formal coat and large amounts of drink. Knowing his lord is a greedy man, he tries to hide the coat on his return, but unfortunately, the sake that helped him feel so good earlier works against him. Featuring also Kataoka Takatar˘, Ichikawa Sadanji and Ichikawa Omez˘.
  • Ishikawa Goemon: a brand-new and spectacular play full of keren about the larger-than-life king of thieves Ishikawa Goemon and his arch enemy Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The play starts in Ky˘to in Sanj˘ Kawaramachi on the execution ground, where Ishikawa Goemon is about to be boiled to death with his son. The scenario was written by the manga storywriter, novelist and screenwriter Kibayashi Shin, the author of the manga series "Kindaichi Case Files". This play was premiered in August 2009 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘. It is staged for the second time, in Nagoya at the Misonoza, to celebrate early summer! The roles of Ishikawa Goemon and Toyotomi Hideyoshi are played by Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and his father Ichikawa Danjűr˘.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Minamiza (Ky˘to)
    Dates 2 ~ 24 June 2012 (Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Tokubetsu K˘en)
    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Special Performances

    Dan no Ura Kabuto Gunki (Akoya)



    Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Kataoka Ainosuke, Band˘ Shinsha


    This special program celebrates the 1050th anniversary of the foundation of the Rokuharamitsuji temple in Ky˘to [more details in Japanese].

  • Akoya: the courtesan Akoya is the wife of the fugitive general Kagekiyo and has been captured and will be tortured until she reveals his whereabouts. But she claims not to know. The wise Shigetada (Kataoka Ainosuke) puts Akoya to a test, all the time hindered by his companion, the humorous villain Iwanaga (Band˘ Shinsha). Shigetada forces Akoya to play several instruments since the slightest disturbance in the sound would indicate that she is lying. A showpiece for an onnagata who must actually play the koto, the bowed kokyű and the shamisen flawlessly as part of the drama. Starring Band˘ Tamasabur˘ as Akoya.
  • 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 Band˘ Tamasabur˘ with his new direction in the performance at Nissay Theatre in October 2011.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 24 June 2012 (Rokugatsu Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitsu)

    Heike Nyogo no Shima (Shunkan)


    Nakamura Hashinosuke, Ichikawa Danz˘, Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘, Nakamura Kotar˘, Nakamura Shinobu, Nakamura Shikimatsu


    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 on stage of Kabuki or some aspects of the art like music, stage tricks or fighting scenes, followed by the drama "Shunkan".

  • Shunkan: the priest Shunkan (Nakamura Hashinosuke) has been exiled to Devil's Island for plotting against the dictator Kiyomori. A pardon is given to his fellow conspirators, but Shunkan is only saved by an additional pardon given by Kiyomori's compassionate son. Even so, he gives up his place on the boat to freedom so his companion's new wife can accompany her husband back to the capital. The boat leaves and Shunkan is left watching is disappear in the distance, knowing he will be left on the island forever. Featuring Ichikawa Danz˘ as the evil emissary Senoo and Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘ as the merciful envoy Tanzaemon. With Nakamura Kotar˘ as the island girl Chidori and Nakamura Shinobu as Naritsune, Shunkan's fellow exile who has fallen in love with her.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

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