MAY 2019

5 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre, Warehouse TERRADA, Shinjuku FACE) and 1 in Ky˘tango (Tango Bunka Kaikan)!

Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
Dates 3 ~ 27 May 2019
Dankikusai Gogatsu ďkabuki
Dankikusai May Grand Kabuki
MatinÚe

Kotobuki Soga no Taimen

Kanjinch˘

Kami no Megumi Wag˘ no Torikumi
(Megumi no Kenka)

Evening

Kakuju Senzai

Ehon Ushiwakamaru

Ky˘ganoko Musume D˘j˘ji

Soga Moy˘ Tateshi no Goshozome
(Gosho no Goroz˘)

Casting

Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Onoe Sh˘roku, Ichikawa Sadanji, Ichikawa Udanji, Ichikawa Danz˘, Band˘ Rakuzen, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Nakamura Baishi, Onoe Matsuya, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Band˘ Kamez˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘, Ichikawa Kudanji, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Mantar˘, ďtani Hiromatsu, Onoe Ukon, Onoe Ushinosuke

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. This is also the hatsubutai of Onoe Kikunosuke's son Terajima Kazufumi, who is also the grandson of both Living National Treasures Onoe Kikugor˘ and Nakamura Kichiemon. This young boy receives the name of Onoe Ushinosuke VII, a name unheld for 23 years, in May 2019 at the Kabukiza. The new Ushinosuke performs in the dance-drama "Ehon Ushiwakamaru", which was written by the novelist Murakami Genz˘ and was premiered in February 1984 for the hatsubutai of Onoe Ushinosuke VI.

  • 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 of young actors headed by Onoe Sh˘roku as Kud˘ and some of the most popular young stars in Kabuki with Nakamura Mantar˘ as Gor˘ and Nakamura Baishi as Jűr˘. Featuring Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Yonekichi, Onoe Ukon and Band˘ Kamez˘ as Kobayashi no Asahina, the courtesan Kewaizaka no Sh˘sh˘ (Gor˘'s lover), the courtesan ďiso no Tora (Jűr˘'s lover) and Oni˘ Shinzaemon (Jűr˘'s retainer).
  • Kanjinch˘: probably the most popular Kabuki play today, it includes dance, comedy and the heart-warming pathos of a band of heroes during their last days. Disguised as a band of traveling priests the fugitive general Yoshitsune and his small band of retainers are stopped at a road barrier. They escape only through the quick thinking of the head retainer, a warrior priest named Musashib˘ Benkei, who improvises the text of an elaborate imperial decree. Having escaped danger Benkei and the others describe their days of glory and hardships on the road to escape in a moving dance. This program stars Ichikawa Ebiz˘ in the role of Benkei, with Onoe Kikunosuke and Onoe Sh˘roku as Yoshitsune and the barrier keeper Togashi.
  • Megumi no Kenka: they used to say that fights and fires were the flowers of the city of Edo and many plays feature the gallent members of firefighting troupes, who were popular heroes. This particular play depicts a rivalry between the members of the Megumi firefighting band and a group of sum˘ wrestlers, which ultimately is a confrontation between the firefighters, who represent the commoner class and the samurai patrons of the sum˘ wrestlers. The fight begins with a minor incident, but grows into a situation of such tension, that when Tatsugor˘, the leader of the firefighting gang, goes to his final fight, he goes with the full intention that this may be a fight to the death. Before he leaves, he has an emotional parting from his family. Featuring Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘ as Tatsugor˘ and Ichikawa Sadanji as the leader of the group of sum˘ wrestlers. Featuring also Nakamura Tokiz˘ (Tatsugor˘'s wife Onaka), Nakamura Jakuemon, Onoe Kikunosuke, Ichikawa Danz˘, Band˘ Rakuzen, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Band˘ Kamez˘, Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘ and Ichimura Manjir˘.
  • Kakuju Senzai: this is a dance first performed in 1928 to commemorate the enthronement of Emperor Hirohito. The crane is an auspicious bird which is believed to live happily with its partner and to live a thousand years. Two cranes dance together to celebrate a peaceful new era. This will be performed to commemorate the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito on the 1st of May 2019. Featuring Nakamura Tokiz˘ as the female crane and Onoe Sh˘roku as the male crane.
  • Ehon Ushiwakamaru: As the Heike clan is at the height of its prosperity, Ushiwakamaru, son of the late Minamoto no Yoshitomo (general of the Genji clan, the Heike's enemy), is on Mount Kurama where he has become an apprentice swordsman. He is accompanied by his retainer, Benkei and together they embark on a journey to the northern province of ďshű. Kiichi H˘gen, Ushiwakamaru's master, gives him a book of military strategy as a parting gift. Onoe Ushinosuke will make his debut this month performing the role of Ushiwakamaru, with Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Band˘ Rakuzen, Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and Onoe Sh˘roku.
  • Musume D˘j˘ji: a beautiful young woman dances under cherry blossoms at a dedication ceremony for a temple bell. She dances the many aspects of a woman in love, but is actually the spirit of a serpent, driven to destroy the bell out of jealousy. In addition to being the most famous of all Kabuki dances, "Musume D˘j˘ji" is considered to be the pinnacle of the art of the onnagata. The role of the shiraby˘shi is played by Onoe Kikunosuke.
  • Gosho no Goroz˘: a portrait of the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters at the height of its splendor. Rival gangs dressed in the height of fashion exchange stately speeches before fighting in the elaborate poetic cadences of Kawatake Mokuami, the last great playwright of Kabuki. Goroz˘ is the handsome leader of a gang, but his lover, the top courtesan Satsuki pretends to reject him to save his life. Tragedy strikes when Goroz˘ is driven to revenge. Starring Onoe Matsuya as Goroz˘, Band˘ Hikosabur˘ as his rival in love, Nakamura Baishi as Goroz˘'s lover, the courtesan Satsuki and Onoe Ukon as ďshű, a courtesan who is tragically killed.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 11 ~ 22 May 2019
    Zenshinza Gogatsu K˘en
    Zenshinza May Performances
    Program

    Sakura Giminden

    Casting

    Kawarasaki Kunitar˘, Fujikawa Yanosuke, Arashi Yoshisabur˘

    Comments

    The usual Zenshinza May program at the National Theatre!

  • Sakura Giminden: this play is rare among classics in having a political theme. It depicts a country landlord Kiuchi S˘g˘ (Arashi Yoshisabur˘) who cannot stand the suffering of the farmers around him. A series of bad harvests has made things very hard, but corrupt officials refuse to lower taxes or relent in any way. Finally, S˘g˘ decides to bring the case directly to the Sh˘gun, a move punishable by death. The play shows S˘g˘ as he persuades the old keeper of the river crossing (Fujikawa Yanosuke) to let him pass and says a final farewell to his wife Osan (Kawarazaki Kunitar˘) and children. Meanwhile, he is watched by a villainous informer, Maboroshi no Ch˘kichi. Finally, S˘g˘ brings his case directly to the Sh˘gun, knowing that whether he is successful or not, he will be executed.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Tango Bunka Kaikan (Ky˘tango)
    Dates 11 ~ 12 May 2019
    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Tokubetsu Buy˘ K˘en
    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Special Dance Performances
    Program

    Omemie K˘j˘

    Yuki

    Kosunoto

    Kurokami

    Yukari no Tsuki

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘

    Comments

    A special Buy˘ program starring the amazing Living National Treasure onnagata Band˘ Tamasabur˘ in Ky˘tango at the Tango Bunka Kaikan (Tango Culture Center).

  • K˘j˘: the close relationship between the actors and the audience is shown by stage announcements, usually lavish ceremonies to commemorate various important events. This month at the Tango Bunka Kaikan, it is a stage speech done by Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘.
  • Yuki:
    (Snow)
    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ appears as an ďsaka courtesan named Soseki, expressing her feelings of loneliness after having been jilted by her lover and who has decided to become a nun. This jiuta dance is performed in a restrained chamber style.
  • Kosunoto:
    (Reed Screen)
    A masterpiece of tsuyamono (love story) which sings about the sentiment of love. It begins with description of a woman's heart toward a man she loves and her attachment is described gracefully with the sound of wind blowing through the pine trees, the cry of little cuckoos and the moon in the background which remind us of summer night.
  • Kurokami:
    (Black hair)
    A woman's heart lamenting the painfulness and loneliness of sleeping alone is expressed with deep feeling. It is impressive that a woman's feeling of love and jealousy is skillfully expressed from the contrast of black hair, the symbol for the beauty of Japanese women, and white snow, as the words say.
  • Yukari no Tsuki:
    (The moon of Karma)
    A dance about a courtesan's sad mental state. While watching the moon, she is lamenting that she has to separate from her lover and to marry another man because of her poverty.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Warehouse TERRADA (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 11 ~ 17 May 2019
    OfushiatÔ Kabuki
    Off Theater Kabuki
    Program

    Abura no Jigoku

    Casting

    Nakamura Shid˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Arashi Kitsusabur˘, Akahori Masaaki, Arakawa Yoshiyoshi

    Comments

    A new type of Kabuki called OfushiatÔ Kabuki, literally "Off Theater Kabuki", staged at the Warehouse TERRADA and (loosely?) based on Chikamatsu Monzaemon's masterpiece "Abura no Jigoku".

    Shinjuku FACE (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 22 ~ 29 May 2019
    OfushiatÔ Kabuki
    Off Theater Kabuki
    Program

    Abura no Jigoku

    Casting

    Nakamura Shid˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Arashi Kitsusabur˘, Akahori Masaaki, Arakawa Yoshiyoshi

    Comments

    A new type of Kabuki called OfushiatÔ Kabuki, literally "Off Theater Kabuki", staged at the Shinjuku FACE and (loosely?) based on Chikamatsu Monzaemon's masterpiece "Abura no Jigoku".

     
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