||3 ~ 27 March 2017 (Sangatsu ďkabuki)
March Grand Kabuki
Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura
Daimotsu no Ura
Kagura Uta Kumoi no Kyokumari (Dontsuku)
Futatsu Ch˘ch˘ Kuruwa Nikki (Hikimado)
Keisei Hama no Masago (Onna Goemon)
Sukeroku Yukari no Edo Zakura
Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Jakuemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Ichikawa Sadanji, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Ichikawa Danz˘, ďtani Tomoemon, Nakamura Karoku, Ichikawa Udanji,
Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichikawa Udanji, Ichimura Kakitsu, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Band˘ Minosuke, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Band˘ Shűch˘, Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘, Ichikawa Omez˘, Nakamura Matsue, Band˘ Kametoshi, Sawamura S˘nosuke, Ichikawa Kudanji, Nakamura Kamenoj˘, Matsumoto Kingo, Ichikawa En'ya,
Kataoka Matsunosuke, Ichimura Kitsutar˘, Nakamura Baishi, Nakamura Kotar˘, Band˘ Shingo, Nakamura Mantar˘, Nakamura Jűjir˘, Ichikawa Otora, ďtani Hirotar˘, ďtani Hiromatsu, Onoe Ukon, Ichikawa Ukon
The highlights of these two programs for the March Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza are listed below:
The dance-drama "Dontsuku" staged to commemorate the 2nd anniversary (3rd memorial service) of the passing away of Band˘ Mitsugor˘ X.
Meikun Gy˘j˘ki: this play was written by Mayama Seika in 1937 and
belongs to the genre known as 'New Kabuki' (Shinkabuki).
The lord of Okayama Castle Ikeda Mitsumasa (Nakamura Baigyoku) is known as a wise ruler. Mitsumasa's close attendant
Aochi Zenzaemon (Band˘ Kamesabur˘) has shot and killed a bird without knowing that hunting was forbidden in that area.
When a foot soldier blames him for his actions he slays him. Zenzaemon requests to be judged by his lord,
thinking it would be a good opportunity to know Mitsumasa's true character about which Zenzaemon had felt
some doubt. Zenzaemon asks for severe punishment, but Mitsumasa wants to save him. Hearing that Rinsuke
who had originally handed the gun to Zenzaemon has hanged himself, Mitsumasa summons Zenzaemon.
He gives him the gun used on that day and orders him to shoot at Mitsumasa's eye supposing it to be a wild goose.
Zenzaemon cannot bear this and throws down the gun. Mitsumasa declares that since Rinsuke killed himself,
there is no evidence and that without it one cannot be judged. Zenzaemon is impressed by Mitsumasa's generosity
and apologizes to Mitsumasa from the bottom of his heart. Featuring also Ichikawa Danz˘, Ichikawa Komaz˘ and Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘.
Tokaiya/Daimotsu no Ura: these are two scenes from one of the greatest classics of
the puppet theatre, which has also become a classic of Kabuki.
After the wars between the Genji and Heike clans,
the Genji are victorious and their leader Yoritomo is now Sh˘gun. But there is a falling out
between Yoritomo and his brother Yoshitsune, the brilliant general responsible for the victory.
Now Yoshitsune is fleeing through the country and this play fancifully has him encounter
several famous warriors from the Heike clan, who are not dead, as history has it. Yoshitsune (Nakamura Baigyoku) books passage on a boat to Kyűshű, but the captain is actually
Taira no Tomomori (Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon), a general of the Heike clan that Yoshitsune helped to defeat.
Tomomori was supposedly killed by Yoshitsune in the final battle of the war, but in this play,
Tomomori is shown as surviving, living in disguise with the child emperor Antoku and his
nursemaid (Nakamura Tokiz˘). At one moment the captain is a gallant commoner, but in the next,
he is Tomomori, a high ranking general close to the emperor. His wife as well is a
cheerful commoner who shows her true identity as a high-ranking lady-in-waiting in the
magnificent robes of the imperial court. Tomomori uses the opportunity to try to get his
revenge on Yoshitsune but is defeated again. Finally Tomomori holds a giant anchor and plunges
into the sea.
(Juggling to Entertain the Gods)
This is a dance portraying street performances by itinerant entertainers.
Kameido Tenjin Shrine is crowded with many pilgrims.
The people are enjoying watching Tsurudayű (Onoe Sh˘roku), a master of Daikagura,
and the country man Dontsuku (Band˘ Minosuke) dancing together. After a shirozake seller
delivers a speech to sell his sake, Tsurudayű demonstrates his skill
at juggling. He imitates Dontsuku's rustic dance and everyone joins in. The contrast between the Edo-style master and the rustic
country man is highly enjoyable to watch, and the scene where Dontsuku dances wearing a mask is the highlight of the performance.
This dance has a deep association with the family of Band˘ Mitsugor˘ X,
a Kabuki star who was a great actor and dancer, and this performance commemorates the third anniversary of his death.
Featuring also Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Kaishun, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Ichikawa Danz˘, Band˘ Hikosabur˘ and Band˘ Yajűr˘.
Hikimado: originally written for the puppet theater,
this play shows a tragedy of commoners caught between their duty and their
feelings toward their loved ones. A sum˘
wrestler named Nuregami Ch˘gor˘ (Band˘ Yajűr˘)
has killed a man and takes refuge at the home of his mother.
Unfortunately, her son (Matsumoto K˘shir˘) has been ordered to arrest him.
All of these complicated conflicts are symbolized by the lightness and
darkness created by the humble skylight (hikimado in Japanese)
as a rope is pulled to move a wooden shutter. Featuring also Nakamura Kaishun in the role of Ohaya.
Onna Goemon: the larger-than-life thief Ishikawa Goemon
looking out at the world he is going to rule only to be confronted by the great
general Hisayoshi, about to take over Japan, is one of the most spectacular
scenes in Kabuki. January features a special version of this scene with a
courtesan in place of Goemon (Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘),
and Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon in the role of Hisayoshi.
Sukeroku: the dandy Sukeroku is the most famous patron of the
Yoshiwara pleasure quarters.
But his reputation as the lover of Agemaki,
the highest ranking courtesan in the quarter is matched by that of his
tendency to pick fights. In fact, Sukeroku is the samurai Soga no Gor˘
in disguise, and he uses the fights to find a lost heirloom sword.
His search takes place in the colorful atmosphere of the Yoshiwara
where processions of beautiful courtesans compete with the splendor of
cherry blossoms in full bloom. All the top stars in Kabuki appear in
a procession of beautiful, exciting and amusing roles.
Starring Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and Nakamura Jakuemon as Hanakawado Sukeroku and Miuraya Agemaki.
Featuring also Ichikawa Sadanji and Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘ in the roles of Ikyű and the shirozake seller Shinbŕ.
Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website
||4 ~ 27 March 2017
Igagoe D˘chű Sugoroku
Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon, Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Jakuemon, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Kinnosuke,
Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Hayato, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Arashi Kitsusabur˘, Nakamura Kichinoj˘
The drama "Igagoe D˘chű Sugoroku" is staged as a t˘shi ky˘gen in March 2017 at the National Theatre.
The core of this production is "Okazaki". This rarely-staged act was successfully revived at the National Theatre in December 2014.
The zagashira is Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon.
The third act of the original drama (the 2nd act in this production), commonly called "Engakuji",
which was staged for the last time in February 1931 at the Meijiza, is revived!
Igagoe: during Japan's feudal period, from time to time there were people that could not be
punished due to clan loyalties and highly fragmented authority. Under certain conditions,
retainers and family members were empowered to take the law into their own hands and conduct an official vendetta.
Written by Chikamatsu Hanji and first presented in the Bunraku puppet
theatre in 1783, "Igagoe D˘chű Sugoroku" is an epic based on a true incident in 1634
in which Watanabe Kazuma killed the murderer of his younger brother, a man named Kawai Matagor˘ at Iga Ueno,
with the aid of Araki Mataemon. In the final fight, Mataemon killed several people, which has made him
legendary as a master swordsman celebrated in theatre, k˘dan
storytelling and popular novels. Kazuma's desperate search for Matagor˘ takes him throughout Japan and
the success of the vendetta is due to the help he gets from others. This monthĺs performance focuses on Masaemon.
Yukie Goroshi: Sawai Matagor˘ (Nakamura Kinnosuke) lusts after Otani (Nakamura Jakuemon), the daughter of Wada Yukie (Arashi Kitsusabur˘), and a precious
sword belonging to the family, for which he has tempted Yukieĺs son Shizuma into disgracing the family name.
Yukie rejects all of Matagor˘'s requests, but suddenly, Yukie is killed by a sword coming through the floor,
part of a plot by the treacherous Matagor˘.
Engakuji: Matagor˘ flees into Engakuji Temple. Yukieĺs lord holds Matagor˘ĺs mother in hostage and
demands that Matagor˘ should be handed over in exchange for her, whereas Matagor˘ĺs faction demands Matagor˘ĺs
mother and the heirloom sword of Yukieĺs family in exchange for Matagor˘. Though Matagor˘ĺs mother
kills herself hoping her son should not be handed over, Matagor˘ is exchanged for the sword.
Matagor˘ĺs faction led by his cousin Sawai J˘gor˘ (Nakamura Kichinoj˘) rescues Matagor˘, but the sword is fake. The real one is entrusted to Shizuma (Onoe Kikunosuke) to be
presented to the lord later, what brings honor to his family.
Fujikawa Shinseki: Pursuing Matagor˘, in this play, the killer of his father, Shizuma comes to a
barrier at Fujikawa, but does not have a certificate to let him through. Osode (Nakamura Yonekichi), the daughter of Yamada K˘bŕ
who initiated the swordsman Karaki Masaemon into fencing, meets Shizuma. She distracts a footman Sukehei (Nakamura Matagor˘)
by showing him the telescope used to watch travelers approaching the barrier. Shizuma takes the certificate
and documents from Sukehei while he is absorbed in peeping. Sukehei also helps Masaemon (Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon) to break through
Okazaki: Shizuma comes to K˘bŕĺs house. He presents a letter addressed to K˘bŕ (Nakamura Karoku) from the
stolen documents and pretends to be Matagor˘. K˘bŕ protects him as K˘bŕ is on Matagor˘ĺs side.
K˘bŕ was once Masaemon's fencing teacher and recognizes him immediately.
But at that time, Masaemon was still using his childhood name and so K˘bŕ does not realize that Masaemon
is now the enemy of his family and even requests his help in protecting Matagor˘.
Masaemonĺs wife Otani (Nakamura Jakuemon) has followed him with her newborn baby hoping to unite it with him.
Masaemon drives her back and kills the baby to keep his true identity a secret and to find out where Matagor˘ is.
Now K˘bŕ realizes that his old student is actually Masaemon by the hidden tears in his eyes
when he killed his own son. He has already seen through the true identity of Shizuma.
Impressed by Masaemonĺs resolution, K˘bŕ tells Shizuma and Masaemon where Matagor˘ is.
Adauchi: Shizuma and Masaemon overtake Matagor˘ at Iga Ueno, halfway between Nara and Nagoya. They kill Matagor˘ to avenge the death of Shizuma's father.
Source: National Theatre