NAKAMURA KICHIEMON I

Real name: Namino Tatsujir˘

Guild: Harimaya

Line number: SHODAI (I)

Poetry name: Shűzan

Existence: 24 March 1886 ~ 5 September 1954

Connections:

Grandfather: Nakamura Karoku I

Father: Nakamura Karoku III

Brothers: Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVII, Nakamura Tokiz˘ III

Adopted son: Nakamura Kichiemon II

Grandsons: Matsumoto K˘shir˘ IX, Nakamura Kichiemon II

Great-grandson: Ichikawa Somegor˘ VII

Career:

1886: born in T˘ky˘ in the district of Asakusa. His mother is the daughter of a shibai jaya owner named Yorozuya Kichiemon.

1897: he makes his first stage appearance, at the Asakusaza, where he receives the name of Nakamura Kichiemon I and quickly becomes the zagashira of a troupe of children-actors (kodomo shibai).

September 1898: Kichiemon plays at the Asakusaza the role of Motoemon in the drama "Tengajaya-mura".

1902: Kichiemon joins the Kabukiza and receives the teachings of the star Ichikawa Danjűr˘ IX.

Fall 1908: beginning of a new golden age for the Ichimuraza with the kikukichi duo.

March 1910: premiere at the Ichimuraza of the ky˘gen "Hanago", adapted for Kabuki by Okamura Shik˘ and staged under the title "Migawari Zazen"; Kichiemon plays the role of Tar˘kaja [casting].

April 1910: premiere at the Kabukiza of "Yuki no Yűbe Iriya no Azemichi", a few scenes taken from "Kumo ni Magou Ueno no Hatsuhana" focusing on Kataoka Naojir˘ and his lover Michitose and staged independently from the rest of the play; Kichiemon plays the role of Kurayami no Ushimatsu [casting].

January 1916: premiere at the Ichimuraza of the ky˘gen "B˘ Shibari", which is adapted to kabuki by Okamura Shik˘; Kichiemon plays the role of the daimy˘ [casting]. He also plays the role of Ishikawa Goemon in the drama "Sanmon Gosan no Kiri"; the role of Mashiba Hisayoshi is played by Onoe Kikugor˘ VI.

February 1920: Kichiemon plays at the Ichimuraza the role of Ob˘ Kichisa in the drama "Sannin Kichisa". His stage partners are Onoe Kikugor˘ VI (Osh˘ Kichisa) and Sawamura S˘nosuke I (Oj˘ Kichisa).

Beginning of 1921: Kichiemon leaves the Ichimuraza to join the Sh˘chiku Company, bringing the age of the kikukichi duo to an end.

January 1926: Kichiemon plays at the Hong˘za the role of Mashiba Hisayoshi in the drama "Sanmon"; the role of Ishikawa Goemon is played by Ichikawa Chűsha VII.

April 1926: Kichiemon plays at the Hong˘za the roles of Yuranosuke and Senzaki Yagor˘ in the classic "Kanadehon Chűshingura".

July 1926: premiere at the Kabukiza of Okamoto Kid˘'s drama "Gonza to Sukejű"; Kichiemon plays the role of the landlord Rokurobŕ [casting].

September 1926: Kichiemon plays at the Kabukiza the role of Motoemon in the drama "Tengajaya-mura". His stage partners are Ichikawa Chűsha VII (T˘ma Sabur˘emon), Sawamura S˘jűr˘ VII (Iori), Band˘ Mitsugor˘ VII (Yasuke, K˘emon) and Nakamura Fukusuke V (Genjir˘).

October 1927: revival at the Hong˘za of Tsuruya Nanboku IV's masterpiece "Sakura Hime Azuma Bunsh˘", produced under the title "Kiyomizudera Azuma Bunsh˘", which has not been staged since 3rd lunar month of 1817; Kichiemon plays the role of Seigen [casting].

April 1928: Kichiemon plays at the Meijiza the role of Matsu˘maru in "Terakoya". His stage partners are Onoe Kikugor˘ VI (Genz˘), Nakamura Tokiz˘ III (Chiyo) and Onoe Taganoj˘ III (Tonami).

January 1931: Kichiemon plays at the T˘ky˘ Gekij˘ the role of Genz˘ in "Terakoya". His stage partners are Onoe Kikugor˘ VI (Matsu˘maru), Nakamura Fukusuke V (Chiyo) and Onoe Taganoj˘ III (Tonami).

February 1932: Kichiemon plays at the T˘ky˘ Gekij˘ the role of Ob˘ Kichisa in the drama "Sannin Kichisa". His stage partners are Onoe Kikugor˘ VI (Osh˘ Kichisa) and Ichimura Uzaemon XV (Oj˘ Kichisa).

April 1932: Kichiemon plays at the T˘ky˘ Gekij˘ the role of Matsu˘maru in "Terakoya". His stage partners are Onoe Kikugor˘ VI (Genz˘), Nakamura Tokiz˘ III (Chiyo) and Onoe Taganoj˘ III (Tonami).

February 1934: premiere at the Kabukiza of "ďishi Saigo no Ichinichi", the tenth and last play of Mayama Seika's cycle "Genroku Chűshingura"; Kichiemon plays the role of Araki Jűzaemon [casting].

April 1936: Kichiemon plays at the Kabukiza the role of Genz˘ in "Terakoya". His stage partners are Onoe Kikugor˘ VI (Matsu˘maru), Nakamura Tokiz˘ III (Tonami) and Nakamura Baigyoku III (Chiyo).

May 1938: Kichiemon plays at the Kabukiza the role of Matsu˘maru in "Terakoya". His stage partners are Onoe Kikugor˘ VI (Genz˘), Onoe Kikujir˘ IV (Tonami) and Sawamura Tossh˘ IV (Chiyo).

January 1939: Kichiemon plays at the Kabukiza the role of Genz˘ in "Terakoya". His stage partners are Onoe Kikugor˘ VI (Matsu˘maru), Nakamura Tokiz˘ III (Chiyo) and Ichikawa Omez˘ IV (Tonami).

April 1939: Kichiemon plays at the ďsaka Kabukiza the role of Genz˘ in "Terakoya"; his stage partners are the same as the January performance.

1943: Kichiemon sets up his own troupe, the Kichiemon Gekidan (literally "Kichiemon's theatrical troupe").

October 1946: Kichiemon plays at the T˘ky˘ Gekij˘ the role of Shunkan in the drama "Heike Nyogo no Shima".

November 1946: Kichiemon plays at the Minamiza the role of Shunkan in the drama "Heike Nyogo no Shima".

December 1946: Kichiemon is the zagashira of the Kabuki troupe which celebrates the reopening of the rebuilt Mitsukoshi Gekij˘ [more details].

1951: Kichiemon publishes his autobiography entitled "Kichiemon Jiden" (literally "Kichiemon's autobiography").

November 1952: Kichiemon plays for the last time the role of Shunkan in the drama "Heike Nyogo no Shima", which is staged at the Kabukiza. His stage partners are Nakamura Utaemon VI (Chidori) and Nakamura Tokiz˘ III (Tanzaemon).

July 1954: Kichiemon appears on stage for the last time, at the Kabukiza, playing the role of Kumagai Jir˘ Naozane in "Kumagai Jin'ya".

Comments:

Nakamura Kichiemon I was one of the best tachiyaku actors of the twentieth century and had a major influence on Kabuki, helping a lot for the transmission of classic roles, which he had the chance in his prime to closely see performed by stage giants like Ichikawa Danjűr˘ IX or Ichikawa Danz˘ VII. He also deviced himself many kata, which are called Kichiemon kata. His troupe, the Kichiemon Gekidan, was the most active one in post-WW2 Japan.

Nakamura Kichiemon I's best roles: Shunkan ("Shunkan"), K˘chiyama S˘shun ("K˘chiyama"), Takebe Genz˘ ("Terakoya"), Ichij˘ ďkura ("Ichij˘ ďkura Monogatari"), Banzui Ch˘bŕ ("Yudono no Ch˘bŕ"), Jir˘zaemon ("Kagotsurube Sato no Eizame"), Takechi Mitsuhide ("Badarai no Mitsuhide"), Matsuura Shizunobu ("Matsuura no Taiko"), Benkei ("Kanjinch˘"), Sasaki Moritsuna ("Moritsuna Jinya"), Kumagai Jir˘ Naozane ("Kumagai Jin'ya"), Yatagor˘ Genshichi ("Kamiyui Shinza"), Daihanji no Kiyosumi ("Imoseyama Onna Teikin"), Kiuchi S˘go ("Sakura Giminden") and ďboshi Yuranosuke ("Kanadehon Chűshingura").

Nakamura Kichiemon I was particularly interested in the warrior Kat˘ Kiyomasa and many new dramas were written especially for him in this role. He gathered them and others dramas in a special collection of six plays called Shűzan Jisshu, which includes "Nij˘j˘ no Kiyomasa", "Urusanj˘ no Kiyomasa", "Kumamotoj˘ no Kiyomasa", "Matsuura no Taiko", "Yasaku no Kamabara" and "Kiyomasa Seichűroku".

"Nakamura Kichiemon, a member of the Kabukiza company, is a meteor-like actor, having risen rapidly and by sheer ability, for he has little ancestral prestige to enhance his reputation. He has no pretensions to boast of as a dancer, but in the loyalty characters of the Kabuki masterpieces, in creating afresh the r˘les left by Chikamatsu Monzaemon, Takeda Izumo, and Chikamatsu Hanji, he is unsurpassed." (written in 1925, when Kichiemon was at the end of his thirties, by ZoŰ Kincaid in "Kabuki, the Popular Stage of Japan")

Nakamura Kichiemon I playing the role of the otokodate Ume no Yoshibei in the a print made by Hanayama

Prints & Illustrations

Print made by Hanayama

The Nakamura Kichiemon line of actors

 
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