NEWS FROM THE KABUKI WORLD
2013
31 December
2013

Valerie Durham passed away the 6th of December 2013. She graduated from Harvard University and became in Japan a recognized expert in the field of Japanese literature. She was a brilliant scholar, who wrote many papers on the topic of evil women in late Edo and early Meiji periods literature (including Kabuki dramas). She was also a member of the team which started the Earphone Guide Service in English at the beginning of the 1980s. You can find some of her translations in "An Edo Anthology" (University of Hawai Press, 2012) and in the 3rd volume of "Kabuki Plays On Stage" (University of Hawai Press, 2003): in this latter book, she translated "The Scandalous Love of Osome and Hisamatsu" ("Osome Hisamatsu Ukina no Yomiuri"), "Scarface Otomi" ("Kirare Otomi") and The Woman Student ("Onna Sh˘sei Shigeru").

Nakamura Fukusuke won't perform at the Kabukiza in January 2014. He is still in sick leave (serious health issue related to an intracerebral hemorrhage) and the Sh˘chiku Company has annonced that the shűmei of Nakamura Utaemon VII and Nakamura Fukusuke X, which was expected to start in March 2014, will be postponed. We do wish him a quick and full recovery! Nakamura Fukusuke was expected to play the roles of Kozue, the courtesan Kisegawa (in reality the spirit of the female mandarin duck), Konami and a shirozake-seller in "Ishikiri Kajiwara", "Oshidori", "Yamashina Kankyo" and "Noriaibune". For these 4 roles, he will be replaced (in the same order) by Ichikawa Komaz˘, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Senjaku and Kataoka Takatar˘.

Ichikawa Danshir˘ fell ill the 7th of December 2013 and was replaced by Ichikawa Juen to play the role of Kawatsura H˘gen in "Shi-no-Kiri" at the Minamiza [more details]. His elder brother Ichikawa En'˘, who celebrated his shűmei in Ky˘to along with Ichikawa Ennosuke and Ichikawa Chűsha, stopped appearing in the k˘j˘ from the 10th of December.

The Heisei Nakamuraza will be back in New York City in July 2014! The summer kaidanmono "Kaidan Chibusa no Enoki" will be staged from the 7th to the 12th of July at the Rose Theater (in the Lincoln Center). Based on a rakugo story by Sanyűtei Ench˘, this will be a showpiece for the zagashira (Nakamura Kankur˘) who will play multiple roles, culminating in a thrilling fight scene in a waterfall where he switches rapidly from one to another. An artist named Hishikawa Shigenobu (Nakamura Kankur˘) is killed by a handsome samurai named Isogai Namie (Nakamura Shid˘) who wants Shigenobu's wife Oseki (Nakamura Shichinosuke). He carries out the murder with the help of Shigenobu's honest, but simple minded, servant Sh˘suke (Nakamura Kankur˘) and the tattooed villain Uwabami no Sanji (Nakamura Kankur˘).

Some SűpÔ Kabuki next year, in March 2014 in T˘ky˘ at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ and in April 2014 in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza. This will be the first SűpÔ Kabuki creation done directly for the new Ichikawa Ennosuke, the new leader of the Omodakaya guild. The play was written by Maekawa Tomohiro and is entitled "Sora o Kizamu Mono". The story is about Buddhist image carvers. Along the usual Omodakaya actors (all the main actors except Ichikawa Danshir˘), 3 popular non-Kabuki actors will also be part of the casting: Fukushi Seiji, Asano Kazuyuki and Sasaki Kuranosuke [more details].

A free Iphone application dedicated to late Nakamura Kanzabur˘ was released by Eagle Inc in December 2013. This game is entitled "KanzaburoRun" (Hashire! Kanzabur˘ in Japanese).

The 7th of December 2013, in Ky˘to at the Minamiza, Ichikawa Ennosuke performed for the 200th times the role of the fox Tadanobu in the drama "Shi-no-Kiri". This play always ends with a spectacular chűnori when it is performed by Ichikawa Ennosuke.

Tsuruya Nanboku IV's drama "Kokoro no Nazo Toketa Iroito" (commonly called "Itoya no Musume") will be revived in February 2014 at the Kabukiza, starring the young actors Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Ichikawa Somegor˘ and Onoe Sh˘roku [more details]. It was staged for the last time more than 40 years ago, in June 1973 at the National Theatre.

A very good piece of news for the Kabuki world and the finances of the Sh˘chiku Company: the 8th of December 2013, the number of visitors since the reopening reached and went over the symbolic 1,000,000 threshold! The happy visitor with the lucky ticket corresponding to number 1000000 received some presents to celebrate this event.

Kataoka Senjir˘, a disciple of Kataoka Gat˘, celebrated his success at the nadai exam in December 2013 at the Kabukiza.

Ichikawa Ebiz˘ will present in January 2014 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ the world of the warrior Taira no Kagekiyo in a newly-created aragoto drama, which is entitled "Kotohoide Mimasu Kagekiyo" and is based on older dramas belonging to the Ichikawa clan (for example "Kagekiyo" or "Gedatsu") focusing on this hero of the past [more details]. Another original feature for this production will be the possibility for some members of the audience to seat on stage on the Mimasu Seats. Mimasu is the crest of the Naritaya guild; it means the 3 measures of rice and it looks like 3 nested squares [visual]. These special seats will be set up directly on both right and lefts sides of the stage for the "Gedatsu" (Salvation) scene from the play [more details].

Ichikawa Ebiz˘ will be on tour in March 2014 in 7 cities (with a 4-day stay at the Yachiyoza from the 6th to the 10th of March 2014). The program will mixes talk, and Kabuki. The drama "Shakky˘" will be performed by Kanze Yoshimasa and Kamei Tadao. The Kabuki dance-drama "Renjishi" will be performed by the heir of the Naritaya guild [more details].

A newly-created Kabuki drama at the Kabukiza in January 2014! "T˘keiji Hanadayori", which will be staged within the evening program, is based on a famous story which was written by Inoue Hisashi [more details].

30 November
2013

Band˘ Mitsunosuke III died the 16th of November 2013 (liver failure). He was born in T˘ky˘ the 19th of January 1962 and became a disciple of Band˘ Minosuke VII in October 1972. He received his first stage name Band˘ Minomushi in March 1973. He succeeded the nadai exam in April 1998 and took the name of Band˘ Mitsunosuke III in January 2001 at the Kabukiza. He was finally promoted to the nadai rank in May 2007. His real name was Yamada Takayoshi.

The 5th edition of the Sistine Kabuki, a Kabuki program staged within the Sistine Hall of the ďtsuka Museum of Art, will happen in February 2014. Inside this museum, there are more than 1,000 replicas of masterpieces of Western art, which are reproduced in ceramic to their original size. The Sistine Hall is a "reproduction" of the Vatican Sistine Chapel. The drama for this 5th edition, a newly-created Kabuki drama, will be based on Pierre Beaumarchais's famous play (or Mozart's famous opera) "Le Mariage de Figaro" ("The Marriage of Figaro"). It will be entitled "Mangetsu Awa no Yobanashi (FIGARO)" and it will star Kataoka Ainosuke, Kamimura Kichiya and Nakamura Kazutar˘ [more details].

Kataoka Nizaemon's shoulder surgery went well. Rehabilitation will take around 6 months to complete. He should hopefully be back on stage middle of next year.

Nakamura Baigyoku will soon join the prestigious Japan Art Academy (Nihon Geijutsuin). It will be formally announced by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology the 15th of December 2013.

Nakamura Fukusuke stopped performing at the Kabukiza from the 14th of November 2013 as he was suffering from high blood pressure. He was replaced by Nakamura Shibajaku to play the role of Okaru in the 7th act of "Kanadehon Chűshingura".

A very good piece of news for the Otowaya and the Harimaya guilds: Onoe Kikunosuke's son, grandson of both Living National Treasures Onoe Kikugor˘ and Nakamura Kichiemon, was born the 28th of November 2013. His real name is Terashima Kazufumi.

Band˘ Hikosabur˘ will be the recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun (the 5th class, gold and silver rays).

Instead of the usual Congratulation Early Spring Grand Kabuki in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza in January 2014, there will be Early Spring Special Dance Performances with Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke [more details].

Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Falstaff" will be screened in HD at the Kabukiza the 26th of December 2013 at 18:30. This opera will be filmed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City the 14th of December 2013 as part of the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD program. The ticket price will be unique: 4000 JPY.

31 October
2013

Kataoka Nizaemon will not perform at the Kabukiza in November 2013 and at the Minamiza in December 2013. He suffers of a rotator cuff tear in his right shoulder. He will have to be operated soon and therefore will not perform for a while. In November 2013, he will be replaced in "Kanadehon Chűshingura" by Ichikawa Sadanji (K˘ no Moron˘), Nakamura Kichiemon (ďboshi Yuranosuke) and Nakamura Baigyoku (Teraoka Heiemon). In December 2013, he will be replaced in "Ninin Wankyű" by Kataoka Ainosuke (Wankyű) and in "Ohama Goten" by Nakamura Baigyoku (Tsunatoyo). We do hope he will recover quickly and be back on stage in 2014!

Band˘ Mitsugor˘ was discharged from the hospital the 2nd of October. The operation was completely successful. He is in good condition but he won't be able to perform in the coming months. He won't take part in the Sh˘chiku Grand Kabuki tour in November 2013 and will be replaced by Band˘ Yajűr˘ and Onoe Kikunosuke in the roles of Kyűbŕ ("Nozaki-mura") and Ikushima Shingor˘ ("Ejima Ikushima"). He will also be replaced by Ichikawa Ebiz˘ to play in December 2013 at the Kabukiza the role of K˘ no Moron˘ in the drama "Kanadehon Chűshingura".

Two new joiners in the first league of Kabuki actors ("kanbu sh˘shin"): Arashi Kitsusabur˘ and Kataoka Matsunosuke will be promoted in November 2013 at the Kabukiza. Arashi Kitsusabur˘ will play the role of Ono no Kudayű in the 4th and 7th acts of "Kanadehon Chűshingura". Kataoka Matsunosuke will play the role of Sagisaka Bannai in the 3rd act of this drama.

Chikamatsu Hanji's drama "Igagoe D˘chű Sugoroku" will be revived at the National Theatre in November 2013. The same month, in the same location (not the same hall), the same drama will be staged by the Bunraku National troupe. This would be a great opportunity to enjoy both productions. The Bunraku production will be longer and include all the scenes of "Igagoe D˘chű Sugoroku", including "Okazaki", which is unfortunately rarely-staged in Kabuki but is considered as being the best scene of this drama, not the most successful one which is "Numazu" (staged next month in both Kabuki and Bunraku).

A special Buy˘ program will be staged at the Meijiza the 27th and the 28th of November 2013. The young Kabuki actors Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Hayato, Nakamura Tanenosuke and ďtani Hiromatsu will be part of the casting, sharing the stage with the Dance Masters Fujima Kanjűr˘ VIII, Onoe Kikunoj˘ III, Hanayagi Yoshijir˘ VI, Ichikawa Botan III and Nakamura Eri. The 27th, the dances "Ayatsuri Sanbas˘", "Sanja Matsuri" and "Rokkasen Sugata no Irodori" will be staged. The 28th, the dances "Kabuki Z˘shi", "Yumedono", "Hitori Kagekiyo" and "Kubekiyoi Kumo no Ito Suji" will be staged.

Nakamura Baigyoku's disciple Nakamura Umeyuki celebrated his success at the nadai exam in October 2013 at the Kabukiza, where he received the name of Nakamura Umeno.

Nakamura Kankur˘ will play at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ in November 2013 in the drama "Saraba Hachigatsu no Daichi" ("Farewell August Land"), which will be directed by the veteran movie director Yamada Y˘ji. The heir of the Nakamuraya guild will share the stage with the J-POP singer Imai Tsubasa.

30 September
2013

Important: the first name-taking ceremony at the newly-built Kabukiza will happen in March and April 2014! Nakamura Fukusuke IX and his son Nakamura Kotar˘ VI will respectively take the names of Nakamura Utaemon VII and Nakamura Fukusuke X. The prestigious name of Nakamura Utaemon has not been held since April 2001 and no performance under this name on a Kabuki stage since May 1996. It is worthy to note that the name of Nakamura Fukusuke is continuously held since November 1933.

A special performance will happen the 27th of October 2013 at T˘ky˘'s Tsukiji Honganji Temple to celebrate the memory of late Nakamura Kanzabur˘. A special outdoors stage will be built in the precincts of the temple and there will be first special talks done by prestigious guests, like the comedian Sh˘fukutei Tsurube or the actress ďtake Shinobu). Then, a digest film showing some past performances of Nakamura Kanzabur˘ will be projected. Finally, his two sons Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke, along with Nakamura Kanzabur˘'s grandson (Nakamura Kankur˘'s son) Namino Naoya, will perform in a special dance-drama, which is entitled "Shinobikusa Tsuru Kurabe Saruwakamai" [picture of the event]. In case of rain, the event will be postponed to the 28th of October.

There will be an exhibition dedicated to the dance-drama "Kanjinch˘" at the Traditional Performing Arts Information Centre in T˘ky˘ from the 3rd of October 2013 to the 27th of January 2014: stage photographs, costumes or stage props will be displayed.

There will be a special exhibition of Japanese woodblock prints at the National Museum of Scotland from the 4th of October 2013 to the 2nd of February 2014. All the prints come from the Museumĺs collection and are on the theme of the Kabuki theatre [more details]. This important event is related to the 400 years of Japan-British relations.

As part as the Shinema Kabuki ("Cinema Kabuki") series, the SűpÔ Kabuki drama "Yamato Takeru", which was shot live in high definition in June 2012 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘, was released all over Japan the 28th of September 2013 (this is the 19th "Cinema Kabuki") [more details on the drama].

As part as the Shinema Kabuki ("Cinema Kabuki") series, the dance-drama "Shunky˘ Kagami Jishi", which starred late Nakamura Kanzabur˘ and was shot live in January 2009 at the Kabukiza, will be released all over Japan the 30th of November 2013 (this will be the 20th "Cinema Kabuki") [more details on the dance].

The Nagauta singer Tobaya Bungor˘ II, son of Tobaya Rich˘ VII, took the name of Tobaya San'emon III at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ in September 2013. He celebrated his shűmei by performing in the dance-drama "Meoto D˘j˘ji".

The Kabuki Gidayű singer Takemoto Kiyotayű died the 1st of September 2013. His real name was Kobayashi Masato and he was born in 1935.

Kataoka Ainosuke and Nakamura Kazutar˘ will perform the 19th of November 2013 at the T˘ky˘ International Forum (C Hall) in a special charity Buy˘ program for the victims of the 2011 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake Disaster. The two Kabuki actors will perform in the dance "Kiyohira". Nakamura Kazutar˘ will also perform with the dance master Wakayagi Kichiz˘ III in the Nagauta-based dance "Hashi Benkei". The dance masters Onoe Kikunoj˘ III and Wakayagi Kichiz˘ III will also perform in "Kanjinch˘".

As part of the September 2013 Kabuki Tour in the Western Provinces [more details], Nakamura Matagor˘ and his two sons, Nakamura Kash˘ and Nakamura Tanenosuke, who performed at the Izumo Civic Center the 7th and the 8th of September, went to the Great Shrine of Izumo to pray for the success of the tour [pictures and details in Japanese].

As we are against any form of gossiping, we refuse to write anything about Onoe Matsuya's love story but it was quite a buzz in the Japanese media for a few days.

31 August
2013

Band˘ Mitsugor˘ has been diagnosed with a pancreas tumor. He had to stop acting and won't perform in September 2013 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘. He will be replaced by Nakamura Hashinosuke to perform the role of Lord Tsunatoyo in "Ohama Goten", by Ichikawa Sadanji for the role of Ishizaka Kinai in "Shiranui Kengy˘" and by Nakamura Kanjaku for the role of Akuta in "Uma Nusubito". Let's hope and pray for a quick and full recovery!

The young and popular actor Kataoka Ainosuke will be the star of the October 2013 t˘shi ky˘gen production of the Kamigata drama "Natsu Matsuri Naniwa Kagami" at the Sh˘chikuza, which will include the rarely-staged "Bangoya" and "D˘guya" scenes [more details]. He will play the leading role of Danshichi Kurobŕ. Kataoka Ainosuke went to the K˘zu Shrine the 20th of August 2013 to pray for the success of the performances. A newly-created version of "Abura no Jigoku" will also be produced. It will be entitled "Shin Abura no Jigoku - ďsaka Junj˘den".

There will be the classic October kaomise programs in Nagoya in October 2013! As the Misonoza closed in Spring 2013, these programs will be staged at the Nihon Tokushu T˘gy˘ Shimin Kaikan, a venue commonly called NTK Hall in Nagoya [more details].

The actors Ichikawa En'˘ II, Ichikawa Ennosuke IV and Ichikawa Chűsha IX will celebrate their shűmei in Ky˘to in December 2013 at the Minamiza [more details].

The classic "Kanadehon Chűshingura" (The Treasure of 47 Loyal Retainers), the most popular drama in the Kabuki repertory, will be staged twice at the Kabukiza, in November 2013 and in December 2013, with different castings. The stars in November 2013 will be Onoe Kikugor˘, Nakamura Kichiemon, Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Fukusuke, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Shichinosuke and Onoe Sh˘roku [more details]. The stars in December 2013 will be Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Band˘ Mitsugor˘ (not sure), Onoe Kikunosuke, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Ichikawa Somegor˘ and Nakamura Shid˘ [more details]. It is worthy to note that the contents of each production will be the same. It could have been a good opportunity to stage the rarely-staged act II or act X ... but it won't happen.

Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon will be the star of the December 2013 Kabuki performances at the National Theatre. The 3 items in the program are all related to the ak˘ r˘shi story. The second item is the revival of Nagawa Shimesuke I's drama "Yasaku no Kamabara". The third item is the revival of Kawatake Mokuami's 7-role hengemono "Chűshingura Sugata no Eawase", which is based on the classic "Kanadehon Chűshingura" [more details].

Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ went to the Yasaka Shrine the 3rd of August 2013 to pray for the success of October 2013 performances at the Minamiza, where he will perform along with the Kod˘ taiko drummers in "Amaterasu" [pictures and more details in Japanese].

The classic "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura" will be staged in a t˘shi ky˘gen production at the Kabukiza in October 2013, which will feature the 3 Living National Treasures Onoe Kikugor˘, Nakamura Kichiemon, Sakata T˘jűr˘ and the stars Kataoka Nizaemon and Nakamura Tokiz˘ [more details].

The 3 Kabuki actors Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Shun'en and Ichikawa Tsukinosuke will perform in October 2013 at the Mitsukoshi Gekij˘ (T˘kyo) in a Shinpa classic, Izumi Ky˘ka's masterpiece "Onna Keizu"("The Genealogy of Women" in English, 1907). This production will celebrate the 125th anniversary of Shinpa and the 140th anniversary of the birth of Izumi Ky˘ka (1873~1939). Ichikawa Tsukinosuke and Ichikawa Shun'en went to the Yushima Tenjin Shrine the 28th of August 2013 (one famous scene of "Onna Keizu" is set in the precincts of this shrine) to pray for the success of the coming performances [pictures and more details in Japanese].

The musician Kawase Hakushű (1930 ~ 2013), expert in koto and kokyű, died the 31st of July 2013. She took part in the creation for Kabuki of many s˘kyoku (koto music) or sankyoku, a three-part piece for a koto, a shamisen, and a shakuhachi. Her real name was Kawase Kaoru.

14 July
2013

Tatsuoka Mansaku's drama "Keisei Haru no Tori", which is famous for the "Umagiri" scene, will be revived as a t˘shi ky˘gen in 5 acts in January 2014 at the National Theatre under the title "Sanzen Ry˘ Haru no Komahiki". The "Umagiri" scene, a scene where a horseman is cut down with a single slash by Oda Nobutaka at the Yamato bridge, is still part of the current Kabuki repertoire but it is not often performed. The stars of "Sanzen Ry˘ Haru no Komahiki" will be the Otowaya guild (Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, his son Onoe Kikunosuke and Onoe Sh˘roku) and Nakamura Tokiz˘.

Kabuki films, all from the Shinema Kabuki ("Cinema Kabuki") series, were or will be screened in Japan main cities, in 27 movie theaters. It started in March 2013 and will end in October 2013. This special program is called Tsukiichi Kabuki, which means Kabuki once a month:

Period Drama
30th March ~ 5th April Renjishi/Rakuda
13th ~ 19th April Furu Amerika-ni Sode-ha Nurasaji
25th ~ 31st May Bunshichi Mottoi
15th ~ 21st June Irezumi Ch˘han
6th ~ 12th July Botan D˘r˘
31st August ~ 6th September Togidatsu no Utare
21st ~ 26th September Sagi Musume/Hidakagawa/Ninin D˘j˘ji
19th ~ 25th October Nezumi Koz˘

Kataoka Takatar˘ has performed in the movie "Chiisai Ouchi", which was directed by Yamada Y˘ji and will be released all over Japan the 25th of January 2014. Others main actors are Baish˘ Chieko, Tsumabuki Satoshi, Kurogi Haru, Yoshioka Hidetaka, Sasano Takashi and ... Matsumoto K˘shir˘'s daughter Matsu Takako.

Nakamura Hashinosuke's disciple Nakamura Hashigo is currently celebrating his success at the nadai exam in July 2013 in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza.

Nakamura Kankur˘ will play in the modern drama "Sanada Jűyűshi", which will be staged from the 7th of January 2014 to the 2nd of February 2014 in T˘ky˘ at the Aoyama Theatre and from the 7th to the 19th of February 2014 in ďsaka at the Umeda Arts Theater. "Sanada Jűyűshi", literally the "Sanada Ten Braves", is based on the story of a legendary group of ninja that assisted the warlord Sanada Yukimura during the Sengoku period. "Sanada Jűyűshi" will be staged to celebrate the Nippon Television (NTV) 60th founding anniversary.

Onoe Matsuya will play in the Japanese version of the famous French musical "RomÚo et Juliette: de la Haine Ó l'Amour", which will be staged from the 3rd of September 2013 to the 5th of October 2013 in T˘ky˘ at the T˘kyű Theatre Orb and from the 12th to the 27th of October 2013 in ďsaka at the Umeda Arts Theater. "RomÚo et Juliette: de la Haine Ó l'Amour", in English "Romeo and Juliet: from hate to love", which was based on William Shakespeare's play "Romeo and Juliet", was created by GÚrard Presgurvic. It premiered in Paris on the 19th of January 2001 and was staged up to the end of 2001. It was so successful that it has been translated into several languages and staged all over the world: Canada, Antwerp, London, Amsterdam, Budapest, Szeged, Moscow, Vienna, Bucharest, Seoul, Pusan, Taipei, Monterrey, Japan and Shanghai. Onoe Matsuya will play the role of ... Benvolio. There will be 3 Romeo and 2 Juliet but none of them will come from the Kabuki world.

There will be a special Buy˘ program at the Kabukiza in September 2013, gathering masters from the Band˘, Onoe, Fujima, Inoue and Hanayagi Schools: Band˘ Mitsugor˘ X, Fujima Kan'emon VI, Fujima Kanjűr˘ VIII, Hanayagi Jusuke IV, Onoe Bokusetsu and Inoue Yachiyo V [more details].

There will be a special Buy˘ program at the National Theatre in August 2013 for the Naritaya guild and the Ichikawa School of Buy˘. This is the 7th edition of an NHK-sponsored program, which is called Gei no Shinzui (the Essence of Art in English). Late Ichikawa Danjűr˘ was expected to perform; his son Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and his daughter Ichikawa Botan will perform instead, along with Hanayagi Juraku and Onoe Murasaki [more details].

30 June
2013

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 [more details]: the stars in the July casting arrived at the theater the 30th of June 2013 in a colorful boat parade, applauded by fans and spectators on the bridges or the banks. Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Kanjaku, Kataoka Gat˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Fukusuke, Kataoka Takatar˘ and Kataoka Hidetar˘ boarded the boats in Hachikenya pier in Tenmabashi and went up to Ebisu Bridge on the D˘tonbori. It ended with the traditional hand-clapping ceremony (koshiki tejimeshiki in Japanese) in front of the Sh˘chikuza.

Onoe Kikunosuke, who will play the role of Oiwa (and Oiwa ghost) in "T˘kaid˘ Yotsuya Kaidan" for the first time in July 2013 at the Kabukiza, went at the Oiwa Inari Tamiya Shrine, the shrine dedicated to the spirit of Oiwa, in Yotsuya (T˘ky˘) the 21st of June 2013 to pray for the success of the coming performances and to get some protection from the spirit of Oiwa. Kabuki actors do believe that there is always the risk of Oiwa curse when they perform "Yotsuya Kaidan". To avoid the curse, the only way is to go to the Oiwa Inari Tamiya Shrine and pray for safe acting.

Ichikawa En'˘ did not perform at the Hakataza in June 2013. He was replaced by Ichikawa Ukon in the role of Mashiba Hisayoshi in the drama "Sanmon". He performed only the 2nd of June 2003 and made a short stage appearance, in a wheelchair, for the curtain call at the end of the evening program the 24th of June.

Chikamatsu Hanji's adauchimono "Igagoe D˘chű Sugoroku" will be staged as a t˘shi ky˘gen in November 2013 at the National Theatre [more details]. In term of contents, this production will have the same acts as the October 2004 production. The final act will be made up of one scene instead of two in 2004. The stars will be Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, his two son Nakamura Kanjaku and Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Hashinosuke and Kataoka Takatar˘.

Natori Shunsen's Kabuki actor prints and Kabuki costums exhibited in Australia! This exhibition, which is entitled "Stars of the T˘ky˘ Stage", gathers prints exclusively from the National Gallery of Australia collection. Here is the list of venues:

When Where
1st March to 19th May 2013 Rockhampton Art Gallery, Rockhampton QLD
15th June to 20th July 2013 Tamworth Regional Gallery, Tamworth NSW
10th August to 29th September 2013 Cowra Regional Art Gallery, Cowra NSW
21st March to 17th May 2014 RMIT Gallery, Melbourne VIC
28th June to 6th October 2014 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra ACT

Nakamura Ky˘z˘ will perform with the Super Pantomime Theater Souki troupe, led by Enoue Y˘ichi, the 24th and the 25th of August 2013 at Space Zero in Shinjuku (T˘kyo) in the newly-created drama "Takiyasha Hime" (Princess Takiyasha). Nakamura Ky˘z˘, Enoue Y˘ichi and ďkura Naoto (a Kabuki Researcher who used to be a disciple of late Gunji Masakatsu) have collaborated to bring to stage this new creation, which will mix Kabuki and modern pantomime. The role of Princess Takiyasha will be played by Nakamura Ky˘z˘.

31 May
2013

Kawatake Toshio, professor emeritus of arts at T˘ky˘'s Waseda University, passed away the 6th of May 2013. He was born in T˘ky˘ the 7th of December 1924 and was the great-grandson of Kabuki dramatist Kawatake Mokuami, son of major theatre scholar Kawatake Shigetoshi, and prolific author of many works dedicated to the art of Kabuki.

Nakamura Matagor˘ III and his son Nakamura Kash˘ IV will celebrate their shűmei in the western provinces in September 2013 [more details].

Ichikawa Ennosuke will play in William Shakespeare's drama "The Merchant of Venice", which will be directed by Ninagawa Yukio and staged in September 2013 at the Saitama Arts Theater. This production will be the 28th of a long series entitled "Sai-no-Kuni Shakespeare Series" (Sai-no-Kuni is the nickname of the Saitama Prefecture).

A newly-created drama, which is entitled "Onmy˘ji", will be staged to celebrate a newly-built Kabukiza in September 2013. It is about the court astrologer Abe no Seimei, the rebellious general Taira no Masakado (whose head is more famous than the whole body in Japan), his daughter Princess Takiyasha, Fujiwara no Sumitomo and Tawara no T˘ta. The Kabuki script was written by Imai Toyoshige and is based on a story written by the Japanese SF master Yumemakura Baku, who is the author of the "Onmy˘ji" series of novels and the scripts for two movies directed by Takita Y˘jir˘, "The Yin-Yang Master" (2001) and "The Yin-Yang Master 2" (2003). This original production will star only young and popular actors like Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Kataoka Ainosuke, Nakamura Kankur˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke and Onoe Sh˘roku [more details].

Living National Treasure Sawamura Tanosuke was the recipient this spring 2013 of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette.

The Kabuki Gidayű singer Takemoto Kidayű died the 7th of May 2013. He was born in 1948 and was a disciple of Takemoto Yonedayű III from 1977. His real name was Takahashi Masanobu. He performed in April 2013 at the Kabukiza in "Moritsuna Jin'ya" and for a few days in May 2013 at the Minamiza in "Date no Jűyaku".

Ichikawa Danshir˘ will not perform at the Hakataza in June 2013. He will be replaced by Ichikawa Enzabur˘ and Ichikawa Juen to play the roles of Owari-no-Kuni-no-Miyatsuko and Kawatsura H˘gen in "Yamato Takeru" and "Shi-no-Kiri" [more details].

There was an important funa norikomi on the Hakata River in Fukuoka the 29th of May, before June Grand Kabuki at the Hakataza [more details]. Ichikawa Ennosuke, Ichikawa Chűsha and others started with a ceremony at Canal City Hakata, boarded their colorful boats at Seiryű Park, did a k˘j˘ at Kawabata Zenzai square, disembarked at Hakata Riverain, visited the Kagami Tenmangű Shrine and ended with a ceremony at Festa square. They were applauded by fans and spectators on the bridges or the banks of the Hakata river [more details].

30 April
2013

Matsumoto K˘shir˘ performed the famous role of Musashib˘ Benkei (one of his best atariyaku) in the dance-drama "Kanjinch˘" for the 1100th times the 28th of April 2013 at the Kabukiza! He played the role of the first time when he was 16 years old the 21st of September 1958 at the Kabukiza and reached the 1000th times more than 50 years later the 15th of October 2008 in the city Nara, on a special stage built within the precincts of the T˘daiji temple.

The 9th of April 2013 the Emperor of Japan Akihito and his wife the Empress of Japan Michiko went to the Kabukiza to enjoy the MatinÚe program. 10 years ago, they were at the Kabukiza the 22nd of May May 2003 to enjoy "Shibaraku". The 25th of April 2007, they also attended Kabuki at the International House of Japan [more details].

First edition of the Kamigata Kabuki Kansh˘kai, the Kamigata Kabuki Appreciation Gala, in June 2013 at the Sh˘chikuza (ďsaka). It will mix movie, with the screening of the different parts of Haneda Sumiko's movie "Kabuki Yakusha Kataoka Nizaemon", and Kabuki, with the staging of "Ninokuchi-mura" [more details].

First edition of the ABKAI (Ebikai in Japanese), a gala for the young star Ichikawa Ebiz˘. It will be staged in August 2013 at the Shibuya Bunkamura Theatre Cocoon in T˘ky˘. The first item in this gala will be the long-awaited revival of the rarely-staged (last time was in 1947!) play "Jayanagi", which belongs to the Kabuki Jűhachiban collection. This revival was initially scheduled to be staged in January 2011 at the Theatre Ginza in T˘ky˘ but, following Ichikawa Ebiz˘'s sad drunkard brawl in November 2010, it was cancelled. The second item will be "Hanasaka Jiisan", a newly-created drama, written by Miyazawa Akio and directed by Miyamoto Amon. The story is based on the famous legend of Hanasaka Jiisan, the old man who made withered trees to Blossom [more details].

A special program by the 21 Seki Kabuki Gumi, the 21st Century Kabuki Group, which gathers the best actors of the Omodakaya guild, will be staged in August 2013 at the ďsaka Shinkabukiza. They will stage for the 3rd times "Shin Suikoden" [more details].

Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘, who is spending more and more time in project outside the Kabuki world, and the Kod˘ taiko drummers will stage "Amaterasu" in July 2013 at the Akasaka Act Theater (T˘ky˘), in September 2013 at the Hakataza (Fukuoka) and in October 2013 at the Minamiza.

The Kamigata onnagata actor Band˘ Takesabur˘ will celebrate in August 2013 at the National Bunraku Theatre (ďsaka) both his sanju kinen and the 32nd anniversary (33rd memorial service) of the passing away of his adoptive father Onoe Kikujir˘ IV. Band˘ Takesabur˘, along with Kataoka Nizaemon, Ichikawa Ennosuke and Kataoka Takatar˘, will revive Kawatake Mokuami's rarely-staged "Natsu Sugata Onna Danshichi" (commonly called "Onna Danshichi", the female Danshichi, a kakikae ky˘gen based on "Natsu Matsuri Naniwa Kagami"). They will also stage Tsuruya Nanboku IV's masterpiece "T˘kaid˘ Yotsuya Kaidan" from act II/scene 1 ("At Iemon's home in Yotsuya") to act III/scene 1 ("the Onb˘ canal in Sunamura") [more details].

Ichikawa Danshir˘ did not perform at the Kanamaruza in April 2013. He was replaced by the Omodakaya veteran Ichikawa Juen to play the role of Kawatsura H˘gen in the drama "Shi-no-Kiri" [more details].

Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Tsukinosuke and Ichikawa Shun'en will celebrate the 125th anniversary of Shinpa in October 2013 at the Mitsukoshi Gekij˘, performing in Izumi Ky˘ka's drama "Onna Keizu" along with Shinpa actors.

31 March
2013

Everything is going well and smoothly for the coming opening of the 5th Kabukiza. The yagura was built on the traditional roof of the Kabukiza the 4th of March 2013 [pictures and more details in Japanese]. 63 Kabuki actors paraded around the theater the 27th of March [pictures and more details in Japanese]. The tombo training center was opened and inaugurated the 28th of March [pictures and more details in Japanese]. It was followed by the traditional ceremonial hand-clapping (koshiki kaomise tejimeshiki in Japanese; the traditional face-showing ritual of hand-clapping) with all actors and Kabuki-related people on the brand-new stage for the successful opening of the 5th Kabukiza [pictures and more details in Japanese]. Here is a selection of articles or pictures about the new Kabukiza:

Ichikawa Ennosuke IV will celebrate his shűmei in the eastern provinces in July 2013 [more details].

Ichikawa Ennosuke is also the award-winner of the Excellence Prize (yűsh˘ sh˘) of the 34th Matsuo Artistic Awards (Matsuo Gein˘ Sh˘). He received his prize the 27th of March 2013 at the ANA Intercontinental Hotel in T˘ky˘.

One third piece of news related to Ichikawa Ennosuke: the 19th of March 2013, he performed for the 100 times the role of Tadanobu/the fox Genkur˘ in "Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata", in Nagoya at the Misonoza (a sad reminder that this theater closed at the end of March 2013).

Ichikawa En'˘ was unfortunately not able to perform everyday in March 2013 in Nagoya at the Misonoza; he was often replaced by his son Ichikawa Chűsha to play the role of Mashiba Hisayoshi in "Sanmon".

Nakamura Matagor˘ III and his son Nakamura Kash˘ IV will celebrate their shűmei in the central provinces in July 2013 [more details].

2013 is an important year for the Kabuki and for the Minamiza. 410 years since the creation of Kabuki by Izumo no Okuni in Ky˘to in the Spring of 1603 near the current site of the Minamiza. A special program is offered in this prestigious theater, allowing visitors to experience some of the unique stagecraft tricks used in Kabuki such as hanamichi (runway stage), koseri/˘seri (trap-door lift stage mechanism) or mawaributai (revolving stage). This program started the 16th of March 2013 and it will end the 16th of April 2013 [more details].

The third series of Kabuki DVD masterpieces will be released from April to July 2013. There will be 17 new DVD. The first wave of 6 DVD (recorded at the 4th Kabukiza) will be sold (4,975 JPY each DVD) all over Japan from the 2nd of April 2013:
Drama Rec time Casting
Seki no To May 1979 Matsumoto K˘shir˘ VIII, Nakamura Utaemon VI, Onoe Baik˘ VII
Kamiyui Shinza April 2000 Nakamura Kankur˘ V, Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Nakamura Tomijűr˘ V, Nakamura Shikan VII, Nakamura Matagor˘ II, Ichikawa Somegor˘
Kirare Yosa January 1963 Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XI, Nakamura Utaemon VI, Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVII, Ichikawa Ennosuke II
Shibaraku
Uir˘ Uri
May 2003
May 2006
Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XII, Onoe Kikugor˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Ichikawa Sadanji
Oguri Hangan July 1983 Ichikawa Ennosuke III, Ichikawa Monnosuke VII, Ichimura Uzaemon XVII, Jitsukawa Enjaku III, Sawamura S˘jűr˘ IX, Ichikawa Danshir˘, Nakamura Kotar˘ V
Ninin D˘j˘ji February 2009 Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Onoe Kikunosuke

Late Nakamura Kanzabur˘ posthumously received the 12th of March 2013 the special meritorious services prize (tokubetsu k˘r˘sh˘) as part of the Asakusa Artistic Awards (Asakusa Gein˘ Sh˘). His two sons, Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke, were present at the ceremony to receive the prize in the name of their father.

A special exhibition dedicated to the Sh˘wa onnagata star Nakamura Utaemon VI started the 25th of March 2013 at the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, located within the Waseda University. It will end the 25th of April 2013. If you are in T˘ky˘ this spring, do not hesitate to visit this beautiful museum!

Important reminder: 2 days before the opening of the new Kabukiza!

28 February
2013

The Kabuki star Ichikawa Danjűr˘, holder of the most important name in Edo Kabuki history and keeper of 320 years of stage traditions, passed away at a T˘ky˘ hospital the 3rd of February 2013. He was expected to be back on stage in March 2013 and to play some of his most notable atariyaku during the opening performances of the 5th generation Kabukiza in April 2013, May 2013 and June 2013. This passing away is a huge human loss for the Kabuki world. Ichikawa Danjűr˘'s funeral service was held the 27th of February 2013 at T˘ky˘'s Aoyama Cemetery. His son Ichikawa Ebiz˘ was the chief mourner. Ichikawa Danjűr˘ won't perform in the new Kabukiza but his spirit will be there!

Living National Treasure Kineya Gosabur˘ III passed away the 2nd of February 2013. He was a Nagauta shamisen player. Living National Treasure from 1989 and member of the prestigious Japan Art Academy (Nihon Geijutsuin) since 2005. His real name was Masuda Chikahiro.

At least a happy piece of news: Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘'s son Onoe Kikunosuke and Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon's 4th daughter Namino Y˘ko became engaged. The wedding will be celebrated the 26th of February 2013 at the Kanda My˘jin Shrine.

Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘, who performed in Paris (France) in February 2013, was named a Commander of the Order of Arts and Literature (Commandeur de lĺOrdre des Arts et des Lettres in French), one of France's highest honors.

The Misonoza, the most famous theater in Nagoya, will definitively close after the last Kabuki performances in March 2013 [more details]. Another bad piece of news for the Kabuki world! The actors Ichikawa Ennosuke and Ichikawa Chűsha paraded around the theater block the 25th of February 2013, on Fushimi and Misono avenues, from 13:00 to 13:40. The last Kabuki parade for the Misonoza.

Late Ichikawa Danjűr˘ was expected to perform at the new Kabukiza in April 2013, May 2013 and June 2013. In April 2013, he was expected to perform the role of Nippon Daemon in "Benten Musume Meo no Shiranami"; he will be replaced by Nakamura Kichiemon. In May 2013, he was expected to play the roles of Osh˘ Kichisa and ďba Sabur˘ in "Sannin Kichisa" and "Ishikiri Kajiwara"; he will be replaced by Matsumoto K˘shir˘ in the former role and by Onoe Kikugor˘ in the latter role. In June 2013, he was expected to play the roles of Minamoto Raik˘ and Sukeroku in "Tsuchi Gumo" and "Sukeroku"; he will be replaced by Nakamura Kichiemon in the former role and by his son Ichikawa Ebiz˘ in the latter role.

The actors Ichikawa En'˘ II, Ichikawa Ennosuke IV and Ichikawa Chűsha IX will celebrate their shűmei in Fukuoka in June 2013 at the Hakataza [more details].

Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ will perform in March 2013 in a newly-created Kumi Odori dance, which was entitled "Chifijin Tanj˘" and was staged from the 8th to the 10th of March 2013 at the National Theatre and from the 15th to the 17th of March 2013 at the National Theatre Okinawa. He will share the stage with two young and talented Okinawa Kumi Odori dancers, Tamagusuku Seigi and Kawamitsu K˘ta.

Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke received the 27th of February 2013 a prize from the 20th Yomiuri Engeki Taish˘ (the Yomiuri Theatrical Prizes), awarded by the famous paper Yomiuri Shimbun. Nakamura Kankur˘ received the Excellent Prize for Male Actors and Nakamura Shichinosuke received the Sugimura Haruko Prize.

Important reminder: 33 days before the opening of the new Kabukiza!

31 January
2013

Kabuki films in high definition, all from the Shinema Kabuki ("Cinema Kabuki") series, will be screened in Toronto at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in February 2013 [more details].

Day/Time Drama
Saturday, February 9, 01:00 PM Sagi Musume
Saturday, February 9, 02:00 PM H˘kaib˘
Sunday, February 10, 01:00 PM Abura no Jigoku
Sunday, February 10, 03:30 PM Kagotsurube

Ichikawa Danjűr˘ won't be back on stage in March 2013 to perform in Shakespeare's "Othello" in T˘ky˘ at Le Theatre Ginza. The program has been canceled and will be replaced by Kabuki performances, starring Ichikawa Danjűr˘'s son Ichikawa Ebiz˘ [more details].

The Meijiza will celebrate its 140th anniversary in May 2013 with Kabuki performances starring the young stars Nakamura Kankur˘, Kataoka Ainosuke, Nakamura Shichinosuke and Ichikawa Somegor˘ [more details].

Grand Kabuki with the Nakamuraya guild at the Akasaka Act Theater for the 3rd time since 2008 [more details].

Band˘ Mitsugor˘ receives the 54th Mainichi Performing Arts Awards (2012).

Ichikawa Danshir˘ will be back on stage in March 2013 in Nagoya at the Misonoza for the special performances celebrating the shűmei of his son Ichikawa Ennosuke. He will play the role of Kawatsura H˘gen in the drama "Shi-no-Kiri" [more details].

Important reminder: 61 days before the opening of the new Kabukiza!

News | News 2016 | News 2015 | News 2014 | News 2013 | News 2012 | News 2011 | News 2010 | News 2009 | News 2008 | News 2007 | News 2006
 
Search this site powered by FreeFind
  Site map | Disclaimer
Contact | Main | Top | Updates | Actors | Plays | Playwrights | Programs | Links | FAQ | Glossary | Chronology | Illustrations | Prints | Characters | Derivatives | Theaters | Coming soon | News