Nakamura Jakuemon, Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon, Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon,
Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Kaishun, Kataoka Takatar˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Kankur˘, Onoe Sh˘roku,
ďtani Tomoemon, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘,
Ichikawa Komaz˘, Band˘ Kametoshi, Nakamura Matsue, ďtani Hirotar˘, ďtani Hiromatsu, Nakamura Baishi, Nakamura Kotar˘, Matsumoto Kingo, Nakamura Mantar˘, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Arashi Kitsusabur˘, Ichimura Kitsutar˘
Nakamura Jakuemon V celebrates his shűmei in T˘ky˘ at the Kabukiza,
playing the roles of Princess Toki and Princess Yuki in "Kinugawa-mura Kankyo" and "Kinkakuji".
These two roles were atariyaku
for both Nakamura Jakuemon III and Nakamura Jakuemon IV.
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 Nakamura Hashinosuke as Kud˘
and some of the most popular young stars in Kabuki with Onoe Sh˘roku as Gor˘ and
Nakamura Kankur˘ as Jűr˘. Featuring also Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Senjaku and ďtani Tomoemon.
Onna Modori Kago: a usual practice was celebrated female impersonators to have famous male roles rewritten for them.
Numerous titles of already popular plays to which the character onna (ôwomanö) was added appeared
in the Kabuki repertory over the centuries, such as "Onna Narukami" ("Female Narukami") or "Onna Shibaraku" ("Female Shibaraku").
"Onna Modori Kago" is a female parodic dance based on "Modori Kago".
The two palanquin bearers Naniwa no Jirosaku and Azuma no Yoshir˘
are replaced by two courtesans, Naniwaya Okiku (Onoe Kikunosuke) and Azumaya Otoki (Nakamura Tokiz˘).
The kamuro is replaced by a yakko named Manpei (Nakamura Kinnosuke).
Niwaka Jishi: this lively dance evokes the atmosphere of an
Edo period festival. The highlight of the piece is the lion dance performed
by two of the handsome young men of the neighborhood.
Featuring Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun and Kataoka Takatar˘.
Kamakura Sandaiki: a rare performance of a classical history play from the
Bunraku puppet theatre, which shows a heroic warrior, unbending mother and delicate princess
in romance and intrigue on a grand scale. War has placed the young samurai
Miuranosuke (Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘ [*]) and his fiance Princess Toki on enemy sides. She takes
care of his sick mother (Kataoka Hidetar˘) despite being on opposite sides, and Miuranosuke
slips away from the battle to see his mother one last time. But she refuses
to see him when he should be on the battlefield and he must leave, brokenhearted.
Princess Toki's father is the leader of the enemy forces and she is
faced with a terrible challenge. She will only be allowed to be united
with the man she loves if she kills her father. Starring Nakamura Jakuemon as Princess Toki,
considered to be one of the most difficult princess roles in the Kabuki repertory.
Featuring also Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon in the role of Sasaki Takatsuna.
Dango Uri: the mortar and pestle used for pounding rice cakes
and dumplings are a symbol of a happily married couple. This short, lively
dance shows a couple peddling dumplings with a series of songs and dances.
Starring Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon and his son Kataoka Takatar˘ in the roles of the husband and the wife.
"Futatsu Ch˘ch˘" means "two butterflies" and also comes from the fact that
two sum˘ wrestlers who play important
roles in the full length play have names beginning with "ch˘":
Ch˘kichi and Ch˘gor˘. In order to help his master Yamazakiya Yogor˘ (Onoe Kikunosuke) buy out the contract of the
beautiful Azuma (Ichikawa Komaz˘), the senior wrestler Nuregami Ch˘gor˘ throws a match,
letting the younger wrestler Hanaregoma Ch˘kichi win, hoping to get his help.
But Ch˘kichi loses his temper and the two end up competing in a test of pride.
Starring popular actor Nakamura Hashinosuke as Ch˘gor˘ and Onoe Kikunosuke as Ch˘kichi.
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 Jakuemon V.
Kinkakuji: "Kinkakuji" retains the epic scale of plays adapted from
the Bunraku puppet theater and is full of miracles and larger-than-life characters
common on the puppet stage. It is full of the classical forms of all kinds of
stylized characters and the role of Princess Yuki is considered to be one of
the most difficult and beautiful roles for an onnagata
female role specialist. Matsunaga Daizen (Matsumoto K˘shir˘) has defeated the Sh˘gun and has
set up base in the Golden Pavilion. The brilliant strategist Hisayoshi, disguised
as a disgruntled retainer named T˘kichi (Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon), pretends to come under
Daizen's employ to try to sabotage his plans from within.
Princess Yuki (Nakamura Jakuemon) is being held prisoner by Daizen, but is able to free
herself by drawing a mouse in the cherry petals of the tree that she is tied to.
It comes to life and chews the ropes holding her. Starring the best of the
actors in their prime in a production sure to be full of fire and excitement.
Featuring also Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ in the role of the ama Keijuin.
Sekisan Yakko: there are many dances featuring yakko,
the boisterous footmen to samurai lords who accompanied their masters to
the pleasure quarters or formed part of his ceremonial parade carrying
ornamental spears decorated with white fringe. This particular dance is
named after Seki Sanjűr˘ II, the actor who created it and features a vigorous
dance with these ceremonial spears. Starring Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Kankur˘ and Onoe Sh˘roku in the roles of the three yakko.
Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website
[*] Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘ fell ill (stomach ulcer) before the opening day of these March Grand Kabuki performances at the Kabukiza.
He was replaced by his son Onoe Kikunosuke to play the role of Miuranosuke in "Kamakura Sandaiki" up to the 11th of March.
He was back on stage the 12th of March.