NOVEMBER 2011

5 shows in T˘ky˘ (Shinbashi Enbuj˘, National Theatre, Heisei Nakamuraza), 2 in Fukuoka (Hakataza), 1 in Yamaga (Yachiyoza), 1 in Toyooka (Eirakukan), 1 in Naruto (ďtsuka Museum of Art) and 2 tours (Sh˘chiku Hanagata Kabuki Tour, Zenshinza)!

  • The Otowaya guild (Onoe Kikugor˘, his son Onoe Kikunosuke and Onoe Sh˘roku), Band˘ Mitsugor˘ and Nakamura Tokiz˘ perform at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘!
  • The Naritaya guild (Ichikawa Danjűr˘ and his son Ichikawa Ebiz˘), Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Fukusuke and young actors from the Omodakaya guild perform at the Hakataza!
  • The Nakamuraya guild (Nakamura Kanzabur˘ and his two sons), Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Hashinosuke and Kataoka Takatar˘ perform at the Heisei Nakamuraza!
  • Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kanjaku and Nakamura Kaishun perform at the National Theatre!
  • The Nakamuraya guild (Nakamura Kanzabur˘ and his two sons), Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Senjaku and Band˘ Yajűr˘ perform at the Heisei Nakamuraza!
  • Band˘ Tamasabur˘ performs at the Yachiyoza!
  • Kataoka Ainosuke and Kamigata actors perform at the Eirakukan!
  • Kataoka Hidetar˘, Nakamura Shid˘ and young actors are on tour (Sh˘chiku Hanagata Kabuki Tour)!
  • Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 1 ~ 25 November 2011 (Kichirei Kaomise ďkabuki)
    Annual Festive Face-Showing Grand Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Keisei Hangonk˘ (Domo Mata)

    Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura (Yoshinoyama)

    Shin Sarayashiki Tsuki no Amagasa
    (Sakanaya S˘gor˘)

    Evening

    Uir˘ Uri

    Ky˘ganoko Musume D˘j˘ji

    Tsuyu Kosode Mukashi Hachij˘ (Kamiyui Shinza)

    Casting

    Onoe Kikugor˘, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Ichikawa Danz˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Sawamura Tanosuke, Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Band˘ Shűch˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Band˘ Kametoshi, Onoe Matsuya, Onoe Ukon, Nakamura Baishi, Band˘ Kokichi, Nakamura Mantar˘, Ichikawa Otora, Fujima Taiga

    Comments

    This kaomise programs at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ are staged to commemorate the 22th anniversary (23rd memorial service) and the 16th anniversary (17th memorial service) of the deaths of late Onoe Sh˘roku II and Onoe Baik˘ VII.

  • Domo Mata: the artist Matahei has been refused a professional name because of his stuttering. He makes a poor life by drawing folk paintings and decides to make one last effort to gain respectability. His wife Otoku, who is given as much to chatter as Matahei is silent, pleads his case. Turned down again by his master, Matahei decides to take his life. He draws a farewell portrait of himself, a painting so skillful that the lines seep through solid rock and this miracle convinces his master to confer a professional name. Starring Band˘ Mitsugor˘ as Matahei and Nakamura Tokiz˘ as his wife Otoku.
  • Yoshinoyama: a dance travel scene from the epic "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura". Now in exile and disgrace, Yoshitsune has left his lover Shizuka in the safekeeping of his trusted retainer Tadanobu. But she is unaware that this Tadanobu is actually a magical fox who has disguised himself to be near the treasured drum that Shizuka carries, a drum made from the skins of his fox parents. Starring Onoe Sh˘roku as Tadanobu, with Onoe Kikunosuke as Shizuka. Featuring also Ichikawa Danz˘ as Hayami no T˘ta.
  • Sakanaya S˘gor˘: S˘gor˘ (Onoe Kikugor˘), a fish seller, has taken a vow to not drink, but when he learns about his sister's unjust murder at the hands of a daimy˘ lord, a death that they were told was execution for her wrongdoing, he starts to drink again. Drunk, he storms into the lord's mansion to seek an apology. This play by Meiji playwright Kawatake Mokuami is known for its realistic portrayal of members of the common class during the Edo period and highlights their fierce pride and frustration at the privileges of the dominant samurai class. Featuring also Nakamura Tokiz˘, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Ichikawa Danz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke and Onoe Sh˘roku.
  • Uir˘ Uri: there are many plays based on the revenge by the Soga brothers on Kud˘ Suketsune (Band˘ Mitsugor˘), the man that arranged to have their father killed. In this particular play, this dramatic fight is transformed into light fantasy by showing one of the Soga brothers disguised as a peddler of uir˘, a medicine that makes it possible to speak quickly and elegantly. The highlight of the play is a long speech full of puns and wordplays. Starring Onoe Sh˘roku as the peddler.
  • Musume D˘j˘ji: a beautiful young woman dances under cherry blossoms at a dedication ceremony for a temple bell. She dances the many aspects of a woman in love, but is actually the spirit of a serpent, driven to destroy the bell out of jealousy. In addition to being the most famous of all Kabuki dances, "Musume D˘j˘ji" is considered to be the pinnacle of the art of the onnagata. The role of the shiraby˘shi is played by Onoe Kikunosuke.
  • Kamiyui Shinza: Shinza is a barber that goes from door to door, but at the same time, he is a villain that kidnaps Okuma, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy household, and even resists the efforts of Yatagor˘ Genshichi, the most prestigious strongman in town, to get her release. Starring Onoe Kikugor˘ as Shinza. Featuring also Nakamura Tokiz˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Band˘ Mitsugor˘ and Onoe Kikunosuke.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Hakataza (Fukuoka)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 June 2011 (Kinshű Hakataza ďkabuki)
    Autumn Brocade Hakataza Grand Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Uir˘ Uri

    Renjishi

    Yowa Nasake Ukina no Yokogushi (Kirare Yosa)

  • Misome
  • Genjidana
  • Evening

    Ashiya D˘man ďuchi Kagami (Kuzu-no-Ha)

    Kanjinch˘

    Y˘kihi

    Casting

    Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Fukusuke, Nakamura Karoku, Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa Unosuke, Ichimura Kakitsu, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichikawa Juen, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Shun'en, ďtani Keiz˘, Nakamura Shinobu, Nakamura Yonekichi

    Comments

  • Uir˘ Uri: there are many plays based on the revenge by the Soga brothers on Kud˘ Suketsune (Nakamura Karoku), the man that arranged to have their father killed. In this particular play, this dramatic fight is transformed into light fantasy by showing one of the Soga brothers disguised as a peddler of uir˘, a medicine that makes it possible to speak quickly and elegantly. The highlight of the play is a long speech full of puns and wordplays. Starring Ichikawa Ebiz˘ as the peddler. Featuring also Nakamura Shibajaku, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa En'ya, Kataoka Ichiz˘ and Ichikawa Shun'en.
  • Renjishi: 2 entertainers dance a tale of the legendary shishi or lion-like spirits that live at the foot of a holy Buddhist mountain. There is a comic interlude with 2 Buddhist pilgrims. Then, the shishi themselves appear and perform their dance with wild shaking of their long manes. The dance shows a parent shishi forcing his cub to undergo harsh training in order to grow up strong. This theme is often associated with the training a parent actor gives his son. This performance features Ichikawa Ukon in the role of the parent shishi and his son Ichikawa En'ya in the role of the cub.
  • Kirare Yosa: Yosabur˘ (Ichikawa Ebiz˘), the refined young son of a wealthy merchant falls in love with Otomi (Nakamura Fukusuke) the moment he first sees her on the beach. But Otomi is the mistress of a powerful gangster, and when their relationship is discovered, the two are attacked. Yosabur˘ is cut from head to toe and the two are dumped into the sea. Otomi lives and is taken in by a rich merchant while Yosabur˘ is now covered with scars. Yosabur˘ turns into a petty thief and extortionist but one day, finds that the woman he is about to blackmail is none other than Otomi, alive and well. Featuring also Ichikawa Danjűr˘ and Ichikawa Ukon.
  • Kuzu-no-Ha: Abe no Yasuna, a court astrologer in disgrace, has married a beautiful woman named Kuzu-no-Ha, not knowing that she is actually a fox that has taken human form to repay his kindness in saving his life. The couple has a child and lives happily together until the real woman whose form the fox borrowed appears. Knowing that she can no longer stay, Kuzu-no-Ha writes a tearful farewell poem on the paper screen and returns to the wilderness. Starring Nakamura Shibajaku as Kuzu-no-Ha and Nakamura Karoku as Yasuna.
  • Kanjinch˘: probably the most popular Kabuki play today, it includes dance, comedy and the heart-warming pathos of a band of heroes during their last days. Disguised as a band of traveling priests the fugitive general Yoshitsune and his small band of retainers are stopped at a road barrier. They escape only through the quick thinking of the head retainer, a warrior priest named Musashib˘ Benkei, who improvises the text of an elaborate imperial decree. Having escaped danger Benkei and the others describe their days of glory and hardships on the road to escape in a moving dance. This program stars Ichikawa Danjűr˘ in the role of Benkei, with Nakamura Fukusuke and Ichikawa Ebiz˘ as Yoshitsune and the barrier keeper Togashi.
  • Y˘kihi: this is a rare performance of a play by Osaragi Jir˘, the novelist most famous for the Robin Hood-like character Kurama Tengű. The play was originally written for a Shinpa troupe and dramatizes one of the most famous incidents in Chinese history. Yang Guifei (Y˘kihi in Japanese) was a beautiful woman from a humble family who became the mistress of the Tang emperor. His love for her was such that the entire empire nearly crumbled. The play focuses on Y˘kihi's rise and her relationship with the young court official that loves her, first brings her to the emperor and serves her faithfully as a court eunuch. Finally he begs to be the one to kill her when rebellion and a coup d'etat threaten the empire. Starring Nakamura Fukusuke in the role of Y˘kihi. Featuring also Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa En'ya, Nakamura Karoku, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichikawa Emisabur˘ and Ichikawa Shun'en.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 26 November 2011
    Program

    Nihon Furisode Hajime

    Sonezaki Shinjű

    Casting

    Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kanjaku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura T˘z˘, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Nakamura Kikaku, Nakamura Matsue, Nakamura Utae, Matsumoto Kingo, Nakamura Umemaru

    Comments

    To commemorate the forty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the National Theatre, typical author of Kabuki is taken up every month. This month: Chikamatsu Monzaemon. The National Theatre produces two masterpieces, the jidaimono "Nihon Furisode Hajime" and the sewamono "Sonezaki Shinjű".

  • Nihon Furisode Hajime: this dance is a rare example of a story from ancient Japanese mythology in a puppet play by Chikamatsu Monzaemon adapted for the Kabuki theater. As part of an annual ritual, Princess Inada has been chosen to be sacrificed to a fierce serpent that lives in the mountains of Izumo. The serpent arrives in the guise of a beautiful princess, but before it can attack it is attracted to eight jars full of sake. The jars are a trap planted by the god Susanoo, who confronts the beast in its true form as an eight-headed serpent, to save the princess. Starring Nakamura Kaishun as the serpent, with Nakamura Baigyoku and Nakamura Umemaru in the roles of Susanoo and Princess Inada.
  • Sonezaki Shinjű: a young merchant named Tokubŕ has long been in love with the courtesan Ohatsu and is diligently trying to buy out her contract. But he is swindled out of his money by someone he considered a friend. Then he is beaten and humiliated in the precincts of the Ikutama shrine. He sneaks into the teahouse where Ohatsu is and she hides him under the veranda. At this point, Tokubŕ's "friend" comes and calls him a criminal. Ohatsu fiercely defends Tokubŕ and asks whether he is prepared to defend his honor by committing love suicide. Silently, from under the veranda, he holds her bare foot and draws it across his neck. The journey to the forest where they commit love suicide is like a dream, half-way between this world and the next and has some of the most famous lines in Japanese theatre: "Farewell to this world and to this night, farewell. To what should we who go to our deaths be likened? We are like the frost on the road leading to the graveyard, vanishing with each step". Starring Nakamura Kanjaku and Sakata T˘jűr˘ in the roles of Tokubŕ and Ohatsu.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Heisei Nakamuraza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 1 ~ 26 November 2011 (Jűichigatsu ďkabuki)
    November Grand Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Futatsu Ch˘ch˘ Kuruwa Nikki (Sum˘ba)

    Omatsuri

    Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura

  • Tokaiya
  • Funayagura
  • Daimotsu no Ura
  • Evening

    Saruwaka Edo no Hatsuyagura

    Igagoe D˘chű Sugoroku (Numazu)

    Benten Musume Meo no Shiranami

  • Hamamatsuya
  • Inasegawa Seizoroi
  • Casting

    Nakamura Kanzabur˘, Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Nakamura Kantar˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke

    Comments

    The Heisei Nakamuraza is back in T˘ky˘ in the popular district of Asakusa. This time, it is a 7-month project (performances up to May 2012!) for this temporary theater built within the Sumida Park.

  • Sum˘ba: "Futatsu Ch˘ch˘" means "two butterflies" and also comes from the fact that two sum˘ wrestlers who play important roles in the full length play have names beginning with "ch˘": Ch˘kichi and Ch˘gor˘. In order to help his master Yamazakiya Yogor˘ (Nakamura Kantar˘) buy out the contract of the beautiful Azuma (Band˘ Shingo), the senior wrestler Nuregami Ch˘gor˘ throws a match, letting the younger wrestler Hanaregoma Ch˘kichi win, hoping to get his help. But Ch˘kichi loses his temper and the two end up competing in a test of pride. Starring popular actor Nakamura Hashinosuke as Ch˘gor˘ and Nakamura Kantar˘ as Ch˘kichi.
  • Omatsuri: Nakamura Kanzabur˘ as a gallant fireman boss at a festival telling a rueful tale of failure in love and showing the vigorous work songs of firefighters.
  • Tokaiya/Daimotsu no Ura: these are two scenes from one of the greatest classics of the puppet theatre, which has also become a classic of Kabuki. After the wars between the Genji and Heike clans, the Genji are victorious and their leader Yoritomo is now Sh˘gun. But there is a falling out between Yoritomo and his brother Yoshitsune, the brilliant general responsible for the victory. Now Yoshitsune is fleeing through the country and this play fancifully has him encounter several famous warriors from the Heike clan, who are not dead, as history has it. Yoshitsune (Nakamura Shichinosuke) books passage on a boat to Kyűshű, but the captain is actually Taira no Tomomori (Kataoka Nizaemon), a general of the Heike clan that Yoshitsune helped to defeat. Tomomori was supposedly killed by Yoshitsune in the final battle of the war, but in this play, Tomomori is shown as surviving, living in disguise with the child emperor Antoku and his nursemaid (Kataoka Takatar˘). At one moment the captain is a gallant commoner, but in the next, he is Tomomori, a high ranking general close to the emperor. His wife as well is a cheerful commoner who shows her true identity as a high-ranking lady-in-waiting in the magnificent robes of the imperial court. Tomomori uses the opportunity to try to get his revenge on Yoshitsune but is defeated again. Finally Tomomori holds a giant anchor and plunges into the sea. Featuring also Nakamura Hashinosuke, Band˘ Yajűr˘ and Nakamura Kantar˘.
  • Saruwaka Edo no Hatsuyagura: Kabuki began with sensuous dances by a woman named Okuni and comic routines with a man named Saruwaka, who eventually led to the founding of the Nakamuraza, the oldest and most important of the three licensed theatres of Edo. This play evokes those figures and the earliest days of Kabuki. Starring Nakamura Kantar˘ in the role of Saruwaka. Featuring Nakamura Shichinosuke, Band˘ Yajűr˘ and Band˘ Shingo.
  • Numazu: a dramatization of one of the most famous historical vendattas of the Edo period. "Numazu" is one act that tells of the sacrifices of those not directly involved in the vendetta itself but members of the same family who are indebted to the two opposing sides. The kimono merchant Jűbŕ (Kataoka Nizaemon) meets a porter Heisaku (Nakamura Kanzabur˘) as he travels west on business. They find that not only are they long-separated father and son, but that they also lie on opposite sides of the vendetta. Their loyalties prevent them from openly acknowledging their relationship. Heisaku sacrifices his life to get information from his son essential to his side's cause. Featuring Kataoka Takatar˘ in the role of Heisaku's daughter Oyone.
  • Benten Musume: this play is a sewamono (realistic play about commoners) written by the late 19th century playwright Mokuami who is famous for his plays about thieves. The thief Benten Koz˘ dresses up as a woman to commit extortion, but his plans are ruined when his disguise is seen through. In the highlight of the play, he undresses, showing his colorful tattoos and introduces himself in a famous poetic speech. Afterwards, he is joined by the members of his gang on a riverbank, and, using the playwright's famous poetic rhythms, in turn, they each boast of their careers as thieves. Nakamura Shichinosuke stars as Benten Koz˘, with Nakamura Hashinosuke as Nippon Daemon, Nakamura Kantar˘ as Nang˘ Rikimaru, Band˘ Yajűr˘ as Tadanobu Rihei and Band˘ Shingo as Akaboshi Jűzabur˘.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide website
    Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website for "Saruwaka Edo no Hatsuyagura"

    Sh˘chiku Hanagata Kabuki Tour
    Dates 1 ~ 25 November 2011 (Sh˘chiku Hanagata Kabuki)
    Sh˘chiku Young Actors Kabuki
    Program

    Mabuta no Haha

    Omatsuri

    Casting

    Kataoka Hidetar˘, Nakamura Shid˘, Ichikawa Emiya, Sawamura S˘nosuke, Ichikawa Omez˘, Sawamura Yoshijir˘

    Comments

    A special Autumn tour sponsored by the Sh˘chiku:

  • Mabuta no Haha: this modern play by Hasegawa Shin (1884~1963) is about the matatabi Banba no Chűtar˘ (Nakamura Shid˘), who meets up with his mother Ohama (Kataoka Hidetar˘) again by chance during one of his wanderings. She refuses to recognize this good-for-nothing offender as his son. Being turned away, Chűtar˘ has no choice but hitting the road again. Shaken by the encounter, the mother attempts to catch up with him but it is too late...
  • Omatsuri: Nakamura Shid˘ as a gallant fireman boss at a festival telling a rueful tale of failure in love and showing the vigorous work songs of firefighters.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide website
    Sh˘riya Aragor˘ for "Mabuta no Haha"

    Yachiyoza (Yamaga)
    Dates 1 ~ 14 November 2011
    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Special Dance Performances
    Program

    Shunkashűt˘

    Casting

    Band˘ Tamasabur˘

    Comments

    A special Buy˘ program starring the amazing onnagata Band˘ Tamasabur˘ in Yamaga at the Yachiyoza, a traditional wooden-built theater, which celebrates the 100th anniversary of its opening. "Shunkashűt˘" is a newly-created dance about Japan four seasons; shun is spring, ka is summer, shű is autumn and is winter.

    Eirakukan (Toyooka)
    Dates 4 ~ 9 November 2011 (Eirakukan ďkabuki)
    Eirakukan Grand Kabuki
    Program

    Futatsu Ch˘ch˘ Kuruwa Nikki (Hikimado)

    K˘j˘

    Chatsubo

    Casting

    Kataoka Ainosuke, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Kamimura Kichiya, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Nakamura Hayato, Kataoka T˘jur˘

    Comments

    This is the 4th Kabuki program at the Eirakukan, a renovated traditional theater built in the city of Toyooka (prefecture of Hy˘go).

  • Hikimado: originally written for the puppet theater, this play shows a tragedy of commoners caught between their duty and their feelings toward their loved ones. A sum˘ wrestler named Nuregami Ch˘gor˘ (Nakamura Kinnosuke) has killed a man and takes refuge at the home of his mother. Unfortunately, her son (Kataoka Ainosuke) has been ordered to arrest him. All of these complicated conflicts are symbolized by the lightness and darkness created by the humble skylight (hikimado in Japanese) as a rope is pulled to move a wooden shutter. Featuring also Nakamura Kazutar˘ in the role of Ohaya.
  • K˘j˘: the close relationship between the actors and the audience is shown by these stage announcements, lavish ceremonies to commemorate various events, like a Kabuki performance in a small traditional theater.
  • Chatsubo: the farces of the classical Ky˘gen theater have universal appeal, showing the relationships of masters and servants and husbands and wives. In this particular dance play, a servant (Nakamura Kazutar˘) carries a precious tea caddy which a thief (Kataoka Ainosuke) then claims is his. The servant and the thief must both explain who owns the treasure, first in words, then in dance. Featuring also Kamimura Kichiya in the role of the magistrate.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    ďtsuka Museum of Art (Naruto)
    Dates 12 ~ 14 November 2011 (Sistine Kabuki)
    Program

    Ishikawa Goemon

    Casting

    Kamimura Kichiya, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Kamimura Kichiya

    Comments

    Third edition of the Sistine Kabuki, a Kabuki program within the Sistine Hall of the ďtsuka Museum of Art, which is located in the city of Naruto (Tokushima prefecture). Inside this museum, there are more than 1,000 replicas of priceless masterpieces of Western art, from ancient murals to modern paintings, which are reproduced in ceramic to their original size. The Sistine Hall is of course a "reproduction" of the Vatican Sistine Chapel.

    Zenshinza Tour
    Dates 21 ~ 25 November 2011
    Program

    Mizusawa no Ichiya

    Kenuki

    Casting

    Arashi Keishi, Kawarasaki Kunitar˘, Arashi Yoshisabur˘, Yamazaki Tatsusabur˘, Yamazaki Ryűnosuke, Ikushima Kigor˘, Matsunami Kihachir˘

    Comments

    The Zenshinza troupe is on tour all over Japan. "Mizusawa no Ichiya" is not a Kabuki drama. Only "Kenuki":

  • Kenuki: in this play, which retains the light, festive atmosphere of early-period Kabuki, a princess has a mysterious ailment that makes her hair stand on end, an ailment that prevents her from carrying out her long-awaited marriage. Kumedera Danj˘ comes from the groom's household to investigate and finds a plot to take over the household when his tweezers float in mid-air. Arashi Keishi stars in a play that features the bombastic aragoto style of acting.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

     
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