NEWS FROM THE KABUKI WORLD
24 April
2017

The two programs for the June Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza in June 2017 have been published [more details]. The highlights will be:

  • "Meigetsu Hachiman Matsuri" with Onoe Sh˘roku, Ichikawa Ennosuke, Ichikawa Emiya and Band˘ Kamez˘.
  • "Benkei J˘shi" with Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon and Nakamura Jakuemon in the roles of Musashib˘ Benkei and Owasa.
  • The classic "Kamakura Sandaiki" with Matsumoto K˘shir˘ and Nakamura Jakuemon in the roles of Sasaki Takatsuna and Princess Toki.
  • "Gosho no Goroz˘" with Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Ichikawa Sadanji and Nakamura Jakuemon.
  • "Ippon Gatana Dohy˘ Iri" with Matsumoto K˘shir˘ and Ichikawa Ennosuke.
  • The two programs for the July Grand Kabuki in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza in July 2017 have been published [more details]. The troupe will be led by Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon and the highlights will be:

  • "Natsu Matsuri Naniwa Kagami" with Ichikawa Somegor˘, Onoe Matsuya and Nakamura Ganjir˘ in the roles of Danshichi Kurobŕ, Issun Tokubŕ and Tsuribune Sabu.
  • Tsuruya Nanboku IV's masterpiece "Kamikakete Sango Taisetsu" with Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Ichikawa Somegor˘ and Nakamura Tokiz˘ in the roles of Satsuma Gengobŕ, Sasanoya Sangor˘ and Koman.
  • Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ will perform along with the Kod˘ taiko drummers in a newly-created dance-drama entitled "Yűgen", which will feature an array of classical Japanese images from plays by founder Zeami Motokiyo, incorporating themes from iconic works such as "Hagoromo" (The Feather Robe), "D˘j˘ji" (D˘j˘ji Temple) and "Shakky˘" (The Stone Bridge). Band˘ Tamasabur˘ will share the stage with the dance master Hanayagi Jusuke IV and his disciples. They will perform from the 16th to the 20th of May in T˘ky˘ at the Orchard Hall [more details], from the 26th to the 28th of May 2017 in Niigata at the Niigata Kenmin Kaikan (Niigata Prefectural Civic Center) [more details] and from the 31st of May to the 2nd of June 2017 in Nagoya at the Aichi Arts Center [more details]. They will also perform in September 2017 in Fukuoka at the Hakataza.

    Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ will perform in a special Buy˘ program from the 24th to the 25th of June 2017 in Ky˘tango at the Tango Bunka Kaikan (Tango Culture Center) [more details].

    The program for the July 2017 educational Kabuki program at the National Theatre, called Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitu ("Kabuki appreciation class") has been published. "Ichij˘ ďkura Monogatari" will be staged with Onoe Kikunosuke in the prestigious role of Ichij˘ ďkura Naganari [more details].

    Several actors led by Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon went to the Konpira Shrine the 7th of April 2017 to pray for the success of April 2017 performances at the Kanamaruza, where Nakamura Jakuemon was about to celebrate his shűmei from the 8th of April. Afterwards, The 7 stars were paraded in the streets of Kotohira in rickshaws [pictures and more details in Japanese|more details about the performances].

    Nakamura Shikan and his three sons, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Fukunosuke and Nakamura Utanosuke went to the Dazaifu Tenmangű Shrine the 15th of April 2017 to pray for the success of the coming performances celebrating their shűmei in June 2017 at the Hakataza. The Shint˘ god of scholarship Tenjin was enshrined in the Dazaifu Tenmangű Shrine. Tenjin was Sugawara no Michizane (845~903), a high-ranking imperial court minister, a brilliant calligrapher and scholar, who also became a key character in the Kabuki drama "Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami". One act from this drama, the spectacular "Kurumabiki", will be staged at the Hakataza. The actors were paraded on the way to the shrine in rickshaws [pictures and more details in Japanese|more details about the performances].

    The fourth edition of the ABKAI (Ebikai in Japanese), a gala for the young star Ichikawa Ebiz˘ will happen from the 9th to the 25th of June 2017 at the Shibuya Bunkamura Theatre Cocoon in T˘ky˘ [more details]. The newly-created drama "Ishikawa Goemon Gaiden", "Goemon Ishikawa: A Side Story", will be staged. It was written by the manga storywriter, novelist and screenwriter Kibayashi Shin, based on a book of Matsuoka Ry˘ and it will be directed by the dance master Fujima Kanjűr˘ VIII. Three non-Kabuki actors, Nakayama Yűma, Maeno Tomoya and Yamada Jundai, will perform alongside Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and his disciples of the Ichikawa clan.

    Due to health related issues, Nakamura Kichinoj˘ and Matsumoto K˘jaku could not perform in April 2017 at the Kabukiza. The former was replaced by Nakamura Ky˘tae to play the role of the nakai Senno in "Ise Ondo Koi no Netaba". The latter was replaced by Matsumoto Kin'ichi to play the role of Aidamaya Jirosuke in the same drama.

    Nakamura Jakuemon was the big chief of the Kotohira Police Station in Kotohira for 1 day the 10th of April 2017 [pictures and more details in Japanese].

    Pictures for the opening days for the April 2017 Grand Kabuki programs at the Kabukiza, Akasaka Act Theater and Kanamaruza:

    One new poster celebrating the coming 3-generation shűmei of Band˘ Rakuzen, Band˘ Hikosabur˘ IX and Band˘ Kamez˘ III and the hatsubutai of Band˘ Kamesabur˘ VI in May 2017 at the Kabukiza has been printed out and will be sold in the theater:

    31 March
    2017

    Obituary: the Otowaya supporting actor Onoe Juk˘ (1939~2017) passed away the 15th of March 2017. His real name was Kida Yasuo.

    The Heisei Nakamuraza will be in Nagoya from the 1st to the 26th of June 2017. The temporary koshibai look-alike theater will be built in the precincts of the Nagoya Castle [more details].

    The programs for the Grand Kabuki Tours in the eastern and central provinces in July 2017 have been published!

  • Nakamura Shikan VIII and two of his three sons, Nakamura Hashinosuke IV and Nakamura Fukunosuke III, will celebrate their shűmei in different eastern cities [more details].
  • Nakamura Jakuemon V will celebrate his shűmei in different central cities [more details].
  • Nakamura Shikan VIII and his three sons will celebrate their shűmei in June 2017 in Fukuoka at the Hakataza. The new Shikan will play the roles of K˘chiyama S˘shun and the father shishi in the drama "K˘chiyama" and the dance "Seizoroi Kotobuki Renjishi". His three sons will play the roles of the three shishi cubs in "Renjishi" [more details].

    The Kabuki TV program Kabuki Kool, which is produced by NHK World TV, will have a 4th season in 10 episodes. the focus of this new season will be the star dramatists of Kabuki history. It will host Nakamura Kazutar˘ and the first episode of the new season will be broadcasted the 5th and the 26th of April 2017, four times each day at 04:30 08:30 16:30 and 22:30 (UTC) [more details].

    An important photograph shooting session for Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘ and Matsumoto Kintar˘ was held, ahead of the coming 3-generation K˘raiya shűmei (K˘raiya Sandai Shűmei) of Matsumoto Haku˘ II, Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X and Ichikawa Somegor˘ VIII in January and February 2018 at the Kabukiza [pictures and more details in Japanese]. The three actors were photographed at the end of March 2017 by the famous Japanese photographer Shinoyama Kishin, who is famous for his pictures of nude/undressed girls, not traditionally-dressed Kabuki actors. The mon of Ichikawa Somegor˘ VIII will be mitsu ich˘ (three ginko trees). Matsumoto Haku˘ II and Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X will use fusench˘ (raised stripe butterfly). None of them will use the old traditional mon of the K˘raiya guild: yotsu hanabishi (4 diamond-shaped flowers) [K˘shir˘'s crest].

    As reported before, there will be in May 2017 at the Kabukiza the important 3-generation shűmei of Band˘ Rakuzen, Band˘ Hikosabur˘ IX and Band˘ Kamez˘ III, the hatsubutai of Band˘ Kamesabur˘ VI, the omemie of Terajima Mahoro and the commemoration of the 22nd and 16th anniversaries (23rd and 17th memorial services) of the passing away of Onoe Baik˘ VII and Ichimura Uzaemon XVII. There will be no k˘j˘ performed as in independent entry in one of the two programs. The k˘j˘ will instead be included in the staging of "Soga no Taimen" (evening program) [more details].

    Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ will perform in a special Buy˘ program from the 7th to the 9th of April 2017 in Shimonoseki at the newly-renovated Shimonoseki Shimin Kaikan (Shimonoseki Civic Center) [more details].

    Kabuki on Ice! For the very first time in Kabuki history, a special performance will mix ice skating and Kabuki (hy˘en in Japanese). It will happened from the 20th to the 22nd of May 2017, 2 performances a day, at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium. A newly-created dance-skate-drama entitled "Basara" will be staged. Famous Kabuki heroes or villains will appear and a battle between good and evil will break out on ice. It will star famous ice-skaters like Takahashi Daisuke, Arakawa Shizuka, Suzuki Akiko, Oda Nobunari and Asada Mai. It will also star the following Kabuki actors : Ichikawa Somegor˘, Ichikawa Emiya, Nakamura Kikaku, Sawamura S˘nosuke and ďtani Hirotar˘.

    As part of the 55th ďsaka International Festival, a special dance program entitled "Hanabutai Naniwa no Nigiwai" will be staged the 28th of April 2017 at the Festival Hall. The first item in the program will a dance performed by geisha and maiko from the famous district of Miyagawa-ch˘. The second item will be the Kamigata dance "Mitsumen Wankyű", performed by the furitsuke Yamamura Tomogor˘ III. The third item will be a dance performed by actresses who used to be famous members of the Takarazuka Revue. The fourth and last item will be the Kabuki dance "Renjishi", which will star Kataoka Ainosuke (the father shishi), Nakamura Kazutar˘ (the mother shishi) and Nakamura Tanenosuke (the child shishi) in a special version of the Umemoto school of Buy˘. The rakugo storyteller Katsura Yonedanji V will be a guest in charge of all the talking.

    ďtani Ryűsei, the son of ďtani Keiz˘, will make his hatsubutai in April 2017 at the Kabukiza. He will perform in the dance "Yakko D˘j˘ji".

    The Nakamuraya brothers, Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke, who will perform in April 2017 at the Akasaka Act Theater, went to the Hikawa Shrine in Akasaka the 14th of March 2017 to pray for the success of their coming performances [pictures and more details in Japanese].

    The 16th of March 2017, Ichikawa Somegor˘ performed in the dance "Shakky˘" in front of "Edo Fuji", a 6m high and 23m long vegetal green monument created by the famous horticultural director and worldwide plant hunter Nishihata Seijun to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the opening of T˘ky˘ Midtown, a mixed-use posh development zone in Akasaka (T˘ky˘). This zone with very expensive offices, residential buildings, hotels and leisure spaces was completed in March 2007 [pictures and more details in Japanese].

    Pictures for the opening days for the March 2017 Grand Kabuki programs at the National Theatre and the Kabukiza:

    A rakugo storyteller will perform at the Kabukiza Gallery (5th floor of the Kabukiza building) the 20th of January 2017. It will be the 4th edition of an event called Kabuki Shibai Banashi. Shibai Banashi are "performances by rakugo artists in which they employ kabuki-type speech and movements, often with musical accompaniment and against a scenic background" (Samuel Leiter in "New Kabuki Encyclopedia"). The performer will be Tatekawa Dansh˘ VI and he will tell the rakugo "Shibahama".

    28 February
    2017

    There will be Kabuki performances in the People's Republic of China in Beijing in March 2017! The troupe led by Nakamura Shikan and Nakamura Ganjir˘ will perform from the 18th to the 20th of March 2017 at the Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center in the heart of the Tianqiao District [more details].

    The two programs for the April Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza in April 2017 have been published [more details]. The highlights will be:

  • A t˘shi ky˘gen production of "Ise Ondo Koi no Netaba" in two acts (five scenes) with Ichikawa Somegor˘ and Ichikawa Ennosuke in the roles of Fukuoka Mitsugi and Manno.
  • The jidaimono "Kumagai Jin'ya" with Matsumoto K˘shir˘ in the role of Kumagai Jir˘ Naozane.
  • The all-time favourite "Domo Mata" with Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon and Onoe Kikunosuke in the roles of Matahei and Otoku.
  • The rarely-staged (in T˘ky˘) Kamigata drama "Obiya", the love story of the young girl Ohan for her middle-aged neighbour Ch˘emon, with Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ in the role of Ch˘emon and his grandson Nakamura Kazutar˘ in the role of Ohan.
  • The two programs for the Dankikusai May Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza in May 2017 have been published [more details]. As reported before, there will be the important 3-generation shűmei of Band˘ Rakuzen, Band˘ Hikosabur˘ IX and Band˘ Kamez˘ III and the hatsubutai of Band˘ Kamesabur˘ VI. Terajima Mahoro, the grandson of Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘ and son of the actress Terajima Shinobu will make his first stage appearance (omemie). Moreover, the 22nd and 16th anniversaries (23rd and 17th memorial services) of the passing away of Onoe Baik˘ VII and Ichimura Uzaemon XVII will be commemorated. The highlights will be:

  • The jidaimono "Ishikiri Kajiwara" with the new Band˘ Hikosabur˘ in the role of Kajiwara Heiz˘ Kagetoki.
  • "Sakanaya S˘gor˘", a classic sewamono for the Otowaya guild, with Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘ in the role of S˘gor˘ and his grandson in the role of a decchi.
  • The sogamono drama "Soga no Taimen", one of the oldest and most classical of all Kabuki play, with Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Band˘ Hikosabur˘ and Nakamura Tokiz˘ in the roles of Kud˘ Saemon Suketsune, Soga Gor˘ Tokimune and Soga Jűr˘ Sukenari.
  • "Meiboku Sendai Hagi" with Onoe Kikunosuke, Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and Onoe Sh˘roku in the roles of Masaoka, Nikki Danj˘ and Arajishi Otokonosuke.
  • The two programs for the May Young Actors Kabuki at the Sh˘chikuza in May 2017 have been published [more details]. The highlights will be:

  • The production of Tsuruya Nanboku IV's "Kin no Zai Sarushima Dairi", a spectacular classic for the Omodakaya guild.
  • The production of "Kaidan Chibusa no Enoki", a classic kaidanmono for the Nakamuraya guild.
  • Ichikawa Ebiz˘ will be on tour all over Japan in April 2017. This tour will be entitled Koten he no Izanai, literally "Invitation to the Classics" [more details].

    The program for the June 2017 educational Kabuki program at the National Theatre, called Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitu ("Kabuki appreciation class") has been published. "Kenuki" will be staged with Nakamura Kinnosuke and Kataoka Takatar˘ [more details].

    Nakamura Takanosuke, Nakamura Tamatar˘ and Nakamura Umemaru will perform, along with the dance masters Fujima Kanjűr˘ VIII and Onoe Kikunoj˘ III, at the Kanagawa Arts Theatre from the 23rd to the 26th of March 2017 in a dance program which is entitled "SUGATA". The program is made up of a newly-created dance-drama which is entitled "Zoku Shinsetsu Saiyűki", a sequel to 2016 ""Shinsetsu Saiyűki".

    Nakamura Kinnosuke is one the award-winners of the 38th Matsuo Artistic Awards (Matsuo Gein˘ Sh˘). He will receive at the end of March 2017 the "Outstanding Performance Award" (Yűshű Sh˘ in Japanese).

    The 38th Haiyűsai (literally Actors Festival) will happen at the Kabukiza the 28th of March 2017 with most of the Kabuki actors. This special gala is sponsored by the Japan Actors Association. It is usually a mix of classic dances, 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 surprise than a set of real Kabuki performances. Some people might even think that it looks like an art university graduation show.

    There were mamemaki ceremonies for setsubun the 3rd of February 2017 at the Kabukiza, the Sh˘chikuza and the Hakataza:

    Pictures for the opening day at the Kabukiza in February 2017. The ichiban taiko was beaten by Tanaka Denzaemon XIII the 2nd of February 2017 at 10:10:

    The Duty of Remembrance:

  • The 28th of february 2017, we could have celebrated the 300th anniversary of the passing away of Yamashita Ky˘emon I. This stage giant of the Genroku era died the 18th day of the 1st lunar month of the 2nd year of the Ky˘h˘ era, which was the 28th of February 1717 in the western calendar.
  • The 15th of March 2017, it will be the 200th anniversary of the passing away of Sawamura Tanosuke II (1788~1817), who died the 28th day of the 1st lunar month of the 14th year of the Bunka era which was the 15th of March 1817.
  • 31 January
    2017

    The two programs for the March Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza in March 2017 have been published [more details]. The highlights will be:

  • Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon playing the role of Taira no Tomomori in the "Tokaiya" and "Daimotsu no Ura" scenes of the classic "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura".
  • The dance-drama "Dontsuku" staged to commemorate the 2nd anniversary (3rd memorial service) of the passing away of Band˘ Mitsugor˘ X.
  • Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ playing the role of the keisei Ishikawaya Masagoji in the short but spectacular drama "Onna Goemon".
  • "Sukeroku" with Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and Nakamura Jakuemon in the roles of Hanakawado Sukeroku and Miuraya Agemaki.
  • Opening the 1st of January 2017 of the Sh˘chiku official Kabuki facebook site:

    The drama "Igagoe D˘chű Sugoroku" will be staged as a t˘shi ky˘gen in March 2017 at the National Theatre. The core of this revival will be "Okazaki" but it is also very interesting to report that the third act, commonly called "Engakuji", which was staged for the last time in February 1931 at the Meijiza, will be revived as well [more details | casting].

    No Kabuki for Nakamura Senjaku from January to March 2017! He started to perform from the 18th of January and he will perform up to the 12th of March at the T˘ky˘ Metropolitan Theatre in Noda Hideki's new drama "Ashiato Hime" (literally "Princess Footprints" [more details in Japanese].

    The Zenshinza troupe will perform as usual in May 2017 at the National Theatre. A newly-created drama, which was written by the veteran movie director Yamada Y˘ji and is entitled "Ura Nagaya S˘d˘ki", will be staged. It will mix two famous rakugo stories, "Rakuda" and "Ido no Chawan" [more details].

    Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke will perform in April 2017 at the Akasaka Act Theater for the 5th edition of the Akasaka Grand Kabuki. They will perform in a newly-created drama made by the playwhright and script writer H˘rai Yűta, the writer of the famous anime "Piano no Mori", which will be entitled "Yume Maboroshi-ka Koi Z˘shi" [more details].

    Kataoka Ainosuke will lead of troupe of young actors at the Meijiza in May 2017 [more details].

    Nakamura Ganjir˘ and Kataoka Takatar˘ took part in a parade in ďsaka the 10th of January 2017, 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 2017. 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 two actors were paraded through shopping and entertainment districts on special palanquins called hoe kago, surrounded by people singing a simple catchy folk song [more details in Japanese and pictures].

    Members of the Edo Firefighting Memorial Association performed kiyari ritual dances within the Kabukiza the 5th of January 2017 [more details in Japanese].

    The world of Kabuki and the world of Otaku will collide for the second time in Kabuki history at the end of April 2017! 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 "Kuruwa Kotoba Awase Kagami". It will staged at the Makuhari Messe the 29th and the 30th of April 2017, as part of the Niconico Ch˘kaigi 2017 event, an important yearly event for the Otaku tribes [more details].

    The seven young actors, who will perform in February 2017 at the Sh˘chikuza, went to the H˘zenji Temple in the heart of the famous H˘zenji Yokoch˘ Lane in ďsaka the 30th of January 2017 to pray for the success of their performances [pictures and more details in Japanese].

    What about some fancy Kabuki coloring? A book has just been published full of 76 illustrations, drawn in the style of the Edo period by the manga artist Suzuki Junko under the guidance of Ichikawa Somegor˘. You can test your coloring skills on all of them and compete with others coloring artists over the Internet. There will be a contest and the best colored drawing will be selected by Ichikawa Somegor˘ [more details].

    Pikotar˘ is one of the nicknames of comedian Kosaka Kazuhito used to portray a funny fictional singer/songwriter who fathered the Internet hit song "PPAP (Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen)", which went viral in 2016 in Japan. Onoe Kikugor˘ wanted to make a reference to Pikotar˘'s song in his January performance in January 2017 at the National Theatre. There was Kataoka Kamez˘ perfectly disguised as Pikotar˘ on stage in the first scene of the fourth act of "Shiranui Monogatari". For this occasion, the Kabuki program was promoted on youtube with a Edo-flavored parody of the song. Kurogo-chan, the official mascot of the National Theatre, did the dancing part while a Nagauta ensemble played a traditional version of the song. Apple, pineapple and pen were replaced by old style pen, nurisanp˘ (a lacquered stand used in shrines) and a sanp˘ (a wooden stand used in shrines). The 23rd of January, there was a big surprise as the audience got not one but two Pikotar˘, Kataoka Kamez˘ and the real Pikotar˘!

    One new poster celebrating the coming hatsubutai of Nakamura Kantar˘ III and Nakamura Ch˘zabur˘ II in February 2017 at the Kabukiza has been printed out and will be sold in the theater:

    Pictures for the opening days at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ and the National Theatre in January 2017:

    Konpy-kun, the mascot symbolizing the Konpira Kabuki, which is produced every April at the Kanamaruza, was spotted advertising for the coming April performances the 25th and the 26th of January in T˘ky˘ in Asakusa [pictures and more details in Japanese].

    The Heisei Nakamuraza will be for the second time in Nagoya in June 2017. The temporary koshibai look-alike theater will be built in the precincts of the Nagoya Castle, same location as for the first time in September 2009.

    The next release (27th) in the Shinema Kabuki ("Cinema Kabuki") series will be "T˘kaid˘chű Hizakurige, which was shot live in high definition in August 2016 at the Kabukiza with Ichikawa Somegor˘ as Yaji and Ichikawa Ennosuke as Kita. It will be released all over Japan from the 3rd of June 2017.

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