NEWS FROM THE KABUKI WORLD
31 October
2014

Mea culpa!: I've reported that Nakamura Fukusuke would be back on stage in November 2014 to perform in a non-Kabuki drama entitled "Memories of the Sun Goddess HIMIKO". I have to correct this piece of information by writing that he will be credited as stage director but he won't perform on stage. His son Nakamura Kotar˘ will perform but not Nakamura Fukusuke.

Young popular star Ichikawa Ennosuke will perform for the very first time at the newly-built Kabukiza, next year in January 2015 [more details]!

The programs for the 2 months of shűmei for Nakamura Ganjir˘ IV, in January 2015 and February 2015 in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza, have been published. In January 2015, the guests of the new Ganjir˘ will be Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Kataoka Ainosuke, Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Gat˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘ and Band˘ Takesabur˘ [more details]. In February 2015, his guests will be Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Ichikawa Ennosuke, Nakamura Baigyoku, Kataoka Gat˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Ichikawa Monnosuke and Nakamura Kikaku [more details].

Ichikawa Somegor˘ will perform for the very first time the prestigious role of Musashib˘ Benkei in the dance-drama "Kanjinch˘" in November 2014 at the Kabukiza. This role is an atariyaku for his father Matsumoto K˘shir˘. It was also the most significant role for Matsumoto K˘shir˘ VIII or Matsumoto K˘shir˘ VII. These 3 actors have performed it more than 3000 times! Ichikawa Somegor˘ has already performed many roles in "Kanjinch˘" like Minamoto Yoshitsune, Togashi Saemon, Suruga Jir˘, Kamei Rokur˘, Kataoka Hachir˘ or the sword-holder Otowaka ... but never Benkei [a special poster of Ichikawa Somegor˘ in the role of Benkei].

The 32nd anniversary (33rd memorial service) of the passing away of Matsumoto Haku˘ will be commemorated next month (November 2014) at the Kabukiza. Matsumoto K˘shir˘ and Ichikawa Somegor˘ went on the grave of their father and grandfather the 17th of October in T˘ky˘. The tombstone of Matsumoto Haku˘ is located in the precincts of the Honmonji Temple in T˘ky˘.

Ichikawa Somegor˘ will perform for the second time the prestigious ten roles of "Date no Jűyaku" in February 2015 in Fukuoka at the Hakataza [more details]. He performed them for the first time in May 2014 at the Meijiza [more details]. These roles were the privilege of the star Ichikawa Ennosuke, who revived them for the first time in April 1979 and performed them in 9 productions from 1979 to 1999. In the 2010s, it was staged 3 times with Ichikawa Ebiz˘ in the 10 roles, in January 2010 and August 2012 at the Shimbashi Embuj˘, and in May 2013 at the Minamiza.

Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and young star Ichikawa Ebiz˘ will be the stars of the two programs at the Kabukiza in December 2014. They will play the roles of the courtesan Matsuyama and Wankyű in "Ninin Wankyű" and the roles of Princess Kumo-no-Taema and the evil priest Narukami in "Narukami Fud˘ Kitayama Zakura" [more details].

Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ will play two spectacular and physically-demanding roles in January 2015 at the Kabukiza: the leading roles of "Kumo no Hy˘shimai" and "Onna Shibaraku" [more details].

Matsumoto K˘tar˘, a disciple of Matsumoto K˘shir˘, will take the name of Matsumoto Komagor˘ III in November 2014 at the Kabukiza, playing the role of Kajiwara Heiji Kagetaka in the drama "Kumagai Jin'ya".

The Sh˘chiku Company will celebrate its 120th anniversary in 2015. A special logo and a reminder will be printed on every Sh˘chiku-sponsored program in 2015! The company was founded in Ky˘to in 1902 but ďtani Takejir˘, one of the two founders, started the theater production business in reality in 1895.

The two Kabuki programs of January 2015 at the Asakusa K˘kaid˘ have been published! The main actors will be Onoe Matsuya, Nakamura Kash˘, Band˘ Minosuke, Nakamura Kotar˘, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Hayato and Nakamura Tanenosuke. It is worthy to note that the usual stars of the Asakusa K˘kaid˘ have passed the torch to a new generation of young actors [more details].

Ichikawa Tsukinosuke will perform in December 2014 at the Shimbashi Embuj˘ with a Kigeki troupe in a program which is entitled "Warau Kado niha Fuku Kitaru" (literally "good fortune and happiness will come to the home of those who smile"). The troupe is led by Fujiyama Naomi.

Onoe Matsuya will perform in November 2014 at the Galaxy Theatre in the Japanese version of Stephen Dolginoff's musical "Thrill Me". He will be paired with the musical actor Kakizawa Hayato.

The Living National Treasure Tokiwazu shamisen player Tokiwazu Eiju was put by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in the list of Japanese personalities who have made outstanding culture contributions in Japan in 2014 (bunka k˘r˘sha). The ceremony will happen the 4th of November 2014.

28 September
2014

As previously reported in this section of the site, Nakamura Kanjaku V will take the name of Nakamura Ganjir˘ IV in January 2015 and February 2015 in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza. The roles in which he will perform have been published: in January 2015 the new Ganjir˘ will play the roles of Fujiya Izaemon and Kameya Chűbei in "Kuruwa Bunsh˘" and "Fűin Giri" [flyer in Japanese]. In February 2015 the new Ganjir˘ will play the roles of Matahei and the father shishi in "Domo Mata" and "Renjishi" [flyer in Japanese].

The programs for the kaomise in Ky˘to, in December 2014 at the Minamiza, have been published. The stars of this kaomise will be Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Kataoka Nizaemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Kaishun, Kataoka Gat˘, Kataoka Takatar˘, Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke and Kataoka Hidetar˘ [more details].

Nakamura Fukusuke will be back on stage in November 2014! Not in Kabuki performances. He will perform along with his son Nakamura Kotar˘ in a newly-created dance-drama which is entitled "Memories of the Sun Goddess HIMIKO". It will be staged in T˘ky˘ the 18th of November at the Suntory Hall, in Sapporo the 24th of November at the Concert Hall and in Fukuoka the 26th of November at the Symphony Hall [more details]. Nakamura Fukusuke stopped acting from the 14th of November 2013 due to illness (high blood pressure). His expected shűmei (he was supposed to take the name of Nakamura Utaemon VII in March 2014) was postponed and it took him one full year to recover.

Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ will perform at the Yachiyoza, a traditional wooden-built theater, from the 29th of October to the 2nd of November 2014 in 3 traditional Jiutamai dances [more details].

The 7th edition of the Eirakukan Grand Kabuki will happen from the 4th to the 9th of November 2014 at the Eirakukan, a renovated traditional theater built in the city of Toyooka (prefecture of Hy˘go). The zagashira will be as usual the young star Kataoka Ainosuke [more details].

Ichikawa Ennosuke will be the star of the 16th ďtemachiza stage performances at the Nikkei Hall in T˘ky˘ [more details].

Ichikawa Somegor˘, Ichikawa Ennosuke and Nakamura Takanosuke will take part in special Buy˘ performances the 27th and 28th of November 2014 in T˘ky˘ at the Meijiza. Others performers will be dance masters like Fujima Kanjűr˘ VIII, Onoe Kikunoj˘ III, Hanayagi Yoshijir˘ VI or Ichikawa Botan III.

A special program will be staged at the Kabukiza the 26th of October 2014. It is entitled "Engekijinsai", which means literally the Festival of Stage Performers. The program will be made up of a speech (done by Nakamura Baigyoku), the reading of one scene from "Mabuta no Haha" (done by Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and Ichikawa Chűsha), a show of the Takarazuka Revue (the Star Troupe (Hoshigumi) led by Yuzuki Reon), the dance "Kagetsu" (performed by the master Umewaka Gensh˘ II and the dance master Fujima Kanjűr˘ VIII) and the Jiutamai dance "Kosunoto" (performed by Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘).

Another special program will be staged at the Kabukiza the 27th of October 2014. It is an event which is related to the 2014 T˘ky˘ International Film Festival. There will be the performance of Ichikawa Somegor˘ in the dance-drama "Shakky˘", then a stage speech and the projection of Charles Chaplin's 1931 movie "City Lights". Chaplin, whose love for Japan is well-known, was very much attracted to Kabuki and he actually visited the Kabukiza. Chaplin was photographed with Matsumoto K˘shir˘ VII, who is Ichikawa Somegor˘ĺs great-grandfather [more details].

The 14th Training Recital produced by the Organization for the Preservation of Kabuki will happen the 25th of October at the National Theatre, after the day performance of the t˘shi ky˘gen production of "Futatsu Ch˘ch˘ Kuruwa Nikki". One stage speech and one act from this drama ("Hikimado") will be staged as part of this 14th Training Recital [more details].

The coming 150th anniversary of the passing away of Utagawa Kunisada I (1786~1864 [1]) will be celebrated with an exhibition of some of his prints at the Ukiyoe ďta Memorial Museum of Art in T˘ky˘ from the 1st of October to the 24th of November 2014 [more details].

Ichikawa Ebiz˘ will perform in T˘ky˘ at the Nihombashi Mitsui Hall from the 11th to the 26th of October 2014 [more details] and in Ky˘to at the Minamiza from the 29th of October to the 2nd of November 2014 [more details]. This is part of his "JAPAN THEATER" Project. There will be two items in the program: one reading session of extracts from the "Heike Monogatari" and the staging of the dance-drama "Otokodate Hana no Yoshiwara".

During this month of September 2014, the Kabuki world could have celebrated the 100th anniversary of the premiere of the dance-drama "Onatsu Ky˘ran" (which happened in September 1914 at the Imperial Theater). Unfortunately, no staging at all in any theater in Japan.

[1] Utagawa Kunisada I died the 15th day of the 12th lunar month of the 1st year of the Genji era (1864) ... which was the 12th of January 1865 in the western calendar!

31 August
2014

The 32nd anniversary (33rd memorial service) of the passing away of Matsumoto Haku˘ will be commemorated at the Kabukiza in November 2014. His two sons, Matsumoto K˘shir˘ and Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon, will be the zagashira [more details]. Deluxe casting for the dance-drama "Kanjinch˘", with Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon and Ichikawa Somegor˘ in the roles of Benkei, Togashi and Yoshitsune!

Publication of the first 2015 Kabuki program! It will be the revival in 5 acts (9 scenes) in January 2015 at the National Theatre of the spectacular drama "Nans˘ Satomi Hakkenden", with the Otowaya guild led by Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘ and Nakamura Tokiz˘ [more details].

The Tokiwazu musician Tokiwazu Ichihadayű died the 15th of August 2014. Born in 1930, he received the presitigious title of Living National Treasure (ningen kokuh˘ in Japanese) in 1995. His real name was Aketa Akira.

The 26th anniversary (27th memorial service) and the 2nd anniversary (3rd memorial service) of late Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVII and late Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVIII will be commemorated at the Shimbashi Embuj˘ in November 2014 in a special Shinpa program. Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke will be part of the cast, which will also include the Shinpa stars Namino Kuriko and Mizutani Yaeko. Two classics will be performed: "Tsuruhachi Tsurujir˘" and "Ky˘mai".

Koten he no Izanai, literally "Invitation to the Classics", a special program led by Ichikawa Ebiz˘, will travel abroad for the very first time. Under the title "Japan Theater", a troupe of N˘ and Kabuki actors will perform the N˘ drama "Shakky˘" and the Kabuki dance-drama "Renjishi". As it is written on top of the bill: "experience the stylised movements and showmanship of Kabuki and the refined drama of N˘ on stage together!". This "Invitation to the Classics" abroad will happen in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands Theater from the 14th to the 16th of November 2014 [more details].

Nakamura Kazutar˘ will become the 7th iemoto of the Azuma-ryű School of Buy˘. He will take the Buy˘ name of Azuma Tokuy˘ in September 2014 at the National Theatre, performing the 20th and the 21st of September in a special Buy˘ program, which will commemorate the 16th anniversary (17th memorial service) of the passing away of Azuma Tokuho I (1909~1998). Azuma Tokuya, the granddaughter of Azuma Tokuho I (also the wife of Nakamura Kanjaku and the mother of Nakamura Kazutar˘), will become the 3rd s˘ke of Azuma-ryű and will take the name of Azuma Tokuho II. The 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th iemoto were Azuma T˘z˘ I, Azuma T˘z˘ II, Azuma T˘z˘ III, Azuma Tokuho I, Nakamura Tomijűr˘ V (he was the son of Azuma Tokuho I) and Azuma Tokuya. The 1st and 2nd s˘ke were Ichimura Uzaemon XV and Azuma Tokuho I (she was the daughter of Ichimura Uzaemon XV).

Ichikawa Tsukinosuke will perform with a Shinpa troupe in January 2015 at the Mitsukoshi Gekij˘ in a special program which will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the passing away of the Shinpa actor Hanayagi Shotar˘ (1894~1965).

Onoe Matsuya, who is extremely active outside Kabuki, will perfom in September 2014 at the Shimbashi Embuj˘ in the non-Kabuki drama "Happyakumangoku ni Idomu Otoko", which will star the Enka stage giant Funaki Kazuo. Usually, popular Enka singers divide their performances into two parts: a stage drama, the a song recitals. Onoe Matsuya will perform only in the stage drama.

28 July
2014

"Igagoe D˘chű Sugoroku" will be staged as a t˘shi ky˘gen (5 acts, 6 scenes) in December 2014 at the National Theatre with Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon as zagashira [more details]. The contents will be different from the November 2013 revival: it will include the rarely-staged "Fujikawa Shinseki" and "Okazaki Yamada K˘bei Sumika" acts. "Okazaki" was staged for the last time more than 44 years ago, in September 1970 at the National Theatre. Karaki Masaemon, which used to be the most famous role of "Igagoe D˘chű Sugoroku" in the past, will be back on stage in his main act ("Okazaki")!

The Omodakaya guild will strike T˘ky˘ in full force and full regalia in October 2014 at the Shimbashi Embuj˘ [more details] and in November 2014 at the Meijiza [more details]. Led by Ichikawa Ennosuke, they will perform large scale spectacular dramas full of keren which belong to the Ennosuke Shijűhassen (the Best 48 of Ennosuke) collection of plays [more details] or classics for the Omodakaya guild or the Ichikawa clan. These performances are called Ichikawa Ennosuke Funt˘ Renzoku K˘en, literally Ichikawa Ennosuke's Continuous Struggle Performances.

The 26th anniversary (27th memorial service) and the 2nd anniversary (3rd memorial service) of late Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVII and late Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVIII will be commemorated at the Kabukiza in October 2014. These gorgeous programs will feature Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Kataoka Nizaemon and the two heir of the Nakamuraya guild, Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke [more details]. It is worth noting that Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke will play for the first times the leading roles of Mishima Yukio's drama "Iwashi Uri". It used to be a classic for the couples Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVII/Nakamura Utaemon VI and Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVIII/Band˘ Tamasabur˘. The goruden kombi Kataoka Nizaemon/Band˘ Tamasabur˘ will perform in "Ise Ondo" and "Terakoya".

The 7th edition in T˘ky˘ of a special program called "Shűzan Matsuri" (the festival of Shűzan) will be staged at the Kabukiza in September 2014. It will commemorate the great actor Nakamura Kichiemon I, whose's haimy˘ was Shűzan. The star of this program is his adopted son, the Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon II [more details].

A special dance program (Buy˘) will be staged at the National Theatre the 21st of August 2014 to commemorate the 2nd anniversary (3rd memorial service) of the passing away of Living National Treasure Nakamura Jakuemon IV. There will be two programs (one afternoon show and one evening show) which will be almost identical [more details].

As part as the Shinema Kabuki ("Cinema Kabuki") series, the two dance-dramas "Ninin Fuji Musume" and "Orochi Taiji", which were shot live in high definition in March 2014 at the Kabukiza, will be released all over Japan in January 2015 (this will be the 21st "Cinema Kabuki") [more details on the dance-dramas].

The number of visitors since the beginning in 1967 for the June and July educational Kabuki programs at the National Theatre, called Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitu ("Kabuki appreciation class"), went over the symbolic 5,500,000 threshold the 7th of July 2014. There was a ceremony on stage, led by the actors Nakamura Baigyoku and Nakamura Kaishun, to celebrate this event. The award for visitor number 5,500,000 was symbolically given to a Fujisawa high school group of students.

The National Theatre has started a campagne to promote the t˘shi ky˘gen staging of "Futatsu Ch˘ch˘ Kuruwa Nikki" in both Bunraku (September 2014) and Kabuki (October 2014). The puppet version will be staged from the 6th to the 22nd of September 2014 at the Small Hall of the National Theatre. It will be made up of "Sum˘ba", "Komeya", "Namba Ura Koroshi", "Hashimoto" and "Hikimado". The Kabuki version will not have "Hashimoto" but "Shinkiyomizu" will be part of the revival [more details].

Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘ and Onoe Ukon will perform in August 2014 at the Minamiza with the Kigeki troupe led by Fujiyama Naomi.

Onoe Matsuya performed in T˘ky˘ at the Mt. Rainier Hall Shibuya from the 11th to the 13th of July 2014 in a newly-created dance-drama which was entitled "Hanagatami". It was based on the eponymous N˘ drama. The Nagauta music master Tanaka Denjir˘ VII and the dance master Fujima Kanjűr˘ VIII took part in this project. The dance-drama was directed by Suzuki Katsuhide, who was also the writer of the script.

The 2nd edition of the Tensh˘kai, a gala for the young actor Ichikawa Enshi, a disciple of Ichikawa Ennosuke, will happen in T˘kyo at the Cerulean Tower Noh Theater the 17th of August 2014 [more details].

Special Buy˘ performances will be staged at the Nihombashi Gekij˘ (Nihombashi K˘kaid˘) from the 23rd to the 25th of August 2014. There will be two matinÚe performances (the 24th and the 25th) and three evening performances (from the 23rd to the 25th). There will be a mix of newly-created dance-dramas based on existing Kabuki dramas or regular dance-dramas like "Momijigari" or "Noriaibune". These performances are entitled Shuk˘ no Hana Final Performances and will be led by dance-masters Fujima Kanjűr˘ VIII, Onoe Kikunoj˘ III and the young Kabuki star and outstanding dancer Ichikawa Somegor˘. Many Kabuki actors will perform: Nakamura Kanjaku, Nakamura Shibajaku, ďtani Tomoemon, Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Kaishun, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Kataoka Takatar˘, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Band˘ Kametoshi, Nakamura Baishi, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Mantar˘, Nakamura Hayato, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Band˘ Shingo, ďtani Hirotar˘, ďtani Hiromatsu, Ichikawa Otora, Nakamura Tamatar˘, Matsumoto Kintar˘ and Nakamura Umemaru.

Here are some fresh and positive reviews of the Heisei Nakamuraza performances in New York City in July 2014:

30 June
2014

Waterways occupy as much as ten percent of ďsaka's city area, and have played a crucial role in its development as a strategic point in land and water transportation. One of the most picturesque among the city's numerous rivers and canals is the D˘tombori, which flows today through ďsaka's vibrant entertainment district. From the Edo period in the 17th century, rows of theaters formed along the river, and the area became the center for both Kabuki and Bunraku. It is a custom to do funa norikomi before July Grand Kabuki at the Sh˘chikuza [more details]: the stars in the July casting arrived at the theater the 29th of June 2013 in a colorful boat parade, applauded by fans and spectators on the bridges or the banks. Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Kanjaku, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘ and Kataoka Hidetar˘ boarded the boats in Hachikenya pier in Temmabashi and went up to Ebisu Bridge on the D˘tombori. It ended with the traditional ceremonial hand-clapping (koshiki tejimeshiki in Japanese; the traditional ritual of hand-clapping) in front of the Sh˘chikuza.

Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ will perform at the National Theatre the 22nd of August 2014 in the 8th edition of an NHK-sponsored program, which is called Gei no Shinzui (the Essence of Art in English) and is this time dedicated to him and his art [more details].

"Meiboku Sendai Hagi" will be staged as a t˘shi ky˘gen (4 acts, 6 scenes with the classic structure, no rarely-staged scene will be revived) in November 2014 at the National Theatre with Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, his two sons Nakamura Kanjaku and Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Baigyoku and Kataoka Takatar˘ [more details].

The programs for the first kaomise of the year, in October 2014 in Nagoya, have been published. The stars of this kaomise will be the Otowaya guild led by Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘ and Nakamura Tokiz˘ [more details].

Ichikawa Ukon fell sick and had to stop performing from the 23rd of June 2014, while on tour in the central provinces with the Omodakaya guild. He was replaced by Ichikawa Emisabur˘ to perform the role of Hideyoshi in the dance "Taik˘ Sambas˘" ... and Ichikawa Emisabur˘ was replaced by Ichikawa Emino to play the role of Yodo-no-Kata.

Some changes at the Japan Actors' Association (Nihon Haiyű Ky˘kai in Japanese): Nakamura Kanjaku and Nakamura Matagor˘ were promoted as directors. Ichikawa Danshir˘ stopped being director but is still a member of the association. The top management is still the same: Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ is the chairman, Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘ the president, Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon the executive director, Nakamura Baigyoku the finance director and Kataoka Nizaemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘ and Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ are the 3 permanent directors. Others directors, along with the promoted Nakamura Kanjaku and Nakamura Matagor˘, are Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Kaishun and Mizutani Yaeko.

The 1st edition of a gala program called Yago no Kai for Band˘ Yajűr˘ and his son Band˘ Shingo (Ya comes from Yajűr˘ and Go from Shingo) will happen the 8th and the 9th of September 2014 in T˘ky˘ at the Nihombashi K˘kaid˘ [more details].

Kataoka Ainosuke will perform in August 2014 at the Shibuya Bunkamura Theatre Cocoon in T˘ky˘ in the drama "Homura Tatsu" ("Rising Blaze" in English), which is the theater adaptation of a 1993-1994 NHK TV drama. The troupe will go on tour in September 2014, performing at the Kariya Cultural Center (3rd~4th Sep), at the Hiroshima Ueno Gakuen Hall (6th~7th Sep), at the Hy˘go Performing Arts Center (10th~15th Sep) and at the Iwate Prefectural Hall (20th~21st Sep).

Band˘ Yajűr˘ will perform with the Sh˘chiku Shinkigeki troupe in July 2014 at the Shimbashi Embuj˘. He will perform in a special program which will celebrate the 65th anniversary of the foundation of the Sh˘chiku Shinkigeki troupe.

If you are in T˘ky˘ this summer, you'll have the opportunity to enjoy Kabuki at the T˘geki movie theater. Several Kabuki dramas or dance-dramas, which were part of the Shinema Kabuki ("Cinema Kabuki") series, will be screened there. "Kanjinch˘" will be screened everyday at 11:00. "Migawari Zazen" will be screened everyday at 12:45. "Funa Benkei" will be screened everyday at 14:10. The fourth Kabuki movie, which will be screened at 15:40, will be:

From the 12th to the 18th of July 2014 "Sumidagawa"
From the 19th to the 25th of July 2014 "Jusshuk˘"
From the 26th of July to the 1st of August 2014 "Kamiyui Shinza"
From the 2nd to the 8th of August 2014 "Ninin Wankyű" / "Toshima"
30 May
2014

The Omodakaya guild will perform for the first time at the new Kabukiza in July 2014 [more details]. They will perform along with Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and Ichikawa Ebiz˘ ... but without the head of the Omodakaya guild Ichikawa Ennosuke.

Kataoka Nizaemon, who was back on stage in June 2014 after several months of absence, will be the star the Grand Kabuki performances in July 2014 at the Sh˘chikuza. He will perform the roles of Matsu˘maru and Uky˘ in the drama "Terakoya" and the dance-drama "Migawari Zazen" [more details].

Ichikawa Ebiz˘ will stage in September 2014 at the Minamiza the world of the warrior Taira no Kagekiyo in "Kotohoide Mimasu Kagekiyo". This newly-created aragoto drama was staged for the first time in January 2014 at the Shimbashi Embuj˘ and it mixes 4 dramas belonging to the Ichikawa clan (Kabuki Jűhachiban): "Kan'u", "Kamahige", "Kagekiyo" and "Gedatsu" [more details].

Ichikawa Ennosuke IV and Ichikawa Chűsha IX will celebrate their shűmei in the western provinces in September 2014 [more details].

4th edition in July 2014 in the city of Matsumoto 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 year since July 2008. It will be the same program as the 14th edition of the Cocoon Kabuki in T˘ky˘ [more details].

Ichikawa Ennosuke and Ichikawa Emiya, who will not perform at the Kabukiza with the Omodakaya troupe, will do in July 2014 a 6-city Buy˘ tour [more details].

There was an important funa norikomi on the Hakata River in Fukuoka the 29th of May, before June Grand Kabuki at the Hakataza [more details]. Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kanjaku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura T˘z˘, Kataoka Ainosuke, Ichikawa Somegor˘ and others started with a ceremony at Canal City Hakata, boarded their colorful boats at Seiryű Park, did a k˘j˘ at Kawabata Zenzai square, disembarked at Hakata Riverain, visited the Kagami Tenmangű Shrine and ended with a ceremony at Festa square. They were applauded by fans and spectators on the bridges or the banks of the Hakata river [more details].

To commemorate the second anniversary of the opening the 22nd of May 2012 of T˘ky˘ Sky Tree, Nakamura Shichinosuke and Onoe Matsuya performed the 24th of May 2014 the dance-drama piece "Dango Uri" on an outdoor stage in the Sky Arena at the towerĺs base [more details].

The 5th of June 2014, the 8th edition of the Ningen Kokuh˘ no Kai, a special gala with many Living National Treasures (all of them being masters of schools of traditional music) will be staged in T˘ky˘ at the Mitsukoshi Gekij˘. One actor will take part in this event: Ichikawa Shun'en [more details in Japanese].

The 2nd edition of ABKAI - Ebikai, the gala of the young star Ichikawa Ebiz˘, will happen in T˘ky˘ at the Shimbashi Embuj˘ from the 5th to the 10th of August 2014. The first item in this program will be a newly-created dance entitled "SOU". The second item will be the "Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata" act of the classic "Yoshitsune Sembon Zakura". Ichikawa Ebiz˘ will perform a chűnori at the end of this play [more details].

A gala program called Idomu (Challenge) for the young actor Onoe Matsuya will happen in T˘ky˘ at the Nihombashi K˘kaid˘ from the 13th to the 15th of August 2014. There will be a k˘j˘ and the staging of both the drama "Hikimado" and the dance "Omatsuri".

The usual summer program "August Cool-Breeze Kabuki" will be staged in August 2014 at the Kabukiza. 3 highlights: the revival of Tanizaki Jun'ichir˘'s drama "Ky˘fu Jidai", which was staged for the last time in June 1976 at the Shimbashi Embuj˘; The revival of "Terutora Haizen" with Nakamura Hashinosuke in the role of Nagao Terutora; the production of "Kaidan Chibusa no Enoki", with the same casting as the July 2014 production in New York City, which is subtitled H˘bei Kabuki Gaisen Kinen, the Commemoration of the Triumphal Return of the Kabuki (troupe) which Visited to America [more details].

Kataoka Ainosuke was given the 15th of May the Cotton USA Awards 2014. It is given by the Washington DC-based Cotton Council International to Japanese celebrities who represent "style, beauty and natural comfort", in order to promote the cotton industry in Japan.

30 April
2014

Important: Nakamura Kanjaku V will take the name of Nakamura Ganjir˘ IV in January 2015 and February 2015 in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza. This is one of the most prestigious names for Kamigata Kabuki, and there is no name-holder since December 2005. This shűmei will also be celebrated in T˘ky˘ at the Kabukiza in April 2015, in Fukuoka at the Hakataza in June 2015 and in Ky˘to at the Minamiza in December 2015.

A special TV program about Kabuki available online for free! It is named Kabuki Kool and is produced by NHK World TV. The hosts are Ichikawa Somegor˘ and Haruka Christine. The next episode, "the beauty of onnagata", is scheduled the 21st of May 2014 (15:30 and 21:30 UTC) and the 22nd of May 2014 (3:30 and 9:30 UTC). You can watch NHK World TV Live Streaming on any kind of device [more details].

Kataoka Nizaemon will be back on stage in June 2014 at the Kabukiza! He will perform in the dance "Omatsuri" [more details].

The son of Onoe Sh˘roku will receive the name of Onoe Sakon III and make his debut on stage (hatsubutai) in June 2014 at the Kabukiza. He will play the role of Rampei's son Shigez˘ in the spectacular drama "Rampei Monogurui" and the role of Shigez˘'s father Rampei will be played by ... his real father [more details].

Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ will perform in Ky˘to in June 2014 at the Minamiza. Not in Kabuki but in Kumi Odori from the 5th to the 12th of June and in Jiutamai from the 15th to the 21st of June [more details].

"Futatsu Ch˘ch˘ Kuruwa Nikki" will be staged in a t˘shi ky˘gen production (4 acts; 5 scenes) in October 2014 at the National Theatre. The rarely-staged "Shinkiyomizu" will be the opening act. Others scenes are the same ones as the January 2003 production in the same theater: "Sum˘ba", "Komeya", "Namba Ura Koroshi" and "Hikimado". Unfortunately "Izutsuya" or "Hashimoto" are not part of this program. The stars will be Matsumoto K˘shir˘ and his son Ichikawa Somegor˘ [more details].

The Japan Times published the 30th of April an interesting interview of Ichikawa Somegor˘ about his coming performances in May 2014 at the Meijiza [interview].

Two actors of the Mikawaya and Takashimaya guilds, Ichikawa Shigenosuke and Ichikawa Sajir˘, will celebrate their success at the nadai exam in May 2014 at the Kabukiza. Ichikawa Shigenosuke and Ichikawa Sajir˘, who passed the nadai exam in September 2012, will respectively take the names of Ichikawa Aragor˘ V and Ichikawa Tsutanosuke III.

Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ has received the Purple Ribbon Medal (Shiju H˘sh˘ in Japanese), one of the six Japanese medals of honor awarded by the Japanese Government to deserving citizens.

The first anniversary of the opening of the new Kabukiza was celebrated on the stage of this prestigious theater the 28th of April 2014. 170 actors took part in this important event. The event started with 12 actors breaking open barrels of amazake (sake-like sweet fermented rice drink) at Kobikich˘ Square at the basement of the theater to express appreciation to Kabuki enthusiasts. They offered square wooden cups (masu) to people around. It was followed with a special dancing program by young actors and a video about the kokera otoshi performances [more details].

Six albums containing never-seen-before photos of the Sh˘wa star Nakamura Utaemon VI were discovered at the end of 2013 by his adopted son Nakamura Baigyoku. They were donated to Waseda Universityĺs Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum and some of them were on display at the museum as a part of its exhibition dedicated to Nakamura Utaemon VI, which was held from the 25th of March to the 25th of April 2014 [more details].

Band˘ Shinsha is no more a Kabuki actor. He appeared on a Kabuki stage for the last time in January 2014 in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza. There is a rumour about a severing of relationship between Band˘ Shinsha and his master Band˘ Takesabur˘. Of course, there was no communication done by the Sh˘chiku Company. The Kabuki world does not wash its dirty linen in public. This young actor performs nowadays outside Kabuki, using the stage name Akimoto Michiyuki. We do wish him a successful career.

A new website for Ichikawa Ebiz˘! ichikawaebizo.com opened in March 2014. It has an online shop and all the social networks tools are gathered. You can even install an Iphone App about the heir of the Naritaya guild. Heavy marketing and communication campaigning for an actor who does his best to be a youth icon in nowadays Japan.

Ichikawa Tsukinosuke and Ichikawa Shun'en will perform in Shinpa in August 2014 (from the 7th to the 28th) at the Mitsukoshi Gekij˘. Ichikawa Tsukinosuke will perform in "Hotaru" and "Korikori Banashi". Ichikawa Shun'en will perform only in the latter drama.

31 March
2014

A special program at the Minamiza in Ky˘to to explain stage mechanisms, from the tachimawari to the hanamichi: in this program, you can experience some of the unique stagecraft tricks used in Japanese Kabuki theatre. Tours are organized eight times a day from the 24th to the 29th of April 2014 and last about 30 minutes. The number of people for each tour is limited. Tour will be conducted in Japanese [more details].

A special exhibition dedicated to the Sh˘wa onnagata star Nakamura Utaemon VI started the 25th of March 2014 at the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, located within the Waseda University. It will end the 25th of April 2014. If you are in T˘ky˘ this spring, do not hesitate to visit this beautiful museum!

Two new joiners in the the first league of Kabuki actors ("kambu sh˘shin"): Band˘ Kitsutar˘, a disciple of late Ichimura Uzaemon XVII, will take the name of Ichimura Kitsutar˘ in May 2014 at the Kabukiza. Late Nakamura Utaemon VI's faithful disciple Nakamura Kamenoj˘ III will celebrate his promotion in April 2014 at the Kabukiza.

Ichikawa Ennosuke IV and Ichikawa Chűsha IX will celebrate their shűmei in the central provinces in June 2014 [more details].

Nakamura Matagor˘ III and his son Nakamura Kash˘ IV will celebrate their shűmei in the western provinces in July 2014 [more details].

Nakamura Umemaru and Nakamura Ky˘z˘ will play in a modern version of Izumi Ky˘ka's "Tenshu Monogatari", which will be staged in ďsaka at the Festival Hall the 23rd of April 2014 and in T˘ky˘ at the Orchard Hall the 26th and 27th of April 2014.

Nakamura Shid˘ will perform in Tsuji Hitonari's modern drama "Kaiky˘ no Hikari" (based on his eponymous novel which was published in 1997) from the 11th to the 29th of April 2014 at the ďtemachi Hall. The original music was created (and will be performed) by Luna Sea's extremely talented guitarist Sugizo.

Nakamura Kikaku will perform in Nishida Daisuke's modern drama "Mahoroba Kanata" from the 3rd to the 13th of April 2014 in T˘ky˘ at the Galaxy Theatre [more details in Japanese].

A special exhibition about Kabuki tours outside Japan, which is entitled "Kabuki ha Tabi Suru Taishikan" (in English: "Kabuki, the Travelling Embassy") will be held at the Kabukiza Gallery. Located on the fifth floor of the Kabukiza Tower building, the gallery consists of an exhibition room and a small hall. It will be divided into two parts: the first part from from the 2nd of April 2014 to the 24th of August 2014 and the second part from the 4th of September 2014 to the 25th of January 2015.

28 February
2014

The Hakataza, the main theater in Fukuoka, will celebrate the 15th anniversary of its opening in June 2014. 2 Kabuki programs will be staged and the troupe will be led by Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ [more details].

The Dankikusai May Grand Kabuki performances will be back at the Kabukiza after 5 years of absence (it was staged for the last time in May 2008). Due to the closing/opening ceremonies at the Kabukiza, the non-availability of this theater or the passing away of late Ichikawa Danjűr˘, it was either staged in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza (in May 2010 and May 2011) or not produced at all. It will be staged in May 2014 at the Kabukiza to celebrate the first anniversary of the passing away of Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XII [more details].

Ichikawa Somegor˘ will perform for the very first time the prestigious ten roles of "Date no Jűyaku", in May 2014 at the Meijiza [more details]. These roles were the privilege of the star Ichikawa Ennosuke, who revived them for the first time in April 1979 and performed them in 9 productions from 1979 to 1999. In the 2010s, it was staged 3 times with Ichikawa Ebiz˘ in the 10 roles, in January 2010 and August 2012 at the Shimbashi Embuj˘, and in May 2013 at the Minamiza.

Band˘ Mitsugor˘ received the 27th of February 2014 the Best Actor Award from the 21st Yomiuri Engeki Taish˘ (the Yomiuri Theatre Awards), sponsored by the famous paper Yomiuri Shimbun.

Onoe Sh˘roku and Nakamura Kosanza are the prize-winners of the "Outstanding Performance Award" and the "Achievement Award" of the 35th Matsuo Artistic Prizes (Matsuo Gein˘ Sh˘). He will receive his prize the 29th of March 2012 at the ANA Intercontinental Hotel in T˘ky˘.

Ichikawa En'˘ II did a daily chronicle for one month (all days of February 2014) in the culture page of the morning edition of the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, a leading economic newspaper in Japan. This serialized column was entitled "My CV" (watashi no rirekisho in Japanese).

The 37th Haiyűsai (literally Actors Festival) will happen at the Kabukiza the 27th of March 2014 with most of the Kabuki actors [online flyer]. This special gala is sponsored by the Japan Actors Association (led by Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘). There will be one matinÚe and one evening programs. The contents is as usual quite original with a mix of classic dance, newly-created or newly-revised dramas and ... the most appreciated item in the program: all the refreshment stands which are managed by the actors. If you are lucky, your coffee will be made and given to you by one of the top Kabuki stars. Actors Festival is more a parody of Kabuki full of funny surprises (in the style of the Umezawa Brothers shows?) than a set of real Kabuki performances. Some people might even think that it looks like an art university graduation show. By the way, it will be the first Actors Festival in the new Kabukiza. Here are some details:

  • "Rokkasen Sugata no Irodori" will be staged to open the 37th Actors Festival. It is a humorous series of five dances, which show the ancient poetic geniuses famous from classical Japanese literature, reinterpreted to the tastes of Edo period audiences. Ono no Komachi, the only woman of the six, was famous as a great beauty and in this dance, all the other poets are in love with her. In "Henj˘", Onoe Sh˘roku and Nakamura Shibajaku play the roles of S˘j˘ Henj˘ and Komachi. In "Bun'ya", Nakamura Kankur˘ plays the role of Bun'ya no Yasuhide. In "Narihira", Onoe Kikunosuke and Nakamura Shichinosuke play the roles of Ariwara no Narihira and Komachi. In "Kisen", Ichikawa Somegor˘ and Nakamura Tokiz˘ play the roles of the priest Kisen and Okaji. In "Kuronushi", Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and Band˘ Tamasabur˘ play the roles of ďtomo no Kuronushi and Komachi.
  • The second item of this 37th Actors Festival is the dance "Nank˘". A 1902 Nagauta-based dance-drama focusing on the 14th century warrior Kusunoki Masashige.
  • The refreshment stands festival!
  • A revision of "Suzu-ga-Mori" (entitled "Suzu-ga-Mori Nishiki no Kumokago") with the two main roles, Shirai Gompachi and Banzui Ch˘bei, played by Ichikawa Somegor˘'s son Matsumoto Kintar˘ and Onoe Sh˘roku's son Fujima Taiga. The kumosuke and kagokaki will be played by major actors and ... two actesses: Namino Kuriko and Mizutani Yaeko.
  • Nakamura Hayato, who performed in February 2014 at the Hakataza, did a special public relations campaign for the National Tax Agency the 14th of February 2014 in Fukuoka. Some taxpayers must fill their final tax return for the previous year between the 16th of February and the 15th of March in order to pay their income tax. Why not a little reminder with a Kabuki actor ? [more in Japanese].

    A special program starring Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and mixing Kabuki, N˘ and Opera will be staged in April 2014 at the Minamiza. The young heir of the Naritaya guild will perform in a special version of "Genji Monogatari", along with the major N˘ actors like Katayama Kur˘emon X, Umewaka Kish˘ II and Kanze Yoshimasa and the Opera Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo. Kataoka Takatar˘ will be a special guest [more details].

    31 January
    2014

    The Harimaya veteran Nakamura Kichinoj˘ II passed away the 26th of January 2014 (lung abscess).

    Band˘ Mitsugor˘ will be back on stage in April 2014 at the Kabukiza, where he will perform in the dance-drama "Kotobuki Utsubo Zaru".

    The 14th edition of the original Cocoon Kabuki will happen in June 2014 at the Theatre Cocoon. These performances recreate the atmosphere of the Edo koshibai and brings the actors closer to the audience. the drama "Sannin Kichisa" will be staged under the supervision and direction of Kazuyoshi Kushida. The stars of this new edition will be the heirs of late Nakamura Kanzabur˘, the founder of Cocoon Kabuki, Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke. The third Kichisa will be played by the young and popular actor Onoe Matsuya, who will take part in Cocoon Kabuki for the first time.

    Nakamura Tokiz˘ will play for the first time in his career the role of Otomi in Kawatake Mokuami's drama "Musume Gonomi Ukina no Yokogushi", in March 2014 at the National Theatre [more details]. This kizewamono drama is commonly called "Kirare Otomi" ("Scarface Otomi") is a kakikae ky˘gen based on "Kirare Yosa" ("Scarface Yosa").

    Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ will do his isse ichidai performance for the role of the courtesan Ohatsu in the drama "Sonezaki Shinjű", which will be staged in April 2014 at the Kabukiza; the role of Ohatsu's lover Tokubei will be played by his son Nakamura Kanjaku.

    Ichikawa Sadanji's disciple Ichikawa Satojir˘ celebrated his success in 2007 at the nadai exam in January 2014 at the Shimbashi Embuj˘, where he received the name of Ichikawa Sash˘ IV.

    The April 2013, May 2013 and June 2013 Kokera Otoshi (opening ceremony) Performances at the Kabukiza have been released in DVD and Blu-Ray. The DVD package (18 discs; 75,000 JPY) was released in Japan the 18th of December 2013 [more details in Japanese]. The Blu-Ray package (10 discs; 88,000 JPY) was released in Japan the 29th of January 2014 [more details in Japanese]. The famous English commentaries are included!

    The Zenshinza tateonnagata Kawarazaki Kunitar˘ will perform the 7 roles of Tsuruya Namboku IV's masterpiece "Osome no Nanayaku" in May 2014 at the National Theatre [more details].

    The two months (four programs) of March 2014 and April 2014 at the Kabukiza, which should have been dedicated to the shűmei of Nakamura Utaemon VII and Nakamura Fukusuke X, will be replaced by special programs called H˘˘sai, which means Phoenix Festival. The Phoenix Bird is the symbol of the Kabukiza as it is the official mon of this prestigious theater.

  • In March 2014, there will be 4 Living National Treasures on stage! 3 of them will perform the 3 major roles of the classic "Kanjinch˘" [more details].
  • In April 2014, Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ will do his isse ichidai performance for the role of the courtesan Ohatsu in the drama "Sonezaki Shinjű" and Band˘ Mitsugor˘ will be back on stage [more details]!
  • Ichimura Manjir˘, Nakamura Shid˘ and Band˘ Minosuke will perform in February 2014 at the Shimbashi Embuj˘ in Makino Nozomi's comedy "Haha o Tazunete Hizakurige", along with famous actors or actresses like Okuda Eiji, Fujiyama Naomi or Mizutani Yaeko. This drama will be staged with the same casting in June 2014 at the Sh˘chikuza.

    Kataoka Kamez˘ will play in Kazuyoshi Kushida's 1977 musical masterpiece "Motto Naite-yo Furappa" ("Cry Some More for Me, Flapper" in English), along with Matsu Takako, Matsuo Suzuki, Akiyama Natsuko, Ry˘, Daid˘ Shunsuke, Suzuki Ranran, ďta Midori Laurens, ďmori Hiroshi, Manako Keiji, Konishi Yasuhisa, Sak˘ Yoshi, Uchida Shinichir˘, Kataoka Sh˘jir˘, Kushida Kazuyoshi and Ishimaru Kanji. This musical drama will be revived in T˘ky˘ at the Theatre Cocoon from the 8th of February 2014 to the 2nd of March 2014. It will also be staged in March 2014 in Matsumoto at the Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre and in ďsaka at the Theater Brava.

    Kataoka Ainosuke will perform in Mitani K˘ki's drama "Sake to Namida to Jikiru to Haido" ("Alcohol, Tears, Jekyll and Hide" in English), which will be staged at the T˘ky˘ Metropolitan Theatre (10~30 April 2014) and at the Galaxy Theatre (4~18 May 2014).

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