MAY 2017

5 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, Meijiza, National Theatre, Orchard Hall), 2 in ďsaka (Sh˘chikuza) and 1 in Niigata (Niigata Kenmin Kaikan)!

Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
Dates 3 ~ 27 May 2017 (Dankikusai Gogatsu ďkabuki)
Dankikusai May Grand Kabuki
MatinÚe

Kajiwara Heiz˘ Homare no Ishikiri
(Ishikiri Kajiwara)

Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura (Yoshinoyama)

Shin Sarayashiki Tsuki no Amagasa
(Sakanaya S˘gor˘)

Evening

Kotobuki Soga no Taimen
It includes a k˘j˘ to celebrate all the events of this month!

Meiboku Sendai Hagi

  • Goten
  • Yukashita
  • Taiketsu
  • Ninj˘
  • Yayoi no Hana Asakusa Matsuri

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Band˘ Rakuzen, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Band˘ Kamez˘, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Onoe Sh˘roku, Ichikawa Danz˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Baishi, Ichimura Manjir˘, Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘, Onoe Matsuya, ďtani Tomoemon, Ichikawa Udanji, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichikawa Udanji, Ichimura Kakitsu, Ichikawa Kudanji, Ichikawa Omez˘, Band˘ Minosuke, ďtani Hiromatsu, Ichikawa Otora, Ichimura Kitsutar˘, Ichimura Takematsu, Onoe Ukon, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Terajima Mahoro

    Comments

    The great yearly Dankiku festival for the Naritaya and Otowaya guilds, which commemorates 2 great stars of the Meiji era: Dan = Ichikawa Danjűr˘ IX and Kiku = Onoe Kikugor˘ V. An important 3-generation shűmei for the Band˘ branch of the Otowaya guild this month at the Kabukiza! Band˘ Hikosabur˘ VIII, his two sons Band˘ Kamesabur˘ V and Band˘ Kametoshi respectively take the names of Band˘ Rakuzen, Band˘ Hikosabur˘ IX and Band˘ Kamez˘ III. Moreover, Band˘ Kamesabur˘'s son Band˘ Yűta makes his hatsubutai and receives the name of Band˘ Kamesabur˘ VI. Moreover, the 22nd and 16th anniversaries (23rd and 17th memorial services) of the passing away of Onoe Baik˘ VII and Ichimura Uzaemon XVII are commemorated. Another special event : Terajima Mahoro, the grandson of Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘ and son of the actress Terajima Shinobu makes his first stage appearance (omemie).

  • Ishikiri Kajiwara: the Heike general Kajiwara (Band˘ Hikosabur˘) is asked to test the sharpness of a sword by slicing two live human beings in half. He deliberately makes the sword fail the test to keep the sword, a priceless heirloom belonging to the enemy Genji clan, from falling into the hands of his Taira clan. A miracle has convinced Kajiwara to change sides. Kajiwara finally demonstrates the true power of the sword by cutting a large stone basin in two. Featuring also Band˘ Rakuzen, Band˘ Kamez˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Ichikawa Danz˘ and Onoe Sh˘roku.
  • Yoshinoyama: a dance travel scene from the epic "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura". Now in exile and disgrace, Yoshitsune has left his lover Shizuka in the safekeeping of his trusted retainer Tadanobu. But she is unaware that this Tadanobu is actually a magical fox who has disguised himself to be near the treasured drum that Shizuka carries, a drum made from the skins of his fox parents. Starring Ichikawa Ebiz˘ as Tadanobu, with Onoe Kikunosuke as Shizuka. Featuring also Ichikawa Omez˘ as Hayami no T˘ta.
  • Sakanaya S˘gor˘: S˘gor˘ (Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘), a fish seller, has taken a vow to not drink, but when he learns about his sister's unjust murder at the hands of a daimy˘ lord, a death that they were told was execution for her wrongdoing, he starts to drink again. Drunk, he storms into the lord's mansion to seek an apology. This play by Meiji playwright Kawatake Mokuami is known for its realistic portrayal of members of the common class during the Edo period and highlights their fierce pride and frustration at the privileges of the dominant samurai class. Featuring also Nakamura Tokiz˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Ichikawa Danz˘, Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Nakamura Baishi and Onoe Sh˘roku.
  • Soga no Taimen: this is one of the oldest and most classical of all Kabuki plays. In the Edo period, every January, plays appeared about the vendetta carried out by the Soga brothers Jűr˘ and Gor˘ after eighteen years of hardship. In "Soga no Taimen" the brothers confront Kud˘ Suketsune, the man responsible for their father's death. More ceremony than play, it features each of the important Kabuki character types, including the bombastic aragoto style of Gor˘ and the soft wagoto style of Jűr˘. This month features a cast headed by Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘ as Kud˘ and some of the most popular young stars in Kabuki with Band˘ Hikosabur˘ as Gor˘ and Nakamura Tokiz˘ as Jűr˘. Featuring also Band˘ Rakuzen, Band˘ Kamez˘, Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Onoe Matsuya and Nakamura Baishi.
  • Meiboku Sendai Hagi: this play is about the attempt to take over one of the most famous samurai households in the Edo period, a scandal that caused a sensation in its day.
  • Goten: Masaoka (Onoe Kikunosuke), a loyal maidservant, is taking care of the lord's young heir. Afraid he will be poisoned, she refuses to let anyone see him who might try to assassinate him. She even fixes his meal in her quarters using her delicate tea ceremony implements to cook rice. The plotting faction does not give up, though, and sends poison in the form of candy as a present from the Sh˘gun. Masaoka's son sacrifices his life for the young lord by eating the poisoned candy, and when he is killed, she thinks only of protecting her lord. Her fierce devotion to duty convinces the plotters that she is on their side. Masaoka's actions help save the young lord, and only when she is alone can she grieve for her son. With Nakamura Karoku as the villainous Yashio, a court woman who kills Masaokaĺs son.
  • Yukashita: Another faithful retainer Otokonosuke (Onoe Sh˘roku), stands guard underneath the room, but the evil Nikki Danj˘ (Ichikawa Ebiz˘) appears as a giant rat, but then slips away, walking calmly through the clouds.
  • Taiketsu/Ninj˘: the elderly Geki (Kataoka Ichiz˘), a faithful retainer, brings charges against Nikki Danj˘ (Ichikawa Ebiz˘). Danj˘ cleverly protests his innocence, but his lies are seen through by the wise judge Katsumoto (Nakamura Baigyoku). Condemned to death, Danj˘ tries to take his revenge on Geki.
  • Asakusa Matsuri: in the Edo period, there were virtuoso sets of dances with one actor changing from character to character with a series of spectacular quick changes (hengemono). This is a set of four dances, all featuring Onoe Sh˘roku and Band˘ Kamez˘ in a series of roles. It begins in the ancient past with Empress Jing˘ and her aged minister Takeuchi Sukune. It is said that the empress delayed the birth of her child, the emperor, so that she could conduct an attack on the Asian continent. Then the scene changes to the exuberant Sanja festival and shows two fishermen who discover a sacred statue in a river. Suddenly, the fishermen are possessed by the spirits of Good and Evil and dance vigorously. The scene switches to the pleasure quarters with two patrons, a sophisticated urban playboy and a clumsy unfashionable man. Finally it ends on a fantastic note with the two dancers as lion spirits.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Sh˘chikuza (ďsaka)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 May 2017 (Gogatsu Hanagata Kabuki)
    May Young Actors Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Modori Kago Iro ni Aikata

    Kin no Zai Sarushima Dairi
    t˘shi ky˘gen production ending with the spectacular dance-drama "Futa Omote D˘j˘ji"

    Evening

    Shinpan Utazaimon (Nozaki-mura)

    Kaidan Chibusa no Enoki

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ennosuke, Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa Juen, Nakamura Kotar˘, Nakamura Kash˘

    Comments

    Two Kabuki programs with young actors of the Omodakaya and Nakamuraya guilds. This is also the 20th anniversary of the Sh˘chikuza which is celebrated.

  • Modori Kago: two palanquin bearers, one from ďsaka, the other from Edo (pre-modern T˘ky˘), decide to stop and rest. As they do so, each boasts of the respective merits of his native town. Finally, the little apprentice courtesan (kamuro) they have been carrying, alights from the palanquin and joins them in their dance. Featuring Nakamura Kankur˘ as the palanquin bearer from ďsaka (in reality Ishikawa Goemon), Nakamura Kash˘ as the palanquin bearer from Edo (in reality Goemon's arch-enemy Mashiba Hisayoshi) and Nakamura Kotar˘ as the kamuro.
  • Kin no Zai Sarushima Dairi: the actor Ichikawa Ennosuke III has directed a series of revivals of neglected Kabuki plays that have allowed him to display his distinctive theatrical style, full of lightning-fast costume changes and acrobatic stunts. He first revived this play in 1964. "Kin no Zai Sarushima Dairi" combines the story of two plotters for the Imperial throne with the famous D˘j˘ji legend in which passion turns a young woman into a jealous serpent. The treacherous pirate Fujiwara no Sumitomo brings the proud Taira no Masakado back from the dead to continue their plots to take over Japan. A forlorn court noble spurned in love and a beautiful young girl turned into a jealous spirit through rejection find their spirits combined in the form of an evil serpent. All the plots are tied together in a beautiful and spectacular dance play that combines Kabuki's greatest dances. Starring Ichikawa Ennosuke, Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke and Ichikawa Monnosuke.
  • Nozaki-mura: a farm girl Omitsu (Nakamura Shichinosuke) is busy planning her marriage to Hisamatsu (Nakamura Kash˘) who has just returned to the country after leaving his post in the city in disgrace. Suddenly Osome (Nakamura Kotar˘) appears. She is the daughter of the rich merchant Hisamatsu served and their love affair was the cause of his disgrace. Despite the best efforts of Hisamatsu's father Kyűsaku (Band˘ Yajűr˘), the course of true love cannot be changed. Omitsu decides to sacrifice her own love and to become a nun to save the young couple who would rather die than be separated.
  • Chibusa no Enoki:
    (The Ghost and the Milk-Giving Tree)
    Based on a rakugo story by Sanyűtei Ench˘, this is a showpiece for the star actor (Nakamura Kankur˘) who plays multiple roles, culminating in a thrilling fight scene in a waterfall where he switches rapidly from one to another. An artist named Hishikawa Shigenobu (Nakamura Kankur˘) is killed by a handsome samurai named Isogai Namie (Ichikawa Ennosuke) who makes love to Shigenobu's wife Oseki (Nakamura Shichinosuke). He carries out the murder with the help of Shigenobu's honest, but simple minded, servant Sh˘suke (Nakamura Kankur˘) and the tattooed villain Uwabami no Sanji (Nakamura Kankur˘). But the baby is rescued by the ghost of Shigenobu and finally the boy avenges the death of his father by killing Isogai.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Meijiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 27 May 2017 (Gogatsu Hanagata Kabuki)
    May Young Actors Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Tsukigata Hanpeita

    Sannin Renjishi

    Evening

    Nans˘ Satomi Hakkenden

    Casting

    Kataoka Ainosuke, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Arashi Kitsusabur˘, Nakamura Jűjir˘, Kataoka Matsunosuke, Kamimura Kichiya, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Nakamura Matsue, Nakamura Kamenoj˘, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Ichikawa Fukutar˘, Nakamura Hayato, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Mantar˘, Nakamura Tanenosuke

    Comments

    May Young Actors Kabuki performances at the Meijiza with a troupe led by Kataoka Ainosuke.

  • Tsukigata Hanpeita: it's near the end of the Tokugawa era. Ch˘shű Clan's Lord has apparently been seeking a Ch˘shű-Satsuma alliance against the desperate Tokugawa regime. But Ch˘shű vassals are divided as to their opinions of this move, as not all are devoted to the idea of the Emperor's restoration. The hero of this play Tsukigata Hanpeita (Kataoka Ainosuke) is on the rebel side. During a fight against loyalists serving the Togukawa regime, he sings a folk song while dueling and fights them with the back of his sword so as not to harm them. But when the severe loyalist Okudaira joins the fray, Tsukigata does not hesitate to kill him. Later, because Tsukigata has meetings with loyalists, the fellow members of his group of rebel call him a spy, which enrages him. Tsukigata is also a notorious customer of the local pleasure quarter where he meets the courtesans Somehachi who regards him as her enemy for she wants to avenge Okudaira. This drama is the story of a master swordsman who harmonizes the lightheartedness of a star in the kuruwa with the seriousness of his violence and his ultimate tragedy.
  • Renjishi: 3 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 father and a mother 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, in the style of the Umemoto school of Kamigata-mai, features Kataoka Ainosuke (who is the 4th iemoto of the Umemoto school) in the role of the father shishi, Nakamura Kazutar˘ as the mother shishi and Nakamura Tanenosuke in the role of the cub.
  • Hakkenden:
    (The Eight Dog Warriors)
    the original novel is an immense epic by 19th century novelist Takizawa Bakin published over many years, but eventually reaching one-hundred and sixty volumes. The Satomi clan is being attacked and its lord offers his daughter Princess Fuse to the warrior that will bring him the head of the enemy. It is his loyal dog that kills and beheads the enemy and, saying that her father must not go back on his word, Princess Fuse goes with the dog. Nevertheless, the Satomi clan is defeated and one of its loyal retainers goes to rescue Princess Fuse, shooting the dog, but unfortunately shooting Princess Fuse as well. The eight crystal beads of her rosary, each engraved with the Chinese characters of one of the Confucian virtues, goes flying through the air. Miraculously, each will be found with a newborn baby. These eight children, all of whom have the character inu for "dog" in their names, eventually meet and join together to restore the Satomi clan. The play features all the stars of the company and follows the adventures of the eight dog warriors as they meet and gradually join together, leading to a climactic fight on the roof of a dizzyingly high tower. Starring Kataoka Ainosuke in the role of Inuyama D˘setsu.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 11 ~ 22 May 2017 (Zenshinza Gogatsu K˘en)
    Zenshinza May Performances
    Program

    Ura Nagaya S˘d˘ki

    Casting

    Kawarazaki Kunitar˘, Arashi Yoshisabur˘, Fujikawa Yanosuke, Yamazaki Tatsusabur˘, Matsunami Kihachir˘, Tadamura Shin'ya, Seiganji Shigemori, Hayase Einoj˘, Arashi Ichitar˘

    Comments

    The usual Zenshinza May program at the National Theatre! "Ura Nagaya S˘d˘ki" is a newly-created drama which was written by the veteran movie director Yamada Y˘ji and which was based on two famous rakugo stories, "Rakuda" and "Ido no Chawan".

    Orchard Hall (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 16 ~ 20 May 2017 (Band˘ Tamasabur˘ x Kod˘ Tokubetsu Buy˘ K˘en)
    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ x Kod˘ Special Dance Performances
    Program

    Yűgen

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘

    Comments

    Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ performs at the Orchard Hall along with the Kod˘ taiko drummers in a newly-created dance-drama entitled "Yűgen", which features an array of classical Japanese images from plays by founder Zeami Motokiyo, incorporating themes from iconic works such as "Hagoromo" (The Feather Robe), "D˘j˘ji" (D˘j˘ji Temple) and "Shakky˘" (The Stone Bridge). Band˘ Tamasabur˘ shares the stage with the dance master Hanayagi Jusuke IV and his disciples.

    Niigata Kenmin Kaikan (Niigata)
    Dates 26 ~ 28 May 2017 (Band˘ Tamasabur˘ x Kod˘ Tokubetsu Buy˘ K˘en)
    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ x Kod˘ Special Dance Performances
    Program

    Yűgen

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘

    Comments

    Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ performs in Niigata at the Niigata Kenmin Kaikan (Niigata Prefectural Civic Center) along with the Kod˘ taiko drummers in a newly-created dance-drama entitled "Yűgen", which features an array of classical Japanese images from plays by founder Zeami Motokiyo, incorporating themes from iconic works such as "Hagoromo" (The Feather Robe), "D˘j˘ji" (D˘j˘ji Temple) and "Shakky˘" (The Stone Bridge). Band˘ Tamasabur˘ shares the stage with the dance master Hanayagi Jusuke IV and his disciples.

     
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