Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon, Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Ichikawa Sadanji, Ichikawa Ennosuke, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘,
Ichikawa Komaz˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Nakamura Baishi, Onoe Matsuya, Ichikawa Udanji,
Ichimura Manjir˘, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Emiya, Kamimura Kichiya, Matsumoto Kingo, Nakamura Kash˘, Sawamura S˘nosuke, Sawamura Yoshijir˘, ďtani Keiz˘, Nakamura Matsue,
Arashi Kitsusabur˘, Nakamura Jűjir˘, Ichimura Kitsutar˘, Nakamura Kichinoj˘, Ichikawa K˘tar˘, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Nakamura Mantar˘, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Hayato, Ichimura Takematsu, Ichikawa Otora,
Ichikawa Ukon, ďtani Ryűsei
The highlights of the two programs for the April Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza are:
A t˘shi ky˘gen production of "Ise Ondo Koi no Netaba" in two acts (five scenes) with Ichikawa Somegor˘ and Ichikawa Ennosuke in the roles of Fukuoka Mitsugi and Manno.
The jidaimono "Kumagai Jin'ya" with Matsumoto K˘shir˘ in the role of Kumagai Jir˘ Naozane.
The all-time favourite "Domo Mata" with Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon and Onoe Kikunosuke in the roles of Matahei and Otoku.
The rarely-staged (in T˘ky˘) Kamigata drama "Obiya", the love story of the young girl Ohan for her middle-aged neighbour Ch˘emon,
with Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ in the role of Ch˘emon and his grandson Nakamura Kazutar˘ in the role of Ohan.
Moreover, ďtani Ryűsei, the son of ďtani Keiz˘, makes his hatsubutai. He performs in the dance "Yakko D˘j˘ji".
He will perform in the dance "Yakko D˘j˘ji".
Here are below the details of the April Grand Kabuki Programs at the Kabukiza:
Daigo no Hanami:
(Blossom-viewing in Daigo)
This is a dance portraying the famous blossom-viewing party held by the warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi
in the 3rd lunar month of 1598 in the garden of the Daigoji Temple in Ky˘to. It was a grand banquet to which
Hideyoshi's family, many daimy˘ lords,
their wives and retainers were invited. Featuring Nakamura Senjaku, Ichikawa Udanji and Onoe Matsuya.
Ise Ondo: this is a sewamono play, a drama portraying
in a realistic way the lives of ordinary people in the Edo period.
It was based on a true incident involving a sword that occurred in a brothel in Furuichi, near the Grand Shrine
of Ise. In Awa Province (present day Tokushima Prefecture) the lord's uncle Hachisuka Daigaku is plotting to
take over the Hachisuka clan. As the head retainer Imada Kur˘emon who enjoys the lord's confidence is in his way,
he tries to bring Kur˘emon down by stealing the heirloom sword Aoe Shimosaka and laying the blame for its loss
on Kuroemon's son Manjir˘ (Kataoka Hidetar˘). Manjir˘ goes to Ise to investigate the theft and to clear himself of losing the
heirloom which at last he finds. Enticed by the henchmen of Daigaku's retainer Tokushima Iwaji,
Manjir˘ pays frequent visits to the courtesan Okishi of the Furuichi pleasure quarter.
Having no more money to visit her, he pawns the Shimosaka sword, the certificate for which is taken away
through deception by Iwaji's faction. Fukuoka Mitsugi (Ichikawa Somegor˘), a lowly acolyte in Ise who serves the Imada clan,
intercepts a secret letter from Daigaku to Tokuji. He recovers the sword and comes to the Aburaya brothel
to regain the certificate from Iwaji. In order to get the certificate for him, Mitsugi's lover Okon (Nakamura Baishi) pretends
that she no longer loves Mitsugi and that she has fallen for Iwaji instead.
Not knowing Okon's true feelings, Mitsugi believes that she has truly betrayed
him and, further angered by the humiliating accusations of Manno (Ichikawa Ennosuke), the head
maid of the Aburaya brothel, he inadvertently draws the sword and slays many of the people in the brothel,
driven on by the mysterious power of the sword Shimosaka. Featuring also Onoe Matsuya in the role of the cook Kisuke.
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 Ichikawa Ennosuke as Kumagai's wife Sagami,
Ichikawa Komaz˘ as Fuji-no-Kata,
Ichikawa Somegor˘ as Yoshitsune and
Ichikawa Sadanji as Midaroku.
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 Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon as Matahei and Onoe Kikunosuke as his wife Otoku.
Featuring Nakamura Karoku as Matahei's master Tosa Sh˘gen Mitsunobu, Nakamura Matagor˘ as Utanosuke, Nakamura Kinnosuke as Shűrinosuke and Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘ as Sh˘gen's wife Kita-no-Kata.
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 Kabukiza features the drama leading up to the romance between the two.
Ch˘emon (Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘) is the proprietor of an obiya (a kimono belt shop) and his wife (Nakamura Senjaku) 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 represented by his grandfather Sakata T˘jűr˘.
Yakko D˘j˘ji: "Musume D˘j˘ji" is based
on a legend about a woman transformed into a serpent out of jealousy and who
destroys a temple bell keeping her from the object of her love.
The original dance shows the spirit of the woman who appears at D˘j˘ji
temple as a dancer who wants to celebrate the dedication of a new bell and
does a series of dances showing the many faces of femininity.
In this version the dancer is revealed to be a man in disguise and,
in the highlight of the dance, transforms the romantic highpoint
of the original piece into a comic scene by using masks.
Starring Ichikawa Ennosuke in a dance important to his family tradition.
Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website