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.
(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"