NEWS FROM THE KABUKI WORLD
2012
31 December
2012

The Heisei star Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVIII, zagashira of both the Heisei Nakamuraza and the Cocoon Kabuki, passed away at a T˘ky˘ hospital the 5th of December 2012. He had an operation for esophageal cancer in July but later suffered pneumonia and respiratory problems. Nakamura Kanzabur˘'s funeral service was held the 27th of December 2012, at T˘ky˘'s Tsukiji Honganji Temple. His two sons, Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke, were the chief mourners. Before the ceremony, his remains were carried by his two sons to the Sumida Park, a famous place in Asakusa where Nakamura Kanzabur˘ founded the Heisei Nakamuraza in 2000, and to the construction site of the future 5th generation Kabukiza, about to open in April 2013. Nakamura Kanzabur˘ won't perform there but his spirit will be there!

The Nagauta shamisen player and Living National Treasure Kineya Mitar˘ VII and his disciple Kineya Mikichi II took the names of Kineya J˘gu and Kineya Mitar˘ VIII in December 2012 in T˘ky˘ at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘. It might be interesting to note that the ideogram for mi in Mitar˘ is the one used for the Year of the Serpent in the jűnishi zodiac ... and 2013 will be the year of the serpent!

The programs for the first 3 months of the 1-year long cycle of kokera otoshi for the brand-new Kabukiza have been published by the Sh˘chiku Company! The day will be divided in 3 instead of the usual 2 programs for April 2013, May 2013 and June 2013.

Ichikawa Danjűr˘ has joined the prestigious Japan Art Academy (Nihon Geijutsuin). It was formally announced by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology the 15th of December 2012. Unfortunately, he caught a cold while performing in Ky˘to at the Minamiza and had to be replaced from the 18th of December. The role of Kajiwara Heiz˘ Kagetoki in "Ishikiri Kajiwara" and Benkei in "Funa Benkei" were performed by Nakamura Kanjaku and Nakamura Hashinosuke. It was found later that he had the symptom of pneumonia. Therefore, he won't be able to perform in January 2013 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘. He will be replaced by Matsumoto K˘shir˘ to play the role of Yuranosuke in "Gion Ichiriki Jaya". Let's hope for a quick recovery before the opening ceremonies of the brand-new 5th Kabukiza! If everything goes well, Ichikawa Danjűr˘ should be back on stage in March 2013 in T˘ky˘ at Le Theatre Ginza to perform the role of Othello in Shakespeare's eponymous drama. The roles of Iago and Gratiano will be played by Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and Kataoka Ichiz˘.

The young star Ichikawa Ennosuke IV will celebrate his shűmei at the Kanamaruza in April 2013 [more details].

Ichikawa Danshir˘ won't perform in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza in January 2013. He was expected to play the role of Kawatsura H˘gen in the drama "Shi-no-Kiri". He will be replaced by Ichikawa Juen.

Four young actors of the Omodakaya guild, Ichikawa K˘tar˘, Ichikawa Emino, Ichikawa Kish˘ and Ichikawa Enshi, will celebrate their success at the nadai exam in January 2013 in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza.

Nakamura Tokiz˘'s two sons, Nakamura Baishi and Nakamura Mantar˘, celebrated their success at the nadai exam in December 2012 in T˘ky˘ at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘. Band˘ Yajűr˘'s son Band˘ Shingo and Nakamura Kanjaku's son Nakamura Kazutar˘ did the same in December 2012 in Ky˘to at the Minamiza.

30 November
2012

The 1st anniversary of the passing away of Living National Treasure Nakamura Jakuemon IV, who died the 23rd of February 2012, will be celebrated in January 2013 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ with the staging of two of his favorite dramas, "Domo Mata" and "Gion Ichiriki Jaya". Nakamura Jakuemon IV's son Nakamura Shibajaku VII will play the roles of Otoku in the former and Okaru in the latter [more details].

The actors Ichikawa En'˘ II, Ichikawa Ennosuke IV and Ichikawa Chűsha IX will celebrate their shűmei in ďsaka in January 2013 at the Sh˘chikuza [more details] and in Nagoya in March 2013 at the Misonoza [more details].

Kataoka Nizaemon fell ill the 2nd of November 2012 and had to stop acting at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘. He was replaced by Nakamura Baigyoku and Onoe Sh˘roku for the roles of Jűjibŕ and Kumagai Naozane in "Hikimado" and "Kumagai Jin'ya". He quickly recovered and was back on stage the 23rd.

Ichikawa Somegor˘ will be back on stage in February 2013 at the Nissay Theatre, where he will play the roles of Tadanobu/the fox Genkur˘ and Isobe Kazunosuke in "Yoshinoyama" and "Shin Sarayashiki Tsuki no Amagasa".

The 21st of November 2012, a countdown machine was installed and inaugurated in the 1F lobby of the ADK Sh˘chiku Square Building to display the number of remaining days before the opening of the new Kabukiza, the 2nd of April 2013 [more details in Japanese and pictures]. It was moved the 26th of November to the facade of the T˘geki Building, not so far from the Kabukiza.

Let's call it a coincidence ... this month I've worked on the page dedicated to Tsuruya Nanboku IV's rarely-staged drama "Onna Seigen" and I've also heard that it would be revived in March 2013 at the National Theatre [more details]. The role of the nun Seigen will be performed by Nakamura Fukusuke.

Two young actors of the Matsushimaya guild, Kataoka Senjur˘ and Kataoka Matsujir˘, will celebrate their success at the nadai exam in December 2012 at the Minamiza. Kataoka Senjur˘ and Kataoka Matsujir˘ will respectively take the names of Kataoka Senju and Kataoka Matsujűr˘.

31 October
2012

Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ will perform in France in Paris (ThÚÔtre du ChÔtelet) in February 2013 in two different programs:

  • 5~7 February: he will perform in the dances "Yuki", "Aoi no Ue" and "Kane no Misaki", which are 3 classics in Band˘ Tamasabur˘'s repertoire of favourite dances.
  • 10~16 February: he will perform in "Botantei", along with a Kunqu troupe, one of the oldest forms of Chinese opera which originated in the Suzhou region. "Botantei" is Band˘ Tamasabur˘'s version of the famous Chinese Opera "The Peony Pavilion". It was premiered March 2008 at the Minamiza and was also staged in May 2008 in Beijing (China).
  • The actors Ichikawa En'˘ II, Ichikawa Ennosuke IV and Ichikawa Chűsha IX will celebrate their shűmei in ďsaka in January 2013 at the Sh˘chikuza [more details].

    Nakamura Kankur˘ VI will celebrate his shűmei in Fukuoka in February 2013 at the Hakataza [more details].

    Matsumoto K˘shir˘ 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 2012 (bunka k˘r˘sha).

    30 September
    2012

    An amazing piece of news this month: the brand-new Kabukiza will open its doors the 2nd of April 2013! There will be one year of kokera otoshi new building opening ceremonies. Here is the schedule:

    Month Program Details
    April
    2013
    Shinkaij˘ Kokera Otoshi Shigatsu ďkabuki
    Opening Ceremony April Grand Kabuki
    2nd ~ 28th
    3 programs
    May
    2013
    Shinkaij˘ Kokera Otoshi Gogatsu ďkabuki
    Opening Ceremony May Grand Kabuki
    3rd ~ 29th
    3 programs
    June
    2013
    Shinkaij˘ Kokera Otoshi Rokugatsu ďkabuki
    Opening Ceremony June Grand Kabuki
    3rd ~ 29th
    3 programs
    July
    2013
    Shinkaij˘ Kokera Otoshi Shichigatsu Hanagata Kabuki
    Opening Ceremony July Young Actors Kabuki
    4th ~ 28th
    2 programs
    August
    2013
    Shinkaij˘ Kokera Otoshi Hachigatsu N˘ry˘ Kabuki
    Opening Ceremony August Cool-Breeze Kabuki
    2nd ~ 24th
    3 programs
    September
    2013
    Shinkaij˘ Kokera Otoshi Kugatsu Hanagata Kabuki
    Opening Ceremony September Young Actors Kabuki
    1st ~ 25th
    2 programs
    October
    2013
    Shinkaij˘ Kokera Otoshi Kinshű Jűgatsu ďkabuki
    Opening Ceremony Autumn Brocade October Grand Kabuki
    1st ~ 25th
    2 programs
    November
    2013
    Shinkaij˘ Kokera Otoshi Kichirei Kaomise ďkabuki
    Opening Ceremony Annual Festive Face-Showing Grand Kabuki
    1st ~ 25th
    2 programs
    December
    2013
    Shinkaij˘ Kokera Otoshi Jűnigatsu ďkabuki
    Opening Ceremony December Grand Kabuki
    1st ~ 25th
    2 programs
    January
    2014
    Shinkaij˘ Kokera Otoshi Kotobuki Hatsuharu ďkabuki
    Opening Ceremony Congratulation Early Spring Grand Kabuki
    2nd ~ 26th
    2 programs
    February
    2014
    Shinkaij˘ Kokera Otoshi Nigatsu ďkabuki
    Opening Ceremony February Grand Kabuki
    1st ~ 25th
    2 programs
    March
    2014
    Shinkaij˘ Kokera Otoshi Sangatsu ďkabuki
    Opening Ceremony March Grand Kabuki

    The 120th anniversary of the death of Kawatake Mokuami will be celebrated at the National Theatre in January 2013 with the revival by Onoe Kikugor˘ and Nakamura Tokiz˘ of Kawatake Shinshichi II's long-forgotten drama, "Yagura Daiko Otomo Yoshiwara", which was premiered in the 2nd lunar month of 1866 at the Ichimuraza. This drama will be quite refurbished and a brand new title will be used: "Yume no Ichi Otokodate Kurabe" [more details].

    Kabuki lectures and performances in Israel for the very first times: Nakamura Ky˘z˘ and Onoe Matsugor˘ went in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv at the end of August 2012. The 30th and 31st of August, they performed at the Auditorium of Israel Museum in Jerusalem; Nakamura Ky˘z˘ played the role of the Heron Maiden in "Sagi Musume". The 6th and 7th of September, they were at the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv; "Shakky˘" and "Sagi Musume" were staged. The lectures were about the history of Kabuki, the basics of onnagata or music and sound effects in Kabuki [more details].

    In order to pray for the success of the performance at the National Theatre in October 2012 [more details] and to get some protection from the soul of Shiobara Tasuke, Band˘ Mitsugor˘ went the 31st of August 2012 to the T˘y˘ji temple in the Adachi Ward of T˘ky˘, where the tombstone of Shiobara Tasuke is [more details in Japanese]. Shiobara Tasuke was born in 1743 in Gumma Prefecture. He settled with little money in Edo in 1761, established his business, the Yamaguchiya house, in 1785 and became a successful charcoal merchant. He died in Edo the 5th of October 1816. Some episodes of his life became famous rakugo stories. Then, Kawatake Shinshichi III's made a drama out of these stories.

    Following a terrible fall which happened the 27th of August 2012, Ichikawa Somegor˘ won't appear on stage in October 2012 and November 2012. He will be replaced as follows:

    Theater Play Role Replacement
    Shinbashi Enbuj˘ Kokusen'ya Gassen Kanki Nakamura Baigyoku
    October 2012 Kanjinch˘ Yoshitsune Sakata T˘jűr˘
      Gosho no Goroz˘ Goroz˘ Nakamura Baigyoku
    National Theatre Inazuma Z˘shi Nagoya Sanza Nakamura Kinnosuke
    November 2012   Shirai Gonpachi Ichikawa Komaz˘

    The young stars of the Nakamuraya guild, Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke, paraded the 27th of September in Nagoya near the ďsu Shopping Mall ahead of the succession ceremony of Nakamura Kankur˘, who will celebrate his shűmei in October 2012 at the Misonoza [more details]. The 26th of September, Nakamura Kankur˘ went to the Genkur˘ Inari Shrine in Nara Prefecture in order to pray for the success of the coming performances and to get some protection from the Spirit of the Fox Genkur˘, who is enshrined there as Nakamura Kankur˘ will play this role in the evening program in "Michiyuki Hatsune no Tabi" and "Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata".

    Nakamura Kankur˘ VI will celebrate his shűmei in Ky˘to in December 2012 at the Minamiza [more details].

    A special exhibition dedicated to the Edo actor Ichikawa Danjűr˘ VIII will be held at the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, located within the Waseda University, from the 2nd of October 2012 to the 2nd of December 2012. A lecture about the attractiveness of Ichikawa Danjűr˘ VIII will be made by Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XII the 30th of October 2012, from 14:45 to 16:15.

    31 August
    2012

    Young actor Ichikawa Somegor˘ was victim of an accident while performing in a special Buy˘ program at the National Theatre the 27th of August 2012. He abruptly fell from the stage about 3 meters down. Because of this accident, the performance was discontinued. Ichikawa Somegor˘ had contusion on the right side of his head and body. His appearance at Shinbashi Enbuj˘, where he was scheduled to perform in September 2012, will be cancelled as well. He was expected to play the roles of Matsu˘maru and Oda Harunaga in "Terakoya" and "Badarai no Mitsuhide". The role of Matsu˘maru will be performed by Nakamura Kichiemon (who was expected to play the role of Takebe Genz˘, which will be performed by Nakamura Baigyoku). The role of Oda Harunaga will be performed by Nakamura Karoku.

    The movie "Tenchi Meisatsu", which was directed by Takita Y˘jir˘, will be released all over Japan the 15th of September 2012. It is a chronicle of the life of Yasui Santetsu, a 17th century master of sh˘gi who turned his attention to astronomy and created a new calendar for Japan. Two Kabuki actors were casted in this movie: Ichikawa Ennosuke and Ichikawa Somegor˘!

    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ will perform in December 2012 in Izumi Ky˘ka's drama "Nihonbashi" with a non-Kabuki cast of stage partners, in T˘ky˘ at the Nissay Theatre from the 3rd to the 26th of December 2012.

    31 July
    2012

    The Cultural Affair Council has designated the onnagata actor Band˘ Tamasabur˘ as a Living National Treasure [more details]. 4 others Kabuki actors are Living National Treasures: Sakata T˘jűr˘, Sawamura Tanosuke, Onoe Kikugor˘ and Nakamura Kichiemon.

    The 10th and final edition of the gala of the association Kamejir˘ no Kai will be staged from the 16th to the 20th of August 2012 in T˘ky˘ at the National Theatre [more details]. This association supports the young and talented actor Ichikawa Ennosuke, who stopped using the name of Ichikawa Kamejir˘ in June 2012. Next year, we assume there'll the 1st gala of a brand new association, the Ennosuke no Kai!

    Nakamura Kankur˘ VI will celebrate his shűmei in ďsaka in September 2012 at the Sh˘chikuza [more details] and in Nagoya in October 2012 at the Misonoza [more details].

    6 Kabuki performances in Kanazawa near the Saigawa river from the 17th to the 20th of August 2012 [more details].

    Tsuruya Nanboku IV's masterpiece "Ukiyozuka Hiyoku no Inazuma" will be revived in November 2012 at the National Theatre with two scenes not staged since April 1993 ("T˘kaid˘ Sakaigimura" and "Sukedayű Yashiki") and starring Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Fukusuke and Ichikawa Somegor˘ [more details].

    Ichikawa Ennosuke IV and the Omodakaya guild will be at the Meijiza in November 2012, a T˘ky˘ theater where his uncle Ichikawa Ennosuke III revived and refurbished (making them more spectacular!) a lot of long-forgotten Edo period dramas. This time, the highlight of these performances will be Tsuruya Nanboku IV's "Tenjiku Tokubŕ Ikoku Banashi" [more details].

    30 June
    2012

    A very shocking and saddening piece of news: after having completed a successful 7-month long-run for the Heisei Nakamuraza in Asakusa (from November 2011 to May 2012), the Kabuki star Nakamura Kanzabur˘ revealed to the media that he has cancer. He has been diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus and, for this kind of malicious cancer the chances of recovery are around 15%. Nakamura Kanzabur˘ will cancel performances scheduled for September in ďsaka and October in Nagoya (to celebrate the shűmei of his son Nakamura Kankur˘ in this city) in order to fully concentrate on the tough fight against disease. We do wish him to recover from this cancer and to be back on stage in the new Kabukiza!

    Kawatake Shinshichi III's drama "Shiobara Tasuke Ichidaiki" will be revived in October 2012 at the National Theatre, starring Band˘ Mitsugor˘ and Nakamura Hashinosuke [more details].

    Kabuki actor Nakamura Kankur˘, the eldest son of Nakamura Kanzabur˘, has been named "Father of the Year 2012" in Japan. Nakamura Kankur˘ was given the 31st annual "Father of the Year" award on the 6th of June 2012. The award was also given to Nakamura Kankur˘ĺs father Nakamura Kanzabur˘ before him in 1990.

    As part as the Shinema Kabuki ("Cinema Kabuki") series, the drama "Kagotsurube Sato no Eizame", which was shot live in February 2010 at the Kabukiza, will be released all over Japan from the 29th of September 2012 (this will be the 18th "Cinema Kabuki"). The roles of the courtesan Yatsuhashi, Sano Jir˘zaemon and Shigeyama Einoj˘ were played by Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Nakamura Kanzabur˘ and Kataoka Nizaemon.

    Waterways occupy as much as ten percent of ďsaka's city area, and have played a crucial role in its development as a strategic point in land and water transportation. One of the most picturesque among the city's numerous rivers and canals is the D˘tonbori, which flows today through ďsaka's vibrant entertainment district. From the Edo period in the 17th century, rows of theaters formed along the river, and the area became the center for both Kabuki and Bunraku. It is a custom to do funa norikomi before July Grand Kabuki at the Sh˘chikuza: the stars in the July casting arrived at the theater the 29th of June 2012 in a colorful boat parade, applauded by fans and spectators on the bridges or the banks. Nakamura Kichiemon, Nakamura Matagor˘, Nakamura Kash˘ and others boarded the boats in Hachikenya pier in Tenmabashi and went up to Ebisu Bridge on the D˘tonbori [pictures and more details in Japanese].

    The 1st edition of the gala program of the Support Association for Kataoka Sennosuke will happen the 29th of July 2012 [more details].

    31 May
    2012

    The Kabuki actors of the Omodakaya guild Ichikawa Ennosuke III, Ichikawa Danshir˘ IV and Ichikawa Kamejir˘ II, along with Ichikawa Ennosuke's son Kagawa Teruyuki and Ichikawa Ennosuke's grandson Kagawa Masaaki, paraded the 11th of May 2012 in Asakusa ahead of the coming shűmei of both Ichikawa En'˘ II and Ichikawa Ennosuke IV and the hatsubutai of both Ichikawa Chűsha IX and Ichikawa Danko V, which will start the 5th of June 2012 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘.

    Nakamura Matagor˘ III and his son Nakamura Kash˘ IV will celebrate their shűmei in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza in July 2012 [more details]!

    The staging of the Heisei Nakamuraza last programs in May 2012 was extended one more day. It was supposed to end the 27th of May 2012 but there were performances also the 28th. During the 3 days (from the 18th to the 20th of May 2012) of the famous Sanja Matsuri, which celebrated its 700th anniversary, a real omikoshi, held by 60 people from 6 different districts of Asakusa, was exhibited on the stage of the Heisei Nakamuraza during the performance of the drama "Megumi no Kenka" [more details in Japanese, with a picture!].

    Two spectacular dramas created by Tsuruya Nanboku IV will be revived in August 2012 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘: "Sakura Hime" and "Date no Jűyaku". The star in these two revivals will be Ichikawa Ebiz˘. He will share the stage with Kataoka Ainosuke and Nakamura Fukusuke.

    30 April
    2012

    The 1050th anniversary of the foundation of the Rokuharamitsuji temple in Ky˘to [more details in Japanese] will be celebrated through the staging of a special Kabuki program at the Minamiza, starring Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and Kataoka Ainosuke [more details].

    "Tennichib˘", which will be staged at the Cocoon Kabuki in June 2012 and July 2012 [more details], will also be staged from the 12th to the 18th of July 2012 in Matsumoto (3rd edition of the Shinshű Matsumoto Grand Kabuki). Moreover, 3 movie actors will be part of the cast (in minor roles): Kond˘ K˘en, Manako Keiji and Shirai Akira.

    Saruwaka Seizabur˘ I, the 8th headmaster of the Saruwaka-ryű school of Buy˘, and his son Saruwama Yűki took the names of Saruwaka Kiyokata II and Saruwaka Seizabur˘ II. The new Saruwaka Seizabur˘ became at the same time the 9th headmaster of the Saruwaka-ryű school of Buy˘. This double shűmei was celebrated through a 1-day special dance program the 30th of April 2012 (today) at the National Theatre, with prestigious guests: Nakamura Kanzabur˘ and his son Nakamura Kankur˘. The new Saruwaka Seizabur˘ and Nakamura Kankur˘ performed together in the Kiyomoto-based dance "Sanja Matsuri".

    Two special charity Kabuki performances for the victims of the 2011 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake Disaster were staged the 25th of April in Natori and the 26th of April in Tagaj˘, two cities which were seriously affected by the March 2011 tsunami. The two shows were free for the citizens of these two towns. Here are the dances and the actors:

    plays Roles Actors
    Kotobuki Shiki Sanbas˘ Okina Ichikawa Sadanji
      Senzai Nakamura Baishi
      Sanbas˘ Kataoka Ainosuke
    Migawari Zazen Uky˘ Kataoka Nizaemon
      Tar˘kaja Ichikawa Omez˘
      Tamanoi Ichikawa Sadanji
    15 March
    2012

    The Kinokuniya onnagata veteran Sawamura Tetsunosuke V (1930~2012) passed away the 13th of March 2012, victim of a pancreatic cancer.

    The Chikamatsuza troupe, led by Sakata T˘jűr˘ and his two sons Nakamura Kanjaku and Nakamura Senjaku, will celebrate its 30th anniversary by touring in the central provinces in July 2012 [more details]!

    The programs for the last month of performances at the 7-month long run Heisei Nakamuraza project have been published [more details]. The 700th anniversary of the famous Sanja Matsuri will be celebrated through the staging of the hengemono "Yayoi no Hana Asakusa Matsuri"!

    12 March
    2012

    The June 2012 and July 2012 performances celebrating the shűmei or hatsubutai for 3 generations of Omodakaya actors have been published. The core drama in both programs will be the famous SűpÔ Kabuki drama "Yamato Takeru". Others highlights in June 2012 will be "Shi-no-Kiri" with the famous chűnori ending the play and the funny one-act drama "Ogurusu no Ch˘bŕ". Others highlights in July 2012 will be the En'˘ Jűshu masterpiece "Kurozuka" and the spectacular "Sanmon" scene, with Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and the new Ichikawa En'˘ (who stopped performing in 2004!) playing the roles of Ishikawa Goemon and Mashiba Hisayoshi.

    Nakamura Matagor˘ III and his son Nakamura Kash˘ IV will celebrate their shűmei at the Hakataza in June 2012 [more details]!

    The funeral of Living National Treasure Nakamura Jakuemon IV occurred the 29th of February 2012. The funeral procession stopped off outside of the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ en route to the funeral proper (in Aoyama Cemetery) and all the Sh˘chiku staff, and all the actors who were rehearsing, went to bid him a final farewell [more details in Japanese].

    The official website of the young actor Onoe Sh˘roku has opened.

    "Gojűsan Tsugi Tennichib˘", a long-forgotten Kawatake Mokuami's drama, which was staged for the last time in 1867, will be revived (and refurbished) in June 2012 and July 2012 at the Cocoon Kabuki. This drama was about the Ten'ichib˘ affair. In the Edo period, the Shogunate banned all mention of contemporary events on stage. On stage, the yamabushi priest Ten'ichib˘ appeared under the thinly disguised name of Tennichb˘. Kushida Kazuyoshi (the director) and Kud˘ Kankur˘ (the script writer) will be in charge of the revival and renewal of "Azuma Kudari Gojűsan Tsugi" (the stage title of "Gojűsan Tsugi Tennichib˘"), which was premiered in the 8th lunar month of 1854 at the Kawarazakiza (with Ichikawa Kodanji IV in the role of Tennichib˘). The new title will simply be "Tennichib˘".

    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ will perform in May 2012 in the drama "Furu Amerika-ni Sode-ha Nurasaji" with a non-Kabuki cast of stage partners, at the Misonoza from the 3rd to the 6th of May 2012 and at the Minamiza from the 12th to the 27th of May 2012. "Furu Amerika-ni Sode-ha Nurasaji" ("My Sleeves Will Never Be Wet With the Rain of America") is a modern play, which was written by the novelist Ariyoshi Sawako (1931~1984) for the great modern actress Sugimura Haruko (1906~1997) who created the role of the drinking, chattering Osono who makes up stories to escape a tight situation and finds that she is trapped by her lies. After Sugimura's death, the play was performed by many other performers, most notably by Band˘ Tamasabur˘ in a cast featuring actresses and actors from other genres as it will be the case in May 2012. "Furu Amerika-ni Sode-ha Nurasaji" was be transformed into Kabuki only once, in December 2007 at the Kabukiza, with Band˘ Tamasabur˘ in the role of Osono. The play is set during the final days of the Edo period as there were tense relations between Japanese and foreigners. A geisha named Kiyű is beautiful, but she is sickly and steadily moves downward until she comes to a teahouse that is especially for foreigners. There she encounters her old friend Osono who has also fallen in the world because of her failures caused by drink. Alone and despondent, Kiyű commits suicide and on the spur of the moment, Osono explains it away by saying that Kiyű decided to die rather than serve the foreign barbarians. Unfortunately, this becomes a famous story and Osono tells the heroic story of Kiyű night after night with more and more elaborate embellishments including Kiyű's death poem in which she declares that she will "never let her sleeves get wet with the American rain". But eventually, Osono's lies catch up with her.

    27 February
    2012

    Living National Treasure Nakamura Jakuemon IV (1920~2012) passed away the 23rd of February 2012.

    Mishima Yukio's spectacular Mishima Kabuki drama "Chinsetsu Yumihari Zuki" will be revived at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ in May 2012 [more details].

    The Shinbashi Enbuj˘ will celebrate in March 2012, through the production of "Sakura Giminden", the 360th anniversary of the bold direct appeal to the Sh˘gun made by a village headman named Kiuchi S˘go in 1652. After a severe crop failure in the Sakura district (nowadays in the Chiba Prefecture), taxes remained too high for the farmers. Kiuchi S˘go directly petitioned the Sh˘gun for relief. Such a petition was punishable by death and Kiuchi S˘go and his four children were crucified in 1653. However, his sacrifice was not made in vain as the heavy taxes were lifted. Matsumoto K˘shir˘ will perform the role of Kiuchi S˘go for the third times (1st time in March 1985 and second time in December 2008, both times at the Kabukiza) and his son Ichikawa Somegor˘ will play the role of the Sh˘gun Tokugawa Ietsuna. In order to pray for the success of the performance and to get some protection from the soul of Kiuchi S˘go, Matsumoto K˘shir˘ went in February 2012 to the T˘sh˘ji in Narita, which was Kiuchiĺs family temple and in which Kiuchi S˘go was enshrined [more details in Japanese].

    Nakamura Kankur˘ is the award-winner of the Theater "New Face" Prize (Engeki Shinjin Sh˘) of the 33rd Matsuo Artistic Awards (Matsuo Gein˘ Sh˘). He will receive his prize the 29th of March 2012 at the ANA Intercontinental Hotel in T˘ky˘.

    Ichikawa Danshir˘ is still on sick leave. He won't perform as expected at the National Theatre in April 2012.

    31 January
    2012

    A few Cinema Kabuki movies, with English subtitles, will be screened in February 2012 in Canada, in Toronto and Vancouver. The list is made up of "Abura no Jigoku", "Migawari Zazen", "Sagi Musume" and "H˘kaib˘" [more details].

    Ichikawa Rik˘, a supporting onnagata actor of the Naritaya guild, died the 27th of December 2011. He was born in Yokohama the 20th of February 1927 and he started his career in his native town, at the Kirakuza in 1931. He became a disciple of the Naritaya guild and received the name of Ichikawa Shinjir˘. He became nadai and took the name of Ichikawa Rik˘ in November 1969 at the Kabukiza during the great shűmei of Ichikawa Ebiz˘ X. He made his last stage appearance in November 2003, at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘, where he performed in the drama "Miyamoto Musashi". During his 72-year career, he served 3 generations of Naritaya masters, Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XI, his son Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XII and his grandson Ichikawa Ebiz˘ XI.

    Honmy˘ Yag˘
    Takeda Kazuo Naritaya

    In order to prepare their shűmei at the Minamiza in March 2012, Nakamura Matagor˘ III and his son Nakamura Kash˘ IV were at the Yasaka Shrine in Ky˘to the 29th of January 2012, where they performed the auspicious offering dance "Sanbas˘" along with Nakamura Kichiemon.

    Nakamura Kankur˘ will celebrate his shűmei at the family theater, the Heisei Nakamuraza, in March 2012 [more details]!

    In order to celebrate the shűmei of Onoe Kikunoj˘ III, the new 4th headmaster of the Onoe-ryű school of Buy˘, Onoe Kikugor˘, Onoe Kikunosuke and Nakamura Kanjaku took part in a 2-day special dance program in Ky˘to at the Minamiza at the end of January 2012. Nakamura Kanjaku played the role of Chűbŕ in the Kiyomoto-based dance "Umegawa" the 28th of January 2012. Onoe Kikunosuke and Onoe Kikugor˘ respectively performed the 29th of January 2012 in "Yoshinoyama" and "Matsu no Okina".

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