NEWS FROM THE KABUKI WORLD
28 February
2021

The three programs for the April 2021 Grand Kabuki performances at the Kabukiza, have been published [more details]. There will be 3 Living National Treasures on stage: Kataoka Nizaemon, Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and Nakamura T˘z˘. The second item in the first program, the dance-drama "Kanjinch˘", will be divided into two subprograms, A and B. The roles of Musashib˘ Benkei and Togashi Saemon will be played by Matsumoto Haku˘ and Matsumoto K˘shir˘ in the A subprogram and by Matsumoto K˘shir˘ and Onoe Matsuya in the B subprogram. The A subprogram will be staged the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 10th, 12th, 14th, 16th, 18th, 21st, 23rd, 25th and 27th of April 2021. The B subprogram will be staged the 4th, 6th, 8th, 11th, 13th, 15th, 17th, 20th, 22nd, 24th, 26th and 28th of March 2021. There won't be any performance the 9th and the 19th of April 2021. The highlights of the April 2021 Grand Kabuki will be:

  • "Kokaji", a classic of the Omodakaya guild belonging to the En'˘ Jűshu collection, which was staged in ˘shibai for the last time in December 1997 at the Kabukiza.
  • "Kanjinch˘" with 2 generations of K˘raiya Benkei: Matsumoto Haku˘ and Matsumoto K˘shir˘.
  • "Taijű" with Nakamura Shikan in the role of Takechi Mitsuhide.
  • "Sakura Hime" with Living National Treasures Kataoka Nizaemon and Band˘ Tamasabur˘.
  • Due to heavy renovation works at the Kanamaruza, started in October 2020, the 37th edition of the Spring Kabuki performances called Shikoku Konpira Kabuki ďshibai, Shikoku Konpira Kabuki Grand Theatre, will not happen this year.

    The Nakamuraya brothers Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke will be on tour in March 2021 [more details] and April 2021 [more details]. This is the second edition of a Spring Tour called Shungy˘ Tokubetsu K˘en, literally 'The Dawn of Spring Special Performances'. The first edition happened in March 2018 and April 2018.

    Nakamura Tokiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke and Nakamura Baigyoku will perform in June 2021 in Fukuoka at the Hakataza [more details].

    Ichikawa Ebiz˘, along with Ichikawa Udanji and with Nakamura Kotar˘, will be on tour all over Japan (14 cities) from the 5th to the 24th of March 2021. This tour will be as usual entitled Koten he no Izanai, literally "Invitation to the Classics" [more details].

    Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and his two children, Horikoshi Kangen and Ichikawa Botan, will perform from the 26th to the 29th of March 2021 in Yamaga at the Yachiyoza, a traditional wooden-built theater [more details].

    The Nakamuraya brothers Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke, ahead of the February Grand Kabuki performances at the Kabukiza commemorating the 32nd anniversary (33rd memorial services) of the passing away of Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVII [more details], went to the Edo Kabuki Hassh˘ no Chi monument in the district of Ky˘bashi [picture].

    The Duty of Remembrance:

  • The 11th of Feburay 2021, we could have celebrated the 250th anniversary of the premiere of Namiki Sh˘z˘ I's drama "Kuwanaya Tokuz˘ Irifune Monogatari". This drama was premiered in ďsaka at the Naka no Shibai the 27th day of the 12th lunar month of the Meiwa era, which was the 11th February of 1771 in the western calendar.
  • The 7th of February 2021, we could have celebrated the 150th anniversary of the passing away of the star Seki Sanjűr˘ III (1805~1871). This actor died the 18th day of the 12th lunar month of the 3rd year of the Meiji era, which was the 7th of February 1871 in the western calendar.
  • In Feburay 2021, we could have celebrated the 50th anniversary of the shűmei of the actor Kataoka Gat˘ V and the hatsubutai of Kataoka Gat˘ V's son Kataoka Shinnosuke.
  • 4 new videos on the YouTube channel Kabuki In-Depth: In Praise of Shadows:

    No Kabuki for Ichikawa Ennosuke in February and March 2021. He started to perform from the 10th of February 2021 in the drama "Yabuhara Kengy˘" [more details], which is scheduled in 4 theaters:

  • From the 10th of February to the 7th of March 2021 in T˘ky˘ at the PARCO Gekij˘.
  • From the 9th to the 10th of March 2021 in Nagoya at the NTK Hall (Village).
  • From the 13th to the 14th of March 2021 in Komatsu at the Urara Theater Komatsu.
  • From the 18th to the 21st of March 2021 in Ky˘to at the Ky˘to Art Theater Shunjűza.
  • The 2nd edition of the Yű no Kai, a gala which stars ďtani Keiz˘ and his son ďtani Ryűsei, was expected to happen the 23rd of February 2021 at the Nagame Yoky˘j˘ (Nagame Entertainment Theater), a traditional wooden-built theater (1937) in the city of Midori in Gunma Prefecture, but it was postponed one more time. It was initially expected to happen the 12th of April 2020 but it was postponed for the first time due to the COVID-19 crisis. This time, it was postponed to the 28th of February 2021 but it was staged without audience for sanitary reasons. The performance was videotaped. Moreover, this month, the actor ďtani Keiz˘ has also opened his own YouTube Channel.

    31 January
    2021

    The three programs for the March 2021 Grand Kabuki performances at the Kabukiza, have been published [more details]. There will be 5 Living National Treasures on stage: Onoe Kikugor˘, Nakamura Kichiemon, Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Kataoka Nizaemon and Nakamura T˘z˘. The 3rd program will be divided into two programs, A and B. Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ will perform either in "Sumidagawa" (A program) or in "Yuki"/"Kane-ga-Misaki" (B program). The A program will be staged the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th and 29th of March 2021. The B program will be staged the 15th, 16th, 20th, 21st, 27th and 28th of March 2021. There won't be any performance the 11th and the 22nd of March 2021. The highlights of the March 2021 Grand Kabuki will be:

  • "Kumagai Jin'ya" with Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon.
  • "Naozamurai" with Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘ and Nakamura Tokiz˘.
  • "Sanmon" with Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon and Matsumoto K˘shir˘.
  • "Sumidagawa" with Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and Nakamura Ganjir˘.
  • The March 2021 Kabuki program at the National Theatre has been published. It will be entitled Kabuki Meisaku Nyűmon (literally 'Introduction to Kabuki Masterpieces'). The drama "Badarai no Mitsuhide" will be staged with Onoe Kikunosuke in the role of Takechi Mitsuhide. There will be no performance the 10th, the 11th and the 19th of March 2021 [more details].

    The Zenshinza celebrates its 90th anniversary in May 2021 at the National Theatre with two Kabuki programs instead of the usual one single program. The troupe will be led by the 3-generation leaders Kawarasaki Kunitar˘, Fujikawa Yanosuke and Arashi Yoshisabur˘ [more details].

    The 17th edition of the original Cocoon Kabuki will happen in May 2021 at the Theatre Cocoon [more details]. These performances recreate the atmosphere of the Edo koshibai and brings the actors closer to the audience. The play "Natsu Matsuri Naniwa Kagami" will be revised by the playwright Kushida Kazuyoshi.

    An application for smart phones or tablets was released the 15th of January 2021. It has been developped by the Sh˘chiku Company and it uses an AR technology called 'Reverse Reality' (AR meaning Augmented Reality). Adopting the theme of the famous Kabuki dance-drama "Shakkyo", this application shows a 6-minute performance in which the Kabuki actor Kataoka Ainosuke appears as the spirit of the shishi via the camera of your smartphone or your tablet and performs a dance just as he is in front of you. By using AR (Augmented Reality) technology, the place where the application is used instantly becomes a kind of stage, and before your very eyes, you can enjoy the Kataoka Ainosukeĺs performance at home. This application works with iOS (minimum 13.7) or Android (from version 10) [more details].

    Short videos with English subtitles of Kabuki performances in December 2020 at the Minamiza have been uploaded on the Sh˘chiku Official YouTube Channel:

    Short videos with English subtitles of Kabuki performances in December 2020 at the Kabukiza have been uploaded on the Sh˘chiku Official YouTube Channel:

    A new very interesting Kabuki-related YouTube Channel has just been created: Kabuki In-Depth: In Praise of Shadows. So far, two videos have been made and uploaded:

    A talk show entitled Utsukushiki Onnagata no Sekai (literally 'the world of beautiful onnagata') with Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and Onoe Kikunosuke will be streamed online the 13th of February 2020 through the streaming service e+ Streaming+.

    We forgot at the end of last year to report a special one-day 2-performance Zenshinza Kabuki program the 27th of January 2021 in Koganei at the Koganei Miyaji Musical Hall (Koganei Citizens Exchange Center) [more details].

    Two actors performing at the Kabukiza in January 2021 had to stop acting for a few days:

  • Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon stopped acting the 17th and he was back on stage the 25th.
  • Nakamura Kangyoku stopped acting the 7th and he was back on stage the 17th.
  • Two posters for the February 2021 performances at the Kabukiza have been published:

    An opening ceremony for the Kabukiza tonbo training center happened the 28th of January 2021 [pictures and more details in Japanese].

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