MARCH 2020
Cancellation of all performances in March 2020 due to coronavirus (COVID-19)!!!

4 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre, Meijiza), 1 in Ky˘to (Minamiza) and 1 tour (Hana no Mai Tour)!

  • Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon, Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘, Matsumoto Haku˘, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Jakuemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Fukusuke, Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Takatar˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Matagor˘ and Nakamura Karoku perform at the Kabukiza!
  • Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Ichikawa Danz˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Band˘ Kamez˘ and Nakamura Baishi perform at the National Theatre!
  • Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Band˘ Minosuke and Band˘ Hikosabur˘ perform at the Meijiza!
  • Ichikawa Ennosuke and Nakamura Hayato perform at the Minamiza!
  • Ichikawa Udanji, Ichikawa Kudanji and ďtani Hiromatsu are on tour!
  • Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 March 2020 [CANCELLED]
    Sangatsu ďkabuki
    March Grand Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Hina Matsuri

    Shin Usuyuki Monogatari

  • Hanami
  • Sengi
  • Sannin Warai
  • Evening

    Kajiwara Heiz˘ Homare no Ishikiri
    (Ishikiri Kajiwara)

    Takatsuki

    Igagoe D˘chű Sugoroku (Numazu)

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon, Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘, Matsumoto Haku˘, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Jakuemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Fukusuke, Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Takatar˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Matagor˘, Nakamura Karoku, ďtani Tomoemon, Ichimura Kakitsu, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Matsumoto Kingo, Nakamura Kikaku, Nakamura Matsue, Nakamura Kash˘, ďtani Hirotar˘, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Nakamura Toranosuke, Arashi Kitsusabur˘, Nakamura Kichinoj˘, Nakamura Baika, Kataoka Matsunosuke

    Comments

    The usual March Kabuki performances at the Kabukiza.

  • Hina Matsuri: in the early evening of the Doll's Festival the Empress doll (Nakamura Fukusuke), the Emperor doll (Nakamura Shikan), the dolls of the Minister of the Right (Band˘ Yajűr˘), the Minister of the Left (Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘), the three court ladies and the five musicians line up on a tiered stand. First, the Minister of the Right and the Minister of the Left begin an elegant dance, after which all the rest also join in. In time they begin to dance freely. Hearing the evening bell, they hurry to line up on the stand, but they return to the wrong positions and mix up their belongings for they are drunk on sweet white sake.
  • Shin Usuyuki Monogatari:
    (The Tale of Princess Usuyuki)
    Most of the matinee program consists of a full-length production of a Kabuki epic. This play, adapted from the Bunraku puppet theater, combines the best of kabuki -- romance, colorful spectacle and tragedy. With its numerous good roles, a large gathering of popular and accomplished actors are necessary to stage it. Rarely performed, when this play appears, it is always an event.
  • Hanami: Saemon (Matsumoto K˘shir˘), the eldest son of the Sonobe family and Princesss Usuyuki (Kataoka Takatar˘), the daughter of the Saizaki family, fall in love after glimpsing one another under the cherry blossoms of Kiyomizu temple and are brought together by their servants. The villain Daizen (Nakamura Karoku) places a curse on a sword presented to the temple by Saemon. By framing the couple, he hopes to bring destroy their families so they cannot hinder his effort to take over the country. Saemon's servant Tsumahei (Nakamura Shikan) almost defeats this plan and is attacked by Daizen's henchmen in a spectacular fight scene with water buckets.
  • Sengi: Saemon and Princess Usuyuki are charged with treason. Minbu (Nakamura Baigyoku) comes to investigate the two, and although they maintain their innocence, Daizen is able to turn the evidence against them. The compassionate Minbu gives them a temporary reprieve, but still, must place them under house arrest, each at the house of the other's family, with Saemon at the Saizaki residence and Princess Usuyuki at the Sonobe residence.
  • Sannin Warai: unable to prove the innocence of the young couple, their fathers are charged with cutting off their heads. Sonobe Hy˘e (Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon) and his wife Ume-no-Kata (Nakamura Kaishun) allow Princess Usuyuki to escape. Saizaki (Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon) appears with a head box which he says contains the head of Saemon and demands that Sonobe cut off Princess Usuyuki's head. Sonobe returns, having secretly stabbed himself to atone for letting Princess Usuyuki escape. Saizaki reveals that, in fact, he has done the same and the two, seemingly stern and villainous men reveal that they have sacrificed themselves for love of their children.
  • Ishikiri Kajiwara: the Heike general Kajiwara (Matsumoto Haku˘) 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 Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Kinnosuke and Ichikawa Komaz˘.
  • Takatsuki: in this relatively modern dance-comedy adapted from the style of classical Ky˘gen farces, the servant Jir˘kaja (Matsumoto K˘shir˘) is ordered by his lord (ďtani Tomoemon) to buy a takatsuki, which is a kind of ceremonial sake cup on a stand. Jir˘kaja does not understand his lord's orders and is persuaded by a fast-talking geta clog salesman (Nakamura Kikaku) to buy a pair of clogs instead, thinking that this is the stand for which he was sent. After drinking a good amount of sake, he brings his purchase to the lord and responds to the lord's anger with a dance on the clogs, a virtuoso routine inspired by tap dancing, showing off the dancing skills of Matsumoto K˘shir˘.
  • Numazu: a dramatization of one of the most famous historical vendattas of the Edo period. "Numazu" is one act that tells of the sacrifices of those not directly involved in the vendetta itself but members of the same family who are indebted to the two opposing sides. The kimono merchant Jűbŕ (Matsumoto K˘shir˘) meets a porter Heisaku (Matsumoto Haku˘) as he travels west on business. They find that not only are they long-separated father and son, but that they also lie on opposite sides of the vendetta. Their loyalties prevent them from openly acknowledging their relationship. Heisaku sacrifices his life to get information from his son essential to his side's cause. Featuring Kataoka Takatar˘ in the role of Heisaku's daughter Oyone.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 26 March 2020 [CANCELLED]
    Program A

    Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura

  • Torii Mae
  • Tokaiya
  • Funayagura
  • Daimotsu no Ura
  • Program B

    Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura

  • Ko-no-Mi
  • Kokingo Uchijini
  • Sushiya
  • Program C

    Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura

  • Michiyuki Hatsune no Tabi
  • Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata
  • Casting

    Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Ichikawa Danz˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Band˘ Kamez˘, Nakamura Baishi, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Mantar˘, Ichimura Takematsu, Nakamura Jűjir˘, Ichimura Kitsutar˘, Ichimura Hikaru, Onoe Ushinosuke

    Comments

    The usual March Kabuki performances at the National Theatre. There are 3 programs but 1 or 2 will be performed each day:

  • A and B will be staged the 3rd, the 6th, the 15th, the 18th, the 21st and the 24th of March 2020.
  • A and C will be staged the 7th, the 8th, the 9th, the 17th, the 20th, the 23rd and the 26th of March 2020.
  • B and C will be staged the 4th, the 5th, the 13th, the 16th, the 19th, the 22nd and the 25th of March 2020.
  • A only will be staged the 12th of March 2020.
  • B only will be staged the 14th of March 2020.
  • No performance the 10th and the 11th of March 2020.
  • March at National Theatre features a full-length performance of one of the great classics of Kabuki, "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura" (Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees). This is an epic story about the famous 12th century general Yoshitsune fleeing from the wrath of his brother Yoritomo, after the end of the war. Although Yoshitsune is the title character, the main characters of the play are actually Tomomori, Gonta and Tadanobu, the heroes of the different sections of the play. This month's production features Onoe Kikunosuke in all these major roles!

  • Torii Mae: (In Front of the Fushimi Inari Shrine)
    Yoshitsune (Nakamura Ganjir˘) is forced to flee from the troops sent by his brother Yoritomo. The trip will be hard and he decides that he must leave behind his lover Shizuka Gozen (Nakamura Yonekichi), despite her passionate pleas to remain with him. As a reminder of himself, he presents her with a precious hand drum that he had received from the emperor. Yoshitsune's retainer Tadanobu (Onoe Kikunosuke) rescues Shizuka from Yoritomo's troops and Yoshitsune decides to leave her in his care.
  • Tokaiya/Daimotsu no Ura:
    (Tokaiya Inn and Daimotsu Bay)
    Yoshitsune (Nakamura Ganjir˘) books passage on a boat to Kyűshű, but the captain is actually Taira no Tomomori (Onoe Kikunosuke), 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 Baishi). 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.
  • Ko-no-Mi/Kokingo Uchijini: (The Chestnut Tree and the Death of Kokingo)
    Wakaba-no-Naishi (Kamimura Kichiya), the wife of the Heike commander Koremori, travels with her young son and their retainer Kokingo (Nakamura Mantar˘), searching for her husband. While resting in a small mountain village, they are met by Gonta (Onoe Kikunosuke), a local bully who skillfully cons them out of their money. Later they are set upon by Genji forces, and in a spectacular fight scene, Kokingo sacrifices himself to save his mistress and her son.
  • Sushiya: (The Sushi Shop)
    Gonta's father Yazaemon (Ichikawa Danz˘) runs a sushi shop, but was formerly a retainer of Taira no Koremori. With his clan defeated, Koremori (Nakamura Baishi) now lives with Yazaemon's family disguised as a humble apprentice. Innocently, Yazaemon's daughter, Osato (Nakamura Yonekichi) is in love with him. But knowing of the bounty on Koremori's head, her brother Gonta kills him and turns his wife and child over to the Genji commander. Furious at his son, Yazaemon stabs him, but before his death, Gonta reveals that he only pretended to kill Koremori and sacrificed his own wife and son to save the real Koremori and his family.
  • Michiyuki Hatsune no Tabi: the matinee program closes witha musical travel scene. Hearing that Yoshitsune has taken refuge in the mountains of Yoshino, Tadanobu (Onoe Kikunosuke) and Shizuka (Nakamura Tokiz˘) go to try to meet him there. Although Tadanobu keeps disappearing, he always appears when Shizuka plays the precious drum that she received from Yoshitsune. In dance Tadanobu recounts episodes from the Genpei war, including the battle in which his brother died.
  • Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata: Yoshitsune (Nakamura Ganjir˘) has taken refuge in the mountains of Yoshino at the mansion of an old ally. Tadanobu (Onoe Kikunosuke) arrives but has no recollection of Shizuka being placed under his care. Shizuka (Nakamura Baishi) herself soon arrives with the other Tadanobu and after an investigation they discover that he is actually a fox (Onoe Kikunosuke). In a touching story, the fox tells how he took on human form to be close to the hand drum which is made from the skins of his fox parents.
  • Meijiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 March 2020 [CANCELLED]
    Sangatsu Hanagata Kabuki
    March Young Actors Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami (Kurumabiki)

    Ippon Gatana Dohy˘ Iri

    Shikan Yakko

    ďmi no Okane

    Evening

    Sakura Hime Azuma Bunsh˘

    Casting

    Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Band˘ Minosuke, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Band˘ Shűch˘, Sawamura Yoshijir˘, Nakamura Kamenoj˘

    Comments

    March Young Actors Kabuki performances at the Meijiza!

  • Kurumabiki: this short scene shows the three brothers that dominate the drama "Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami", each with a distinctive personality. Sakuramaru (Nakamura Kazutar˘) and Ume˘maru (Band˘ Minosuke) have been rendered masterless by Kan Sh˘j˘'s exile. The third brother Matsu˘maru (Band˘ Hikosabur˘) serves the villain Shihei (Kataoka Kamez˘), who is responsible for the downfall of Kan Sh˘j˘. Sakuramaru and Ume˘maru try to destroy Shihei's carriage but are stopped by Matsu˘maru and the magical glare of Shihei. Finally the brothers agree to suspend their disputes until they all meet at their father's seventieth birthday party.
  • Ippon Gatana Dohy˘ Iri: this is a modern play by Hasegawa Shin and shows Komagata Mohŕ (Nakamura Kankur˘), a starving, would-be sum˘ wrestler. He encounters a courtesan Otsuta (Nakamura Shichinosuke), who gives him her purse and hair ornaments and makes him promise to become a champion sum˘ wrestler. In turn, she promises to go see him make his ceremonial entry into the ring. But ten years later, Mohŕ has become a gangster instead. Now a powerful fighter, he rescues Otsuta and her family. Ironically, this has become the only way that he can repay her kindness and the shameful form that his entry into the ring has taken. Featuring also Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Band˘ Minosuke and Kataoka Kamez˘.
  • Shikan Yakko: a samurai footman rushes after his master in the pleasure quarters, but loses sight of him. He dances with pride in his master and enjoys his dance so much that he begins emphasizing it with vigorous foot stamping. Starring Nakamura Hashinosuke in the role of the yakko.
  • ďmi no Okane: Okane was a famous strong woman living on the shores of Lake Biwa and is known for stopping a runaway horse with her bare hands. This has become a Kabuki dance that combines strength and charming femininity. This production stars Nakamura Kazutar˘ as Okane.
  • Sakura Hime: Tsuruya Nanboku IV (1755~1829) is most famous for his chilling ghost play "Yotsuya Kaidan". But many believe that "Sakurahime Azuma Bunsh˘" is an even finer play in its examination of human psychology and portrait of the dark side of life in the Edo period. The play takes the very old story of a priest falling in love with a princess, adds ghosts and slices of the grittiest faces of the bottom of Edo period society for a sensational play. Princess Sakura begins as the pampered daughter of a powerful warrior clan and ends up as a cheap prostitute hounded by the ghost of a priest in love with her. Although the play was rarely performed in the Edo period, after being revived as a full-length play at the National Theatre, it has become a star vehicle for top onnagata female role specialists like Nakamura Jakuemon and Band˘ Tamasabur˘, and has been performed abroad to great acclaim. A priest named Seigen goes to commit love suicide with a young temple page named Shiragiku. They are to plunge into the sea together, but at the last moment, Seigen loses his nerve and the boy dies alone. Seventeen years later, Seigen is a high-ranking priest who has been called to cure Princess Sakura, the seventeen-year old daughter of the Yoshida clan. He cures her, and learns that she is the reincarnation of Shiragiku. Princess Sakura wishes to become a nun, in fact because she has fallen in love with a thief named Gonsuke, who raped her one night. On the verge of becoming a nun, Princess Sakura encounters Gonsuke and quickly desire brings them together. Princess Sakura is denounced and becomes an outcast for her sexual crime and, although innocent, Seigen takes the blame, feeling guilty for having abandoned her in her previous incarnation as Shiragiku. The story of Princess Sakura continues as Seigen pursues her, defrocked and madly in love with Princess Sakura. Eventually he is killed, but becomes a ghost that goes with her as she sinks lower and lower, eventually becoming a low-class prostitute that speaks with an odd blend of gutter talk and the elegant words of a princess. The play follows Princess Sakura, Seigen and Gonsuke as they circle deeper and deeper into the dark, reaches of society. But far from being a dark play, it is colorful and spectacular and full of unexpected moments of comedy. Featuring Nakamura Kankur˘ (Seigen, Gonsuke), Nakamura Shichinosuke (Shiragiku and Princess Sakura) and Band˘ Minosuke (Iruma Akugor˘). Featuring also Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘ and Kataoka Kamez˘.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Minamiza (Ky˘to)
    Dates 4 ~ 26 March 2020 [CANCELLED]
    SűpÔ Kabuki Sekando
    Super Kabuki II
    Program

    Shinpan Oguri

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ennosuke, Nakamura Hayato, Band˘ Shingo, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa Omez˘, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa Juen, Ichikawa K˘tar˘, ďtani Keiz˘, Nakamura Fukunosuke, Nakamura Takanosuke, Nakamura Tamatar˘, Ichikawa Otora, Asano Kazuyuki, Kashima Noritoshi, Ishibashi Sh˘ji, Shimomura Ao, Ishiguro Hideo, Takahashi Y˘

    Comments

    The SűpÔ Kabuki Sekando drama "Shinpan Oguri" is a revised version of 1991 SűpÔ Kabuki drama "Oguri".

  • Shinpan Oguri:
    (Oguri, a New Version)
    Oguri Hangan (alternatively Ichikawa Ennosuke or Nakamura Hayato) is the heaven-sent child of Vaisravana, a good-looking youth and a master of the martial arts and horsemanship. He comes across Princess Terute who lives in Sagami Province. They fall in love and pledge their troth. However, this is against the law and he is killed by her father. Oguri comes before Enma Dai˘, the King of Hell, who sends him back to the world with his face disfigured and his limbs wasted away as a punishment for his self-indulgence and refusal to take notice of others. Totally disfigured, he cannot walk, and makes his way to Kumano Shrine to be cured, sitting in a cart drawn by volunteers. On the way, fatefully, he meets Princess Terute again but she does not notice him. Will he be able to return to his original appearance? What will become of his love for her?
  • Sources: Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Hana no Mai Tour
    Dates 10 ~ 25 March 2020 [CANCELLED]
    Dent˘ Gein˘ Hana no Mai
    The dance of Flowers (Tradional Entertainment)
    Program

    Yoshiwara Suzume

    Ninin Wankyű

    Renjishi

    Casting

    Ichikawa Udanji, ďtani Hiromatsu, Ichikawa Kudanji, Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa Ujaku, Ichikawa Usaji, Ichikawa Utaroku

    Comments

    A short 10-date tour for Ichikawa Udanji, ďtani Hiromatsu, Ichikawa Kudanji and Ichikawa Ukon.

  • Yoshiwara Suzume: in this dance, a husband and wife come to the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters to sell caged sparrows for a ceremony to gain Buddhist merit by releasing living things. Caged sparrows were also images for the courtesans of the pleasure quarters, and the two dance a romantic meeting between a courtesan and her lover, showing the lively and erotic atmosphere of the pleasure quarters. Featuring Ichikawa Udanji's disciples Ichikawa Ujaku, Ichikawa Usaji and Ichikawa Utaroku.
  • Ninin Wankyű: the fabulously wealthy Wan'ya Kyűbŕ (nicknamed Wankyű) is disowned by his family for falling in love with the courtesan Matsuyama. Then, when she dies, he goes mad with grief and wanders through the countryside. This dance shows him as he imagines meeting Matsuyama again and there is a lively dance recalling their happiness together before the vision fades and he is left alone. Starring Ichikawa Kudanji as Wankyű and ďtani Hiromatsu as Matsuyama.
  • Renjishi: 2 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 parent 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 features Ichikawa Udanji in the role of the parent shishi and his son Ichikawa Ukon in the role of the cub.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

     
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