|NEWS FROM THE KABUKI WORLD
Obituary: the actor Nakamura Nakatar˘ (1936 ~ 2016) passed away the 10th of December 2016. He was a supporting actor of the Nakamuraya guild, at the service of 3 generations of masters : Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVII, Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVIII and Nakamura Kankur˘ VI/Nakamura Shichinosuke II. He was nicknamed Shach˘, a word meaning president (of a company) in Japanese.
More than 35 years ago, there was a great shűmei at the Kabukiza for 3 generations of actors belonging to the K˘raiya guild (K˘raiya Sandai Shűmei): Matsumoto K˘shir˘ VIII, Ichikawa Somegor˘ VI and Matsumoto Kintar˘ III respectively took the names of Matsumoto Haku˘, Matsumoto K˘shir˘ IX and Ichikawa Somegor˘ VII. In a little bit more than one year, there will be a second K˘raiya Sandai Shűmei in January and February 2018 at the Kabukiza! Matsumoto K˘shir˘ IX, his son Ichikawa Somegor˘ VII and his grandson Matsumoto Kintar˘ IV will take the names of Matsumoto Haku˘ II, Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X and Ichikawa Somegor˘ VIII! So far, the names of Matsumoto K˘shir˘ and Ichikawa Somegor˘ have been continously held since September 1949 for the former and April 1931 for the latter. The record to break is 102,5 years as the name of Matsumoto K˘shir˘ was held continuously from the 11th lunar month of 1735 to the 5th lunar month of 1838, from Matsumoto K˘shir˘ II to Matsumoto K˘shir˘ V.
Nakamura Jakuemon V will celebrate his shűmei at the Kanamaruza in April 2017 for the traditional yearly Shikoku Konpira Grand Kabuki in this prestigious old theater [more details]. He will play the roles of Princess Takiyasha and Kuzu-no-Ha in the dramas "Masakado" and "Kuzu-no-Ha".
Terajima Mahoro, the grandson of Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘ and son of the actress Terajima Shinobu will make his first stage appearance (omemie) in May 2017 at the Kabukiza. He will perform alongside his grandfather in the drama "Sakanaya S˘gor˘". Terajima Mahoro is half French, half Japanese as his father is a Frenchman. Not the first time in Kabuki history: the great star Ichimura Uzaemon XV's father was also a Frenchman.
7 young actors, led by Nakamura Matagor˘, will perform others major roles in important plays or dances in February 2017 in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza. Onoe Matsuya will play for the first time the prestigious role of Taira no Tomomori in the "Tokaiya" and "Daimotsu no Ura" scenes of the classic "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura". Nakamura Baishi will play for the first time the role of Princess Yuki in "Kinkakuji" [more details].
Ahead of their coming shűmei in ďsaka and to support the year-end campaign of prevention of traffic accident, Nakamura Shikan and his 3 sons, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Fukunosuke and Nakamura Utanosuke, were the big chiefs of the Minami Police Station in ďsaka for 1 day the 9th of December 2016 [pictures and more details in Japanese].
Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Fukunosuke and Nakamura Utanosuke paraded the 20th of December 2016 in ďsaka in the district of Minami with the famous D˘tonbori, which is the birthplace of performing arts in Kansai [pictures and more details in Japanese].
Nakamura Shikan and his sons took part in a ceremony in ďsaka at Tsűtenkaku the 27th of December to celebrate the end of the year of the monkey (2016) and the coming of the new year of the rooster (2017) [pictures and more details in Japanese].
The actor Ichikawa Ukon I and his son Takeda Takeru paraded the 13th of December 2016 in T˘ky˘ in the district of Marunouchi ahead of the coming shűmei of Ichikawa Udanji III and the hatsubutai of Ichikawa Ukon II in January 2017 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ [pictures and more details in Japanese].
Kataoka Ainosuke will be the star of the Japanese version of Stephen Sondheim's 1962 Broadway musical "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum", which will be entitled "Comedy Tonight" and staged in March 2017 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ [more details in Japanese | playbill]. The original musical was set in ancient Rome. This one will be set in Edo during the Edo period.
A rakugo storyteller will perform at the Kabukiza Gallery (5th floor of the Kabukiza building) the 20th of January 2017. It will be the 3rd edition of an event called Kabuki Shibai Banashi. Shibai Banashi are "performances by rakugo artists in which they employ kabuki-type speech and movements, often with musical accompaniment and against a scenic background" (Samuel Leiter in "New Kabuki Encyclopedia"). The performer will be Sumidagawa Baseki IV and he will tell the rakugo "Kajikazawa". This rakugo was actually a sandai banashi (3-word improvised story) ad-libbed by Kawatake Mokuami and subsequently polished by San'yűtei Ench˘.
An important 3-generation shűmei for the Band˘ branch of the Otowaya guild will happen in May 2017 at the Kabukiza. Band˘ Hikosabur˘ VIII, his two sons Band˘ Kamesabur˘ V and Band˘ Kametoshi will respectively take the names of Band˘ Rakuzen, Band˘ Hikosabur˘ IX and Band˘ Kamez˘ III. Moreover, Band˘ Kamesabur˘'s son Band˘ Yűta will make his hatsubutai and receive the name of Band˘ Kamesabur˘ VI. Rakuzen was the haimy˘ of Band˘ Hikosabur˘ III.
The February 2017 Saruwaka Festival February Grand Kabuki programs at the Kabukiza, in which Nakamura Kankur˘'s two sons Nakamura Kantar˘ III and Nakamura Ch˘zabur˘ II will make their debut on stage (hatsubutai), have been published! These two programs will also celebrate the 390th anniversary of Edo Kabuki (Okuni and her troupe performed at the Sh˘gun palace in Edo in 1607). The Tenmei Kabuki drama "ďakinai Hiru-ga-Kojima" will be revived [more details].
Nakamura Jakuemon V will celebrate his shűmei in Ky˘to in December 2016 at the Pontoch˘ Kaburenj˘. There will be no k˘j˘ staged independently. Two k˘j˘ will be added, one within the dance-drama "Michiyuki Tabiji no Yomeiri" and another in the drama "Yoshidaya" [more details].
The Zenshinza troupe will celebrate in January 2017 in Ky˘to at the Pontoch˘ Kaburenj˘ both the 85th anniversary of the foundation of the Zenshinza and the 40th anniversary of its early spring special performances in Ky˘to [more details].
Special discount ticket for foreign tourists will be sold for the New Year Young Actors Kabuki in January 2017 at the Asakusa K˘kaid˘ in Asakusa [programs]. The tickets will be sold only on the day and to foreign tourists who bring their own passport to the box office of the Asakusa K˘kaid˘:
The drama "Igagoe D˘chű Sugoroku" will be staged as a t˘shi ky˘gen in March 2017 at the National Theatre [more details | casting]. The core of this revival will be "Okazaki". This rarely-staged act was successfully revived at the National Theatre in December 2014. The zagashira will be Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon.
Prior to Ky˘to's year-end kaomise Kabuki performances from the 30th of November to the 25th of December 2016 [more details], the annual maneki-age happened the 25th of November 2016 at the Minamiza (which is closed for several months but actors' maneki kanban were raised in front of it) and at the Pontoch˘ Kaburenj˘. During this important event, huge wooden boards called maneki kanban are raised. The boards feature the names of Kabuki performers appearing in the show and they were placed over the front of the Minamiza on a huge takeyarai. The maneki kanban were made at the My˘denji temple in Ky˘to. The calligrapher soaked his brush in special ink mixed with sake for the purpose of purification and glossing, and wrote the names all actors, including Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Jakuemon (the name of Jakuemon was raised for the last time in Ky˘to 11 years ago), Nakamura Ganjir˘, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Kataoka Ainosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Nakamura Kikaku, Kamimura Kichiya and ďtani Tomoemon, with strong strokes in kanteiryű characters [pictures and more details in Japanese].
The Kabuki actors of the Nakamuraya guild Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke, along with Nakamura Kankur˘'s sons Namino Naoya and Namino Noriyuki, paraded the 27th of November 2016 in Asakusa ahead of the coming hatsubutai of both Nakamura Kantar˘ III (Namino Naoya) and Nakamura Ch˘zabur˘ II (Namino Noriyuki) in February 2017 at the Kabukiza [pictures and more details in Japanese].
There was a surprise offered by actors from the stage to the members of the audience of the November Young Actors Kabuki at the Hakataza. It happened the last day of the performances, the 25th of November. Unexpectedly, Ichikawa Ukon I's son Takeda Takeru appeared on stage and the coming shűmei of Ichikawa Udanji III and the hatsubutai of Ichikawa Ukon II were announced with all actors celebrating it [pictures and more details in Japanese].
The 246th edition of Kodomo Kabuki Ky˘shitsu (literally Children's Kabuki Classroom) happened the 23rd of November 2016 at the Kabukiza, from 9 AM to 10 AM, ending one hour before the start of the matinÚe. 1600 kids attended the program. The dance "Ryűsei" was staged with Band˘ Minosuke as a falling star, Onoe Ukon as the heavenly shepherd boy and Nakamura Kotar˘ as the celestial weaver maid. "Ryűsei" is about the myth of the heavenly shepherd boy and the celestial weaver maid who only can meet once a year. They no longer are united than a falling star, or ryűsei appears with an urgent report, which actually turns out to be the story of marital discord in the family of the thunder god living in a poor tenement in heaven. The highlight of this dance is this story with the ryűsei dancer changing instantly from role to role playing the thunder god, his angry wife, his little son and the elderly thunder goddess from next door who tries to break up the fight [pictures and more details in Japanese]. The Children's Kabuki Classroom began in February 1952. It used to be a monthly event. Nowadays, it is a yearly event, scheduled the 23rd of November each year. The performers are young actors.
The second edition of the Roppongi Kabuki performances at the EX THEATER in Roppongi will happen in February 2017 [more details]. Based on a script written by Lily Franky, the stage direction will be done by the famous movie director Miike Takashi, an expert in violent and bizarre movies who worked twice with Ichikawa Ebiz˘ for the movies Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (2011) and "Over your Dead Body" (2014). The story will be about Zat˘ Ichi, the zat˘ Ichi, a blind masseur and blademaster who was created by novelist Shimozawa Kan. The guest star of this production will not be a Kabuki actor but the actress Terajima Shinobu, the daughter of Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘. A dedicated website has just opened!
A rakugo storyteller will perform at the Kabukiza Gallery (5th floor of the Kabukiza building) the 20th of December 2016. It will be the second edition of an event called Kabuki Shibai Banashi. Shibai Banashi are "performances by rakugo artists in which they employ kabuki-type speech and movements, often with musical accompaniment and against a scenic background" (Samuel Leiter in "New Kabuki Encyclopedia"). The performer will be Shunpűtei Ichinosuke and he will tell the story of "Bunshichi Mottoi".
Nakamura Shikan VIII and his three sons, Nakamura Hashinosuke IV, Nakamura Fukunosuke III and Nakamura Utanosuke IV, went in front of the Kabuki Inari Shrine the 1st of November 2016 to pray for the success of the November 2016 performances in T˘ky˘ at the Kabukiza [pictures and more details in Japanese].
Pictures for the opening days at the Kabukiza of the November Annual Festive Face-Showing Grand Kabuki and at the Eirakukan for the Eirakukan Grand Kabuki (with a street parade before the start of the performances):
Obituary: the actor Nakamura Tokich˘ (1929 ~ 2016) passed away the 14th of October 2016. His honmy˘ was Iijima Toshio. He started his career as a disciple of Nakamura Tokiz˘ III in 1937 and his first stage name was Nakamura Ch˘maru. He took the names of Nakamura Ch˘jir˘ and Nakamura Tokich˘ in 1943 and 1953. He served four generations of masters of the Yorozuya guild.
The December 2016 Grand Kabuki programs at the Kabukiza have been published. The sanbusei tripartite system, which is usually used only in August, will be used in December as well! The newly-created Kabuki drama "Arashi no Yoru ni", which was premiered in September 2015 in Ky˘to at the Minamiza [more details], will be staged for the first time in T˘ky˘ with almost the same casting. The highlights of the second program will be "Terakoya" with Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Onoe Matsuya and Nakamura Baishi in the roles of Matsu˘maru, Chiyo, Genz˘ and Tonami. The star of the third program will be Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘, who will play the role of Matsuyama in "Ninin Wankyű" (the role of Wankyű will be played by Nakamura Kankur˘). Then, he will perform in a special version of "Musume D˘j˘ji" with 5 shiraby˘shi. The 4 others shiraby˘shi will be Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Baishi and Nakamura Kotar˘ [more details].
Nakamura Shikan VIII and his three sons, Nakamura Hashinosuke IV, Nakamura Fukunosuke III and Nakamura Utanosuke IV, will celebrate their shűmei in ďsaka in January 2017 at the Sh˘chikuza. Nakamura Shikan will play the roles of Kajiwara Heiz˘ Kagetoki, Musashib˘ Benkei and the young master Yorozuya Kinnosuke in "Ishikiri Kajiwara", "Kanjinch˘" and "Kari no Tayori" [more details].
The January 2017 Early Spring Grand Kabuki programs at the Kabukiza have been published. The troupe troupe will be led by the two Living National Treasures Nakamura Kichiemon and Band˘ Tamasabur˘. "Sh˘gun Edo o Saru" will be staged to commemorate the 150th anniversary of taisei h˘kan. "Kakubŕ Jishi", with Nakamura Takanosuke in the role of Kakubŕ, will be staged to commemorate the 6th anniversary (7th memorial service) of the passing away of Nakamura Tomijűr˘ V [more details].
The two programs for the Congratulation New Year Grand Kabuki at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ in January 2017 have been published [more details]. Ichikawa Ukon I will take the name of Ichikawa Udanji III and his son Ichikawa Ukon II will make his hatsubutai. The new Udanji will play the roles of Sarushima S˘ta and Gunsuke in "Futago Sumidagawa" and the role of Mionoya in "Shikorobiki". "Futago Sumidagawa", which belongs to the Ennosuke Shijűhassen (the Best 48 of Ennosuke) collection of plays, was staged for the last time 23 years ago, in July 1994 at the Kabukiza. Others highlights will be Ichikawa Ebiz˘ playing the role of Minamoto no Yoshikata in "Yoshikata Saigo" and Ichikawa Ennosuke performing in "Kurozuka".
The two traditional programs for the New Year Young Actors Kabuki at the Asakusa K˘kaid˘ in January 2017 have been published [more details]. Nakamura Kinnosuke and his son Nakamura Hayato will perform for the first time together in "Suzu-ga-Mori". Nakamura Kinnosuke will play the role of Banzuiin Ch˘bŕ and Nakamura Hayato the role of Shirai Gonpachi. Nakamura Kinnosuke played this role for the first (and so far last) time in July 2015 at the Sh˘chikuza (with Kataoka Takatar˘ in the role of Shirai Gonpachi). Another interesting feature: Band˘ Minosuke will play for the first time an atariyaku for his family: Matahei in the drama "Domo Mata". The role of Matahei's wife Otoku will be played by Nakamura Kazutar˘.
You can enjoy Kabuki at 350 meters above sea level. After sundown, against the backdrop of a gorgeous night view, performances of Nakamura Kankur˘, in tune to rock-and-roll music, are projected on the glass of the big windows of the Tenb˘ Deck (350m) of the famous T˘ky˘ Skytree. There is also an exhibition about the Heisei Nakamuraza. This Kabuki project within Skytree which started the 5th of October 2016, is called Tenb˘ Kabuki and there is also a giant paper lantern [more details].
Ichikawa Ebiz˘ played the role of Musashib˘ Benkei in "Kanjinch˘" the 16th of October 2016, in the city of Komatsu (Ishikawa Prefecture) on a temporary stage built near the site of the Ataka barrier, which is the site where this dance-drama takes place! The role of the Ataka gatekeeper, Togashi Saemon, was played by Nakamura Shid˘. It is always interesting when Kabuki, history and geography collide! This performance was part of the October 2016 "Invitation to the Classics" tour [pictures and more details in Japanese]
"The Power of Culture" at the Panasonic Center T˘ky˘. This exhibition about Ichikawa Somegor˘'s performances in Las Vegas in May 2016 started the 18th of October and will last up to the 4th of December 2016. Visitors can see the costume and the wig used by the actor in "SHI-SHI-ď The Adventures of the Mythical Lion". This exhibition is part of a long program of events leading to the 2020 olympic/paralympic games in T˘ky˘.
Ichikawa Shun'en will join the Shinpa troupe led by Mizutani Yaeko II and Namino Kuriko in January 2017 at the Mitsukoshi Gekij˘. He will also take the name of Kawai Yukinoj˘ and his new yag˘ will be Shiratoya. Why this name and this guild? Shiratoya was the guild name of Kawai Takeo, a great Shinpa onnagata actor. The choice of Yukinoj˘ is related to the drama "Yukinoj˘ Henge", the story of the fictious Kabuki actor Nakamura Yukinoj˘.
The SűpÔ Kabuki Sekando drama "ONE PIECE", based on Oda Eiichir˘'s internationally popular manga "ONE PIECE", which got his first very successful stage adaptation by Ichikawa Ennosuke in October 2015/November 2015 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘, will be staged at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ in October 2017 and November 2017.
An interesting rice paddy art project was started the 29th of May 2016 in the city of Matsumoto. The project team, along with Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke and Nakamura Kankur˘'s two sons, Namino Naoya and Namino Noriyuki, planted rice of various types and colors to create a giant pictures in a paddy field based on "Futari Momotar˘" (("The two Momotar˘") and a shishimono [pictures and more details in Japanese]. "Kadonde Futari Momotar˘" will be staged in February 2017 to celebrate the hatsubutai of Nakamura Kantar˘ III (Namino Naoya) and Nakamura Ch˘zabur˘ II (Namino Noriyuki). The 1st of October 2016, it was the harvest party, celebrated with Namino Naoya and Namino Noriyuki. The rice paddy art was visible [pictures and more details in Japanese].
Ichikawa Ennosuke will perform from the 27th of November to the 26th of December 2016 in T˘ky˘ at the Setagaya Public Theater in a non-Kabuki comedy entitled "Enoken Ichidaiki". This drama will be about the legendary actor Enomoto Ken'ichi, mostly known by his stage name Enoken.
Ichikawa Somegor˘ will perform the 27th November 2016 at the Shibuya-ku Bunka S˘g˘ Center ďwada (T˘ky˘) in "Shibuya Konn˘maru Densetsu", along with the dance masters Onoe Kikunoj˘ III, Onoe Miyako and Goj˘ Tamatar˘ [more details].
Two posters for the November Kabuki programs at the Kabukiza have been printed out and will be sold in the theater:
Nakamura Shikimatsu II, a disciple of late Nakamura Shikan VII, will join the first league of Kabuki actors ("kanbu sh˘shin") and will receive the name of Nakamura Baika IV in October 2016 at the Kabukiza [more details].
The drama "Shiranui Monogatari" will be staged in January 2017 at the National Theatre [more details]. As usual, the troupe will be led by Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘. "Shiranui Monogatari" was originally a long novel of the same name, which was written by Ryűkatei Tanekazu and started to be published in 1849, at the end of the Edo period. It was adapted by Kawatake Shinshichi II and premiered at the Kawarazakiza in 1853. This play is famous for its visual entertainment. The heroine, Princess Shiranui, has the magical power to turn herself into a giant earth-spider! "Shiranui Monogatari" was staged 4 times in ˘shibai during the second half of the 20th century: in January 1953 at the Mitsukoshi Gekij˘, in September 1953 at the ďsaka Kabukiza, in August 1954 at the Kabukiza and in March 1977 at the National Theatre. We had to wait almost 40 years for a revival.
Ichikawa Ebiz˘ is cast in new TV T˘ky˘ drama series "Ishikawa Goemon". This series is based on the life of well known larger than life outlaw Ishikawa Goemon. Ichikawa Ebiz˘ have played the title character. The shooting started in December 2015 and the first episode will be broadcasted the 14th of October.
Two rakugo storytellers will perform at the Kabukiza Gallery (5th floor of the Kabukiza building) the 5th of October. It will be the first edition of an event called Kabuki Shibai Banashi. Shibai Banashi are "performances by rakugo artists in which they employ kabuki-type speech and movements, often with musical accompaniment and against a scenic background" (Samuel Leiter in "New Kabuki Encyclopedia"). The two performers will be Yanagiya Karoku and Yanagiya Kichiroku.
Three posters for the October Kabuki programs at the Kabukiza have been printed out and will be sold in the theater:
The Kabuki world could have celebrated the 300th anniversary of the first adaptation to Kabuki of Chikamatsu Monzaemon's masterpiece "Kokusen'ya Gassen", which was produced in Fall 1716 in Ky˘to at Miyako Mandayű's theater [casting].
Nakamura Jakuemon V will celebrate his shűmei in Ky˘to in December 2016, not at the Minamiza (which is closed for several months) but at the Pontoch˘ Kaburenj˘, a venue in the famous hanamachi district of Pontoch˘. Nakamura Jakuemon will play the roles of Konami, ďgiya Yűgiri and the shiraby˘shi Hanako in "Michiyuki Tabiji no Yomeiri", "Kuruwa Bunsh˘" and "Musume D˘j˘ji". The performances will be divided into 3 different programs and Nakamura Jakuemon will perform once in every program. His three main stage partners will be the Living National Treasures Sakata T˘jűr˘ and Kataoka Nizaemon, and the young star Ichikawa Ebiz˘. Kataoka Ainosuke will perform for the first time the role of Sait˘ Bett˘ Sanemori in "Sanemori Monogatari" [more details].
Nakamura Shikan VIII and his three sons, Nakamura Hashinosuke IV, Nakamura Fukunosuke III and Nakamura Utanosuke IV, will celebrate in October 2016 their first month of shűmei in T˘ky˘ at the Kabukiza. The new Shikan will play the roles of Banzuiin Ch˘bŕ and Kumagai Jir˘ Naozane in "Kiwametsuki Banzui Ch˘bŕ" and "Kumagai Jin'ya". His three sons will perform in a dance entitled "Ho Agete I˘ Takarabune". They will also play the roles of young firemen in "Kagatobi" [more details].
Nakamura Shikan VIII and his three sons, Nakamura Hashinosuke IV, Nakamura Fukunosuke III and Nakamura Utanosuke IV, will celebrate in November 2016 their second month of shűmei in T˘ky˘ at the Kabukiza. The new Shikan will play the roles of the father shishi and Sasaki Moritsuna in "Renjishi" and "Moritsuna Jin'ya". His three sons will play the roles of the three shishi cubs in "Renjishi". They will also play alternatively the role of the yakko Komahei in the dance-drama "Shikan Yakko" [more details].
Nakamura Hashinosuke and his three sons, Nakamura Kunio, Nakamura Muneo and Nakamura Yoshio, paraded the 29th of August 2016 in Asakusa ahead of their coming 2-month shűmei in October 2016 and November 2016 at the Kabukiza [more details in Japanese and pictures].
All the scenes from "Michiyuki Tabiji no Yomeiri" to "Hikiage" of the classic "Kanadehon Chűshingura" will be staged in December 2016 at the National Theatre [more details]. It will be the third month of a 3-month t˘shi ky˘gen production of the most important Kabuki drama to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the National Theatre! The two stars will be Matsumoto K˘shir˘ and Nakamura Baigyoku.
The 9th edition of the Eirakukan Grand Kabuki will happen from the 4th to the 11th of November 2016 at the Eirakukan, a renovated traditional theater built in the city of Toyooka (prefecture of Hy˘go). The zagashira will be as usual the young star Kataoka Ainosuke. The first item in the program will be the jidaimono "Terutora Haizen". The second item will be a newly-created Kabuki drama based on a Kigeki drama, which was written by [more details].
The 43rd edition of Koten Gein˘ Kansh˘ Kai (literally the "Classics Entertainment Appreciation Association"), a yearly performance produced by the National TV network NHK, will happen the 28th of October 2016 in T˘ky˘ at the NHK Hall. The program will include one Kabuki drama, "Banch˘ Sarayashiki", which will star Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Kinnosuke and Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘ [more details].
A few interesting links for the August and September Kabuki programs at the Kabukiza:
No more a Kabuki actor, Ichikawa Tsukinosuke will take the name of Kitamura Rokur˘ II in September 2016, in T˘ky˘ at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (from the 1st to the 11th) and in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza (from the 17th to the 25th). He will perform in two Shinpa classics, "Fukagawa Doshima" and "Onna Keizu", along with Shinpa stars Hayabusa Tar˘ II, Mizutani Yaeko II and Namino Kuriko, and Kabuki actors Onoe Matsuya, Ichikawa En'ya and Ichikawa Shun'en.
Nakamura Kankur˘ will perform outside Kabuki in September and October 2016 in the jidaigeki drama "Sanada Jűyűshi". "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. He will perform from the 11th of September to the 3rd of October at the New National Theatre, from the 8th to the 10th of October at the Kanagawa Arts Theatre and from the 14th to the 23rd of October in K˘be at the Hy˘go Performing Arts Center. It is interesting to note that Nakamura Kankur˘ will not perform in October 2016 and November 2016 at the Kabukiza for the shűmei of his brother-in-law Nakamura Shikan VIII.
There will be a Kabuki-related event the 18th of September 2016 at the Asakusa K˘kaid˘ as part of the 9th Down Town Tait˘ International Comedy Film Festival, which is commonly called Shitacome (shita comes from shitamachi and come from comedy). Actors Kataoka Kamez˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke will take part in a talk show before the screening of the movie version of "ďedo Ribingu Deddo" ("ďedo and the Living Dead" in English), which was which was shot live in December 2009 at the Kabukiza and released in 2010 as the 12th Shinema Kabuki ("Cinema Kabuki") [more details about the drama].
There will be a special night event the 27th of October 2016 at the Kabukiza as part of the Tokyo International Film Festival 2016. Onoe Kikunosuke will perform on stage in "Sagi Musume". Then, two old B&W silent Japanese movies will be screened: Ikeda Tomiyasu's 1926 movie "Chűshingura" and It˘ Daisuke's 1928 movie "Chikemuri Takada-no-Baba". They will be screened with the accompaniment of benshi narration [more details].
There will be a special Buy˘ program at the Kabukiza the 26th and the 27th of September 2016 to commemorate the 26th anniversary (27th memorial service) of the passing away of the dance master Fujima Kans˘ II (1900~1990). Many Kabuki actors will take part in these two days of traditonal dances. The ones belonging to the Fujima School of Buy˘ will perform under their Fujima name. Band˘ Kamesabur˘'s son Band˘ Yűta will also make his first appearance on stage (hatsubutai). Here is the program (we've kept only performances with Kabuki actors):
An official panel has recommenended five artists to be named Living National Treasure in 2016. One of them is the Kabuki wakiyaku actor Nakamura T˘z˘ VI. He will be officially designated this year in September. This is the seventh Kabuki Living National Treasure. There are 4 tachiyaku (Sakata T˘jűr˘, Onoe Kikugor˘, Nakamura Kichiemon, Kataoka Nizaemon), 1 onnagata (Band˘ Tamasabur˘) and 2 wakiyaku (Sawamura Tanosuke, Nakamura T˘z˘).
The 9th edition in T˘ky˘ of a special program called "Shűzan Matsuri" (the festival of Shűzan) will be staged at the Kabukiza in September 2016. It will commemorate the great actor Nakamura Kichiemon I, whose's haimy˘ was Shűzan. The zagashira will be his adopted son, the Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon II and the top guest star will be Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘. The two highlights will be "Ichij˘ ďkura Monogatari" in the afternoon program and "Yoshinogawa" in the evening program. "Goban Tadanobu", which was staged only one time since the end of the WWII (in December 2011 at the Nissay Theatre), will also be staged. The rarely-staged dance-drama "Genroku Hanami Odori" will close the evening program with Band˘ Tamasabur˘ in the leading role. Nakamura Kichiemon II's disciple Nakamura Kichinosuke III will join the first league of Kabuki actors ("kanbu sh˘shin") and will receive the name of Nakamura Kichinoj˘ III [more details].
All the scenes from "Ochiudo" to "Gion Ichiriki Jaya" of the classic "Kanadehon Chűshingura" will be staged in November 2016 at the National Theatre [more details]. It will be the second month of a 3-month t˘shi ky˘gen production of the most important Kabuki drama to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the National Theatre!
Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and Nakamura Shid˘ will be on tour in October 2016. It will be an original tour, which will mix N˘ and Kabuki. The N˘ drama "Ataka" and the famous Kabuki dance-drama "Kanjinch˘", the Kabuki version of "Ataka", will be staged [more details]. This tour will be entitled Koten he no Izanai, literally "Invitation to the Classics". Among others dates, it will be staged from the 8th to the 11th at the Yachiyoza, from the 18th to the 19th at the NHK ďsaka Hall and from the 25th to the 26th at the Asakusa.
2nd edition of the gala of the Sora no Kai (literally "the Sky Association"), which stars Kataoka Matsujűr˘, Kataoka Senjir˘, Kataoka Senju. They will perform from the 29th of July to the 1st of August 2016 in ďsaka at the Kintetsu Art Kan in a newly-created drama entitled "Ise Sangű Kami no Nigiwai" [more details]. These performances are entitled Abeno Kabuki (Abeno is the name of a famous district in ďsaka).
A few interesting links for the July Kabuki programs at the Kabukiza or the Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre:
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]. Actors, including Nakamura Jakuemon V who will celebrate next month his shűmei in ďsaka, in the July casting arrived at the theater the 29th of June 2016 in a colorful boat parade, applauded by fans and spectators on the bridges or the banks [pictures and more details in Japanese].
All the scenes for the first three acts of the classic "Kanadehon Chűshingura" will be staged in October 2016 at the National Theatre [more details]. It will be the first month of a 3-month t˘shi ky˘gen production of the most important Kabuki drama to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the National Theatre!
The October 2016 kaomise programs in Nagoya have been published. The zagashira will be Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon. As the Misonoza closed in Spring 2013, these programs will be staged at the Nihon Tokushu T˘gy˘ Shimin Kaikan for the fourth time, a venue commonly called NTK Hall in Nagoya [more details]. The hightlights will be the following ones:
The August 2016 Cool-Breeze Kabuki programs at the Kabukiza have been published! The leading actors will be Nakamura Hashinosuke, Ichikawa Ennosuke, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Nakamura Shid˘ and Kataoka Kamez˘. There will be a non-Kabuki guest: Suruga Tar˘. Nakamura Senjaku will play the role of Oginoya Yaegiri in "Yaegiri Kuruwa Banashi". The rarely-staged dance-drama "Benikan" will be staged in the afternoon program. A newly-created Kabuki drama, which is entitled "Kuruwa Banashi Yamanaya Urazato", and "Tsuchi Gumo", with Nakamura Hashinosuke in the role of the spirit of the ground spider, will be staged in the evening program [more details].
Sh˘chiku Grand Kabuki Tour in Japan in October 2016. The spectacular drama "Hitori Tabi Gojűsan Tsugi", which belongs to the Ennosuke Jűhachiban collection of plays, will be staged for the very first time on tour. This drama full of keren will be produced in a lighter version (less roles to be performed) but the amazing chűnori with the huge cat-spirit will be part of the production. Depending on the city, there will be either one program (A prog) or two programs (A prog in the afternoon, B prog in the evening). In A prog, Ichikawa Ennosuke will play the roles of Yurugi Shirabenosuke and the old woman Osan, in reality the cat-spirit of Okazaki. Band˘ Minosuke will play 13 roles. In B prog, it will be the opposite [more details].
The 2nd edition of the S˘ch˘kai (literally "the Two Butterflies Association"), which stars Nakamura Kash˘ and his brother Nakamura Tanenosuke, will happen the 24th and the 25th of August 2015 in T˘ky˘ at the National Theatre [more details].
The 3rd edition of the Sh˘ no Kai, a gala program which stars Nakamura Tomijűr˘ V's son Nakamura Takanosuke, will happen in T˘ky˘ at the National N˘ Theatre the 8th of August 2016. Nakamura Takanosuke will perform in "Kakitsubata" and "Sukeroku". His sister Watanabe Aiko will perform in "Shiokumi". The long-time NHK announcer Kasai Seiji will be a guest in charge of all the talking [more details].
Ichikawa Ebiz˘ will perform the 22nd of September 2016 in a special Kabuki program in the precincts of the Kanjizai˘in, which belongs to the historic monuments and religious sites of Hiraizumi, temples, gardens and archaeological sites in Hiraizumi, Iwate Prefecture [more details].
The 1st of July 2016 in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza, there will be a special charity event to help the relief efforts following the terrible Kumamoto earthquakes. It will be possible to watch a stage rehearsal, a really rare opportunity [more details in Japanese].
At the Kabukiza Gallery (5th floor of the Kabukiza building), there will be the 17th of July 2016 a session entitled "HOW TO ENJOY KABUKIZA THEATRE" [flyer | more details]. This is the second edition. The 1st edition occurred the 26th of June 2016 at the same place.
Obituary: the director Ninagawa Yukio passed away the 12th of May 2016 of complications from pneumonia. He was known throughout the world for productions of Shakespeare plays or Greek tragedies and his blending of traditional and modern theatrical techniques. He directed Kabuki actors in a famous adaptation of Shakespeareĺs "Twelfth Night", which was entitled "Ninagawa Jűniya" and was premiered in July 2005 at the Kabukiza. It was staged in July 2007 at the Kabukiza [more details], in March 2009 at the Barbican Theater (London), in June 2009 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ and in July 2009 at the Sh˘chikuza.
Obituary: the actor Kataoka Ichimatsu (1927 ~ 2016) passed away the 20th of May 2016. He was, since the passing away of Ichimura Tsuruz˘ (1924~2015) the 26th of December 2015, the oldest Kabuki actor.
The roles performed by Nakamura Shikan VIII for his 2-month shűmei in T˘ky˘ at the Kabukiza have been selected! In October 2016, Nakamura Shikan VIII will play the roles of Kumagai Jir˘ Naozane and Banzuiin Ch˘bŕ in "Kumagai Jin'ya" and "Kiwametsuki Banzui Ch˘bŕ". In November 2016, he will play the roles of Sasaki Moritsuna and the father shishi in "Moritsuna Jin'ya" and "Renjishi". The dance-drama "Renjishi" will be a special version with 3 shishi cubs, played by Nakamura Hashinosuke IV, Nakamura Fukunosuke III and Nakamura Utanosuke IV, who are the 3 sons of Nakamura Shikan VIII.
Ichikawa Ukon will take the name of Ichikawa Udanji III in January 2017 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘. His son will make his debut on stage (hatsubutai) and will receive the name of Ichikawa Ukon II. The name of Ichikawa Udanji has not been used for almost 80 years. Both Ichikawa Udanji I and Ichikawa Udanji II were Kamigata actors and they were famous for their keren performances. The new Udanji was born in Kansai and he is also accustomed to spectacular stage tricks. He will change his yag˘ to Takashimaya but he will keep on performing with the Omodakaya guild.
The programs for the July 2016 Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza have been published [more details]. The zagashira will be Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and the main performing troupe will be the Omodakaya (under the command of Ichikawa Ennosuke). Ichikawa Sadanji will be an important guest. A lighter version of "Kotohoide Mimasu Kagekiyo", which was premiered in January 2014 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ [more details], will be staged. It will be made up of two spectacular dramas, "Kamahige" and "Kagekiyo", which belongs to the Kabuki Jűhachiban collection.
Nakamura Senjaku, who will play the role of Oiwa (and Oiwa ghost) in "Yotsuya Kaidan" in June 2016 at the Cocoon Kabuki, went, along with Nakamura Shichinosuke and the playwright Kushida Kazuyoshi, at the Oiwa Inari Tamiya Shrine, the shrine dedicated to the spirit of Oiwa, in Yotsuya (T˘ky˘) the 6th of May 2016 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 [pictures and more details in Japanese].
An important funa norikomi was scheduled on the Hakata River in Fukuoka the 29th of May 2016, before June Grand Kabuki at the Hakataza which will celebrate the shűmei of Nakamura Jakuemon V in Fukuoka [more details]. Due to heavy rains, the actors could not board the colorful boats in order to be applauded by fans and spectators on the bridges or the banks of the Hakata river. No funa norikomi but there was the traditional ceremonial hand-clapping (koshiki tejimeshiki in Japanese) in the Hakata Riverain Square [more details with pictures].
The two latest releases (25th and 26th) in the Shinema Kabuki ("Cinema Kabuki") series, "ONE PIECE" and "Akoya", which were shot live in high definition in November 2015 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ and in October 2015 at the Kabukiza, will be released all over Japan from the 22nd of October 2016 ("ONE PIECE") and from the 7th of January 2017 ("Akoya").
5th edition in July 2016 in the city of Matsumoto of a Kabuki program called Shinshű Matsumoto Grand Kabuki (Shinshű is an old name for the province of Nagano, whose main city is Matsumoto), which happens every two year since July 2008. It will be the same program as the 15th edition of the Cocoon Kabuki in T˘ky˘ [more details].
The 2nd edition of the Ken no Kai, which stars Onoe Kikugor˘ VI's great-grandson Onoe Ukon, will happen the 6th and the 7th of August 2016 in T˘ky˘ at the National Theatre. Ken no Kai literally means "Ken's Association" with Ken being the first ideogram in Onoe Ukon's real first name Kensuke. Ichikawa Somegor˘ will be a guest star [more details].
The special program starring Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and mixing Kabuki, N˘ and Opera, which was staged in April 2016 at the Ky˘to Gekij˘, will be staged in Nagoya at the Chűnichi Theatre from the 4th to the 7th of August 2016 [more details].
Onoe Matsuya will perform from the 13th to the 15th of July 2016 at the Cerulean Tower Noh Theater in T˘ky˘ in the 8th edition of his yearly gala program, which is entitled IDOMU (Challenge in Japanese). His two guest stars will be the ky˘genshi Miyake Sukenori and Miyake Chikanari [more details].
Please do find below the link an interesting flyer for the June Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza:
Nakamura Jakuemon V will play the roles of ďgiya Yűgiri, Otomi and Osome in "Yűgiri Nagori no Sh˘gatsu", "Kirare Yosa" and "Toribeyama Shinjű" to celebrate his shűmei in July 2016 in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza [more details].
The 2nd of April 2016, the young star Ichikawa Ennosuke IV did his 800th chűnori. It happened at the Hakataza in the Super Kabuki II drama "ONE PIECE". His first chűnori occurred in October 1985 at the Kabukiza in the drama "Futago Sumidagawa". He was still a child and did the chűnori along with his uncle Ichikawa Ennosuke III and Onoe Kikugor˘ VII. His next challenge might be to do more chűnori than his uncle but there is a long way to go as his uncle did it more than 5000 times.
The 14th of April at the Hakataza, the 16th of April at the Kabukiza, Meijiza and Kanamaruza, actors personally collected donations from audience members to help the relief efforts following the terrible Kumamoto earthquakes [pictures and more details in Japanese]. The 14th of April, Ichikawa Ennosuke made a speech on stage and ended it with the lyrics of the ONE PIECE song: "Even in the darkest of times, there's no such thing as an endless night, let's join hands and wish on a star".
7 actors led by Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ went to the Konpira Shrine the 8th of April 2016 to pray for the success of April 2016 performances at the Kanamaruza, where Nakamura Ganjir˘ IV was about to celebrate his shűmei from the 9th of April. Afterwards, The 7 stars were paraded in the streets of Kotohira in rickshaws [pictures and more details in Japanese|more details about the performances].
Please do find below the links to the latest playbills of coming Kabuki programs. The one for Cocoon Kabuki is both original and mind-disturbing:
A few articles about Kabuki in Las Vegas in May 2016:
Ichikawa Ennosuke will perform in a modern drama in May 2016, from the 20th to the 22nd of May at the Shunjűza (a theater located within the Ky˘to University of Arts and Design) and from the 24th to the 26th of May at the Yachiyoza. The drama is entitled "Otokotachi no Sumika - Dokkoi! Oretachi ha koko ni Iru" ("The Home of Men - Hold on! We are here"). The script was written by Osabe S˘suke, who will also be the director.
Nakamura Kazutar˘ will perform outside Kabuki in Noda Hideki's drama "Sandaime, RichÔdo" ("Sandaime, Richard") which is not an adaptation of William Shakespeare's masterpiece "Richard III" but a a playful take on the Shakespearean play in which the Bard himself is put on trial for defaming the royal schemer through his works. He will play the role of Richard Sandaime in this comedy at the Fuji no Kuni World Theater Festival 2016 at the Shizuoka Performing Arts Center from the 29th of April to the 1st of May 2016. The play will be directed by Ong Keng Sen and Nakamura Kazutar˘ will share the stage with the actress Janice Koh. It will also be staged in Singapore from the 8th to the 10th of September 2016 at the Victoria Theatre [more details about "Sandaime, Richard"].
There will be an exhibition of Kabuki costumes in the city of Narita at the Narita Cultural Art Center from the 12th to the 22nd of May 2016 [flyer].
Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and Anthony Roth Costanzo went to the Ky˘to Tower to pray at the Tawawa-chan Shrine for the success of April 2016 performances at the Ky˘to Gekij˘. The Tawawa-chan Shrine was built in 2014, as part of the 50th anniversary project of the tower's inauguration, in the observation deck of the tower. It is dedicated to Tawawa-chan, the mascot of the tower ... [pictures and more details in Japanese].
Obituary: : the actor Nakamura Utae (1932~2016) passed away the 26th of March 2016.
There will be a Kabuki tour in Europe in May 2016: Band˘ Yajűr˘ and his son Band˘ Shingo will perform in Paris from the 12th to the 14th of May at the Maison de la Culture du Japon Ó Paris, in Geneva from the 17th to the 18th of May at the BFM (ThÚodore Turrettini Hall) and in Madrid from the 21st to the 22nd of May at the Circulo Bellas Artes. It will be the second edition of a gala program called Yago no Kai for Band˘ Yajűr˘ and his son Band˘ Shingo (Ya comes from Yajűr˘ and Go from Shingo). There will be 3 items in the program: the dance "Omatsuri", a talk about "how to appreciate Kabuki" and the dance-drama "Tsumoru Koi Yuki no Seki no To" [flyer for the performances in Geneva].
The world of Kabuki and the world of Otaku will collide at the end of April 2016! A new style will result from this spectacular collision: Ch˘kabuki (literally Ultra-Kabuki)! Nakamura Shid˘, performing the role of Sat˘ Shiroby˘e Tadanobu (in reality the fox Genkur˘), will share the stage with the virtual 3D creature Hatsune Miku. They will perform together in a Ch˘kabuki dance-drama which will be choreographed by Fujima Kanjűr˘ VIII and will be entitled "Hana Kurabe Senbon Zakura". It will staged at the Makuhari Messe the 29th and the 30th of April 2016, as part of the Niconico Ch˘kaigi 2016 event, an important yearly event for the Otaku tribes [more details | the flyer | a video of Hatsune Miku | website].
Onoe Kikunosuke's son Terashima Kazufumi, who is also the grandson of two Living National Treasures, Onoe Kikugor˘ and Nakamura Kichiemon, will make his first stage appearance (omemie) for the yearly Dankiku festival in May 2016 at the Kabukiza. This festival for the Naritaya and Otowaya guilds commemorates 2 great stars of the Meiji era: Dan = Ichikawa Danjűr˘ IX and Kiku = Onoe Kikugor˘ V [more details]. Another interesting feature of these May Grand Kabuki performances will be the revival of Fukuchi ďchi's drama "Nue Taiji", which was staged for the last time more than 54 years ago, in January 1962 at the Kabukiza.
The programs for the June 2016 Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza have been published [more details]. The sanbusei tripartite system, which is usually used only in August, will be used in June! The classic "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura" will be staged in 3 parts and Ichikawa Ukon's son Takeda Takeru will make his first stage appearance (omemie) in the role of Rokudai. Each part of "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura" will be dedicated to one hero of this drama: Taira no Tomomori in the first part, Igami no Gonta in the second part and Tadanobu in the third part. In the first part, Masuyama Kinpachi I's Tokiwazu-based drama "Hototogisu Hana Aru Sato" will be revived. This dance-drama is commonly called "Tadanobu" and it will star Nakamura Baigyoku and Nakamura Kaishun in the roles of Minamoto no Yoshitsune and the shiraby˘shi Miyoshino.
Nakamura Kankur˘ VI's two sons, his elder son Namino Naoya and his younger son Namino Noriyuki, will make their debut on stage (hatsubutai) in February 2017 at the Kabukiza. They will receive the respective names of Nakamura Kantar˘ III and Nakamura Ch˘zabur˘ II. The first holder of the name Nakamura Ch˘zabur˘ was Nakamura Kanzabur˘ III, who held it between 1673 and 1674.
The programs for the Grand Kabuki Tours in the Eastern and Central provinces in July 2016 have been published!
Ichikawa Ebiz˘ performed the 26th of March 2016 in Okinawa within the precincts of the Nakagusuku Castle. He performed the longevity dance of Musashib˘ Benkei, a famous section from the dance-drama "Kanjinch˘", and the leading role of "Renjishi". Ichikawa Kudanji performed the role of Soga Gor˘ Tokimune in "Ame no Gor˘" [more details].
Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘ fell ill (stomach ulcer) before the opening day of the March Grand Kabuki performances at the Kabukiza. He was replaced on the spot by his son Onoe Kikunosuke to play the role of Miuranosuke in "Kamakura Sandaiki" up to the 11th of March. He was back on stage the 12th of March.
Ichikawa Ennosuke, Nakamura Kazutar˘ and Nakamura Umemaru will perform in the dance-drama "Ryűsei" within a special one-time only program, which will be staged in Kanazawa the 11th of May 2016 at the Ishikawa Ongakud˘ and will be entitled Iyo no Ai ~ Sono Yukue (literally "Different World of Love ~ The whereabouts") [more details].
The drama "GOEMON-Ishikawa Goemon" (), which was premiered in October 2014 in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza [more details], will be staged in October 2016 in T˘ky˘ at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘, starring Kataoka Ainosuke in the role of Ishikawa Goemon [more details]. This drama is advertised by the Sh˘chiku Company as being ôa novel Kabuki dance which has taken in Flamencoö.
Ichikawa Somegor˘ received the 19th of March 2016 at the Asakusa K˘kaid˘ the Incentive Award (Sh˘reish˘) of the 32nd Asakusa Artistic Awards (Asakusa Gein˘ Sh˘) [pictures and more details in Japanese].
Nakamura Hashinosuke will perform in May 2016 at the Meijiza in the non-Kabuki drama "On'yado Kawasemi", which is based on Hiraiwa Yumie's Edo period historical detective-story series "On'yado Kawasemi".
Nakamura Shid˘ was a tobigashira for real for a day the 29th of February 2016. He symbolically became the head of the firehouse near the National Theatre and supervised the exercises [pictures and more details in Japanese].
Nakamura Hashinosuke has started to work as a "navigator" on a cultural TV program for NHK-BS, a Satellite channel of the National TV network NHK, which will be entitled Ky˘to Burari Rekishi Tanb˘ (literally "Wandering off in Ky˘to - History Inquiry"). The first episode of this monthly series will be aired the 12th of April 2016. In each episode, Nakamura Hashinosuke will visit a temple, a shrine or a traditional craft artisan.
The maintenance construction of Dankazura, the famous approach to the Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine in Kamakura, was completed in March 2016. The renovation works started in November 2014 and a ceremony to celebrate this completion took place on the 30th of March 2016. There was procession led by Shint˘ priests and Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon from the second torii up to the lower worship hall of the Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine. Then, after the procession, Nakamura Kichiemon performed an auspicious celebration dance on a stage at the Lower Worship Hall.
The Minamiza has temporarily closed. An investigation is going on in order to determine whether or not the construction for anti-earthquake reinforcement of the theater is needed. Ky˘to's most famous theater will stay close for a while.
The two programs for the April Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza in April 2016 have been published [more details]. A newly-created Kabuki drama will be staged for the first time. It is entitled "Gens˘shin Kűkai" and it is about the stay in China of the priest Kűkai. This drama will be staged to celebrate the 1200 anniversary of the acceptation by the emperor of Japan in 816 of the request made by Kűkai to build K˘yasan. The role of Kűkai will be played by Ichikawa Somegor˘. His father Matsumoto K˘shir˘ will play the role of the Tang Emperor. Nakamura Jakuemon will play the role of Y˘kihi. The original story was written by the Japanese SF master Yumemakura Baku. Others highlights in April will be:
There was a mamemaki ceremony for setsubun the 3rd of February 2016 at the Kabukiza. For the first time and for this ceremony only, Onoe Kikugor˘'s grandsons Kazufumi and Mahoro appeared on stage. Kazufumi is the son of Onoe Kikunosuke and also the grandson of Nakamura Kichiemon. Mahoro is the son of Onoe Kikugor˘'s daughter Terajima Shinobu [more details].
The programs for the June 2016 and July 2016 educational Kabuki programs at the National Theatre, called Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitu ("Kabuki appreciation class") have been published. In June 2016, "Sakanaya S˘gor˘" will be staged with Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Baishi, Nakamura Mantar˘ and Nakamura Muneo [more details]. In July 2016, "Sanjűsangend˘ Munagi no Yurai" will be staged with Nakamura Kaishun and Band˘ Yajűr˘ [more details].
The 15th edition of the original Cocoon Kabuki will happen in June 2016 at the Theatre Cocoon [more details]. These performances recreate the atmosphere of the Edo koshibai and brings the actors closer to the audience. The play "Yotsuya Kaidan" will be revised by the playwright Kushida Kazuyoshi and this new production will be based on the kitaban version, which was staged in March 2006/April 2006 in the same theater and included the rarely-staged act IV, with its 2 scenes "the Misumi house in Fukagawa" and "the refuge of the Oshioda family" [more details].
A special program starring Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and mixing Kabuki, N˘ and Opera will be staged in April 2016 at the Ky˘to Gekij˘. The heir of the Naritaya guild will perform in a special version of "Genji Monogatari", along with the N˘ actors Katayama Kur˘emon X and Kanze Yoshimasa and the Opera Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo. The script for this version of "Genji Monogatari" will focus on the story from Oborozukiyo to Suma/Akashi [more details].
There was a mamemaki ceremony and a street parade for setsubun in Fukuoka the 3rd of February 2016 with the actors Nakamura Shid˘ and Nakamura Kotar˘ performing at the Hakataza in February 2016. The mamemaki ceremony happened in the precincts of the Kushida Shrine [more details in Japanese and pictures].
Onoe Matsuya was the award-winner of the Theater "New Face" Prize (Engeki Shinjin Sh˘) of the 37th Matsuo Artistic Awards (Matsuo Gein˘ Sh˘). He received his prize the 29th of March 2016 at the ANA Intercontinental Hotel in T˘ky˘.
Nakamura T˘z˘'s disciple Nakamura Toshijir˘, Nakamura Jakuemon IV's disciple Nakamura Ky˘zabur˘ and Nakamura Kaishun's disciple Nakamura Harunosuke celebrated their success at the nadai exam in January 2016 in T˘ky˘ at the Kabukiza. They passed successfully the nadai exam in September 2014. Nakamura Toshijir˘ and Nakamura Ky˘zabur˘ received respectively the names of Nakamura T˘zabur˘ and ďtani Akisabur˘. ďtani Akisabur˘ became a disciple of ďtani Tomoemon.
Both Matsumoto K˘shir˘ and the production of the SűpÔ Kabuki Sekando drama "ONE PIECE" received the 8th of February 2016 an award for the 2015 Art Festival of Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs, which happened from the 2nd of October 2015 to the 10th of November 2015. 52 events were part of this important festival. Matsumoto K˘shir˘ was award a prize in the stage art section for his performance in October 2015 in T˘ky˘ at the Imperial Theater in the Japanese version of the musical "Man of La Mancha".
Nakamura Kash˘'s first child, a son, was born the 26th of February 2016.
Nakamura Takanosuke, Nakamura Tamatar˘ and Nakamura Umemaru will perform, along with the dance masters Fujima Kanjűr˘ VIII and Onoe Kikunoj˘ III, at the Kanagawa Arts Theatre from the 25th to the 27th of March 2016 in a dance program which is entitled "SUGATA". The program is made up of a newly-created dance-drama which is entitled "Shinsetsu Saiyűki ~ Chohakkai to Sagoj˘". This dance is related to the world of the Chinese novel "Journey to the West" (Saiyűki). The two main characters will be Chohakkai (Zhu Bajie) and Sagoj˘ (Sha Wujing).
Obituary: the actor Nakamura Umenosuke IV, 2nd generation leader of the Zenshinza troupe, passed away the 18th of January 2016, victim of a pneumonia. The troupe funeral service will be held the 3rd of March 2016 at T˘ky˘'s Aoyama Cemetery. The chief mourner will be his son Nakamura Baijaku II.
Ichikawa Somegor˘ will perform in Las Vegas in May 2016, from the 3rd to the 7th, at the MGM Grand David Copperfield Theater. The show will be the "Panasonic presents Wonder KABUKI Spectacle at MGM Grand" and the newly-created drama, which will be staged, will be entitled "SHI-SHI-ď The Adventures of the Mythical Lion". We can assume it will be based on the story within the traditional shishimono. Ichikawa Somegor˘ will lead the troupe, sharing the stage with Nakamura Karoku, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Nakamura Kash˘, ďtani Hirotar˘, Nakamura Yonekichi and Nakamura Hayato [more details].
Three Living National Treasures will share the stage with the Nakamura Jakuemon V to celebrate his shűmei in June 2016 in Fukuoka at the Hakataza : Sakata T˘jűr˘, Onoe Kikugor˘ and Kataoka Nizaemon [playbill].
Nakamura Senjaku and Ichikawa Chűsha took part in a parade in ďsaka the 9th of January 2016, which was part of the T˘ka Ebisu Festival at the Imamiya Ebisu Shrine, which is located in the Naniwa Ward of ďsaka. The T˘ka Ebisu Festival was held from the 9th to the 11th of January 2016. T˘ka meaning the 10th day in Japanese, this festival is usually held around the 10th of January and it is extremely popular in ďsaka. During this festival sacred bamboo branches are sold to business people. The branches, known as fukusasa, are decorated with lucky symbols. The two actors were paraded through shopping and entertainment districts on special palanquins called hoe kago, surrounded by people singing a simple catchy folk song [more details in Japanese and pictures].
Nakamura Shibajaku, ďtani Tomoemon, ďtani Hirotar˘ and ďtani Hiromatsu paraded the 27th of January 2016 in Asakusa ahead of the coming shűmei of Nakamura Jakuemon V in March 2016 at the Kabukiza [more details in Japanese and pictures].
Imai Toyoshige and Yokouchi Kensuke received the 25th of January 2016 the 44th ďtani Takejir˘ Award (ďtani Takejir˘ Sh˘). The former was award this prize for the writing of the script of "Arashi no Yoru ni", which was staged in September 2015 at the Minamiza; The latter for the writing of the script of "ONE PIECE" (premiered in October 2015 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘).
There will be at the 4F of the Kabukiza tower from the 2nd of February to the 27th of March 2016 an exhibition of pictures related to the coming shűmei of Nakamura Jakuemon V [more details in Japanese].
The programs for the April Young Actors Kabuki performances at the Meijiza in April 2016 have been published [more details]. The rarely-staged matsubamemono "Suehirogari" will be revived. There are only 2 records in T˘ky˘: in December 1909 at the T˘ky˘ Gekij˘ with Ichikawa Ennosuke I and Onoe Baik˘ VI in the roles of Tar˘kaja and his master. In August 1992 at the National Theatre with Ichikawa Danz˘ and Nakamura Tomotar˘ in the roles of Tar˘kaja and his master. In April 2016, the role of Tar˘kaja will be played by Nakamura Kankur˘. There will be lots of hatsuyaku for the 3 young stars:
They are cute or creepy. They prance around street fairs, sporting events, community gatherings and tourist destinations. They reprensent prefectures, cities, museums, schools, institutions ... even militaries forces or prisons. If you go to Japan, you are very likely to meet a few of them. I am talking about the yuru-kyara, the mascots, which have invaded Japan during the 2010s and are still on the rise. The yuru-kyara was made up of two real words, yurui meaning loose or relaxed, and kyara, a word coming from English and meaning character. The mascots are everywhere ... and we would like to report the "birth" of Konpy-kun, the mascot symbolizing the Konpira Kabuki, which is produced every April at the Kanamaruza. Is Konpy-kun cute or creepy ? Check on the kabuki-bito.jp website ! It was spotted advertising for the April performances the 25th of January in ďsaka and the 26th of January in T˘ky˘.
Ichikawa Ebiz˘ met Detective Conan, the famous hero of the Anime series Meitantei Konan (Detective Conan), based on the eponymous Manga created by Aoyama G˘sh˘. The story in 2 episodes (804th and 805th) was about a murder case at the Kabukiza. As part of his investigations, Detective Conan met Ichikawa Ebiz˘, a character voiced by ... the real Ichikawa Ebiz˘. Episode 804 was aired the 9th of January 2016. Episode 805 was aired the 16th of January 2016. These two episodes were created to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Detective Conan Anime. They were entitled "Konan to Ebiz˘ Kabuki Jűhachiban Misuterţ", "Conan and Ebiz˘'s Kabuki Jűhachiban Mystery" [more details | picture 1 | picture 2].
Four Kabuki films in high definition, belonging to the Shinema Kabuki ("Cinema Kabuki") series, will be screened in Toronto with English subtitles in February 2016 [more details]. This event will be sponsored by The Japan Foundation, Toronto:
3 talks (kabuki yawa in Japanese, night talk about Kabuki) for Nakamura Shibajaku at the Kabukiza Gallery (5th floor of the Kabukiza building), every evening at 18:30 from the 8th to the 10th of February. The admission fee will be 3,000 JPY. There will be also at the same place the 27th of February at 19:00 another kabuki yawa in Japanese, night talk about Kabuki, with Nakamura Ky˘z˘, Nakamura Ky˘tae and Nakamura Ky˘shi. The subject will be the secrets of the Ky˘ya guild. Same admission fee as Nakamura Shibajaku's talks.
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