NEWS FROM THE KABUKI WORLD
2010
31 December
2010

The spectacular drama "Hitori Tabi Gojűsan Tsugi", which belongs to the Ennosuke Jűhachiban collection of plays, will be revived at the Minamiza in March 2011; Ichikawa Ukon will perform 15 roles in a drama full of keren and hayagawari [more details].

Tsuruya Nanboku IV's 1810 masterpiece "Ehon Gapp˘-ga-Tsuji" will be revived at the National Theatre in March 2011, starring Kataoka Nizaemon in the roles of Tateba no Taheiji and Saeda Daigakunosuke [more details]. The previous revival happened in March 1992, at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘, starring Kataoka Takao and Band˘ Tamasabur˘.

A few more articles about the Ebiz˘ Brawl Affair:

20 December
2010

The Ebiz˘ Brawl Affair is still a hot topic in Japan. Here are a few updates: the January 2011 show in T˘ky˘ at the Le Theatre Ginza is CANCELED. Ichikawa Ebiz˘ won't take part in the February 2011 Grand Kabuki performances in Nagoya at the Misonoza. Here is a selection of articles in English on this case:

The usual April or May Kabuki performances in Nagoya at the Misonoza won't happen in 2011. They will be replaced by a Grand Kabuki program in February 2011, starring Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Fukusuke and Nakamura Shichinosuke [more details].

A very interesting interview of Matsumoto K˘shir˘ was done by Edan Corkill and published by the Japan Times in December 2010.

Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and Nakamura Shid˘ will star the New Year Kabuki stage in January 2011 at the Theatre Ginza (T˘ky˘), to replace Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and the Omodakaya troupe [more details].

30 November
2010

Due to face injuries, the young star Ichikawa Ebiz˘ will miss the December kaomise year-end programs. He was expected to play the roles of Nagoya Sanza and Soga Gor˘ in "Okuni Kabuki Yume no Hanayagi" and "Uir˘ Uri". He will be replaced respectively by Kataoka Nizaemon and Kataoka Ainosuke. Drinking with his friends in T˘ky˘'s Nishi-Azabu district, he got into an argument and was beaten up:

A special program will be staged in February 2011 in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza. It will be titled Kataoka Nizaemon Chűya no Adauchi, "Kataoka Nizaemon Day and Night Revenges" in English and will be made up of two t˘shi ky˘gen revenge dramas, starring Kataoka Nizaemon in the roles of Rokusuke and Satsuma Gengobŕ in "Hikosan Gongen Chikai no Sukedachi" and "Kamikakete Sango Taisetsu".

A new year show dedicated to the Kabuki Jűhachiban and the Shin Kabuki Jűhachiban will be staged in January 2011 at the Theatre Ginza in T˘ky˘. The extremely rarely-staged (last time was in 1947!) play "Jayanagi" will be revived by Ichikawa Ebiz˘ (if he can recover from his face injuries).

Ichikawa Danjűr˘ is the 2010 prize-winner of the 27th Asakusa Performing Arts Grand Prize (Asakusa Gein˘ Taish˘). He will receive his prize the 12th of March 2011 at the Asakusa K˘kaid˘ in T˘ky˘.

Nakamura Shibajaku 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˘, who did not feel well enough, was replaced by Band˘ Hikosabur˘ to play the role of Hatakeyama Shigetada in the drama "Sakaro", which was staged in November 2010 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘.

31 October
2010

Fukumori Kyűsuke I's long-forgotten kaomise drama "Shitenn˘ Oedo no Kaburaya" will be revived at the National Theatre in January 2011. It was originally premiered in the 11th lunar month of 1815 in Edo at the Nakamuraza to celebrate the shűmei of Onoe Kikugor˘ III. It included the first version of the famous scene with the spirit of the Ground Spider (the "father" of "Tsuchi Gumo"). The stars of this revival will be the Otowaya guild (Onoe Kikugor˘, his son Onoe Kikunosuke and Onoe Sh˘roku) and Nakamura Tokiz˘ [more details].

The ground-breaking Shint˘ ceremony was held the 28th of October 2010 on the site of the old disappeared Kabukiza and of the future 2013 Kabukiza.

A documentary about the last days of the Kabukiza was premiered in October 2010 at the 15th Pusan International Film Festival. Titled "Kabukiza: Final Curtain", this movie was directed by Sogawa S˘kichi. It will be released in Japan the 15th of January 2011. The major Sh˘wa/Heisei actors were casted: Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Kataoka Nizaemon, Sakata T˘jűr˘, Onoe Kikugor˘, Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Nakamura Kichiemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Tomijűr˘, Nakamura Shikan or Nakamura Baigyoku. Here is a little text written by Ch˘ Young-jung to describe the movie on the PIFF website: "The Kabukiza, a symbol of T˘ky˘ĺs Ginza district, closes its doors for the first time in 60 years for renovation. The actors, having been secure on the stage over the decades, share stories about the theater, their individual experiences as actors, and the most representative work. Their memories are the history of this deeply traditional theater and they, too, have become part of the history. Gradually, vitality sprouts in the silent theater; preparation for the final performance has begun. The camera visits the once off-limits backstage. The power of tradition oozes out of the dressing room and the prop room, where artisansĺ spirits breathe. "Kabukiza: Final Curtain" unites the beginning and end of Kabukiza. The actorsĺ first memories of the theater overlap with their very last performance. On the same spot where they first stepped in and prayed, they pay final respects and bid farewell to the stage like the first performance. The last farewell of Kabukiza, having had their tradition tenaciously maintained, faints like a farewell to the past never to be seen again" [more details].

There was a Kabuki tour in Central America in October 2010 [more details], to commemorate the 400th Anniversary of Japan's Relations with Mexico. This is part of a 10-year long series of cultural events, which started in 2009. Why 400 years? In September of 1609 (6 years after the creation of Kabuki in Ky˘to), the San Francisco, a Spanish galleon bound from the Philippines to Mexico, met with a storm and ran aground off the coast of what is now called Onjuku Town (Chiba prefecture). The ship was carrying 373 people, including Don Rodrigo de Vivero, the former interim governor of the Philippines who had just finished serving his term of duty there. The Onjuku villagers who witnessed the wreck, bravely rescued the sailors and nursed them back to health, beginning a long tradition of exchange between Japan and Mexico [more details].

Ichikawa Ennosuke 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 2010 (bunka k˘r˘sha).

The Nakamuraya guild will commemorate in November 2010 at the Misonoza the 24th anniversary (23rd memorial service) of the passing away of Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVII [more details].

The Zenshinza actor Arashi Yoshisabur˘ VII will celebrate his shűmei in January 2011 in Ky˘to at the Minamiza [more details].

30 September
2010

In November 2010 at the National Theatre there will be the full-length performance of Chikamatsu Monzaemon's masterpiece jidaimono "Kokusen'ya Gassen". The prestigious roles of Wat˘nai, Kinsh˘jo and Kanki will be played by Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Sakata T˘jűr˘ and Nakamura Baigyoku.

The dances "Renjishi" and "Dontsuku" will be staged in October 2010 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ to commemorate the 49th anniversary (50th memorial service), the 36th anniversary (37th memorial service) and the 12th anniversary (13th memorial service) of the deaths of late Band˘ Mitsugor˘ VII, late Band˘ Mitsugor˘ VIII and late Band˘ Mitsugor˘ IX. The dances will be performed by the heirs of this branch of the Band˘ clan, Band˘ Mitsugor˘ and his son Band˘ Minosuke.

The Nagauta musician Kineya Masakichiji (1913~2010) died the 25th of September 2010.

31 August
2010

The biggest piece of news for 2010: it is finally possible to book a Kabuki ticket in English online! The Sh˘chiku Company finally opened in August 2010 an official Kabuki website in English:

Another big piece of news for 2010: The 16 Kabukiza Sayonara K˘en (Kabukiza Farewell Public Performances) will be released in DVD. 8 deluxe DVD boxes, containing 12 DVDs and two months of Kabuki, will be published in 2010 and 2011 [more details in Japanese]. One box every 2 months, from August 2010 to October 2011. A few figures to make your head spin: this amazing collection will gather 35 Kabuki programs (more than 100 dramas or dances) on 96 DVDs. Each box will be priced 26,250 JPY ... and, the last but not the least, the famous English commentaries will be included!

Release Time Contents
August 2010 January 2009/February 2009
October 2010 March 2009/April 2009
December 2010 May 2009/June 2009
February 2011 July 2009/August 2009
April 2011 September 2009/October 2009
June 2011 November 2009/December 2009
August 2011 January 2010/February 2010
October 2011 March 2010/April 2010

The Living National Treasure Nagauta shinobue musician Takara Sanzaemon IV died the 7th of August 2010. Son of Fukuhara Hyakunosuke V, he took the names of Fukuhara Hyakunosuke VI and Takara Sanzaemon IV in 1964 and 1992, and became Living National Treasure in 1993.

The Sh˘chiku Company has published the Kabuki line-up in T˘ky˘ up to April 2011 [in Japanese]:

Month Theater Time Frame
September 2010 Shinbashi Enbuj˘ From the 2nd to the 26th
October 2010 Shinbashi Enbuj˘ From the 2nd to the 26th
November 2010 Shinbashi Enbuj˘ From the 1st to the 25th
December 2010 Nissay Theatre From the 2nd to the 25th
January 2011 Shinbashi Enbuj˘ From the 2nd to the 26th
  Asakusa K˘kaid˘ From the 2nd to the 26th
  Le Theatre Ginza From the 3rd to the 25th
February 2011 Le Theatre Ginza From the 1st to the 25th
March 2011 Shinbashi Enbuj˘ From the 2nd to the 26th
April 2011 Shinbashi Enbuj˘ From the 1st to the 25th

The Heisei Nakamuraza will be in ďsaka in October 2010 and November 2010. This is the second stay of Nakamura Kanzabur˘'s theater in ďsaka and, for the first time, a 2-month long stay! The temporary koshibai look-alike theater will be built in the precincts of the ďsaka Castle, in the heart of the Nishi no Maru Park [October/November].

As part as the Shinema Kabuki ("Cinema Kabuki") series, Kud˘ Kankur˘'s modern Kabuki drama "ďedo Ribingu Deddo" ("ďedo and the Living Dead" in English), which was shot live in December 2009 at the Kabukiza, will be released all over Japan from the 16th of October 2010. This is the 12th "Cinema Kabuki" [more details in Japanese]. By the way, there is a short trailer on youtube.com!

31 July
2010

Namiki Gohei's long-forgotten drama "Keisei Kogane no Shachihoko", which was revived and expanded (and retitled "Asahi-ni Kagayaku Kin no Shachihoko") in January 2010 at the National Theatre, will be staged in October 2010 for the 46th kaomise at the Misonoza (Nagoya). This exceptional production will commemorate the 400-year anniversary of the establishment of the city of Nagoya [more details].

"Botantei", a new creation initiated by the star Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and based on the famous Chinese Opera "The Peony Pavilion", will be staged for the first time in T˘ky˘, in October 2010 at the Akasaka Act Theater. It was premiered March 2008 at the Minamiza and was also staged in May 2008 in Beijing (China). The lyrics were written by Yumemakura Baku, who worked in 1991 with Band˘ Tamasabur˘ for the creation of "Y˘kihi". Band˘ Tamasabur˘ will share the stage with performers of Kunqu, one of the oldest forms of Chinese opera which originated in the Suzhou region.

The Zenshinza troupe will tour in the USA in November 2010. There will be two different programs, the first one which is made up of the Kabuki dance "Chatsubo" and the Kabuki drama "Narukami" and the second one which is made up of the 2006 modern drama "H˘nen and Shinran". Written by Tajima Ei, "H˘nen and Shinran" is a moving historical drama depicting the upheaval of 13th-century Japan, and two priests, H˘nen and Shinran, who opened a path to freedom through affirming the essence of life and human existence in a time of civil war and moral collapse. Because of their break from monastic traditions and their founding of a lay ministry, they are often compared with Calvin and Luther. The troupe will perform in Los Angeles (Aratani Japan America Theatre) from the 5th to the 7th of November, in San Francisco (Zellerbach Hall at the University of California) from the 12th to the 14th of November and in Honolulu (Hawaii Theatre) from the 20th to the 21st of November.

The great onnagata actor Sawamura T˘jűr˘, who fell seriously ill in 1998, was back on stage at the Sh˘chikuza the 3rd of July 2010, to take part in the speech done in "D˘tonbori Shibai-mae".

Quite an unusual event these days in the Kabuki world: two actors will change their yag˘ soon without changing their name: Nakamura Karoku and Nakamura Kash˘, who are currently part of the Yorozuya guild, will join the Harimaya guild in September 2010 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘. A special program will be staged there to commemorate the great actor Nakamura Kichiemon I, whose's yag˘ was Harimaya.

The National Theatre has published the programs for October 2010, November 2010, December 2010 and January 2011:

Month Program
October 2010 Two Shinkabuki dramas of Mayama Seika, "Tenp˘ Yűky˘ Roku" and "Sh˘gun Edo o Saru", with Nakamura Kichiemon, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Kash˘ and Ichikawa Somegor˘
November 2010 T˘shi ky˘gen production of Chikamatsu Monzaemon's jidaimono "Kokusen'ya Gassen", with Sakata T˘jűr˘, Ichikawa Danjűr˘ and Nakamura Baigyoku
December 2010 Acts 3, 4, 7 and 11, with "Ochiudo" as an interlude, of the classic "Kanadehon Chűshingura", starring Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Fukusuke and Ichikawa Somegor˘
January 2011 Revival of Fukumori Kyűsuke I's kaomise drama "Shitenn˘ Oedo no Kaburaya", which was premiered in the 11th lunar month of 1815 at the Nakamuraza, starring Onoe Kikugor˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke and Onoe Sh˘roku
30 June
2010

Kataoka Nizaemon is part of the cast of Sugita Shigemichi's movie "Saigo no Chűshingura". He plays the role of ďishi Kuranosuke, along with the stars Yakusho K˘ji and Sakuraba Nanami. This movie is based on Ikemiya Sh˘ichir˘'s eponymous novel. The movie will be released all over Japan the 18th of December 2010. Its international title is "The Last Chűshingura" [more details in English/official website].

30 May
2010

Kataoka Nizaemon will receive the 13th 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 31st of July 2010 in Mino-Kamo.

Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and Ichikawa Ebiz˘ will stage in Ky˘to at the Minamiza in September 2010 (from the 2nd to the 27th) a t˘shi ky˘gen production of "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura". The matinÚe program will be made up of "Torii Mae", "Tokaiya/Daimotsu no Ura" and "Yoshinoyama". The evening program will be made up of "Ko-no-Mi", "Sushiya" and "Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata/Zaod˘". There will be a special program (replacing the classic matinÚe and evening programs), nicknamed Tadanobu edition and staged 7 specific days (the 3rd, the 7th, the 10th, the 14th, 17th, 21st and 24th). This program will be made up of the scenes featuring Tadanobu (and the fox which looks like Tadanobu): "Torii Mae", "Yoshinoyama" and "Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata/Za˘d˘".

Nakamura Tokiz˘ 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.

30 April
2010

Today is a sad day for all Kabuki lovers; this last day of April is the day of the closing ceremony of the Kabukiza, an one-time special program which is staged with a lot of Kabuki stars on stage [more details].

The ďsaka Shinkabukiza will be relocated from Nanba (Chű˘ Ward in ďsaka) to a mixed-use building in Uehonmachi. The kokera otoshi will occur in September 2010, with the troupe of young Kabuki actors from the Omodakaya guild.

The troupe led by Ichikawa Ebiz˘, which will perform 3 acts of "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura" in London in June 2010, will extend the tour in Italy, in Roma at the Teatro di Roma-Argentina, the 21st and 22nd of June 2010.

The Nagauta musician Mochizuki Ch˘saku VII took the name of Mochizuki Bokusei V in April 2010* at the Kabukiza.

A new collection of plays was created by Ichikawa Ennosuke III in March 2010; it is titled Ennosuke Shijűhassen (the Best 48 of Ennosuke) and it is subdivided into several sections:

Fukkatsu T˘shi Ky˘gen Jűhachiban
The best 18 t˘shi ky˘gen revivals
15 of these plays were already part of the Ennosuke Jűhachiban collection:
 

  • Futago Sumidagawa
  • Gohiiki Tsunagi Uma
  • Hade Kurabe Ise Monogatari
  • Haji Momiji Ase no Kaomise
  • Hitori Tabi Gojűsan Tsugi
  • Jűni Hitoe Komachi Zakura
  • Jűnitoki Chűshingura
  • Kagamiyama Gonichi no Iwafuji
  • Kiku-no-En Tsuki no Shiranami
  • Kimi-wa-Fune Nami no Uwajima
  • Kinmon Gosan no Kiri
  • Kin no Zai Sarushima Dairi
  • Nans˘ Satomi Hakkenden
  • Ogasawara Shorei no Okunote
  • Shitenn˘ Momiji no Edoguma
  • T˘ryű Oguri Hangan
  • Tenjiku Tokubŕ Imay˘ Banashi
  • Yotsuya Kaidan Chűshingura
  • Ennosuke Shin'enshutsu Jűshű
    The 10 "New Direction Plays" of Ennosuke
     
    Kaka Jűkyoku
    The 10 "melodies" of Kaka
    (Kaka is the haimy˘ of Ennosuke)
     

  • Hashi Benkei
  • Kaka Saiyűki
  • Keigoto Sugi Sakaya
  • Mochizuki
  • Nihon Furisode Hajime
  • ďeyama Shuten D˘ji
  • Onizoroi Momijigari
  • Ryűrei
  • Taik˘ Sanbas˘
  • Yakko D˘j˘ji
  • Shinsaku SűpÔ Kabuki Jűban
    The best 10 of new creations and SűpÔ Kabuki
     

  • Hakkenden
  • Kaguya
  • Oguri
  • ďkuninushi
  • Ryű˘
  • Shin Sangokushi
  • Shin Sangokushi II
  • Shin Sangokushi III
  • Shin Suikoden
  • Yamato Takeru
  • (*) it was initially reported in 2008 that the shűmei would occur in Summer 2009!

    28 March
    2010

    As part as the Shinema Kabuki ("Cinema Kabuki") series, the dance-dramas "Kumo no Hy˘shimai" and "Migawari Zazen", which were shot live in October 2009 and December 2009 at the Kabukiza, will be released in T˘ky˘ the 1st of May 2010. This is the 11th "Cinema Kabuki" and it will be screened at the T˘geki in T˘ky˘ [more details in Japanese]. It will be released all over Japan from the 15th of May 2010.

    The troupe led by Ichikawa Ebiz˘, which will perform 3 acts of "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura" in London in June 2010, will extend the tour in Japan, in August 2010 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ and in September 2010 at the Minamiza.

    A website in Japanese and in dedicated to the Kabuki tour in London in June 2010 was built by the Sh˘chiku Company:

    ----> http://www.shochiku.co.jp/kabuki_london2010/

    07 March
    2010

    Ichimura Yoshigor˘ II died the 17th of February 2010.

    Nakamura Karoku is the award-winner of the Excellence Prize (yűsh˘ sh˘) of the 31st Matsuo Artistic Awards (Matsuo Gein˘ Sh˘). He will receive his prize the 29th of March 2010 at the ANA Intercontinental Hotel in T˘ky˘.

    The rarely-staged mizuiri scene of "Sukeroku" will be produced in May 2010 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ with Ichikawa Ebiz˘ playing the role of Sukeroku.

    The last programs to be staged at the Kabukiza, in April 2010, before its destruction and rebuilding have been published. All-times favourites staged with a great casting [more details].

    The Kabukiza, the Temple of Kabuki in Japan, will be destroyed in a few weeks. The architect in charge of designing the future theater is Kuma Kengo. He once has said that his goal was to recover the tradition of Japanese buildings and to reinterpret it for the 21st century. So far, one of his most famous creations is the Suntory Museum of Art.

    14 February
    2010

    Do you want a souvenir of the Kabukiza? If yes, you might be interested in the coming expensive Kawara Tokei (literally the "Tile Clock"). The tiles of the Temple of Kabuki will be recycled into clocks this summer, to be sold by the Sh˘chiku Company to Kabuki fans [more details in Japanese].

    The supporting actor Sawamura Kuniya (a disciple of Sawamura T˘jűr˘) celebrates his success at the nadai exam in February 2010 at the Kabukiza.

    31 January
    2010

    As the Kabukiza will be closed in May 2010, the traditional May dankikusai will be held for the very first time in Kabuki history outside T˘ky˘ ... in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza.

    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ will perform for the very first time the prestigious and difficult role of Kakuju in the drama "D˘my˘ji", which will be staged at the Kabukiza in March 2010 [more details]. This staging will commemorate the 16th anniversary (17th memorial service) of the passing away of Kataoka Nizaemon XIII and the 35th anniversary (36th memorial service) of the passing away of Morita Kan'ya XIV.

    17 January
    2010

    The 1st of January 2010, the giant countdown machine, which was installed in front of the Kabukiza to display the number of remaining days, hours and minutes before the final closing of this theater, displayed 120 days. There was a spectacular matsuri, with an omikoshi which was brought in front of the theater to bring good luck and good fortune to the future 5th generation Kabukiza (picture)!

    Nakamura Kazutar˘, son of Nakamura Kanjaku and grandson of Sakata T˘jűr˘, will play for the first time the prestigious role of the courtesan Tenmaya Ohatsu in Chikamatsu Monzaemon's masterpiece "Sonezaki Shinjű", which will be staged in March 2010 at the Minamiza [more details]; the role of Hiranoya Tokubŕ will be performed by Nakamura Kanjaku. The 3-generation actors went to the Tsuyu Tenjinsha shrine, which is commonly called Ohatsu Tenjin, to pray for the success of the performance and to get some protection from the Deity enshrined there.

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