NOVEMBER 2014

6 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre, Meijiza, Nikkei Hall), 1 in Toyooka (Eirakukan), 1 in Kumamoto (Yachiyoza), 1 in Ky˘to (Minamiza) and 1 tour (Sh˘chiku ďkabuki Tour)!

  • Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Shibajaku, Kataoka Gat˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Kaishun, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Ichikawa Sadanji and Ichikawa Danz˘ perform at the Kabukiza !
  • Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Kanjaku, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Senjaku and Kataoka Takatar˘ perform at the National Theatre!
  • Ichikawa Ennosuke and the Omodakaya guild perform at the Meijiza!
  • Young and talented actors perform at the Eirakukan!
  • Kataoka Ainosuke and young actors are on tour (Sh˘chiku Kabuki Tour)!
  • Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ performs at the Yachiyoza!
  • Ichikawa Ebiz˘ performs at the Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall and at the Minamiza!
  • Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 1 ~ 25 November 2014 (Kichirei Kaomise ďkabuki)
    Annual Festive Face-Showing Grand Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Kotobuki Shiki Sanbas˘

    Ii Tair˘

    Ichi-no-Tani Futaba Gunki (Kumagai Jin'ya)

    Evening

    Gozonji Suzu-ga-Mori

    Kanjinch˘

    Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura (Sushiya)

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Shibajaku, Kataoka Gat˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Kaishun, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Ichikawa Sadanji, Ichikawa Danz˘, Nakamura Matagor˘, Nakamura Karoku, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, ďtani Tomoemon, Ichimura Manjir˘, Ichikawa Unosuke, Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Nakamura Baishi, Matsumoto Kingo, Sawamura S˘nosuke, ďtani Keiz˘, Nakamura Kamenoj˘, Band˘ Kametoshi, Nakamura Kash˘, Band˘ Minosuke, Nakamura Mantar˘, ďtani Hirotar˘, ďtani Hiromatsu, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Hayato, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Matsumoto Kintar˘

    Comments

    These programs commemorate the 32nd anniversary (33rd memorial service) of the passing away of Matsumoto Haku˘. His two sons, Matsumoto K˘shir˘ and Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon, are the zagashira.

  • Kotobuki Shiki Sanbas˘: Okina is the oldest ritual in the theater. This Kabuki version shows Okina, an old man who symbolizes eternal youth, his attendant Senzai and the vigorous Sanbas˘, who perform dances solemnly for good fortune. Sanbas˘ dances vigorously, stamping and shaking bells, praying for agricultural fertility and prosperity for all. This dances features 2 Sanbas˘ (Ichikawa Somegor˘ and Onoe Sh˘roku), 1 Okina (Kataoka Gat˘) and 3 Senzai.
  • Ii Tair˘: Ii Naosuke was the head of state in Japan in 1860 when there were pressures from inside and outside the country. Imperial loyalists demanded that the Sh˘gun step down and hand over rule to the emperor to resist the foreign barbarians. The United States and other countries insisted that Japan open its doors. On March 3, at the snow-covered gate to the Sh˘gun's castle, Ii Naosuke was assassinated by imperial loyalists. This modern play by H˘j˘ Hideji features the last day before the assassination as Naosuke senses that his end is near. The deaths of an old friend and his newborn daughter make Naosuke and his mistress Oshizu think back to simpler times before he was burdened by such responsibilities. Starring Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon as Ii Naosuke, Nakamura Shibajaku as Oshizu and Nakamura Karoku as Naosuke's Zen teacher. Featuring also Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke and Nakamura Matagor˘.
  • Kumagai Jin'ya: this play is a dramatization of the clash between the Genji general Kumagai Jir˘ Naozane and the Heike warrior Taira no Atsumori at the battle of Ichi-no-Tani, one of the most famous passages of the epic "Tales of the Heike". In the Kabuki version, on the cryptic orders of the Genji leader Yoshitsune, Kumagai hides the enemy warrior Atsumori and has his own son take the warrior's place. On the battlefield, Kumagai has to kill his own son in Atsumori's place. Things become worse when his wife Sagami and Atsumori's mother Fuji-no-Kata arrive at his camp. In the highlight of the play, he tells them the story of his mortal battle with Atsumori, keeping Atsumori's well-being and his own sacrifice a secret. He then shows the head of Atsumori for inspection by his leader to see if he has interpreted his orders correctly. This performance stars Matsumoto K˘shir˘ as Kumagai, with Nakamura Kaishun as Kumagai's wife Sagami, Ichikawa Komaz˘ as Fuji-no-Kata, Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘ as Yoshitsune and Ichikawa Sadanji as Midaroku.
  • Gozonji Suzu-ga-Mori: The young samurai Shirai Gonpachi (Onoe Kikunosuke) is ambushed near the execution grounds of Edo on a dark night, but he manages to escape after a gruesome but humorous fight scene. He is watched by Banzuiin Ch˘bŕ (Onoe Sh˘roku), an Edo boss, who is impressed with his fighting skills and agrees to give him shelter in the city. This meeting between the handsome young Gonpachi and the heroic Ch˘bŕ is one of the most famous meetings in Kabuki.
  • 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 Somegor˘ in the role of Benkei for the very first time in his career, with Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon and Matsumoto K˘shir˘ as Yoshitsune and the barrier keeper Togashi.
  • Sushiya: this is one act of an epic originally written for the Bunraku puppet theatre. The full-length play shows the fate of various Taira generals in hiding after the victory of their enemy, the Genji. In this act, Koremori (Nakamura Tokiz˘), the heir to the Taira clan is hiding in a sushi shop disguised as a humble apprentice, and Osato (Nakamura Baishi), the daughter of the house, falls in love with him. However, Gonta (Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘), the evil son of the house plots to gain a reward by turning in Koremori to the top Genji general Kajiwara (Matsumoto K˘shir˘), but in the end, he has a surprising change of heart in one of the most heart-rending scenes in Kabuki. Also featuring Ichikawa Sadanji as Yazaemon, the proprietor of the sushi shop.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 25 November 2014
    Program

    Meiboku Sendai Hagi

  • Hanamizubashi
  • Goten
  • Yukashita
  • Taiketsu
  • Ninj˘
  • Casting

    Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Kanjaku, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Takatar˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Nakamura T˘z˘

    Comments

    T˘shi ky˘gen production at the National Theatre of "Meiboku Sendai Hagi" in 4 acts (6 scenes) with the classic structure; no rarely-staged is revived this month:

  • Meiboku Sendai Hagi: this play is about the attempt to take over one of the most famous samurai households in the Edo period, a scandal that caused a sensation in its day.
  • Hanamizubashi: the daimy˘ Yorikane (Nakamura Baigyoku) has fallen in love with a courtesan and has neglected responsibilities, causing high ranking retainers to plot the takeover of his domain. Returning from the pleasure quarters, he is attacked at Hanamizu Bridge, but is able to escape thanks to the help of a sum˘ wrestler retainer.
  • Take-no-Ma/Goten: Masaoka (Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ in "Goten"; his son Nakamura Senjaku in "Take-no-Ma"), a loyal maidservant, is taking care of the lord's young heir. Afraid he will be poisoned, she refuses to let anyone see him who might try to assassinate him. She even fixes his meal in her quarters using her delicate tea ceremony implements to cook rice. The plotting faction does not give up, though, and sends poison in the form of candy as a present from the Sh˘gun. Masaoka's son sacrifices his life for the young lord by eating the poisoned candy, and when he is killed, she thinks only of protecting her lord. Her fierce devotion to duty convinces the plotters that she is on their side. Masaoka's actions help save the young lord, and only when she is alone can she grieve for her son. With Nakamura Kanjaku as the villainous Yashio, a court woman who kills Masaokaĺs son.
  • Yukashita: Another faithful retainer Otokonosuke (Band˘ Yajűr˘), stands guard underneath the room, but the evil Nikki Danj˘ (Nakamura Hashinosuke) appears as a giant rat, but then slips away, walking calmly through the clouds.
  • Taiketsu/Ninj˘: the elderly Geki (Band˘ Yajűr˘), a faithful retainer, brings charges against Danj˘. Danj˘ cleverly protests his innocence, but his lies are seen through by the wise judge Katsumoto (Nakamura Baigyoku). Condemned to death, Nikki tries to take his revenge on Geki.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Meijiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 1 ~ 25 November 2014 (Jűichigatsu Hanagata Kabuki)
    Ichikawa Ennosuke Funt˘ Renzoku K˘en
    November Young Actors Kabuki
    Ichikawa Ennosuke's Continuous Struggle Performances
    MatinÚe

    Takatoki

    Natsu Sugata Onna Danshichi

    Evening

    Shitenn˘ Momiji no Edoguma

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ennosuke, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa Shun'en, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Ichikawa Juen, Ichikawa K˘tar˘, Onoe Ukon, Ichikawa Danko

    Comments

    Second month of spectacular Kabuki performances in T˘ky˘ for the Omodakaya guild led by Ichikawa Ennosuke

  • Takatoki: the last H˘j˘ regent in the Kamakura period was arrogant and given to pleasure and in this play we see him mocked by a band of flying tengű goblins. First performed in 1884, this is one of the most famous of the "Living History" plays (katsureki) that replaced the fantasies of Edo Period history plays with a new attention to historical accuracy. Starring Ichikawa Ukon as Takatoki.
  • Onna Danshichi: a usual practice was celebrated female impersonators to have famous male roles rewritten for them. Numerous titles of already popular plays to which the character onna (woman) was added appeared in the Kabuki repertory over the centuries, such as "Onna Narukami" ("Female Narukami") or "Onna Shibaraku" ("Female Shibaraku"). "Onna Danshichi" ("Female Danshichi"), was a kakikae ky˘gen of the famous ďsaka drama "Natsu Matsuri". This parody was created by Sakurada Jisuke III and actions/characters were shifted to Edo. The female Danshichi is no more of fishmonger in ďsaka but the Edo geisha Okaji. She is nicknamed Danshichi-jima Okaji (as she wears a kimono with the stripes pattern of Danshichi) and she plays the role of the guardian of a couple of young lovers, Tamashima Isonoj˘ and the courtesan Kotoura. Isonoj˘ is looking for a precious sword and Okaji helps him in his search. After a memorable fight, she also becomes friend with another tough geisha named Otatsu (the equivalent of Tokubŕ in "Natsu Matsuri"). Okaji, a real onna date, does not hesitate to strike his mother-in-law, Giheiji's old rag Otora (the equivalent of Mikawaya Giheiji in "Natsu Matsuri") in order to help Isonoj˘. Starring Ichikawa Ennosuke, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Shun'en and Band˘ Takesabur˘ in the roles of Okaji, Isonoj˘, Otatsu and Otora.
  • Shitenn˘ Momiji no Edoguma: in the Edo period, actors were under contract to the Kabuki theaters for one year and the year began in November. This month of performances was called the kaomise or "face showing" production and always featured a newly written play which was a kind of loosely structured pageant to show off the new stars. This month at the Meijiza features revival by the Omodakaya guild of a kaomise drama made by Tsuruya Nanboku IV. This is, on a grand scale, a historical spectacle combining larger-than-life heroes, beautiful women or fantastic creatures (a fox spirit for example) to bring the golden age of Kabuki back to life in the middle of nowadays Japan. It uses the sekai of the demon quelling general Minamoto no Yorimitsu, also known as Raik˘ and his famous four warriors (the shitenn˘). Raik˘ and his men fight against the spirit of the Earth Spider or the warrior S˘ma Tar˘ Yoshikado, son and heir of the rebel Taira no Masakado. This play is full of spectacle (keren) and marvelous incidents. Starring Ichikawa Ennosuke in 4 roles!
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Eirakukan (Toyooka)
    Dates 4 ~ 9 November 2014 (Eirakukan ďkabuki)
    Program

    Katsuragawa Renri no Shigarami (Obiya)

    K˘j˘

    K˘ no Tori

    Casting

    Kataoka Ainosuke, Kamimura Kichiya, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Kamimura Kichitar˘, Nakamura Jűjir˘, Kataoka T˘jűr˘, Kataoka Senjir˘

    Comments

    This is the 7th Kabuki program at the Eirakukan, a renovated traditional theater built in the city of Toyooka (prefecture of Hy˘go).

  • Obiya: one of the most famous love stories in Kabuki is the love of the young girl Ohan for her middle-aged neighbour Ch˘emon, finally culminating in a love suicide between the two. This month at the Eirakukan features the drama leading up to the romance between the two. Ch˘emon (Kataoka Ainosuke) is the proprietor of an obiya (a kimono belt shop) and his wife (Kamimura Kichiya) is very understanding, but the pressures of his family and the lustful jealousy of the boy apprentice next door (Nakamura Kazutar˘) finally drive Ch˘emon and Ohan (also Nakamura Kazutar˘), the beautiful young daughter of the family next door, together. This eventually leads to tragedy. Starring Nakamura Kazutar˘ in two contrasting roles, this play is a specialty of the Kansai style of Kabuki.
  • K˘j˘: the close relationship between the actors and the audience is shown by these stage announcements, lavish ceremonies to commemorate various important events.
  • K˘ no Tori: this is a newly-created dance-drama which focus on the oriental stork, a bird symbolizing the Hy˘go Prefecture. K˘ no tori literally means "bird of god". Featuring Kataoka Ainosuke, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Kamimura Kichiya and Kamimura Kichitar˘.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Sh˘chiku ďkabuki Tour
    Dates 12 ~ 25 November 2012 (Sh˘chiku ďkabuki)
    Sh˘chiku Grand Kabuki
    Program

    Hikosan Gongen Chikai no Sukedachi

  • Sugisaka Hakasho

  • Keya-mura Rokusuke Sumika

  • Dango Uri

    Casting

    Kataoka Ainosuke, Kamimura Kichiya, Ichikawa Omez˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘

    Comments

    A special Autumn tour sponsored by the Sh˘chiku!

  • Keya-mura: Rokusuke (Kataoka Ainosuke), a sword master who lives a simple country life, is taking care of a small foundling child. He hangs the boy's kimono outside his house in the hope that the boy's relatives will see it and know where he is. One day he finds himself attacked by a woman named Osono (Nakamura Kazutar˘) who turns out to be the aunt of the child. As they talk, they find that they are in fact linked by promises of marriage although they have never met directly. Osono is searching for Ky˘goku no Takumi (Ichikawa Omez˘), the killer of her father, Rokusuke's master, and Rokusuke promises to help in her vendetta.
  • Dango Uri: the mortar and pestle used for pounding rice cakes and dumplings are a symbol of a happily married couple. This short, lively dance shows a couple peddling dumplings with a series of songs and dances. Starring Kataoka Ainosuke and Nakamura Kazutar˘ in the roles of the husband and the wife.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Yachiyoza (Kumamoto)
    Dates 29 October ~ 2 November 2014
    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Special Dance Performances
    Program

    Omemie K˘j˘

    Kosunoto

    Aoi no Ue

    Kane-ga-Misaki

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘

    Comments

    A special Buy˘ program starring the amazing Living National Treasure onnagata Band˘ Tamasabur˘ at the Yachiyoza, a traditional wooden-built theater. The 3 dances are traditional Jiutamai dances.

  • K˘j˘: the close relationship between the actors and the audience is shown by stage announcements, usually lavish ceremonies to commemorate various important events. This month at the Yachiyoza, it is a stage speech done by Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘.
  • Kosunoto:
    (Reed Screen)
    A masterpiece of tsuyamono (love story) which sings about the sentiment of love. It begins with description of a woman's heart toward a man she loves and her attachment is described gracefully with the sound of wind blowing through the pine trees, the cry of little cuckoos and the moon in the background which remind us of summer night.
  • Aoi no Ue:
    (Lady Aoi)
    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ plays the role of Lady Rokuj˘, the rival in love of Lady Aoi in Murasaki Shikibu's "Genji Monogatari". This dance is related to an episode in the novel in which Lady Rokuj˘ is humiliated in public by Lady Aoi but is performed in a restrained chamber style.
  • Kane-ga-Misaki: Band˘ Tamasabur˘ appears as a beautiful young girl, expressing her love and feelings of jealousy. This is the same story as the colorful "Musume D˘j˘ji" dance, but is also performed in a restrained chamber style.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Nikkei Hall (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 28 November 2014 (Kabuki Buy˘ K˘en)
    Kabuki Traditional Dances Performances
    Program

    Tsuru Kame

    Akutar˘

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ennosuke, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa K˘tar˘

    Comments

    The 16th ďtemachiza stage performances at the Nikkei Hall in T˘ky˘.

  • Tsuru Kame: the crane (tsuru) is said to live for a thousand years, the tortoise (kame) is said to live for ten thousand years. Together, they are a traditional symbol of longevity. There is no particular plot to this play, but simply shows a visit by the empress to the Moon Pavilion where two courtiers dance as the spirits of the crane and tortoise. Starring Ichikawa Ennosuke as the empress, Ichikawa En'ya as the spirit of the crane and Ichikawa K˘tar˘ as the spirit of the tortoise.
  • Akutar˘: this dance is based on a comic Ky˘gen play and was written for Ichikawa En'˘ and was one of his specialities. This dance shows a wild drunkard named Akutar˘ (Ichikawa Ennosuke). He appears with a bushy beard and long halberd and waves it around wildly. But his uncle (Ichikawa Monnosuke) has a plan to cure him of drinking. Featuring also Ichikawa En'ya and Ichikawa K˘tar˘.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Minamiza (Ky˘to)
    Dates 29 October ~ 2 November 2014 (JAPAN THEATER)
    Program

    Heike Monogatari

    Otokodate Hana no Yoshiwara

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ebiz˘

    Comments

    The first item of this program is a reading session of extracts from the "Heike Monogatari". The second item is the staging of the dance-drama "Otokodate Hana no Yoshiwara".

     
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