NEWS FROM THE KABUKI WORLD
2009
31 December
2009

Reminder: the Kabukiza, the Temple of Kabuki in Japan, will be definitively closed (and destroyed afterwards - to be rebuilt in the coming years) at the end of April 2010. Only 4 months of Kabukiza Sayonara K˘en (farewell performances) in 2010. If you have the chance to be in T˘ky˘ between January 2010 and April 2010, do not miss the opportunity to visit this important monument in Kabuki (and Japan) history!

Namiki Gohei's spectacular drama "Kinmon Gosan no Kiri" will be revived at the National Theatre in March 2010; the role of the larger-than-life villain Ishikawa Goemon will be performed by Nakamura Hashinosuke [more details].

Kawatake Shinshichi III's drama "Somemoy˘ Chűgi no Goshuin", which was revived in October 2006 at the Sh˘chikuza, will be staged in March 2010 at the Nissay Theatre [more details].

20 December
2009

The Kabukiza will commemorate the 22nd anniversary (23rd memorial service) of late Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVII in February 2010. The stars of this program will be Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVII's son Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVIII, Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Kataoka Nizaemon and all the members of the Matsushimaya guild, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Living National Treasure Nakamura Shikan and his two sons, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Kanjaku and Nakamura Senjaku [more details].

12 December
2009

Opening of the official website of Onoe Kikugor˘ and Onoe Kikunosuke, the stars of the Otowaya guild: otowaya.ne.jp.

Ichikawa Danjűr˘ is giving a talk (in Japanese) at the Westin Miyako in Ky˘to on Thursday 17th December 2009, from 6:30pm to 9pm, with a dinner with Ky˘to special seasonal ingredients [more details].

Matsumoto K˘shir˘ will soon join the prestigious Japan Art Academy (Nihon Geijutsuin). It is going to be announced formally by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology the 15th of December 2009.

Band˘ Tamasabur˘ receives the 57th Kikuchi Kan Award in recompense for his performance in July 2009 at the Kabukiza, where he played in Izumi Ky˘ka's dramas "Kaijin Bess˘" and "Tenshu Monogatari".

The Nagauta musician Mochizuki Tasanosuke III (1934~2009) died the 3rd of December 2009.

24 November
2009

The young star Ichikawa Ebiz˘ will tour in the UK in June 2010, performing at the Sadler's Wells Theatre the great roles of Tadanobu and the fox Genkur˘ in a selection of scenes from the classic "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura" [more details].
Big thanks to Trevor for the piece of information!

The Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ received the Order of Culture (bunka kunsh˘ in Japanese). This order has one class only, and may be awarded to men and women for contributions to Japan's art, literature or culture; recipients of the order also receive an annuity for life. The order was conferred to Sakata T˘jűr˘ by the Emperor of Japan in person on Culture Day (the 3rd of November).

The star Nakamura Kanzabur˘ has worked with the modern playwright Kud˘ Kankur˘ to produce a new drama, which is entitled "ďedo Ribingu Deddo" (ďedo and the Living Dead) and will be staged at the Kabukiza in December 2009 [more details].

31 October
2009

The Zenshinza actor Arashi Hironari will take the name of Arashi Yoshisabur˘ VII in May 2010 at the National Theatre. he will play the role of Yosabur˘ in the drama "Kirare Otomi".

As part as the Shinema Kabuki ("Cinema Kabuki") series, the drama "Sumidagawa Gonichi no Omokage", which was shot live in November 2008 at the Heisei Nakamuraza, will be released in T˘ky˘ the 26th of December 2009. This is the 10th "Cinema Kabuki" and it will be screened at the T˘geki in T˘ky˘ [more details in Japanese].

The rarely-staged "Amakawaya Gihei Uchi" act will be part of the t˘shi ky˘gen staging of the classic "Kanadehon Chűshingura" in ďsaka in January 2010 at the Sh˘chikuza [more details]. The casting will be full of Kamigata (real or related) stars like Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Kanjaku, Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Gat˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Kataoka Takatar˘ or Band˘ Takesabur˘.

Ichikawa Ebiz˘ will perform for the very first time the prestigious ten roles of "Date no Jűyaku", in January 2010 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ [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.

Revival in January 2010 at the National Theatre of Namiki Gohei I's long-forgotten drama "Keisei Kogane no Shachihoko", which is entitled "Asahi-ni Kagayaku Kin no Shachihoko" in this new version. It is staged to commemorate the 400-year anniversary of the establishment of the city of Nagoya. The creation of the town of Nagoya began in 1610, with the beginning of the construction of Nagoya Castle, and the transfer of the entire town of Kiyosu. "Keisei Kogane no Shachihoko" was premiered in the 12th lunar month of 1782 in ďsaka at the Kado no Shibai and successfully produced up to the middle of 3rd lunar month of 1783 [more details].

30 September
2009

The 9 movies of the Shinema Kabuki series ("Cinema Kabuki") will be screened one more time in several movie theaters in October, November and December. The very good news is that some of these movies will have English subtitles [more details]. The full program in Japanese is also available (PDF file).

Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and Kataoka Nizaemon, the most successful goruden kombi of nowadays Kabuki, will be the stars of the December 2009 kaomise at the Minamiza. They will play the roles of the lovers Sukeroku and Agemaki in "Sukeroku Kuruwa no Hatsuzakura". They will also play two supporting roles in "Fűin Giri": the helpful Izutsuya Oen (Band˘ Tamasabur˘) and the treacherous Tanbaya Hachiemon (Kataoka Nizaemon) [more details].

A special 1-day program called " and Kabuki" will be staged the 26th of October 2009 at the Kabukiza. It will be made up of one play and one Kabuki dance [more details].

October is the month of kodomo shibai in the heart of the lively Asakusa district of T˘ky˘. This event is called "Asakusa Okuyama Kodomo Kabuki" [more details in Japanese].

09 September
2009

We celebrate today the 10th anniversary of the www.kabuki21.com project! I would like to thank all the people who kindly helped me over the years to build this website: the Antiquarian Print Gallery, Paul Binnie, Jeff Blair, Ashley Buerkett, Frank Castle, Anne Dick, Ehon Kabukizzu, Yuriko Fujiki, David "Bassman" Gardahaut, Paul Griffith, Marion Hudson, Richard Illing, Ted Jagoda, James King, Curtis Knapp, Theo de Kreijger, MacDougall Auctions, Lynn Matsuoka, Katarzyna Paczuska, Guy Pepermans, ROMAN, Sekidobashi "Abby" Sakura, Trevor Skingle, Hiroko Sonoyama, STUDIO-S, the Sydney Society of Literature and Aesthetics, Jerry "V" Vegder, Stefan Verstappen, Jan Pieter Volkers, Jean Wilson, Junko Yamada and Akiko Yamauchi.

Nakamura Kanzabur˘'s son Nakamura Kantar˘ will take the name of Nakamura Kankur˘ VI* in Spring 2012. His shűmei has been officially announced by the Sh˘chiku Company.

(*) This shűmei is not a surprise but I was also expecting Nakamura Kantar˘'s younger brother Nakamura Shichinosuke to take the name of Nakamura Shichisabur˘ VI at the same time .... In my dream, a third actor (a tachiyaku) would have also taken the name of Nakamura Nakaz˘ VI. I was wrong!

31 August
2009

The Nagauta shamisen player Kineya Seijir˘ will become the new iemoto of the Kineya school of music and take the name of Kineya Katsusabur˘ VIII. His shűmei will be celebrated at the National Theatre in September 2010. His father, Kineya Katsusabur˘ VII, is now named Kineya Kassaku*. Kassaku was the haimy˘ of Kineya Katsusabur˘ II.

(*) We are not sure about the reading of this name [勝作]. Is it Kassaku or Sh˘saku?

31 July
2009

Great Kabuki in October 2009 at the Misonoza, with the t˘shi ky˘gen production of the classic "Kanadehon Chűshingura". The stars will be Ichikawa Danjűr˘, the Matsushimaya guild led by Kataoka Nizaemon and the two heirs of the Narikomaya guild [more details].

If you are interested to go to Monaco for the Kabuki in September 2009, there is an English website which can help you purchasing some tickets. You'll be charged in JPY but you will be able to print your ticket by yourself (a big thanks to Trevor for the piece of information!):
http://www.e-tix.jp/monaco_kabuki_en/monaco_kabuki_en.html.

After the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ in January 2008 and the Misonoza in April 2009, the young star Ichikawa Ebiz˘ will play for the third times 5 roles in the epic drama "Narukami Fud˘ Kitayama Zakura", which will be staged in October 2009 at the Hakataza (Fukuoka) [more details]. This year is special for the Hakataza, which celebrates its 10th anniversary!

For the second time in Kabuki history, the world of Edogawa Rampo will be adapted for Kabuki, in October 2009 at the National Theatre with Matsumoto K˘shir˘ and Ichikawa Somegor˘ in the leading roles [more details].

30 June
2009

There will be a short Kabuki tour in Europa in September 2009, in Monaco (the fiscal paradise located near Nice in France) from the 16th to the 19th. Ichikawa Ebiz˘ will perform the leading role of "Shunky˘ Kagami Jishi". Ichikawa Danjűr˘ and Nakamura Tokiz˘ will star in the great drama "Narukami". The venue will be the Salle Garnier of the OpÚra de Monte-Carlo.

The Chikamatsuza, the troupe led by Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, will tour in the Western provinces in September 2009 [more details].

The Heisei Nakamuraza will be in Nagoya in September 2009. The temporary koshibai look-alike theater will be built in the precincts of the Nagoya Castle [more details].

31 May
2009

The number of swine flu cases in Kansai is responsible for a program change in the June 2009 show at the Sh˘chikuza. The young star Ichikawa Ebiz˘ will perform a traditional nirami no mie in a k˘j˘ added between two dances. It is said that if you can catch the actor eyes, you won't be infected with the new H1N1 virus!

Kataoka Nizaemon will do his isse ichidai performance for the role of Yohei in the drama "Abura no Jigoku", which will be staged in June 2009 at the Kabukiza.

The goruden kombi Band˘ Tamasabur˘/Ichikawa Ebiz˘ will be the stars of the July 2009 program at the Kabukiza. They will play together in Izumi Ky˘ka's masterpieces "Kaijin Bess˘" and "Tenshu Monogatari".

A giant countdown machine was inaugurated in front of the Kabukiza the 1st of May 2009, to display the number of remaining days, hours and minutes before the final closing of this theater [more details in Japanese]. The stage giants Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Onoe Kikugor˘, Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Tomijűr˘ and Nakamura Shikan took part in the ceremony and speeches.

Nakamura Hashinosuke is part of the cast of Kiriya Kazuaki's big-budget CG-assisted heavy blow-out-the-eyeballs spectacular epic movie "Goemon", which was released all over Japan the 1st of May 2009. The Kabuki actor plays the role of the warlord Oda Nobunaga.

Onoe Kikunosuke is part of the cast of Hayashi Kaiz˘ and Kaneko Isao movie "Za K˘do/ Ang˘", which was released all over Japan the 9th of May 2009.

Band˘ Mitsugor˘ 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.

Ichikawa Masuju, a supporting onnagata actor of the Naritaya guild, died the 24th of April 2009, victim of a lung cancer.

Sakata T˘jűr˘ played for the 1300th times the role of the courtesan Tenmaya Ohatsu in Chikamatsu Monzaemon's masterpiece "Sonezaki Shinjű", the 24th of April 2009 in T˘ky˘ at the Kabukiza. The 1000th times was previously reached in January 1995 at the Nakaza; the role of Hiranoya Tokubŕ was played by Sakata T˘jűr˘'s son Nakamura Kanjaku.

24 April
2009

The Minister of Education has designated the 1899 film "Momijigari", one of Japanĺs earliest existing films recording the Kabuki actors Ichikawa Danjűr˘ IX and Onoe Kikugor˘ V acting in the eponymous play, an Important Cultural Property (Jűy˘ Bunkazai). The film photographed by Shibata Tsunekichi is the first motion picture ever to be given that designation.
Source: Aaron Gerow's Japanese Film Page

Matsumoto K˘shir˘'s grandson and Ichikawa Somegor˘'s son will make his first stage appearance (hatsubutai) at the Kabukiza in June 2009. He will receive the name of Matsumoto Kintar˘ IV and will perform with his father and grandfather in a special version of "Renjishi", which also features Nakamura Kichiemon, Nakamura Shibajaku, Onoe Sh˘roku and ďtani Tomoemon.

Ichikawa Danjűr˘ has written under the pen-name of Mimasuya Hakuji a short drama, which is entitled "Kurodani" and will be staged the 27th of June 2009 in Nagoya at the Nagoya N˘gakud˘. This staging is part of the second edition of a special program of the association Ichikawa ďka no Kai, which stars the female Kabuki actor Ichikawa ďka, head of a female troupe in Nagoya (Nagoya Musume Kabuki). Ichikawa Danjűr˘ will perform in his drama.

31 March
2009

The actor Band˘ Takesabur˘ will celebrate in Summer 2009 his 77th birthday. This is an important age and it is a custom to celebrate it with a kiju kinen performance. It will be staged in June 2009 at the Sh˘chikuza.

The dance master Fujima Murasaki died in T˘ky˘ the 27th of March 2009. She was the wife of the star Ichikawa Ennosuke.

Band˘ Mitsugor˘ and Ichikawa Danshir˘ are prize-winners of the 30th Matsuo Artistic Awards (Matsuo Gein˘ Sh˘). They received the 30th of March 2009 at the ANA Intercontinental Hotel in T˘ky˘ the Grand Prize (Band˘ Mitsugor˘) and the Matsuo Kuniz˘ Prize (Ichikawa Danshir˘).

Nakamura Kichiemon and Nakamura Kantar˘ received the 26th of February 2009 a prize from the 16th Yomiuri Engeki Taish˘ (the Yomiuri Theatrical Prizes), awarded by the famous paper Yomiuri Shimbun. Nakamura Kichiemon received the Special Prize from the Selection Committee and Nakamura Kantar˘ received the Sugimura Haruko Prize.

28 February
2009

The actor Nakamura Matagor˘ II died in T˘ky˘ the 21st of February 2009. We've received a mail from David, who had the chance to meet and work with this great actor and teacher:

"I had the great good fortune (as did several of us) to spend a year training with Matagor˘ sensei in what is still one of the best years of my theatrical life.
What I remember most clearly was the day, after class, when Russell and Elizabeth had questions about their scene together as Heiemon and Okaru* and the emotions involved as Heiemon tells Okaru about Kanpei's death.
There were several of us there, sitting next to Matagor˘ in the dance studio, as he started to explain the scene. Then he said, "Here, let me show you". and without a moment's hesitation he launched into the scene, acting both parts with full emotional intensity. It was an incredible performance, unlike any I had ever seen before or since. Here was a true artist working at the very height of his powers and his talents. It was pure acting without relying on props, or costumes or stage setting to carry the scene but doing so entirely with his acting. And when the scene was finished, he smiled and asked, in a calm matter-of-fact tone, "Do you understand now?". I have seen many great performances (granted, mostly on film) by some of the world's greatest actors, but nothing has ever equaled the sheer skill and artistry I saw that morning.
Kabuki has lost a great artist, and we from out side the Kabuki world of Japan have lost a true friend who supported our quest to better understand this art form not just as scholars but more importantly as fellow artists.
The march of time was bound to bring this day, but the reality of it still hits hard.
"

(*) this scene is in the seventh act of "Kanadehon Chűshingura".

31 January
2009

If you are interested in the design of the future Kabukiza, you can click on this link, which will redirect you on a page in Japanese containing a drawing of the project.

The Sh˘chiku Company has created a Special Logo for the Kabukiza Sayonara K˘en, the Kabukiza Farewell Performances, which will be held from January 2009 to April 2010.

As part as the Shinema Kabuki ("Cinema Kabuki") series, Hasegawa Shin's drama "Irezumi Ch˘han", which was shot live in April 2008 at the Kabukiza, will be released in T˘ky˘ the 28th of February 2009. This is the 8th "Cinema Kabuki" and it will be screened at the T˘geki in T˘ky˘. Afterwards, it will be screened in Fukuoka and Ky˘to.

Mayama's Shinkabuki masterpiece "Genroku Chűshingura" will be staged in March 2009 at the Kabukiza as a t˘shi ky˘gen but not in its integrity. The 6 most important parts are staged with the leading role of ďishi Kuranosuke performed by the stars Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Kataoka Nizaemon and Ichikawa Danjűr˘.

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