OCTOBER 2011

2 shows in Nagoya (Misonoza), 5 in T˘ky˘ (Shinbashi Enbuj˘, National Theatre, NHK Hall, Nissay Theatre), 1 in Ky˘to (Minamiza), 1 in Yoshinoyama (Kinpusanji) and 2 in Kagoshima (Mishima-mura Kabuki, Kagoshima ďkabuki)!

Misonoza (Nagoya)
Dates 1 ~ 25 October 2011 (Kichirei Kaomise ďkabuki)
Annual Festive Face-Showing Grand Kabuki
MatinÚe

Nans˘ Satomi Hakkenden

Kiichi H˘gen Sanryaku no Maki
(Ichij˘ ďkura Monogatari)

K˘j˘

Kotobuki Soga no Taimen

Evening

Futatsu Ch˘ch˘ Kuruwa Nikki (Sum˘ba)

B˘ Shibari

Sukeroku Yukari no Edo Zakura

Casting

Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Nakamura Kichiemon, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Fukusuke, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Nakamura Kash˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura T˘z˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘

Comments

47th kaomise at the Misonoza, which celebrates two shűmei: Nakamura Kash˘ III and his son Nakamura Tanetar˘ IV take the respective names of Nakamura Matagor˘ III and Nakamura Kash˘ IV.

  • Hakkenden:
    (The Eight Dog Warriors)
    the original novel is an immense epic by 19th century novelist Takizawa Bakin published over many years, but eventually reaching one-hundred and sixty volumes. The Satomi clan is being attacked and its lord offers his daughter Princess Fuse to the warrior that will bring him the head of the enemy. It is his loyal dog that kills and beheads the enemy and, saying that her father must not go back on his word, Princess Fuse goes with the dog. Nevertheless, the Satomi clan is defeated and one of its loyal retainers goes to rescue Princess Fuse, shooting the dog, but unfortunately shooting Princess Fuse as well. The eight crystal beads of her rosary, each engraved with the Chinese characters of one of the Confucian virtues, goes flying through the air. Miraculously, each will be found with a newborn baby. These eight children, all of whom have the character inu for "dog" in their names, eventually meet and join together to restore the Satomi clan. The play features all the stars of the company and follows the adventures of the eight dog warriors as they meet and gradually join together, leading to a climactic fight on the roof of a dizzyingly high tower. Featuring Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘ and the new Nakamura Kash˘.
  • Ichij˘ ďkura Monogatari: the world is ruled by Taira no Kiyomori, the leader of the Heike clan. Tokiwa Gozen, the widow of the head of the defeated Genji clan and mother of Yoritomo and Yoshitsune, the future leaders of the clan, has become the mistress of the dictator Kiyomori, then the wife of Lord ďkura, a seemingly simple-minded fool who spends all his time watching pretty women dance. Outraged members of the Genji clan sneak into Lord ďkura's mansion only to discover that Tokiwa Gozen's immorality and Lord ďkura's idiocy are a guise, the only way to survive in a world ruled by the enemy. This performance stars Nakamura Kichiemon as Lord ďkura, Nakamura Kaishun as Tokiwa Gozen, Ichikawa Somegor˘ as Yoshioka Kijir˘ and Nakamura Shibajaku as Yoshioka's wife Oky˘.
  • K˘j˘: the close relationship between the actors and the audience is shown by these stage announcements, lavish ceremonies to commemorate various important events. In this case, all the stars of the cast assemble to celebrate the shűmei of Nakamura Matagor˘ III and Nakamura Kash˘ IV.
  • Soga no Taimen: this is one of the oldest and most classical of all Kabuki plays. In the Edo period, every January, plays appeared about the vendetta carried out by the Soga brothers Jűr˘ and Gor˘ after eighteen years of hardship. In "Soga no Taimen" the brothers confront Kud˘ Suketsune, the man responsible for their father's death. More ceremony than play, it features each of the important Kabuki character types, including the bombastic aragoto style of Gor˘ and the soft wagoto style of Jűr˘. This month features a cast headed by Ichikawa Danjűr˘ as Kud˘ and some of the most popular young stars in Kabuki with the new Nakamura Matagor˘ as Gor˘ and Nakamura Baigyoku as Jűr˘. Featuring also Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Fukusuke, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Karoku and the new Nakamura Kash˘.
  • 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˘ (Ichikawa Somegor˘) buy out the contract of the beautiful Azuma (Nakamura Shibajaku), 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 Kichiemon as Ch˘gor˘ and the new Nakamura Matagor˘ as Ch˘kichi.
  • B˘ Shibari:
    (Tied to a Pole)
    A dance play based on a classical Ky˘gen farce. A master is irritated that his two servants always drink his wine while he is out. He plots with his servant Tar˘kaja (Ichikawa Ebiz˘) to trick the other servant Jir˘kaja (Band˘ Mitsugor˘) into demonstrating his skill at stick fighting, tying him to the stick. The master then ties up Tar˘kaja as well. But he is outsmarted when the two still manage to drink his wine while tied up. Their happy singing and dancing while tied up is a dazzling display of virtuoso dancing and star two of the finest young dancers in Kabuki.
  • Sukeroku: the dandy Sukeroku is the most famous patron of the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters. But his reputation as the lover of Agemaki, the highest ranking courtesan in the quarter is matched by that of his tendency to pick fights. In fact, Sukeroku is the samurai Soga no Gor˘ in disguise, and he uses the fights to find a lost heirloom sword. His search takes place in the colorful atmosphere of the Yoshiwara where processions of beautiful courtesans compete with the splendor of cherry blossoms in full bloom. All the top stars in Kabuki appear in a procession of beautiful, exciting and amusing roles. Starring Ichikawa Danjűr˘ and Nakamura Fukusuke as Hanakawado Sukeroku and Miuraya Agemaki. Featuring also Ichikawa Sadanji, Nakamura Baigyoku, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Karoku, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura T˘z˘ and Nakamura Kinnosuke in the roles of Ikyű, the shirozake seller Shinbŕ, Fukuyama Katsugi, the courtesan Miuraya Shiratama, the passer-by, Kanpera Monbei, Mank˘ and Asagao Sempei.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 October 2011 (Jűgatsu Hanagata Kabuki)
    Young Actors October Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Genpei Nunobiki no Taki
    (Yoshikata Saigo)

    Ky˘ Ningy˘

    Edokko Hanj˘ki (Gozonji Isshin Tasuke)

    Evening

    T˘ryű Oguri Hangan

    Casting

    Kataoka Ainosuke, Ichikawa Danshir˘, Ichikawa Kamejir˘, Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa Emiya, Nakamura Shid˘

    Comments

  • Yoshikata Saigo: the full-length play shows the early rise of the Genji clan after a time of oppression. Yoshikata (Kataoka Ainosuke) is the lone member of the Genji clan and pretends to have no interest in reviving its fortunes, but Yukitsuna (Nakamura Shid˘) a good-humored footman who is actually a spy, realizes his true intentions. Yoshikata is about to have a son, the general Yoshinaka, who will lead the Genji to victory, but Yoshikata himself is attacked and surrounded and dies in a spectacular scene where he falls from the top of a flight of stairs.
  • Ky˘ Ningy˘: this dance tells the story of the woodcarver Hidari Jingor˘, famous for the sleeping cat on the great gate of Nikk˘. He brings a statue of a beautiful courtesan to life and then there is a spectacular fight scene with a variety of carpenterĺs tools. Starring Ichikawa Ukon as Jingor˘ and Ichikawa Emiya as the doll of the courtesan.
  • Gozonji Isshin Tasuke:
    (The Prosperity of Edo)
    This is a rare performance of a play featuring the popular character Isshin Tasuke, a gallant fishmonger living in the days of the Sh˘gun Tokugawa Iemitsu who, although a lowly commoner, works together with the highest government officials to fight injustice. Although Isshin Tasuke is famous in ballads and movies, he is rarely presented on the Kabuki stage, making this an exciting opportunity to see this hero brought to life. Starring Nakamura Shid˘ in the role of Isshin Tasuke. Featuring also Ichikawa Kamejir˘ and Kataoka Ainosuke.
  • T˘ryű Oguri Hangan:
    (The Modern Story of Oguri Hangan)
    In the medieval period, there were ballads that told tales of Buddhist miracles and various legendary heroes. One of the most popular stories was about the warrior Oguri Hangan who was able to make horses perform acrobatics and even got his horse to balance on top of a goban. He used his abilities to win the love of Princess Terute, the daughter of the governor of Hitachi, but the jealousy of her family caused him to be poisoned, transforming him into a paralyzed mummy. Princess Terute undergoes great hardship pulling a cart holding him traveling throughout the country, but finally, he is revived miraculously in a holy waterfall. The story of Oguri Hangan is one that the actor Ichikawa Ennosuke has made his own, embellishing it with spectacular staging and his trademark flight through the air. This month, the younger stars of Kabuki will perform in this play for the first time, working to keep this modern classic alive. Starring Ichikawa Kamejir˘ in the leading roles of Oguri Hangan, the fisherman Namishichi and Okoma. Featuring also Ichikawa Emiya (Princess Terute), Ichikawa Danshir˘, Kataoka Ainosuke, Nakamura Shid˘ and Ichikawa Ukon.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website
    Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website for "Isshin Tasuke" and "Oguri Hangan"

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 27 October 2011
    Program

    Kaimaku Ky˘ki Adauchi Monogatari

    Casting

    Onoe Kikugor˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Onoe Sh˘roku

    Comments

    "Kaimaku Ky˘ki Adauchi Monogatari" is a Kabuki version of Kyokutei Bakin's novel "Kaikan Ky˘ki Ky˘kakuden", "Daring Adventures of Chivalrous Men", 4 volumes which were published between 1832 and 1835.

  • Kaimaku Ky˘ki Adauchi Monogatari
    (A Tale of Revenge of the Two Kingdoms)
    The late Edo Period writer Kyokutei Bakin (1767-1848) is famous for his long romances, full of adventure and fantasy and with his own special take on history. Readers have long thrilled to the stories of the Eight Dog Warriors of the Satomi Clan and the story of the warrior Tametomo in exile in the novel "Chinsetsu Yumiharizuki." These stories have also inspired Kabuki versions, most notably a new version of "Chinsetsu Yumiharizuki" written especially for the National Theatre by the novelist Mishima Yukio. In October 2011, to begin the season celebrating the forty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the National Theatre there will be a spectacular new version of a late unfinished novel by Bakin. The novel is set in the age of the third Ashikaga Sh˘gun, the fabulous Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. The Ashikaga clan took power after the imperial court tried to take power back for itself and then split into two factions, each claiming legitimacy for itself. This was the period of the Northern and Southern Courts. Yoshimitsu tried to manipulate this struggle to make the Ashikaga shogunate all powerful. But each of the sides had great heroes like Nitta Yoshisada and Kusunoki Masashige. The story focuses on their descendants, the next generations of heroes. Their encounters and intrigues are full of exciting events and finally comes to a climax at Yoshimitsu's famous palace, the Golden Pavilion in Ky˘to. There is a new tradition at the National Theatre of new plays and revivals supervised by the Kabuki actor Onoe Kikugor˘ and this will challenge the talents of his group of actors and the production staff to its fullest. The play will be full of tense drama, comedy, the spectacular tachimawari fight scenes of the Kikugor˘ Theatre Troupe and finally, a double chűnori flight through the air going along both sides of the auditorium, a first for the National Theatre.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Minamiza (Ky˘to)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 October 2011 (Jűgatsu ďkabuki)
    October Grand Kabuki
    Program

    Ya-no-Ne

    Sumizome no Nenbutsu Hijiri
    (H˘nen J˘nin Monogatari)

    Renjishi

    Casting

    Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Kanjaku, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Kazutar˘

    Comments

    "Sumizome no Nenbutsu Hijiri" is a newly-created Kabuki drama, which is staged to commemorate the Buddhist priest H˘nen (1133~1212).

  • Ya-no-Ne: like a picture come to life, this play combines the most exaggerated costumes and movements with leisurely humor. The aragoto hero Soga no Gor˘ is sharpening a giant arrow and sleeping in wishes of good fortune for the New Year when he sees his brother Jűr˘ in a dream asking him to come and rescue him. The two Soga brothers are part of one of the most popular vendetta stories in Kabuki, suffering for eighteen years before being able to avenge the death of their father. In this play, when Gor˘ finds out that his brother is in trouble, he jumps on the horse of a passing daikon vendor and, brandishing a giant daikon as a whip prepares to rush to his brother's side. Starring Nakamura Hashinosuke and Nakamura Kanjaku as Gor˘ and Jűr˘.
  • H˘nen J˘nin Monogatari
    (The Saint in Black: The Story of H˘nen)
    H˘nen (1133~1212) was a Buddhist priest that revolutionized Japanese Buddhism. Until his time, Buddhism was for the powerful elite and to protect the state, but H˘nen preached that through a sincere prayer to the Amidha Buddha all people could find salvation in the Pure Land. This year marks the eight hundredth anniversary of H˘nen's death and to commemorate it, Minamiza will present a new play celebrating H˘nen. H˘nen has just died and on the occasion of the dedicating of an image of the Amidha Buddha, people recall the many people he helped, including Kumagai Jir˘ Naozane, a warrior tired of war. They then recall the many political battles he faced, that finally sent him into exile. Starring Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ and Nakamura Hashinosuke in the roles of H˘nen and Kumagai. Featuring also Nakamura Kanjaku, Nakamura Kikaku and Nakamura Kazutar˘.
  • 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 Nakamura Kanjaku in the role of the parent shishi and his son Nakamura Kazutar˘ in the role of the cub.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website
    Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website for "H˘nen J˘nin Monogatari"

    Nissay Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 October 2011 (Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Tokubetsu Buy˘ K˘en)
    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Special Dance Performances
    Program

    Keisei (Yoshiwara Emaki)

    Fuji Musume

    Y˘kihi

    Casting

    Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘

    Comments

  • Keisei: this dance shows the cultured elegance of the top-rank of courtesan (keisei in Japanese) in the pleasure quarters. Starring Band˘ Tamasabur˘ in the role of the keisei.
  • Fuji Musume: the spirit of wisteria blossoms dances of love in the form of a beautiful young maiden. One of Kabuki's most famous and colorful dances, it will feature the dancing skills of Band˘ Tamasabur˘.
  • Y˘kihi: based on a classical play, this is a new dance showing Yang Guifei (Y˘kihi in Japanese), the consort of the Tang Emperor whose beauty nearly toppled the empire. The play is set after her death and shows a magician sent by the grieving Tang Emperor to try to find her spirit in the land of immortals. Starring Band˘ Tamasabur˘ in the role of Y˘kihi. Featuring also Band˘ Yajűr˘.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website
    Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website for "Keisei" and "Y˘kihi"

    NHK Hall (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 28 October 2011 (Koten Gein˘ Kansh˘ Kai)
    Program

    Hikosan Gongen Chikai no Sukedachi

  • Sugisaka Hakasho

  • Keya-mura Rokusuke Sumika

  • Casting

    Nakamura Kichiemon, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Nakamura T˘z˘

    Comments

    38th edition of Koten Gein˘ Kansh˘ Kai (literally the "Classics Entertainment Appreciation Association"), a yearly performance produced by the National TV network NHK. The program includes one ky˘gen, one Kabuki play, one traditional dance and traditional music.

  • Keya-mura: Rokusuke (Nakamura Kichiemon), 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 Shibajaku) 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 the killer of her father, Rokusuke's master, and Rokusuke promises to help in her vendetta.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Kinpusanji Temple (Yoshinoyama)
    Dates 8 ~ 9 October 2011 (Yoshino Gein˘sai Kinpusanji H˘n˘ Kabuki)
    Yoshino Artistic Festival Kinpusanji Offering Kabuki
    Program

    Fuji Musume

    Renjishi

    Casting

    Kataoka Nizaemon, Kataoka Takatar˘, Kataoka Sennosuke

    Comments

    Original outdoors Kabuki performance, in the precincts of the famous Kinpusanji temple which is located in the heart of Yoshinoyama:

  • Fuji Musume: the spirit of wisteria blossoms dances of love in the form of a beautiful young maiden. One of Kabuki's most famous and colorful dances, it will feature the dancing skills of Kataoka Takatar˘.
  • 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 Kataoka Nizaemon in the role of the parent shishi and his grandson Kataoka Sennosuke in the role of the cub.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    I˘jima Island (Kagoshima)
    Dates 22 October 2011 (Mishima-mura Kabuki)
    Mishima Village Kabuki
    Program

    Heike Nyogo no Shima (Shunkan)

    Casting

    Nakamura Kanzabur˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Kantar˘, Nakamura Tsurumatsu, Nakamura Kannoj˘

    Comments

    Original outdoors Kabuki performance on the Island of I˘jima, one of the 3 islands of the Mishima Village, which belongs to the Kagoshima City. I˘jima is 5.5 kilometres in length from east to west and 4.0 kilometres from north to south. Historically it is identified as Kikai Island, an island of exile, where the priest Shunkan was exiled. A real boat will be used instead of the usual stage prop! This outdoors right-on-location "Shunkan" performance was premiered 15 years ago. This time is the second edition.

  • Shunkan: the priest Shunkan (Nakamura Kanzabur˘) has been exiled to Devil's Island for plotting against the dictator Kiyomori. A pardon is given to his fellow conspirators, but Shunkan is only saved by an additional pardon given by Kiyomori's compassionate son. Even so, he gives up his place on the boat to freedom so his companion's new wife can accompany her husband back to the capital. The boat leaves and Shunkan is left watching is disappear in the distance, knowing he will be left on the island forever. Featuring Kataoka Kamez˘ as the evil emissary Senoo and Nakamura Kantar˘ as the merciful envoy Tanzaemon. With Nakamura Tsurumatsu as the island girl Chidori and Nakamura Shichinosuke as Naritsune, Shunkan's fellow exile who has fallen in love with her.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Kagoshima Citizens' Culture Hall (Kagoshima)
    Dates 25 October 2011 (Kagoshima ďkabuki)
    Kagoshima Grand Kabuki
    Program

    B˘ Shibari

    Heike Nyogo no Shima (Shunkan)

    Casting

    Nakamura Kanzabur˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Kantar˘, Nakamura Tsurumatsu, Nakamura Kannoj˘

    Comments

    1-evening only Kabuki performance in the city of Kagoshima.

  • B˘ Shibari:
    (Tied to a Pole)
    A dance play based on a classical Ky˘gen farce. A master is irritated that his two servants always drink his wine while he is out. He plots with his servant Tar˘kaja (Kataoka Kamez˘) to trick the other servant Jir˘kaja (Nakamura Kantar˘) into demonstrating his skill at stick fighting, tying him to the stick. The master then ties up Tar˘kaja as well. But he is outsmarted when the two still manage to drink his wine while tied up. Their happy singing and dancing while tied up is a dazzling display of virtuoso dancing and star two of the finest young dancers in Kabuki.
  • Shunkan: the priest Shunkan (Nakamura Kanzabur˘) has been exiled to Devil's Island for plotting against the dictator Kiyomori. A pardon is given to his fellow conspirators, but Shunkan is only saved by an additional pardon given by Kiyomori's compassionate son. Even so, he gives up his place on the boat to freedom so his companion's new wife can accompany her husband back to the capital. The boat leaves and Shunkan is left watching is disappear in the distance, knowing he will be left on the island forever. Featuring Kataoka Kamez˘ as the evil emissary Senoo and Nakamura Kantar˘ as the merciful envoy Tanzaemon. With Nakamura Tsurumatsu as the island girl Chidori and Nakamura Shichinosuke as Naritsune, Shunkan's fellow exile who has fallen in love with her.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

     
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