NEWS FROM THE KABUKI WORLD
2011
31 December
2011

A very sad Christmas for the Kabuki world: the actors Iwai Hanshir˘ X (1927~2011) and Kataoka Roen VI (1926~2011) died the 25th of December 2011.

Nakamura Matagor˘ III and his son Nakamura Kash˘ IV will celebrate their shűmei at the Minamiza in March 2012 [more details] and at the Kanamaruza in April 2012 [more details]!

The first Shűzan's Festival outside T˘ky˘ will commemorate in March 2012 at the Minamiza the memory of Nakamura Kichiemon II's grandfather Nakamura Kichiemon I.

No Heisei Nakamuraza in February 2012! The reason is quite simple: this is not related to the fact that February is the coldest month in T˘ky˘ ... but because of the shűmei of Nakamura Kankur˘ VI at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘, where the Nakamuraya guild and their friends will gather [more details].

Ichikawa Ennosuke's young, talented and popular disciple Ichikawa Danjir˘ took the name of Ichikawa Tsukinosuke II the 19th of December 2011. Ichikawa Tsukinosuke I was a deshi of Ichikawa En'˘ I.

As part as the Shinema Kabuki ("Cinema Kabuki") series, 3 masterpieces of Izumi Ky˘ka will be released all over Japan in movie theaters in 2012:

Release Day Drama Series
21st January 2012 Tenshu Monogatari 15th "Cinema Kabuki"
18th February 2012 Kaijin Bess˘ 16th "Cinema Kabuki"
17th March 2012 K˘ya Hijiri 17th "Cinema Kabuki"
30 November
2011

Sakata T˘jűr˘ celebrated the 25th of November 2011 on the stage of the National Theatre his 100th performance in the role of Tenmaya Ohatsu ("Sonezaki Shinjű") since his shűmei in December 2005. He performed this role for the first time in August 1953 and celebrated his 1000th performance the 16th of january 1995 on the stage of the Nakaza in ďsaka. He celebrated the 1300th performances the 24th of April 2009 on the stage of the Kabukiza. So far, he performed 1326 times the role of Tenmaya Ohatsu!

The Kabuki actors of the Nakamuraya guild, Nakamura Kanzabur˘ and his two sons, paraded the 27th of November in Asakusa ahead of the succession ceremony of the elder son Nakamura Kantar˘, who will take the name of Nakamura Kankur˘ VI in February 2012 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘. The new Kankur˘ will play the roles of the priest Chichű (in reality the spirit of the ground spider), Lord Matsue and the spirit of the Lion in "Tsuchi Gumo", "K˘chiyama" and "Kagami Jishi" [more details].

The 1st anniversary of the passing away of Living National Treasure Nakamura Tomijűr˘ will be celebrated in January 2012 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ with the staging of the dance-drama "Renjishi" with Nakamura Kichiemon and Nakamura Tomijűr˘'s son Nakamura Takanosuke in the roles of the parent shishi and the cub.

Ichikawa Danshir˘ is still on sick leave. He won't perform at the National Theatre in December 2011. He will be replaced by Nakamura T˘z˘ to play the role of Tamura Uky˘dayű in the drama "Genroku Chűshingura".

The spectacular drama "Narukami Fud˘ Kitayama Zakura" was premiered in the 1st lunar month of 1742 in ďsaka by the Edo star Ichikawa Ebiz˘ II. 270 years later, it will be staged in January 2012 in the same city, at the Sh˘chikuza, starring the T˘ky˘ young actor Ichikawa Ebiz˘ XI [more details].

31 October
2011

Living National Treasure Nakamura Shikan VII died of lung failure the 10th of October 2011.

Here is the list of scheduled performances of the shűmei for 3 generations of Omodakaya actors:

Month Theater
June 2012, July 2012 Shinbashi Enbuj˘
January 2013 Sh˘chikuza
March 2013 Misonoza
June 2013 Hakataza
December 2013 Minamiza

The Heisei Nakamuraza has just opened a new website, which gives all the details for all the performances in Asakusa from November 2011 to May 2012!

Ichikawa Danshir˘ fell ill the 14th of October 2011 and had to stop performing at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘. He was replaced by Ichikawa Ukon to play the role of Yokoyama Daizen in the drama "T˘ryű Oguri Hangan". He was expected to perform in November 2011 at the Hakataza but he won't be fit. He will be replaced by Nakamura Karoku and Kataoka Ichiz˘ to play the roles of Kud˘ Saemon Suketsune and Shinoda no Sh˘ji in "Soga no Taimen" and "Kuzu-no-Ha".

The Otowaya supporting actor Onoe Kikujűr˘ IV won official commendation from the director of Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs.

30 September
2011

Most likely the most important 2011 Kabuki-related piece of news: 2 shűmei and 2 hatsubutai for 3 generations of Omodakaya actors! In June 2012 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘, the Omodakaya guild will commemorate the 49th anniversary (50th memorial service) of late Ichikawa En'˘ I and Ichikawa Danshir˘ III:

  • Ichikawa Ennosuke III, who stopped acting in 2004, will take the name of Ichikawa En'˘ II.
  • Ichikawa Ennosuke's nephew Ichikawa Kamejir˘, one of the most popular actors nowadays, will take the name of Ichikawa Ennosuke IV.
  • Ichikawa Ennosuke's son Kagawa Teruyuki, a movie star in Japan, will make his debut on stage (hatsubutai) and will receive the name of Ichikawa Chűsha IX. Born the 7th of December 1965, he will become a Kabuki actor at the age of 46! It is also worth noting that his yag˘ will be Omodakaya, not Tachibanaya, which was the yag˘ of both Ichikawa Chűsha VII and Ichikawa Chűsha VIII.
  • Ichikawa Ennosuke's grandson Kagawa Masaaki will make his debut on stage (hatsubutai) and will receive the name of Ichikawa Danko V.
  • The Minamiza will commemorate the 800th anniversary of H˘nen's death in October 2011 with Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ playing the role of H˘nen [more details].

    Nakamura Kanzabur˘ and the Nakamuraya guild will perform "Shunkan" on the Island where Shunkan was exiled ... not in a theater but on the beach, with a real boat bringing the envoy Tanzaemon Motoyasu on Shunkan's island [more details].

    Living National Treasure Nakamura Shikan fell ill the 2nd of September 2011 and had to stop performing at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘. He was replaced by his son Nakamura Fukusuke to play the role of Yodogimi in the drama "Hototogisu Koj˘ no Rakugetsu".

    The National Theatre will celebrate its 45th anniversary from October 2011. A new website (in Japanese only), which gives more details about all the events associated to this anniversary, has just opened!

    31 August
    2011

    The National Theatre will celebrate its 45th anniversary from October 2011. This state-sponsored theater, specialized in the revival of long-forgotten dramas or rarely-staged scenes of classics and the staging of educational Kabuki programs in Summer, opened in November 1966. In order to celebrate this 45th anniversary, the following Kabuki dramas will be staged:

    Month Program
    October 2011 "Kaimaku Ky˘ki Adauchi Monogatari", a Kabuki version of Kyokutei Bakin's novel "Kaikan Ky˘ki Ky˘kakuden" ("Daring Adventures of Chivalrous Men", 4 volumes published between 1832 and 1835), which will star the Otowaya guild (Onoe Kikugor˘, his son Onoe Kikunosuke and Onoe Sh˘roku) and Nakamura Tokiz˘!
    November 2011 Two Chikamatsu Monzaemon's dramas, the jidaimono "Nihon Furisode Hajime" and the sewamono "Sonezaki Shinjű", with Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun and Nakamura Kanjaku!
    December 2011 3 parts, in 5 acts (12 scenes), of "Genroku Chűshingura" with Nakamura Kichiemon and Nakamura Baigyoku
    January 2012 "Sannin Kichisa Tomoe no Shiranami" and "Yakko Dako Sato no Harukaze" with Nakamura Kichiemon, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Shibajaku, Ichikawa Danshir˘ and Nakamura Kinnosuke
    March 2012 "Ichi-no-Tani Futaba Gunki" with the rarely-staged "Nagashi no Eda" act and the ultra-classic "Kumagai Jin'ya" with Ichikawa Danjűr˘ and Band˘ Mitsugor˘
    April 2012 Tsuruya Nanboku IV's masterpiece "Ehon Gapp˘-ga-Tsuji", whose staging was stopped in March 2011 after the 2011 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake Disaster with Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Kataoka Takatar˘ and Kataoka Ainosuke

    The November 2011 kaomise programs at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ will commemorate the 22th anniversary (23rd memorial service) and the 16th anniversary (17th memorial service) of the deaths of late Onoe Sh˘roku II and Onoe Baik˘ VII [more details].

    3 generations of the Matsushimaya guild, Kataoka Nizaemon, his son Kataoka Takatar˘ and his grandson Kataoka Sennosuke, will perform in the precinct of the Kinpusanji temple in October 2011 [more details].

    Kabuki actors Nakamura Kash˘ III (the future Nakamura Matagor˘ III) and Nakamura Tanetar˘ IV (the future Nakamura Kash˘ IV) paraded in Asakusa on the 22nd of August 2011 ahead of their coming succession ceremony in September 2011 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ [more details]:

    "Kanadehon Chűshingura" was staged in Iran, in Tehran at Molavi Hall in July 2011. It was a free adaptation staged by Hassan Farzipour as part of the 15th International Ritual-Traditional Theater Festival [more details].

    Where is the Kabukiza???

    ----> A terrible picture!

    The Kamigata ky˘genkata Horimoto Tar˘ died the 29th of August 2011. He was born in ďsaka in 1932 and became a disciple of Matsui Sh˘z˘ in 1951. He worked a lot with Kamigata stars like Nakamura Ganjir˘ II, Hasegawa Kazuo, Kataoka Nizaemon XIII and Jitsukawa Enjaku II.

    The Heisei Nakamuraza will be back soon in Asakusa, where it will stay up ... to May 2012! The first published program is the November 2011 one [more details].

    31 July
    2011

    A very sad piece of news this month: young Kabuki actor Onoe Tatsumi remained in a coma after an apparent suicide attempt by hanging at a park in T˘ky˘:

    The Cultural Affair Council has designated veteran Kabuki actor Nakamura Kichiemon as a Living National Treasure.

    Nakamura Kantar˘ will take the name of Nakamura Kankur˘ VI in February 2012 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘. Here is the list of scheduled shűmei:

    Month Theater
    February 2012 Shinbashi Enbuj˘
    March 2012 Heisei Nakamuraza
    September 2012 Sh˘chikuza
    October 2012 Misonoza
    December 2012 Minamiza
    February 2013 Hakataza

    Nakamura Matagor˘ III and Nakamura Kash˘ IV will celebrate their shűmei in Nagoya in October 2011 at the Misonoza [more details].

    As part as the Shinema Kabuki ("Cinema Kabuki") series, the classic "Kumagai Jin'ya", which was shot live in April 2010 at the Kabukiza, will be released all over Japan from the 8th of October 2011 (this will be the 14th "Cinema Kabuki"). The casting was amazing: Nakamura Kichiemon as Kumagai no Jir˘ Naozane, Nakamura Baigyoku as Minamoto no Yoshitsune, Nakamura Kaishun as Fuji-no-Kata, Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ as Sagami and late Living National Treasure Nakamura Tomijűr˘ as Midaroku! There is a short trailer on youtube.com!

    30 June
    2011

    The K˘raiya supporting actor Matsumoto K˘emon died the 27th of June 2011.

    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ held a special dance program for the victims of the 2011 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake Disaster in June 2011 at the Yachiyoza [more details]. Onoe Kikunosuke will do the same in July at the Asakusa K˘kaid˘ [more details].

    Mario Vargas Llosa, the 2010 Nobel prize of litterature (and one of my favourite writers!), held a conference the 23rd of June 2011 at the T˘ky˘ branch of the Instituto Cervantes. It was entitled "La elegancia del Kabuki" and two Kabuki actors, Nakamura Ky˘z˘ and Nakamura Kazutar˘, took part in this event.

    The young star Ichikawa Ebiz˘, who had to stop acting on Kabuki stages for some months after a drunken brawl affair in 2010, kept himself busy by becoming the hero of Miike Takashi's movie "Ichimei" (international title: "Hara-kiri: Death of a Samurai"). The story is a tale of revenge, honor and disgrace, centering on a poverty-stricken samurai who discovers the fate of his r˘nin son-in-law, setting in motion a tense showdown of vengeance against the house of a feudal lord. "Ichimei" was the first 3D movie ever to be shown in official selection at the Cannes Film Festival [official website/IMDB trailer]. "Ichimei" is based on Kobayashi Masaki's 1962 masterpiece "Seppuku" (international title: "Hara-kiri").

    The Nagauta shamisen player (and member of the Onoe Kikugor˘ Gekidan) Kashiwa Isabur˘ III (1952~2011) died the 1st of June 2011.

    Ichikawa Sadanji received the Order of the Rising Sun, 5th Class (Gold and Silver Rays), the 27th of June 2011.

    Onoe Kikunoj˘ II, the 3rd headmaster of the Onoe-ryű school of Buy˘, will give his name and the responsability of his school to his son Onoe Seifű, who will take the name of Onoe Kikunoj˘ III in August 2011 while his father will take the name of Onoe Bokusetsu. There will be a special dance program at the National Theatre from the 29th to the 31st of August 2011 in which several Kabuki actors, including the stars of the Onoe clan Onoe Kikugor˘ and Onoe Kikunosuke, Ichikawa Kamejir˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Onoe Ukon and Fujima Kan'emon, will take part.

    31 May
    2011

    Nakamura Kash˘ III and his son Nakamura Tanetar˘ IV will take the respective names of Nakamura Matagor˘ III and Nakamura Kash˘ IV in September 2011 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ [more details]. Here is the list of scheduled shűmei:

    Month Theater
    September 2011 Shinbashi Enbuj˘
    October 2011 Misonoza
    March 2012 Minamiza
    April 2012 Kanamaruza
    June 2012 Hakataza
    July 2012 Sh˘chikuza

    Nakamura Shijaku II, who was a disciple of late Nakamura Matagor˘ II, has joined the Matsumoto clan. He will take the name of Matsumoto K˘jaku II in June 2011 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘. Matsumoto K˘jaku I (1933~1994) was an onnagata actor, who was a disciple of Matsumoto K˘shir˘ VIII.

    The Nagauta singer Sakata Sen'ichir˘ II (1938~2011) died the 9th of May 2011.

    The Heisei star Nakamura Kanzabur˘ will be back on stage in July 2011 (from the 23rd to the 24th of July), in Matsumoto at the Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre [more details]. He stopped acting in February 2011, due to health problems.

    The young star Ichikawa Ebiz˘, whose 2010 drunken brawl affair has covered him with ridicule, will be back on stage in July 2011 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ [more details]. He will perform alongside his father Ichikawa Danjűr˘, who will most likely keep a strict eye on his debauched son.

    The National Theatre has published the programs for October 2011 and November 2011:

    Month Program
    October 2011 "Kaimaku Ky˘ki Adauchi Monogatari", a Kabuki version of Kyokutei Bakin's novel "Kaikan Ky˘ki Ky˘kakuden" ("Daring Adventures of Chivalrous Men", 4 volumes published between 1832 and 1835), which will star the Otowaya guild (Onoe Kikugor˘, his son Onoe Kikunosuke and Onoe Sh˘roku) and Nakamura Tokiz˘!
    November 2011 Two Chikamatsu Monzaemon's dramas, the jidaimono "Nihon Furisode Hajime" and the sewamono "Sonezaki Shinjű", with Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun and Nakamura Kanjaku!

    As part as the Shinema Kabuki ("Cinema Kabuki") series, the sewamono "Abura no Jigoku", which was shot live in June 2009 at the Kabukiza, will be released at the T˘geki the 18th of June 2011 and all over Japan from the 25th of June 2011 (this will be the 13th "Cinema Kabuki"). The roles of Kawachiya Yohŕ and Okichi were played by Kataoka Nizaemon and his son Kataoka Takatar˘. There is a short trailer on youtube.com!

    30 April
    2011

    Others Kabuki-related consequence of the 2011 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake Disaster: the July 2011 tours in the central and eastern provinces are canceled.

    Nakamura Hashinosuke is one of the 9 award-winners of the 67th Japan Art Academy Awards (Nihon Geijutsuin Sh˘) for the year 2010.

    The rendering of the future Kabukiza has been unveiled! Here are an article in English and a picture of the rendering:

    31 March
    2011

    To all my relatives, friends and acquaintances in Japan: I love and I respect you! You are in my heart and my thoughts everyday! Please stay safe & strong through these difficult times!

    To help the victims of the earthquake and the tsunami which struck the north-eastern of Japan the 11th of March 2011, the Sh˘chiku Company have started a huge fund raising campaign in all its movie and Kabuki theaters [more details].

    Minor Kabuki-related consequences of the 2011 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake Disaster:

  • The staging of Tsuruya Nanboku IV's masterpiece "Ehon Gapp˘-ga-Tsuji" at the National Theatre in March 2011 was stopped from the 15th of March.
  • Band˘ Tamasabur˘'s special Buy˘ performances in Kosaka (Akita prefecture) at the K˘rakukan, which were expected to happen from the 26th to the 27th of March 2011, were canceled.
  • For the English-reading Kabuki aficionados living in/around T˘ky˘ (who may need to take all the bad pieces of news out of their mind for a few hours), there will be an opportunity to see Kabuki plays and dances on a movie screen with English subtitles the 7th of May 2011 at the T˘geki (a famous theatre which used to be the T˘ky˘ Gekij˘!) [more details].

    28 February
    2011

    Two new young heirs in the Kabuki world: Nakamura Kantar˘'s baby son was born the 22nd of February 2011. He is the first grandson of the Heisei star Nakamura Kanzabur˘. Ichikawa Ebiz˘'s baby son is due in July 2011; the first good piece of news in 2011 for the Naritaya guild!

    There will be Kabuki performances at the Meijiza in May 2011 [more details]. We have to go back quite in time to find the previous Kabuki performances at the Meijiza: it occurred in June 1995.

    Ichikawa Sash˘ III (1926~2011), a disciple of Ichikawa Sadanji III and Ichikawa Sadanji IV, died the 13th of February 2011. His real name was Nakamura Kiyoharu and his yag˘ was Takashimaya.

    The dance master Fujima Kankichir˘ (1931~2011), a disciple of Fujima Kanjűr˘ VI, died the 10th of February 2011. His real name was Yamaguchi Chűshir˘.

    The Gidayű singer Takemoto Ayatayű III (1933~2011) died the 5th of February 2011. His real name was Hioki Norio. He appeared on stage for the last time in December 2010 at the Minamiza, where he sang in "Terakoya" and "Numazu".

    The Nagauta shamisen player Kineya Eiichir˘ II (1946~2011) died the 21st of January 2011. His real name was Yoneda Toyohiko.

    Nakamura Kanzabur˘ is on sick leave for a few months (expected to be back on stage in summer?). He won't be able not take part in the March 2011 Kabuki performances in Fukuoka at the Hakataza.

    Nakamura Kanjaku is the award-winner of the Excellence Prize (yűsh˘ sh˘) of the 32nd Matsuo Artistic Awards (Matsuo Gein˘ Sh˘). He will receive his prize the 29th of March 2011 at the ANA Intercontinental Hotel in T˘ky˘.

    31 January
    2011

    Living National Treasure Nakamura Tomijűr˘ (1929~2011) died the 3rd of January 2011.

    The 10th anniversary of the passing away of Nakamura Utaemon VI will be commemorated at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ in March 2011, with the staging of both "Goten" and "Yoshiwara Suzume" [more details].

    Yamazaki Gon'ichi (1929~2011), a disciple of Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘ II, Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘ III and Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘ IV, died the 25th of January 2011. His real name was Onoe Yoshikatsu and his yag˘ was Yamazakiya.

    The spectacular and hardly-produced koi tsukami scene (using honmizu) will be staged at the Kanamaruza in April 2011, starring Ichikawa Somegor˘ in the role of the spirit of the giant carp [more details].

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