NAKA NO SHIBAI - NAKAZA
   
Noms Nakaza
Naka no Shibai
City ďsaka
History

1652: a theater is built by Shioya Kuroemon in ďsaka in the D˘tombori district. Its name is Naka no Shibai ("The central stage").

1st lunar month of 1720: first Kabuki adaptation of Chikamatsu Monzaemon's puppet theater drama "Heike Nyogo-ga-Shima", which was written in 1719. The play is produced by Takeshima K˘zaemon II in ďsaka at the Naka no Shibai and staged with the following casting:

Roles Actors
SHUNKAN Anegawa Shinshir˘ I
Chidori Matsushima Hy˘tar˘
Tanzaemon Ichiyama Sukegor˘ I
Senoo Tar˘ Nakamura J˘emon

1st lunar month of 1743: the star Anegawa Shinshir˘ I, who became zamoto at the Naka no Shibai in the 11th lunar month of 1742, produces Namiki J˘suke and Sawamura Bunji drama "Kurofune Isse Ichidai Otoko". Some features used on stage become the latest fashion in the city of ďsaka, like the anegawa zukin (Anegawa's turban) or the anegawa geta (Anegawa's wooden clogs). Here is the casting:

Roles Actors
Kurofune Chűemon, Ageya Rokuroemon Anegawa Shinshir˘ I
Otome Yoshizawa Ayame II
Osan Yoshizawa Sakinosuke II
Kihei Band˘ Toyosabur˘ I
Yagi Gonroku Arashi Sanjűr˘ II

12th lunar month of 1745: the drama "Natsu Matsuri Naniwa Kagami" is staged at the Naka no Shibai for the first time, produced by Ichiyama Sukegor˘ I with the following casting:

Roles Actors
Danshichi Kurobei Arashi Shichigor˘ I
Issun Tokubei Ichiyama Sukegor˘ I
Tsuribune Sabu Sakakiyama Koshir˘ I
Otatsu Iwata Somematsu I
Okaji Sanj˘ Namie I
Mikawaya Giheiji Nakamura Jiroza I

The same play is simultaneously produced at the ďnishi no Shibai [casting], Kado no Shibai [casting] and Naka no Shibai.

8th lunar month of 1748: the drama "Yoshitsune Sembon Zakura" is performed for the first time in ďsaka, at the Naka no Shibai. It is produced by Ichikawa Ryűz˘ with the following casting:

Roles Actors
Benkei, Igami no Gonta Nakamura Utaemon I
Yazaemon, Noritsune Anegawa Shinshir˘ I
Gimpei, H˘gen Ichikawa Danz˘ III
Shizuka Gozen Yoshizawa Sakinosuke II

12th lunar month of 1750: the drama "Keisei Hangonk˘" is produced at the Naka no Shibai for the first time. The zamoto is Nakamura Jűz˘ I, who works for the nadai Shioya Kuroemon. It is staged under a different title, "Keisei T˘yama Zakura", with the following casting:

Roles Actors
Matahei, Nagoya Sanza Mimasu Daigor˘ I
Fuwa Banzaemon Nakamura Utaemon I
Okichi Sanj˘ Namie I
Sh˘gen Kiriyama Monji I
Utanosuke Ichinokawa Hikoshir˘ II
T˘yama Nakamura Tomijűr˘ I
Shirojir˘ Iwai Hanshir˘ III

11th lunar month of 1752: the play "Ichi-no-Tani Futaba Gunki" is staged for the first time in ďsaka, at the Naka no Shibai, produced by Nakamura Jűz˘ I with the following casting:

Roles Actors
Kumagai Jir˘ Naozane Ichikawa Danz˘ III
Midaroku, Taira no Tsunemori Iwai Hanshir˘ III
Okabe Rokuyata Nakamura Jűz˘ I
The yakko Tagohei Nakamura Utaemon I
Sagami (Kumagai's wife) Sanj˘ Namie I
Sugawaradayű Nakamura Kiyosabur˘ I
Taira no Atsumori, Kojir˘ Sanogawa S˘kichi
Kiku-no-Mae Anegawa Daikichi
Princess Tamaori Nakamura Ch˘nosuke
Hirayama no Mushadokoro Yamashita Jir˘sa I
Satsuma-no-Kami Tadanori Ichinokawa Hikoshir˘ II
Hayashi Someyama S˘jűr˘

4th lunar month of 1762: first Kabuki adaptation of the 5-act puppet theater drama "Gosho Zakura Horikawa no Youchi", which was originally written by Matsuda Bunk˘d˘ and Miyoshi Sh˘raku and Takeda Inaba and performed at the Takemotoza in the 1st lunar month of 1737. The play is produced at the Naka no Shibai by Mimasu Daigor˘ I with the following casting:

Roles Actors
Benkei Nakamura Utaemon I
Owasa Arashi Koroku I
Shizuka Gozen Nakamura Kumetar˘ I
Yoshitsune, Ike-no-Hata Hariemon Arashi Sangor˘ II
Shinobu Arashi Hinasuke I
Genhachibei Hirotsuna, Jijű Tar˘ Morikuni, Iso no T˘yata Fujikawa Hachiz˘ I
Ise no Sabur˘ Mimasu Daigor˘ I
Shibuya Tosa-no-B˘ Sh˘shun Nakamura Shirogor˘ III

11th lunar month of 1763: the play "Suma no Miyako Gempei Tsutsuji", which was originally written by Hasegawa Senshi and Matsuda Bunk˘d˘ for the puppet theater in 1730, is adapted to Kabuki 33 years later by the playwright Namiki Eisuke I. It is entitled "Sakigake Gempei Tsutsuji" (the second drama of an unusual 3-part kaomise program) and staged at the Naka no Shibai, starring Nakamura Kichiemon I and Arashi Hinasuke I in the roles of Kumagai Jir˘ Naozane and Taira no Atsumori.

9th lunar month of 1764: premiŔre in ďsaka at the Naka no Shibai of "Hare Kosode Tsuzure no Nishiki", based on the puppet drama "Katakiuchi Tsuzure no Nishiki", which is revised by Namiki Eisuke I. A similar play was staged one day before under a different title, "Oriawase Tsuzure no Nishiki", at the Kado no Shibai [casting]. The competition for the best performance and the best line-up is open between the 2 theaters. The performance at the Kado no Shibai is more successful than the one at the Naka no Shibai. "Tsuzure no Nishiki" is produced at the Naka no Shibai by Mimasu Daigor˘ I with the following casting:

Roles Actors
Shund˘ Jir˘emon Mimasu Daigor˘ I
Takaichi Buemon Nakamura Kichiemon I
Togiyaru Gompachi, Kamura Utaemon Band˘ Iwagor˘
Ihei, Shund˘ Jihei Arashi Sangor˘ II
Sahei Arashi Shichigor˘ II
Sahei's ny˘b˘ Nakamura Kumetar˘ I
Jir˘emon's ny˘b˘ Oharu Arashi Koroku I
Oroku Arashi Hinasuke I
Ihei's ny˘b˘ Yamashita Kinsaku II
Tanabe Shichir˘zaemon, Hikosaka Jinroku Somekawa Konohei I
Ohari Okichi Kirinoya Hidematsu

5th lunar month of 1766: first Kabuki adaptation of the 5-act puppet theater drama "Honch˘ Nijűshik˘", which was originally written by Chikamatsu Hanji, Miyoshi Sh˘raku and Takeda Inaba and performed at the Takemotoza in the 1st lunar month of 1766. The play is produced at the Naka no Shibai by both Nakamura Utaemon I and Mimasu Daigor˘ I with the following casting:

Roles Actors
Princess Yaegaki Arashi Hinasuke I
Katsuyori, Minosaku Arashi Sangor˘ II
Sekibei Nakamura Utaemon I
Jihiz˘ Arashi Kichisabur˘ I
Nureginu, Karaori Yamashita Kinsaku II
Takasaka Danj˘, Yokoz˘ Mimasu Daigor˘ I
Kenshin, Kansuke's mother Band˘ Toyosabur˘ I
Otane Anegawa Daikichi

12th lunar month of 1768: the play "Futatsu Ch˘ch˘ Kuruwa Nikki" is simultaneously staged at the Naka no Shibai and the ďnishi no Shibai. The actors Nakayama Bunshichi I and Arashi Hinasuke I compete for the best performance in the role of Nuregami Ch˘gor˘ and the title of ďsaka best tachiyaku. "Futatsu Ch˘ch˘ Kuruwa Nikki" is produced at the Naka no Shibai by Mimasu Tanin I for the nadai Shioya Kuroemon with the following casting:

Roles Actors
The sum˘tori Nuregami Ch˘gor˘ Nakayama Bunshichi I
The sum˘tori Hanaregoma Ch˘kichi Mimasu Daigor˘ I
Hashimoto Jibuemon, Ok˘ Nakayama Shinkur˘ I
Jűjibei Ichinokawa Hikoshir˘ II
Azuma Yamashita Kinsaku II
Oseki Yoshizawa Ayame III

5th lunar month of 1770: first Kabuki adaptation of Chikamatsu Hanji's gidayű ky˘gen "ďmi Genji Senjin Yakata". The play is staged in ďsaka at the Naka no Shibai, produced by the zamoto Nakayama Yosabur˘ II with the following casting:

Roles Actors
Sasaki Moritsuna Mimasu Daigor˘ I
Wada no Hy˘e Hidemori Fujikawa Hachiz˘ I
Bimy˘ Ichinokawa Hikoshir˘ II
Kagaribi Sawamura Kunitar˘ I
Hayase Hanagiri Toyomatsu III
Minamoto no Yoriie, Miuranosuke, Bonta Ogawa Kichitar˘ I

1st lunar month of 1771 (the premiere was the 27th day of the 12th lunar month of the previous year, which was the 11th February of 1771 in the western calendar): premiere at the Naka no Shibai of Namiki Sh˘z˘ I's drama "Kuwanaya Tokuz˘ Irifune Monogatari", which is produced by Ogawa Kichitar˘ I and staged with the following casting:

Roles Actors
KUWANAYA TOKUZď Nakamura Utaemon I
Takamaru Kamejir˘ Ogawa Kichitar˘ I
Tadotsu Ikkaku, Tadotsu Shinz˘ Mimasu Daigor˘ I
The keisei Higaki Nakamura Kumetar˘ I
Ishid˘ Tatewaki Ichinokawa Hikoshir˘ II
Yamana Tomoenoj˘ Band˘ Iwagor˘
Princess Toyo Hanagiri Toyomatsu III
Tokuz˘'s spouse Koshio Anegawa Daikichi

8th lunar month of 1771: the drama "Imoseyama Onna Teikin" is staged at the Naka no Shibai. This is the first-known casting of "Imoseyama Onna Teikin" in ďsaka history:

Roles Actors
Hinadori, Omiwa Nakamura Kumetar˘ I
Daihanji, Iruka Nakamura Utaemon I
Fukashichi Mimasu Daigor˘ I
Sadaka Ichinokawa Hikoshir˘ II
Koganosuke Ichikawa Kichitar˘

4th lunar month of 1775: premiere in ďsaka at the Naka no Shibai of Nagawa Kamesuke I's drama "Hade Kurabe Ise Monogatari", which is produced by Arashi Matsujir˘ I with the following casting:

Roles Actors
Wadasaku, Koyoshi Mimasu Daigor˘ I
Ki no Aritsune, Natora's ghost Nakamura Utaemon I
Ariwara no Narihira, Arakawa's wife, Isonokami Mameshir˘, Murasame Mimasu Tokujir˘ I
Kujaku Sabur˘ Fujikawa Hachiz˘ I
Ariwara no Yukihira Nakamura Jűz˘ II
Arakawa Sukune Fujikawa Ryűz˘
The imperial prince Koretaka Band˘ Iwagor˘
Dainagon Muneoka, Takayasu Saemon, Agata Hirosane Ichikawa S˘zabur˘ II
Ikaruga T˘ta, Ny˘hachi Mimasu Tanin II
Tsunokuni no Onami Nakamura Kiyosabur˘ I
Princess Izutsu, Shinobu, Ikaruga's wife Onoe Kumesuke
The imperial prince Korehito Ichikawa Kichitar˘

12th lunar month of 1776: premiere in ďsaka at the Naka no Shibai of Nagawa Kamesuke I's drama "Igagoe Norikake Gappa", which is produced by Arashi Shichisabur˘ II with the following casting:

Roles Actors
Karaki Masaemon Nakayama Bunshichi I
Honda Dainaiki, Sasaki Tan'emon, Arao Shuzen, Matsuno Kinsuke Nakayama Raisuke I
Sawai Matagor˘, Matagor˘'s mother Narumi, the doctor Sanai Asao Tamejűr˘ I
Wada Shizuma Sawamura S˘jűr˘ III
Sawai Shirogor˘, Daihachi Nakamura Utaemon I
Kond˘ Nomorinosuke, Sakurada Rinzaemon Nakamura Jiroza II
Wada Yukie, Ishidome Busuke Arashi Bungor˘ I
Matagor˘'s sister Sasao Anegawa Daikichi
Otane, Yodomachi Gozen Hanagiri Toyomatsu III
Osono, Busuke's wife Onoe Kumesuke
Uesugi Unai Akisada, Magohachi Arashi Sanjűr˘ IV

4th lunar month of 1777: premiere in ďsaka at the Naka no Shibai of Nagawa Kamesuke I's drama "Meiboku Sendai Hagi", which is produced by Arashi Shichisabur˘ II with the following casting:

Roles Actors
Masaoka, Date Jir˘ Nakayama Raisuke I
Gantsub˘, Hitachinosuke Kaizon, Suganuma Kosuke Asao Tamejűr˘ I
Nagoya Jűz˘ Sawamura S˘jűr˘ III
Kajiwara Kagetoki Nakamura Utaemon I
Matsugae Fushinosuke, Chichibu no Sh˘ji Shigetada, Izumi no Kojir˘ Sadakura Nakayama Bunshichi I
Sakae Gozen, Aranami Kishiemon, Nishikido Gy˘bu Tar˘ Nakamura Jiroza II
Izumi Kojir˘'s wife Hanafusa Anegawa Daikichi
Okinoi Hanagiri Toyomatsu III
ďba Michit˘, Ukiyo Tohei, Yashio, the r˘nin Sat˘ no Hy˘e, Y˘sen, Samegai Hy˘ta Kiriyama Monji II
The courtesan Takao Onoe Kumesuke
Shikata Geki Arashi Sanjűr˘ IV
The courtesan Michinoku Ichikawa Kichitar˘
Tsurukiyo Ichikawa Taijir˘

12th lunar month of 1781: premiere in ďsaka at the Kado no Shibai of Nagawa Kamesuke I's drama "Tengajaya-mura" [casting]. A similar play is staged a few days later under a different title, "Renga Chaya Homare no Bundai", at the Naka no Shibai. The competition for the best performance and the best line-up is open between the 2 theaters. "Renga Chaya Homare no Bundai" is produced by Yamashita Kinsaku II with the following casting:

Roles Actors
Sat˘ Motoemon Band˘ Iwagor˘
S˘ma Sabur˘emon Arashi Shichigor˘ II
Hayase Iori Somematsu Shichisabur˘ II
Hayase Senjir˘, Someginu Yamashita Yasabur˘
Yasuke, Mansuke Arashi Bungor˘ I
K˘emon Mihogi Gizaemon II
Kakogawa Kyűbei, Kataoka Miki-no-Kami Nakamura Utaemon I
K˘emon's wife Osumi, Kataoka Miki-no-Kami's wife Takanoha Yamashita Kinsaku II

4th lunar month of 1782: first Kabuki adaptation of Suga Sensuke's 1767 puppet theater drama "Some Moy˘ Imose no Kadomatsu"; it is produced by Yamashita Kinsaku II at the Naka no Shibai (unknown casting).

9th lunar month of 1783: the play "Igagoe D˘chű Sugoroku", which was originally written for the puppet theater and staged for the first time in the 4th lunar month of 1783 in ďsaka at the Takemotoza, is adapted to Kabuki for the first time, produced by Arashi Tanin at the Naka no Shibai with the following casting:

Roles Actors
The dry goods merchant Jűbei, Yamada K˘bei Onoe Kikugor˘ I
Karaki Masaemon, Wada Yukie Mihogi Gizaemon II
Sawai Matagor˘, Matagor˘'s mother Narumi, Usami Goemon Arashi Shichigor˘ II
Sasaki Tan'emon, Honda Dainaiki, Ikezoe Magohachi Arashi Sangor˘ II
Nomorinosuke, Ishidome Busuke, Ja-no-Me no Gampachi Arashi Sampachi I
Otani Mimasu Tokujir˘ I
Sawai Shirogor˘, Heisaku, the doctor Takenaka Zeitaku Kagaya Kashichi I
Wada Shizuma Nakamura Ky˘jűr˘ II
The courtesan Segawa, Hisakata Gozen, Osode Yamashita Yaoz˘ I
The yakko Sukehei, Sakurada Rinzaemon Band˘ Iwagor˘
Yukie's wife, K˘bei's wife Oyoshi Anegawa Daikichi

1st lunar month of 1784: premiere at the Naka no Shibai of Namiki Gohei's drama "Keisei Yamato Z˘shi", which is produced by Arashi Tanin with the following casting:

Roles Actors
Kitabatake Yukienosuke, Gunjibei's son Kond˘ Sukekuni Arashi Sangor˘ II
Princess Yayoi, Komaki, Osai Sawamura Kunitar˘ I
Kitabatake Kazue-no-Kami, the r˘nin Y˘suke Onoe Shinshichi I
Kond˘ Gunjibei, Wada Raihachi Asao Tamejűr˘ I
Momonoi Shuridayű, Kanzaemon's mother Hikaki, Daiba no Niza Arashi Shichigor˘ II
The keisei Kach˘, Kitabatake Hamaogi Yamashita Yaoz˘ I
The keisei Konohana, the koshimoto Matsugae Arashi San'emon VI
Kiky˘ya Saibei, Hayashi Kenmotsu Band˘ Iwagor˘
Futami Sehei Mimasu Daigor˘ II
Gekinoj˘'s daughter Oume Onoe Ushinosuke I
Momonoi Senjir˘, the servent T˘roku Nakamura Ky˘jűr˘ II
Natsume T˘zaemon, the osh˘ of the Daianji Temple Arashi Shimpei II

5th lunar month of 1784: the play "Katsuragawa Renri no Shigarami", which was originally written by Suga Sensuke for the puppet theater and staged for the first time in the 10th lunar month of 1776 in ďsaka, is adapted by Namiki Gohei I to Kabuki, and staged in ďsaka at the Naka no Shibai with the following casting:

Roles Actors
Obiya Ch˘emon Onoe Shinshichi I
Imadegawa Raisaku Arashi Sangor˘ II
Saijir˘ Nakamura Ky˘jűr˘ II
S˘bei, Hansai Band˘ Iwagor˘
Ch˘emon's spouse Okinu Yamashita Yaoz˘ I
The decchi Ch˘kichi Arashi Sampachi I

5th lunar month of 1785: first Kabuki adaptation of Chikamatsu Hanji's puppet theater drama "Shimpan Utazaimon", which was written in the 9th lunar month of 1780. The play is produced in ďsaka at the Naka no Shibai with the following casting:

Roles Actors
Osome Ichiyama Tajir˘
Hisamatsu Nakamura Kumetar˘ II
Kyűbei Nakamura Jiroza II
Omitsu Iwai Hanshir˘ IV

3rd lunar month of 1787: premiere at the Naka no Shibai of Namiki Gohei's drama "Taik˘ Shinkenki", a play similar to "Hikosan Gongen Chikai no Sukedachi"; it is produced by Band˘ Iwagor˘ and staged with the following casting:

Roles Actors
Rokusuke, Ok˘, Mashiba Hisayoshi Kan˘ Hinasuke I
Ichimisai's elder daughter Osono Yamashita Kinsaku II
Ky˘goku no Takumi Asao Tamejűr˘ I
Mokusokan Kagaya Kashichi I
Ichimisai's younger daughter Okiku, Dengoemon's wife Otsuki Hanagiri Tsuruz˘
Kinugawa Yasabur˘ Nakayama Hy˘tar˘ I
Yoshioka Ichimisai, Sagohei Nakayama Taz˘
Harukaze T˘z˘ Asao Nakaz˘
Todoroki Dengoemon, the yakko Tomohei Mihogi Gizaemon II
Mayumi-no-Kata, Otake Nakamura Kumenosuke
Yasabur˘'s son Yasomatsu Asao Okujir˘ I
Onoemon Band˘ Iwagor˘

2nd lunar month of 1794: premiere at the Naka no Shibai of Namiki Gohei I's drama "Shima Meguri Uso no Kikigaki"; the last scenes are a sewamono drama, which will be staged independently in the 5th lunar month of 1794 under the title "Godairiki Koi no Fűjime"; these final scenes are staged with the following casting:

Roles Actors
Sasano Sangobei Kataoka Nizaemon VII
Katsuma Gengobei Onoe Shinshichi I
The courtesan Kikuno Yoshizawa Iroha I
Yasuke Nakayama Bungor˘ I
Tomitaya Oichi Mimasu Tokujir˘ I
Chishima Mantar˘ Band˘ Jűtar˘

11th lunar month of 1807: Seki Sanjűr˘ I and Seki Utasuke respectively take the names of Seki San'emon and Seki Sanjűr˘ II at the Naka no Shibai.

2nd day of the 9th lunar month of 1813: a fire breaks out in ďsaka in a chaya near the Naka no Shibai; it partially destroys this theater.

9th lunar month of 1824: premiere at the Naka no Shibai of the drama "Banshű Sarayashiki", a revision of the puppet play by Nakawa Harusuke I; it stars ďtani Tomoemon II and Arashi Koroku IV in the roles of Aoyama Daihachi and Okiku.

1st lunar month of 1836: premiere at the Naka no Shibai of Nishizawa Ipp˘'s drama "Hana no Ani Tsubomi no Yatsufusa", which is produced by Arashi Kitsuz˘ and staged with the following casting:

Roles Actors
Kanamari Daisuke, Inuzuka Shino Arashi Rikan II
ďtsuka Bansaku Kazunari, Horiuchi Kurando Sadayuki, Inugawa Gakuz˘ Seki Sanjűr˘ II
Inuyama D˘setsu Band˘ Jutar˘ I
Yamanouchi Akisada Kataoka Nizaemon VII
Yamashita Sakuzaemon Sadakane, Nukasuke, Aboshi Samojir˘ Kataoka Ichiz˘ I
Princess Fuse, Hamaji Nakamura Tomijűr˘ II
Somaki Bokuhei, Kamezasa ďtani Tomoemon III
Satomi Jibudayű Suemoto Nakayama Bunshichi III
Tamazusa, Bansaku's wife, the servant Onaka Nakayama Nanshi II
Hikute, Isarago Gozen Yamashita Kinsaku IV

The actors Seki Sanjűr˘ II and Arashi Rikan II fall ill and have to be replaced by Ichikawa Ebijűr˘ III and Arashi Rikaku II.

5th lunar month of 1838: the great Kamigata star Nakamura Tamasuke I appears on stage for the last time, at the Naka no Shibai, playing the roles of Kajiwara Heiz˘ Kagetoki and Tatara Shind˘ Saemon in the dramas "Kajiwara Heiz˘ K˘bai Tazuna" and "Karukaya D˘shin Tsukushi no Iezuto".

1876: the Naka no Shibai is destroyed by a fire.

January 1877: premiere at the Naka no Shibai of "Shunshoku Ume Goyomi", an adaptation to Kabuki by the playwright Katsu Genz˘ II of Tamenaga Shunsui's 1833 novel, which is staged with the following casting:

Roles Actors
Karakotoya Tanjir˘ Jitsukawa Enzabur˘ III
The geisha Yonehachi Arashi Rish˘ II
The geisha Adahachi Nakamura Hikaku

1884: the Naka no Shibai is destroyed by a fire, a few days before the first stage appearance of a new troupe led by Nakamura Ganjir˘ I. The theater is rebuilt and equipped with a modern electric installation.

April 1887: premiere at the Nakaza of Katsu Genz˘ III's drama "Nikaigasa Yagyű Jikki", which is staged with the following casting:

Roles Actors
YAGY█ MATAJ█Rď Arashi Kichisabur˘ V
ďkubo Hikozaemon Arashi Rikan IV

1920: the Sh˘chiku takes over the management of the theater, rebuilds it and names it Nakaza.

1922: the two rival Kamigata stars Nakamura Ganjir˘ I and Kataoka Nizaemon XI become reconciled and perform together at the Nakaza.

November 1927: the actor Nakamura Jakuemon III collapses and dies on stage at the Nakaza, while playing the role of Princess Michitose in the drama "Honz˘ Shimoyashiki".

January 1934: Kataoka Tsuchinosuke II takes the name of Kataoka Gad˘ IV at the Nakaza.

1934: The Nakaza is rebuilt and becomes the most important theater in ďsaka, supplanting its main rival, the Naniwaza.

January 1935: Nakamura Fukusuke IV and Nakamura Masajir˘ III respectively take the names of Nakamura Baigyoku III and Nakamura Fukusuke V in ďsaka at the Nakaza.

13 March 1945: US Army B29 bombers completely destroy ďsaka in a horrible air raid; the Nakaza is burnt to ashes.

January 1948: reopening of the theater.

April 1954: revival (the 1st since the end of WW2) at the Nakaza of Katsu Genz˘ III's drama "Ogasawara S˘d˘", which is staged with the following casting:

Roles Actors
Okada Ry˘suke, Ogasawara T˘t˘mi-no-Kami Kataoka Nizaemon XIII
Ogasawara Haito, the yakko Kikuhei (in reality the fox of Mt. My˘jin), Koheiji Jitsukawa Enjir˘ II
Inugami Hy˘bu Arashi Kichisabur˘ VII
Odai-no-Kata, Ry˘suke's wife Okano Arashi Hinasuke X
Ohaya Nakamura Tomijűr˘ IV
Ogasawara Buzen-no-Kami, Hayashi Kazuma Ichikawa Raiz˘ VIII

January 1965: premiere at the Nakaza of the spectacular hengemono "ďtsue D˘j˘ji", which is staged with the following casting:

Roles Actors
The wisteria maiden, a falcon-handler, a zat˘, a boatman and the ˘tsue demon Jitsukawa Enjaku III
Ya-no-Ne no Gor˘ Nakamura Fukusuke V
Benkei Arashi Rikaku V

January 1991: Nakamura Ganjir˘ III celebrates his first month of shűmei in ďsaka at the Nakaza, playing the roles of Tsuchiya Chikara, the spirit of the Lion and Kamiya Jihei in the drama "Tsuchiya Chikara", the dance "Kagami Jishi" and Chikamatsu Monzaemon's masterpiece "Shinjű Ten no Amijima" (the "Kawash˘" scene).

February 1991: Nakamura Ganjir˘ III celebrates his second month of shűmei at the Nakaza, playing the roles of Kameya Chűbei, the snake disguised as the dancing girl Hanako and the hair-dresser Sanigoroshichi (in fact Asaka Yoichir˘ Haruyoshi) in Chikamatsu Monzaemon's masterpiece "Koi Bikyaku Yamato ďrai" (the "Fűin Giri" scene), the dance "Musume D˘j˘ji" and the drama "Kari no Tayori".

January 1995: Nakamura Tomotar˘ and Nakamura Hirotar˘ respectively take the names of Nakamura Kanjaku V and Nakamura Senjaku III at the Nakaza.

August 1999: final Kabuki performance at the Nakaza, about to be closed by the Sh˘chiku. The drama "Natsu Sugata Naniwa Goyomi" is staged, starring the Kamigata actors Kataoka Hidetar˘ II, Arashi Tokusabur˘ VII, Band˘ Takesabur˘ V, Kataoka Ainosuke VI and Kamimura Kichiya VI.

Comments

Nakaza Theater in ďsaka closes

Another piece of Japan's rich theater history came to an end in October 1999 with the closing of the 350-year old Nakaza Theater in ďsaka. The sagging economy has claimed one more victim, for despite being taken over by giant entertainment conglomerate Sh˘chiku, the theater failed to draw in the crowds. It has not yet been decided whether to pull the theater down or to reopen it in some other incarnation.

The 802-seat theater was built in 1652 in the theater district of Shibaimachi, on D˘tombori street, and became the most influential of the theaters. However the final death knell seemed to have tolled when the Sh˘chikuza Theater was rebuilt in March 1997, and the Nakaza was changed into a rental hall. The patrons and actors are not the only ones to suffer by the closure. The nearby okonomiyaki restaurant which had taken care of the actors' culinary needs for years, also allowiing them to use the upper floor as a rehearsal room, has lost the heart of its business. Likewise the private ticket sales company which specialized in selling Nakaza's tickets has been wiped out by the closure.

Even though Kabuki started in the Kansai area, it has struggled for popularity in the post-WWII era, and in the 1950's many of the famous Kansai Kabuki actors moved to the T˘ky˘ area. Various attempts were made to revive Kabuki in ďsaka, and for a while in the early 1960's, thanks partly to the efforts of Nizaemon XIII (father of the present Nizaemon), it made a comeback. In fact, the present Nizaemon, then called Takao, played his first principal role at the age of 20 at the Asahiza (now the Bunrakuza). A year later, in 1965, the Nakaza also staged Kabuki, but it was short-lived. The next Kabuki performance there was in 1974, but is has only been performed sporadically since then. Even the Shinkabukiza Theater (the "New Kabukiza"), which was built to be ďsaka's answer to T˘ky˘'s Kabukiza, failed to make an impression on the populace and nowadays Kabuki is never performed there. The Sh˘chikuza seems to be Sh˘chiku Company's last ditch effort to make Kabuki a viable proposition in ďsaka.

So although the last play has been staged at the theater, let's hope that at least the beautiful and distinctive Nakaza building will be spared the wrecker's ball.

Jean Wilson (1999)

P.S. It did indeed escape the wrecker's ball. It burned to the ground on the night of 8th Sept. 2002, from a supposed gas explosion, and has now been replaced with a concrete and glass office building, leaving no trace that it ever existed.

The Nakaza (Summer 1954)
 
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