NEWS FROM THE KABUKI WORLD
2008
31 December
2008

Three links to articles about the rebuilding of the Kabukiza and the Kabukiza Sayonara K˘en (Kabukiza Farewell Performances), which will be held from January 2009 to April 2010:

Kataoka Ainosuke became the 4th iemoto of the Umemoto school of Kamigata-mai. As a dance master, he took the name of Umemoto Sensh˘ III. He will celebrate this shűmei in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza in March 2009.

Nakamura Tomijűr˘ will celebrate in 2009 his 80th birthday. This is an important age and it is a custom to celebrate it with a sanju kinen performance, which will staged at the Kabukiza in May 2009, not within a regular Kabuki program, but as a short dance program of the association Yaguruma no Kai (yaguruma is the mon of Nakamura Tomijűr˘). He is expected to perform the role of Musashib˘ Benkei in the spectacular dance-drama "Kanjinch˘". He will also perform with his son Nakamura Takanosuke in the dance "Renjishi".

The supporting actor Arashi Kanjűr˘ VI (1926~2008) died the 22nd of December 2008.

The Sh˘chiku Company has asked the Kabuki aficionados to select the 20 best Kabuki plays. More that 15,000 people took part, 72.6% of female voters and 27.4% of male voters. Here are the results:

Rank Play Number of votes
1 Kanjinch˘ 1,852
2 Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura 931
3 Musume D˘j˘ji 881
4 Kanadehon Chűshingura 829
5 Shiranami Gonin Otoko 810
6 Sukeroku 749
7 Sakura Hime 545
8 Genji Monogatari 363
9 Renjishi 331
10 Koi Bikyaku Yamato ďrai 309
11 Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami 276
12 Sannin Kichisa 257
13 Akoya 256
14 Shunkan 226
15 Meiboku Sendai Hagi 224
16 Shibaraku 195
17 Abura no Jigoku 183
18 Hakkenden 181
19 Sonezaki Shinjű 179
20 Genroku Chűshingura 173

Nakamura Utae was commended in November 2008 by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The commendation ceremony happened the 6th of November.

30 November
2008

Very important news: The Kabukiza, the main theater in Japan for Kabuki, will be torn down and rebuilt from May 2010. The new theater complex will be built on the current site, in the Eastern part of the Ginza district of T˘ky˘. The rebuilding is expected to take at least three years. To celebrate the closing of this prestigious theater, a series of performances titled Kabukiza Sayonara K˘en (Kabukiza Farewell Performances) will be held from January 2009 to April 2010. The Sh˘chiku Company said that from May 2010 until the new theater's scheduled reopening in 2013, Kabuki performances will be held at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘.

"Z˘hiki", a bombastic play in the aragoto style which belongs to the Kabuki Jűhachiban, will be revived in January 2009 at the National Theatre, starring the star Ichikawa Danjűr˘ in thje leading role.

Nakamura Kanzabur˘ 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.

Nakamura Tomijűr˘ 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 2008 (bunka k˘r˘sha).

The supporting actor Kataoka Matsusabur˘ (a disciple of Kataoka Nizaemon) has celebrated his success at the nadai exam in November 2008 at the Kabukiza. It was also the occasion for this actor to take the name of Kataoka Nisabur˘.

30 October
2008

The supporting actor Sawamura Kiyoshi (a disciple of late Sawamura S˘jűr˘ IX and Sawamura Tanosuke) celebrates his success at the nadai exam in October 2008 at the Kabukiza. It is also the occasion for this actor to take the name of Sawamura Ujűr˘ V.

27 September
2008

"Ninagawa Jűniya", a Kabuki adaptation of Shakespeareĺs "Twelfth Night" will be staged in London next year, from the 24th to the 28th of March 2009 at the Barbican Theater. It will also be staged in June 2009 in T˘ky˘ at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ and in July 2009 in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza.

As part as the Shinema Kabuki ("Cinema Kabuki") series, the dance-drama "Renjishi", which was shot live by the famous movie director Yamada Y˘ji in October 2007 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘, will be released in T˘ky˘ the 27th of December 2008. This is the 7th "Cinema Kabuki" and it will be screened at the T˘geki in T˘ky˘.

Revival in December 2008 at the National Theatre of Takeshiba Kisui's masterpiece "T˘yama Zakura Tenp˘ Nikki", which was premiered in November 1893 at the Meijiza with Ichikawa Sadanji I playing the roles of the hero T˘yama Kinshir˘ and the villain Ikuta Kakudayű. For this new production, the two roles will be played by Onoe Kikugor˘. The character of T˘yama Kinshir˘ is based on a famous magistrate of the Tenp˘ era, who was named T˘yama Saemon and was renowned for his cherry blossoms tattoos.

09 September
2008

2008 is definitively an extremely good year for the Heisei Nakamuraza, the successful travelling theater led by the dynamic star Nakamura Kanzabur˘. After the tour in Europe in May/June 2008, the long stay in Matsumoto in July 2008 and the massive staging of "Kanadehon Chűshingura" in October 2008 in T˘ky˘ in Asakusa, the troupe will perform in November 2008 its classic "H˘kaib˘" in the same temporary theater, which will be built in the precincts of the Sens˘ji Temple for the October 2008 event. "H˘kaib˘" was staged for the first edition of the Heisei Nakamuraza in November 2000.

Kabuki21.com celebrates its 9th Anniversary.

31 August
2008

For the very first time in Kabuki history, a novel of Edogawa Rampo will be adapted for Kabuki, in November 2008 at the National Theatre with Matsumoto K˘shir˘ and Ichikawa Somegor˘ in the leading roles [info].

24 August
2008

As you already know, Matsumoto K˘shir˘ will play for the 1000th times the role of Musashib˘ Benkei in the dance-drama "Kanjinch˘". It will happen the 15th of October in the city of Nara (check the 18 June 2008 news for more details). It is part of a short tour for the K˘raiya guild, visiting T˘ky˘, Niigata, Yachiyo, Nagoya, Shizuoka and Nara [info].

16 August
2008

2008 is indeed the year of the Heisei Nakamuraza, the travelling troupe led by the star Nakamura Kanzabur˘. After the tour in Europe in May/June 2008 and the long stay in Matsumoto in July 2008, the 3rd edition will happen in October 2008 in T˘ky˘ in the precincts of the Sens˘ji Temple, the heart of the popular district of Asakusa. They will stage for the first time the classic "Kanadehon Chűshingura", in four different programs. The Heisei Nakamuraza will star for the very first time the stage giant Kataoka Nizaemon.

28 July
2008

The star Nakamura Kanzabur˘ and Noda Hideki, one of Japan's most famous contemporary directors, will work together for the third times*, producing at the Kabukiza in August 2008 Verdi's opera "Aida" as a Kabuki drama [more details].

(*) the first and second times were the dramas "Togitatsu no Utare" and "Nezumi Koz˘" in August 2001 and August 2003.

Nakamura Kinnosuke will celebrate his shűmei in Nagoya, at the Misonoza, in October 2008; He will play the roles of Konoshita T˘kichi, Minamoto no Yoriie and Lord Matsue in "Kinkakuji", "Shuzenji Monogatari" and "K˘chiyama".

As part as the Shinema Kabuki ("Cinema Kabuki") series, the drama "Bunshichi Mottoi", which was shot live by the famous movie director Yamada Y˘ji in October 2007 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘, will be released in T˘ky˘ the 18th of October 2008. This is the 6th "Cinema Kabuki" and it will be screened at the T˘geki in T˘ky˘.

The Zenshinza will revive Tsuruya Nanboku IV's masterpiece "Gedatsu no Kinu Momiji Kasane", in September 2008 (Chűky˘ Daigaku Bunka Shimin Kaikan) and in October 2008 (Zenshinza Gekij˘, Asakusa K˘kaid˘).

30 June
2008

There will be a kokera otoshi at the Eirakukan, to celebrate the completion of the renovation of a traditional theater, which was built in the city of Toyooka in the prefecture of Hy˘go [more details].

18 June
2008

Matsumoto K˘shir˘ will play for the 1000th times the role of Musashib˘ Benkei in the dance-drama "Kanjinch˘". This event will be held the 15th of October 2008 in Nara on a special stage built within the precincts of the T˘daiji temple. It will be a pre-event for the 1300th Anniversary of the Relocation of the Capital of Japan in Nara and the beginning of the Nara Period (710~794).

30 May
2008

The Shinpa, a dramatic genre that developed in opposition to Kabuki during the Meiji era, will celebrate its 120th anniversary this year. The Sh˘chiku will produce in June 2008 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘, the Temple of Shinpa in T˘ky˘, two of the most famous dramas of this genre, Izumi Ky˘ka's "Onna Keizu" and Mishima Yukio's "Rokumeikan". Kataoka Nizaemon and the actress Namino Kuriko will star in "Onna Keizu". Ichikawa Danjűr˘ and the actress Mizutani Yaeko will star in "Rokumeikan".

Nakamura Kichiemon will receive the 12th award commemorating Tsubouchi Sh˘y˘ (1859~1935), Japan's earliest translator of Shakespearean plays, from the city of Mino-Kamo in the Prefecture of Gifu where the novelist-playwright-critic was born. The ceremony will be held the 8th of July 2008 in Mino-Kamo.

Sakata T˘jűr˘ received the 10th of April 2008 the Baiyulan Prize of the City of Shanghai.

The Nagauta musician Mochizuki Ch˘saku VII will take the name of Mochizuki Bokusei V in Summer 2009.

25 May
2008

Nakamura Kinnosuke will celebrate his shűmei in the Central provinces in July 2008, playing the role of Rokusuke in the drama "Keya-mura".

Nakamura Tomijűr˘ received in April 2008 an honorary degree from the Traditional Opera Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Arts in Beijing (China).

Nakamura Kaishun will receive 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 supporting actors Ichikawa Shinshichi (a disciple of Ichikawa Danjűr˘) celebrates his success at the nadai exam in May 2008 at the Kabukiza. It is also the occasion for this actor to take the name of Ichikawa Shinjűr˘ IV.

The Heisei Nakamuraza troupe, led by the star Nakamura Kanzabur˘, will perform for the first time in the city of Matsumoto, in July 2008. They will stage the spectacular Kamigata drama "Natsu Matsuri".

28 April
2008

There will be a large scale exhibition of Japanese prints at the Hastings Museum & Art Gallery from the 22nd of June to the 5th of October 2008. Rare Kabuki prints made by Kunisada, Kuniyoshi, Yoshitsuya and Sadahide will be displayed (more details).

Band˘ Tamasabur˘ will perform the 30th of April 2008 within the Castle of Kumamoto. This dance program is part of the celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the Building of the Kumamoto Castle (built in 1607), which started the 31st of December 2006 and will end in Spring 2008. So far, the only known item in this program is the beautiful dance "Fuji Musume".

The supporting actors Nakamura Nakajir˘ (a disciple of Nakamura Kanzabur˘) celebrated his success at the nadai exam in April 2008 at the Kabukiza. It was also be the occasion for this actor to take the name of Nakamura Kosabur˘.

31 March
2008

Nakamura Tokiz˘ and Nakamura Shibajaku are the award-winners of the 64th Japan Art Academy Awards (Nihon Geijutsuin Sh˘).

25 March
2008

Nakamura Kanzabur˘ will be on tour in Europe in Spring 2008! He will build his "family" theater, the Heisei Nakamuraza, in Berlin at the The House of World Cultures (Germany) from the 14th to the 21st of May 2008 and in Sibiu (Rumania) from the 29th of May to the 1st of June 2008 for the International Theatre Festival. "Natsu Matsuri" will be produced for the first time in Europe thanks to Nakamura Kanzabur˘!

The Heisei Nakamuraza will be built in Nagoya in 2009 and the troupe led by Nakamura Kanzabur˘ will perform there 30 times during the month of September 2009. This great event was publicly announced by Mr. Asano, the chairman of the network T˘kai TV, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary.

After the premiere of "Botantei" in March 2008 at the Minamiza, Band˘ Tamasabur˘ will perform this new creation in Beijing (China) from the 6th to the 15th of May 2008. He will share the stage with Kunqu performers from the Suzhou region, one of the oldest forms of Chinese opera. The dance "Y˘kihi" will also be part of this program.

29 February
2008

Nakamura Shibajaku is prize-winner of the 29th Matsuo Artistic Awards (Matsuo Gein˘ Sh˘). He will receive the 27th of March 2008 at the ANA Intercontinental Hotel in T˘ky˘ the Excellence Prize (yűsh˘ sh˘).

Ichikawa Nobuo will take the name of Ichikawa Enzabur˘ II in March 2008 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘. He is the son of Arashi Kanjűr˘ VI and a disciple of the star Ichikawa Ennosuke.

22 February
2008

Nakamura Shibajaku will perform at the end of March 2008 at the Uchisaiwai Hall in T˘ky˘ a Kabuki hitori shibai (one man Kabuki show), which is entitled "Ningyo no Koi" ("The Love of a Mermaid") and is about the legend of Yaobikuni, the octo-centenarian nun (more details).

31 January
2008

Band˘ Mitsugor˘ and Nakamura Umenosuke are part of the cast of Yamada Y˘ji's movie "Kaabee". The film was released all over Japan the 26th of January 2008.

The spectacular aragoto masterpiece "Shibaraku" will be staged for the first time at the Kanamaruza in April 2008 as part of the 24th edition of the Spring Kabuki performance Konpira Kabuki ďshibai, which commemorates the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Great Seto Bridge. The role of Kamakura Gongor˘ Kagemasa will be played by the young star Ichikawa Ebiz˘.

14 January
2008

The actor Sakata T˘jűr˘, who is the new prize-winner of the 7th Asahi Stage Arts Prize (asahi butai geijutsu sh˘ in japanese), will celebrate in 2008 his 77th birthday. This is an important age and it is a custom to celebrate it with a kiju kinen performance, which will be the leading role of the great dance "Ky˘ganoko Musume D˘j˘ji", staged in March 2008 at the Kabukiza. This production will end with the famous oshimodoshi finale, with Ichikawa Danjűr˘ in the role of the demon-queller.

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