|NEWS FROM THE KABUKI WORLD|
The Chikamatsuza troupe, led by Nakamura Ganjir˘ and Nakamura Senjaku under the guidance of Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, will be on tour in Russia in September 2018 [more details]. They will perform "Domo Mata" and "Yoshinoyama" in two cities:
Reminder: There will be Grand Kabuki in September 2018 in France Paris at the Palais de Chaillot from the 13th to the 19th of September 2018 [more details]. These performances will be part of a long series of cultural events entitled "Japonismes 2018" to mark the 160th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and France. Nakamura Shichinosuke and Nakamura Shid˘ will perform in "Narukami" and "Kasane".
There was an important funa norikomi on the Hakata River in Fukuoka the 30th of May 2018, before June Grand Kabuki at the Hakataza which will celebrate the shűmei of Matsumoto Haku˘ II and his son Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X in Fukuoka [more details]. Actors on colorful boats were applauded by fans and spectators on the bridges or the banks of the Hakata river [more details with pictures].
The lineup of the 2018-2019 programs at the Minamiza have been published! After 2 years of reconstruction and renewal which began in 2016, one of the most famous Kabuki theaters, the Minamiza (Ky˘to) will reopen its doors this November. Below are listed the main Kabuki-related events:
6th edition in June 2018 in the city of Matsumoto at the Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre of a Kabuki program called Shinshű Matsumoto Grand Kabuki (Shinshű is an old name for the province of Nagano, whose main city is Matsumoto), which happens every two years since July 2008. It will be the same program as the 16th edition of the Cocoon Kabuki in T˘ky˘ [more details].
They are cute or creepy. They prance around street fairs, sporting events, community gatherings and tourist destinations. They reprensent prefectures, cities, museums, schools, institutions ... even militaries forces or prisons. If you go to Japan, you are very likely to meet a few of them. I am talking about the yuru-kyara, the mascots, which have invaded Japan during the 2010s and are still on the rise. The yuru-kyara was made up of two real words, yurui meaning loose or relaxed, and kyara, a word coming from English and meaning character. The mascots are everywhere ... and we would like to report the "birth" of Minamţna, the official mascot for the Minamiza. Doesn't it look like a kind of Mr. Potato Head [picture]?
The program for the 28th edition of the Kamigata Kabukikai (the Kamigata Kabuki Association), a summer program in ďsaka at the National Bunraku Theatre in August 2018 which stars Kamigata Kabuki stars' disciples in the leading roles with the guidance of Kataoka Nizaemon, Kataoka Hidetar˘ and Kataoka Gat˘, has been published [more details].
The program for the 24th edition of the common program for 2 associations, the Chigyokai (the Young Fishes Association) and the Kabukikai (the Kabuki Association), which stars stars' disciples in the leading roles at the National Theatre in August 2018, has been published [more details].
The 4th edition of the Ken no Kai, which stars Onoe Kikugor˘ VI's great-grandson Onoe Ukon, will happen the 26th and the 27th of August 2018 in T˘ky˘ at the National Theatre. Ken no Kai literally means "Ken's Association" with Ken being the first ideogram in Onoe Ukon's real first name Kensuke. Nakamura Kikaku, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Kamimura Kichiya and Arashi Kitsusabur˘ will be the guest stars [more details].
4th edition of the gala of the Sora no Kai (literally "the Sky Association"), which stars Kataoka Matsujűr˘, Kataoka Senjir˘ and Kataoka Senju, Kataoka Yűjir˘, Kataoka Rikiya and Kataoka T˘jűr˘. They will perform from the 2nd to the 5th of August 2018 in ďsaka at the Kintetsu Art Kan [more details]. These performances are entitled Abeno Kabuki (Abeno is the name of a famous district in ďsaka). The rarely-produced drama "Nazo no Obi Chotto Tokubŕ" will be staged under the guidance of Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Kataoka Hidetar˘ and the the furitsuke Yamamura Tomogor˘ III.
The 2nd of May 2018, a ceremony was held at the Kobikich˘ Hiroba, the shopping plaza in the 2nd floor basement beneath the Kabukiza to celebrate the unveiling of a new giant paper lantern. This new lantern, 2.7 meters high and 2.2 meters wide, the 2nd generation made by the Yoshinoya lantern-making company, replaced the first lantern that was hung there 5 years ago [picture | pictures and more details in Japanese].
A special emission of stamps by the Japanese Post to commemorate traditional arts like Kabuki was sold the 9th of May 2018 at the Kobikich˘ Hiroba in the Kabukiza building:
Matsumoto Haku˘ II and Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X will celebrate their shűmei in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza in July 2018. Matsumoto Haku˘ II will play the role of K˘chiyama S˘shun in the eponymous drama "K˘chiyama". His son Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X will play the roles of Musashib˘ Benkei and Kawachiya Yohŕ in "Kanjinch˘" and "Abura no Jigoku" [more details].
The two programs for the June Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza in June 2018 have been published [more details]. The troupe will be led by the two Living National Treasures Onoe Kikugor˘ and Nakamura Kichiemon. Nakamura Kichiemon will play the role of Danshichi Kurobŕ in "Natsu Matsuri" and the role of Danshichi's son Ichimatsu will be played by Terashima Kazufumi, the son of Onoe Kikunosuke and grandson of both Onoe Kikugor˘ and Nakamura Kichiemon in real life. Two rarely-staged dramas will be revived:
As reported last year, Kishimoto Masashi's internationally popular manga "NARUTO" will get its Kabuki adaptation, under the supervision of G2 (both writer and director). It will be staged in August 2018 in T˘ky˘ at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘. The roles of Uzumaki Naruto and Uchiha Sasuke will be played by Band˘ Minosuke and Nakamura Hayato [more details]. Here are below some pieces of information about "NARUTO":
Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and his son Horikoshi Kangen celebrated the 20th of April 2018 the 1080th anniversary of the foundation of the Narita-san Shinsh˘ji Temple, where the Deity Fud˘ My˘˘ is worshipped. Ichikawa Ebiz˘ went there in a special Keisei line train called "Danjűr˘ Train". This special train was used for the first time at the time of Ichikawa Ebiz˘'s grandfather Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XI's shűmei. Ichikawa Ebiz˘ also performed, along with ďtani Hiromatsu, within the precincts of the temple in the dance "Renjishi" [pictures and more details in Japanese]. There is a strong relationship between this temple and the Ichikawa Danjűr˘/Ichikawa Ebiz˘ lines of actors. The Genroku Edo star Ichikawa Danjűr˘ I, who was born into a wealthy merchant family with ties to the Narita area, was said to be a devout Buddhist with a particular devotion to Fud˘ My˘˘, to whom he gave credit for the safe birth of his son Kuz˘, who went on to become Ichikawa Danjűr˘ II.
The program for the July 2018 educational Kabuki program at the National Theatre, called Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitu ("Kabuki appreciation class") has been published. Chikamatsu Monzaemon's drama "Nihon Furisode Hajime" will be staged with Nakamura Tokiz˘ and Nakamura Kinnosuke [more details].
Nakamura Shikan and his two sons, Nakamura Hashinosuke and Nakamura Fukunosuke, went to the Konpira Shrine the 6th of April 2018 to pray for the success of April 2018 performances at the Kanamaruza, where they were about to celebrate their shűmei from the 7th of April. Afterwards, The actors were paraded in the streets of Kotohira in rickshaws [pictures and more details in Japanese|more details about the performances]. Moreover, these 3 actors were the big chiefs of the Kotohira Police Station in Kotohira for 1 day the 10th of April 2018 [pictures and more details in Japanese].
The first edition of the Takenosuke no Kai, a gala program which will star Band˘ Takesabur˘'s disciple Band˘ Takenosuke III, will happen in ďsaka the 4th of August 2018 at the Daimaru Shinsaibashi Theater [more details].
The Kabuki TV program Kabuki Kool, which is produced by NHK World TV, will have a 5th season in 10 episodes. It hosts the young star Kataoka Ainosuke and the first episode of the new season was broadcasted the 4th of April 2018. The next episode, about Kabuki conventions, will be broadcasted the 2nd and the 30th of May 2018, four times each day at 04:30 08:30 16:30 and 22:30 (UTC) [more details]. Haruka Christine, who was the female host for the previous 4 seasons, has been replaced by Sarah Alainn for the 2018 season.
Onoe Ukon will perform outside Kabuki from the 6th to the 22nd of July 2018 in T˘ky˘ at the Kinokuniya Southern Theatre in Quiara AlegrÝa Hudes's drama "Water by the Spoonful". This drama will be directed by G2 (who has also translated the script in Japanese).
At the Kabukiza Gallery (5th floor of the Kabukiza building), a special exhibition about Kabuki during the 30 years of the Heisei era will start from the 3rd of May 2018. It is very likely to end with the Heisei era (31st of December 2018).
April 2018 celebrated the successful comeback on stage of Ichikawa Ennosuke, in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza. The young star performed there the SűpÔ Kabuki Sekando drama "ONE PIECE" [pictures and more details in Japanese].
The programs for the Grand Kabuki Tours in the eastern and central provinces in July 2018 have been published!
The program for the June 2018 educational Kabuki program at the National Theatre, called Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitu ("Kabuki appreciation class") has been published. "Renjishi" will be staged with Nakamura Matagor˘ and Nakamura Kash˘ in the roles of the father shishi and his cub [more details].
Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and Onoe Ukon were the award-winners of the Grand Award (Taish˘) for the former actor and the Theater "New Face" Award (Engeki Shinjin Sh˘) for the latter actor of the 39th Matsuo Artistic Awards (Matsuo Gein˘ Sh˘). They received their prize the 28th of March 2018 at the ANA Intercontinental Hotel in T˘ky˘.
Matsumoto K˘shir˘ perform a sanbas˘ ritual dance in the precincts of the Kamigamo Shrine, ahead of the coming 3-generation K˘raiya shűmei in Ky˘to (K˘raiya Sandai Shűmei) of Matsumoto Haku˘ II, Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X and Ichikawa Somegor˘ VIII in Ky˘to at the Minamiza in November 2018 [pictures and more details in Japanese].
Ichikawa Chűsha received the 18th of March 2018 at the Asakusa K˘kaid˘ the Incentive Award (Sh˘rei-sh˘) of the 34th Asakusa Artistic Awards (Asakusa Gein˘ Sh˘). During the same ceremony, the signed handprint of Nakamura Matagor˘ was taken and set into the Plaza of Stars (SutÔ no Hiroba in Japanese) on Orange Street (Orenji D˘ri in Japanese) in front of the Asakusa K˘kaid˘ [pictures and more details in Japanese].
Nakamura Senjaku was one of the 8 award-winners of the 74th Japan Art Academy Awards (Nihon Geijutsuin Sh˘) for the year 2017.
The world of Kabuki and the world of Otaku will collide for the third time in Kabuki history at the end of April 2018! Ch˘kabuki (literally Ultra-Kabuki) will be back! Nakamura Shid˘ will once again share the stage with the virtual 3D creature Hatsune Miku. They will perform together in a Ch˘kabuki dance-drama which will be entitled "Tsumoru Omoi Hana no Kaomise". This jidaimono will involve the fight for the imperial throne that is set in the Heian period. Nakamura Shid˘ and Hatsune Miku will play two roles each. It will staged at the Makuhari Messe the 28th and the 29th of April 2018, as part of the Niconico Ch˘kaigi 2018 event, an important yearly event for the Otaku tribes [more details].
Oda Eiichir˘'s internationally popular manga "ONE PIECE", which got his first Kabuki adaptation by Ichikawa Ennosuke in October 2015/November 2015 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘, will be staged one more in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza in April 2018. The first time was in March 2016 in the same theater. Most of the actors will be Kabuki actors, with 3 non-Kabuki guest actors : Hira Takehiro, Kashima Noritoshi and Asano Kazuyuki [more details]. It will also be staged for the first time in Nagoya, in May 2018 at the Misonoza [more details].
There will be Kabuki performances in Madrid from the 27th of June to the 1st of July 2018. The Heisei Nakamuraza, led by Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke, with Kataoka Kamez˘ and Nakamura Tsurumatsu, will travel to Spain as part of the events celebrating the 150th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Spain in 1868. They will perform in "Fuji Musume" and "Renjishi" at the Teatros del Canal in Madrid.
The two programs for the April Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza in April 2018 have been published [more details]. Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon will do his isse ichidai performance for the roles of the villains Tateba no Taheiji and Saeda Daigakunosuke in Tsuruya Nanboku IV's masterpiece "Ehon Gapp˘-ga-Tsuji".
The two programs for the Dankikusai May Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza in May 2018 have been published [more details]. It will be the fifth Dankiku festival at the fifth Kabukiza since the passing away of Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XII. Two important events will be commemorated : the 1080th anniversary of the Narita-san Temple, where the Deity Fud˘ My˘˘ is worshipped, and the 330th anniversary of the birth of Ichikawa Danjűr˘ II (born in 1688). There is a deep connection between the the Narita-san Temple and the Ichikawa Danjűr˘ line of actors since Ichikawa Danjűr˘ I.
The Minamiza will reopen in November 2018! Kabuki will be staged in both November 2018 and December 2018 to celebrate this long-awaited reopening. In November 2018, it will be the 3-generation K˘raiya shűmei in Ky˘to (K˘raiya Sandai Shűmei) of Matsumoto Haku˘ II, Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X and Ichikawa Somegor˘ VIII.
Matsumoto Haku˘ II and Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X will celebrate their shűmei in Fukuoka at the Hakataza in June 2018. Matsumoto Haku˘ II will play the roles of the master of the Miuraya and S˘gor˘ in "Date no Jűyaku" and "Sakanaya S˘gor˘". His son Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X will play the 10 roles of "Date no Jűyaku" and the leading role of the dance-drama "Kagami Jishi". The two Living National Treasures Kataoka Nizaemon and Sakata T˘jűr˘ will be the guest stars. The former will play the roles of the evil Yashio and Shunkan in "Date no Jűyaku" and "Shunkan". The latter will lead the k˘j˘ [more details].
The famous character Hello Kitty and her cute friends will play Kabuki from the 10th of March 2018 at the Mńrchen Theater in Sanrio Puroland. It will be a new musical production entitled "KAWAII KABUKI - Momotar˘ by the Hello Kitty Troupe". A new character named Kabuki Nyanyar˘, a character designated as a Kabuki Nyanĺbassador (ambassador) will also make his debut on stage. It is worthy to report that Ichikawa Emisabur˘ will be in charge of the acting guidance and the voice of Nakamura Shid˘ will be used [more details].
The 14th of February 2018 the 125th Emperor of Japan Akihito and his wife the Empress of Japan Michiko went to the Kabukiza to enjoy "Kotohogu Sandai Kabuki no Nigiwai" in the evening program [pictures and more details in Japanese].
Nakamura Takanosuke and Nakamura Tamatar˘ will perform at the Kanagawa Arts Theatre from the 24th to the 27th of March 2018 in a special Buy˘ program which is supervised by Fujima Kanjűr˘ VIII and entitled "SUGATA" (3rd edition) [more details].
Reminder: the year 2018 is the 130th year from the opening of the Kabukiza. More precisely, this anniversary will be celebrated the 21th of November 2018.
Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘ and Kataoka Gat˘ will appear on stage at the Kabukiza in February 2018 in the evening program in "Kabukiza Shibai no Nigiwai", which will be the lively and colorful k˘j˘ for the shűmei of Matsumoto Haku˘ II, Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X and Ichikawa Somegor˘ VIII. There will 6 Living National Treasures on stage for this k˘j˘!
A new Celebration Curtain (iwai-maku) designed by Kusama Yayoi will be used in February 2018 at the Kabukiza the second month of the 3-generation K˘raiya shűmei (K˘raiya Sandai Shűmei) of Matsumoto Haku˘ II, Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X and Ichikawa Somegor˘ VIII [pictures and more details in Japanese].
It was reported in Band˘ Yajűr˘ĺs blog that the 20th of January 2018 at the Kabukiza, during the k˘j˘ for the 3-generation K˘raiya shűmei (K˘raiya Sandai Shűmei) of Matsumoto Haku˘ II, Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X and Ichikawa Somegor˘ VIII, the new Haku˘ told the audience that Prime Minister Abe Shinz˘ was present that evening. Then, just at the end of the speech of the new K˘shir˘, in the midst of the applause, a unexpected kakegoe from the 1st floor seats called out "Senry˘ yakusha! Sannin awasete sanzenry˘!" ("An actor worth a thousand ry˘! The three of you together are worth three thousand ry˘!"). According to Band˘ Yajűr˘, it was the voice of the Prime Minister.
The 16th edition of the original Cocoon Kabuki will happen in May 2018 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 "Kirare Yosa" will be revised by the playwright Kushida Kazuyoshi. It is noteworthy to report that Nakamura Kankur˘ will unusually not take part in these performances.
In January 2018 at the Kabukiza, Matsumoto Kin'ya III and Matsumoto Kin'ichi III, two disciples of the K˘raiya guild, respectively took the names of Matsumoto K˘emon II and Matsumoto K˘z˘ II, playing the roles of Hiraoka G˘zaemon and Mihara Ariemon in the drama "Sum˘ba", which was staged in the evening program of the 3-generation K˘raiya shűmei (K˘raiya Sandai Shűmei) of Matsumoto Haku˘ II, Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X and Ichikawa Somegor˘ VIII.
Nakamura Kazutar˘ took part in a parade in ďsaka the 10th of January 2018, which was part of the T˘ka Ebisu Festival at the Imamiya Ebisu Shrine, which is located in the Naniwa Ward of ďsaka and is commonly (and affectiously) called Ebessan by the people of ďsaka. The T˘ka Ebisu Festival was held from the 9th to the 11th of January 2018. T˘ka meaning the 10th day in Japanese, this festival is usually held around the 10th of January and it is extremely popular in ďsaka. During this festival sacred bamboo branches are sold to business people. The branches, known as fukusasa, are decorated with lucky symbols. The young actor was paraded through shopping and entertainment districts on a special palanquin called hoe kago, surrounded by people singing a simple catchy folk song [more details in Japanese and pictures].
The 10th of January at the Kabukiza and the 12th of January at the Asakusa K˘kaid˘, there were visits to Kabuki by two groups of geisha. The geisha from the hanamachi of Shinbashi, Yoshi-ch˘, Akasaka, Kagurazaka and Muk˘jima came at the Kabukiza. The geisha from the hanamachi of Asakusa went to the Asakusa K˘kaid˘. This kind of visit by a group of geisha is called S˘ken (literally "global viewing"). The geisha went to enjoy Kabuki and the audience were delighted to see them in the theater.
Onoe Ukon, the grandson of Kiyomoto Enjudayű VI and the son of Kiyomoto Enjudayű VII, will take the name as a music master of Kiyomoto Eijudayű VII the 26th of February 2018 at the Kabukiza. There will be a special Kiyomoto gala program, which will also commemorate the 32nd anniversary (33rd memorial services) of the passing away of Kiyomoto Enjudayű VI. This program is entitled "Enjukai". Onoe Ukon's elder brother Kiyomoto Takahiro will take the name of Kiyomoto Saiju in the same program. Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Ichikawa Ennosuke, Onoe Sh˘roku and Nakamura Kazutar˘ will perform in this program [more details].
New year kagami-biraki the 2nd of January 2018 in Asakusa for Nakamura Kinnosuke, Onoe Matsuya, Band˘ Minosuke, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Hayato, Nakamura Umemaru and Band˘ Kamez˘ [more details].
Parade (oneri) in Fukuoka in the Kawabata area, which is centered around Hakata's oldest shopping arcade since the mid-1950s, for Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Senjaku, Onoe Matsuya, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Kataoka Kamez˘, Nakamura Kotar˘, Band˘ Shingo, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Fukunosuke, Nakamura Tsurumatsu [pictures and more details in Japanese].
Kataoka Ainosuke will perform outside Kabuki, from the 27th of April to the 26th of May 2018 at the T˘ky˘ Metropolitan Theatre in Mitani K˘ki's drama "Sake to Namida to Jikiru to Haido" (entitled in English "JEKYLL & HYDE & so on").
Nakamura Kikaku will perform outside Kabuki, from the 8th to the 18th of February 2018 in T˘ky˘ at the Galaxy Theatre and from the 23rd to the 25th of February 2018 in ďsaka at the Morinomiya Piloti Hall, in Nishida Daisuke's drama "Kake Hayabusa Hito Yamato". He will also perform in the Japanese version of Anna Ziegler's drama "Photograph 51", which will be directed by Sarna Lapine and which will be staged in T˘ky˘ at the Theatre West of the T˘ky˘ Metropolitan Theatre from the 6th to the 22nd of April 2018 and in ďsaka at the Umeda Arts Theater from the 25th to the 26th of April 2018.
The Duty of Remembrance:
They are cute or creepy. They prance around street fairs, sporting events, community gatherings and tourist destinations. They reprensent prefectures, cities, museums, schools, institutions ... even militaries forces or prisons. If you go to Japan, you are very likely to meet a few of them. I am talking about the yuru-kyara, the mascots, which have invaded Japan during the 2010s and are still on the rise. The yuru-kyara was made up of two real words, yurui meaning loose or relaxed, and kyara, a word coming from English and meaning character. The mascots are everywhere ... and we would like to report the "birth" of REN-G, the official mascot for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Phonetically, Ren-G is renjţ ... which is close to "Renjishi". This is a "double mascot" which symbolizes the two shishi of the dance-drama "Renjishi", the two mythical, lion-like creatures that "bring happiness and ward off evil" [pictures and more details in Japanese].
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