JULY 2023

2 in ďsaka (Sh˘chikuza), 5 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre, Shinbashi Enbuj˘, Asakusa K˘kaid˘), 1 in Ky˘to (Minamiza) and 1 tour (Eastern Provinces)!

  • Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Kataoka Takatar˘ and Band˘ Yajűr˘ perform at the Sh˘chikuza!
  • Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Kaishun, Ichikawa Ennosuke, Nakamura Kotar˘, Ichikawa Udanji and Nakamura Matagor˘ perform at the Kabukiza!
  • Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Kinnosuke and Ichikawa Komaz˘ perform at the National Theatre!
  • Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ performs at the Minamiza!
  • Onoe Sh˘roku and young actors are tour in the Eastern Provinces!
  • Living National Treasure Nakamura Baigyoku, Onoe Matsuya, Onoe Ukon, Nakamura Kangyoku and Nakamura Takanosuke perform at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘!
  • Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ performs at the Minamiza!
  • Sh˘chikuza (ďsaka)
    Dates 3 ~ 25 July 2023
    Kansai Kabuki o Ai Suru Kai Shichigatsu ďkabuki
    The 31st Kansai Kabuki Lovers Society July Grand Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Kichirei Kotobuki Soga (Soga no Ishidan)

    Ky˘ganoko Musume D˘j˘ji

    Igagoe D˘chű Sugoroku (Numazu)

    Evening

    Heike Nyogo no Shima (Shunkan)

    Yoshiwara Gitsune

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Kataoka Takatar˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Nakamura Hayato, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Kikaku, ďtani Hirotar˘, Kataoka Sennosuke, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Nakamura Toranosuke

    Comments

    31st edition of the Kansai Kabuki Lovers Society July Grand Kabuki in ďsaka. It celebrates the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Sh˘chikuza in ďsaka, which was built in 1923, modelled after the famous La Scala in Milan. After WW2, it became a movie theater. It was completely refurbished while preserving its appearance to reopen in 1999 as a theater, replacing the Nakaza for Kabuki performances.

  • Soga no Ishidan: In the Edo period, the medieval Soga brothers, who endured eighteen years of hardship before they avenged the death of their father, became popular guardian gods and hundreds of plays about their exploits appeared. This particular rarely performed play shows the brothers confronting the two men who killed their father in a fight scene on a set of stone steps, then the set turns over in a spectacular transition to reveal the next scene which takes place in the pleasure quarters. Starring Band˘ Yajűr˘ as Kud˘ Suketsune, the man that had the father of the Soga brothers killed, Kataoka Sennosuke as the wise and restrained Soga no Jűr˘ and Ichikawa Somegor˘ as the impetuous Soga no Gor˘. Featuring Nakamura Yonekichi as the courtesan ďiso no Tora (Jűr˘'s lover). Featuring also Nakamura Hayato (ďmi no Kot˘ta) and Nakamura Toranosuke (Yawata no Sabur˘) in a spectacular fight scene on a stone stairway.
  • 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.
  • 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 (Nakamura Senjaku) meets a porter Heisaku (Nakamura Ganjir˘) 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.
  • Shunkan: the priest Shunkan (Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon) 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 Band˘ Yajűr˘ as the evil emissary Senoo and Onoe Kikunosuke as the merciful envoy Tanzaemon. With Kataoka Sennosuke as the island girl Chidori and Matsumoto K˘shir˘ as Fujiwara no Naritsune, Shunkan's fellow exile who has fallen in love with her.
  • Yoshiwara Gitsune: a modern play by Murakami Genz˘, which is about Izumiya Okichi (Nakamura Yonekichi), a geisha in the Yoshiwara who is talented and brave, but when she falls in love with a man, acts as though she is possessed by a magical fox. Also starring Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Kataoka Takatar˘ and Nakamura Hayato.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 28 July 2023
    Shichigatsu ďkabuki
    July Grand Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Kiku no En Tsuki no Shiranami

    Evening

    Shinrei Yaguchi no Watashi (Tonbŕ Sumika)

    Kami no Megumi Wag˘ no Torikumi
    (Megumi no Kenka)

    Kamakura Hachimangű Shizuka no H˘rakumai

    Casting

    Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Kaishun, Ichikawa Ennosuke, Nakamura Kotar˘, Ichikawa Udanji, Nakamura Matagor˘, Ichikawa Chűsha, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa Juen, Ichikawa Kudanji, Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Ichikawa Sai'nyű, Sawamura Yoshijir˘, Ichikawa Omez˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Nakamura Kotar˘, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Tanenosuke, ďtani Hiromatsu, Ichikawa Shinnosuke, Ichimura Takematsu, Nakamura Fukunosuke, Nakamura Utanosuke, Nakamura Tamatar˘, Ichikawa Otora, Ichimura Hikaru, Asano Kazuyuki, Ichimura Kitsutar˘, Ichikawa Botan

    Comments

    The usual July Grand Kabuki programs at the Kabukiza.

  • Kiku no En Tsuki no Shiranami: a year has passed since the 47 masterless retainers of En'ya Hangan avenged their lord's death by killing K˘no Moron˘. While they are praised as loyal retainers, in contrast, Ono Kurobŕ, the chief retainer of En'ya's clan, suffers disgrace for his disloyalty. Kurobŕ's son Sadakur˘ (Ichikawa Chűsha) wants to demonstrate his loyalty in his father's place. En'ya's brother Nuinosuke is ordered to dedicate a short sword, which is an heirloom of the En'ya clan, while Moron˘'s adopted son Moroyasu is ordered to dedicate Kan Sh˘j˘'s own handwriting to restore their respective clans. Nuinosuke presents the short sword to the envoy, but it turns out to be a fake. Nuinosuke intends to commit ritual suicide by disembowelment to atone for this, but Sadakur˘ offers to be his substitute. As he is about to cut open his stomach, he slays Moroyasu who has been there to witness his suicide. He asks his father to hand over the scroll in which the art of the ninja is handed down. Now that Sadakur˘ has obtained the art of the ninja, he names himself the thief Akatsuki Hoshigor˘ and vows to restore the En'ya clan. He sets out searching for the short sword, which is thought to have been stolen by the K˘no clan, and the scroll in Kan Sh˘j˘'s own handwriting. People related to both clans who have their own objectives appear, such as Sadakur˘'s wife Kakogawa (Ichikawa Emiya), the chivalrous woman Okaru with golden hairpins (Nakamura Kazutar˘) who once served En'ya's clan, the geisha Ukihashi who is pregnant with Nuinosuke's child and Ukihashi's brother-in-law Hotoke no Gonbe.
  • Tonbŕ Sumika: this play was written by Hiraga Gennai, an Edo inventor, explorer and writer of comic fiction. Young Ofune is the obedient daughter of her evil father Tonbŕ, the keeper of a river crossing. She meets and falls in love with a young fugitive. Unfortunately, her father wants to capture the fugitive for a reward and Ofune can only save his life by sacrificing her own. Starring Nakamura Kotar˘ and Ichikawa Omez˘ in the roles of Ofune and Tonbŕ.
  • Megumi no Kenka: they used to say that fights and fires were the flowers of the city of Edo and many plays feature the gallent members of firefighting troupes, who were popular heroes. This particular play depicts a rivalry between the members of the Megumi firefighting band and a group of sum˘ wrestlers, which ultimately is a confrontation between the firefighters, who represent the commoner class and the samurai patrons of the sum˘ wrestlers. The fight begins with a minor incident, but grows into a situation of such tension, that when Tatsugor˘, the leader of the firefighting gang, goes to his final fight, he goes with the full intention that this may be a fight to the death. Before he leaves, he has an emotional parting from his family. Featuring Ichikawa Danjűr˘ as Tatsugor˘ and Ichikawa Udanji as the leader of the group of sum˘ wrestlers. Featuring also Nakamura Jakuemon (Tatsugor˘'s wife Onaka), Nakamura Kaishun and Nakamura Matagor˘.
  • Shizuka no H˘rakumai: This dance is included as one of the Shin Kabuki Jűhachiban, 'The New 18 Favourite Kabuki Plays' that were chosen by Ichikawa Danjűr˘ IX. Ichikawa Danjűr˘ IX was praised as a gekisei (Holy Actor). This work has been reconceived for this occasion. 5 types of Kabuki music will be performed together in this dance play. The Priest Ninsh˘ and his attendants visit a desolate temple in Kamakura because he has heard a rumor that a specter is appearing there every night. Suddenly, a threatening wind blows and an old woman appears. As she says she was a court dancer in days gone by, they ask her to perform a dance. After she disappears and they go into the inner room, specters gather one by one. Starring Ichikawa Danjűr˘ in the roles of Shizuka Gozen, Minamoto no Yoshitsune, the Old Woman, the z˘su Haku, the priest Abura, the boatman on the River of the Dead and Kesh˘ (a mighty demon).
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 24 July 2023
    Shichigatsu Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitsu
    July Kabuki Appreciation Class
    Program

    Kabuki no Mikata

    Futatsu Ch˘ch˘ Kuruwa Nikki (Hikimado)

    Casting

    Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Nakamura Matsue, Nakamura Baika

    Comments

    Educational program at the National Theatre called Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitu ("Kabuki Appreciation Class"). This is a very interesting formula for the beginners because there is lively presentation on stage (Kabuki no Mikata) of Kabuki or some aspects of the art like music, stage tricks or fighting scenes. It is followed by "Hikimado".

  • 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 (Nakamura Shikan) 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 Ichikawa Komaz˘ in the role of Ohaya.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Kabuki Tour in the Eastern Provinces
    Dates 30 June ~ 31 July 2023
    Sh˘chiku ďkabuki Higashi K˘su
    Sh˘chiku Grand Kabuki Eastern Course
    Program

    Kiichi H˘gen Sanryaku no Maki (Kikubatake)

    Tsuchi-gumo

    Casting

    Onoe Sh˘roku, Band˘ Kamez˘, Nakamura Baishi, Nakamura Mantar˘, Band˘ Shingo, Onoe Sakon

    Comments

    The July Grand Kabuki Tour in the Eastern Provinces.

  • Kikubatake: it is a great classic of period play Kabuki originally adapted from the Bunraku puppet theatre, full of larger-than-life characters and a stage full of dazzling color. In a garden of brilliant yellow and white chrysanthemums, there is Kiichi (Onoe Sh˘roku), an elderly strategist working for the dictator Kiyomori, his beautiful daughter Minazuru (Band˘ Shingo) and two footmen, the elegant young Toraz˘ (Nakamura Baishi) and the powerful Chienai (Band˘ Kamez˘ from shonichi to the 15th of July/Nakamura Mantar˘ from the 16th of July to senshűraku). But in fact, Toraz˘ is a young general from the enemy side here to steal Kiichiĺs secrets of strategy. Chienai is his retainer. But Kiichi has realized why they are there and also knows that Chienai is actually his younger brother. At the same time, Minazuru has fallen deeply in love with Toraz˘.
  • Tsuchi-gumo: a dance play adapted from the classical theatre. The samurai Lord Minamoto Raik˘ is famous in legend for ridding Ky˘to of demons. While Raik˘ is confined to bed with illness, a priest (Onoe Sh˘roku) from a prominent temple comes to pray for his health. In fact, the priest is actually the spirit of the earth spider which has caused Raik˘'s illness in the first place and hopes to destroy him. The spider's plan to kill Raik˘ is defeated by his retainers (the famous shitenn˘) in an exciting fight. Featuring Nakamura Baishi as Raik˘.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 27 January 2023
    Shinsaku Kabuki
    New Kabuki
    Program

    T˘ken Ranbu
    (Tsuki no Tsurugi Enishi no Kiri no Ha)

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Nakamura Baigyoku, Onoe Matsuya, Onoe Ukon, Nakamura Kangyoku, Nakamura Takanosuke, ďtani Keiz˘, Nakamura Kamenoj˘, Kamimura Kichitar˘, Kawai Yukinoj˘, ďtani Ryűsei, Sawamura Kuniya, Ichikawa Tsutanosuke

    Comments

    A newly-created Kabuki drama based on a ... free-to-play collectible card browser video game named "T˘ken Ranbu" and developed by DMM.com LLC at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘.

  • T˘ken Ranbu:
    Crescent Moon Sword associated with Paulownia' from 'Swords Boisterous Dance'
    "T˘ken Ranbu" is a popular online browser game. Players bring famous historical swords to life as 't˘ken danshi', 'sword warriors', to defeat evil forces that are trying to change the course of history. The game gave rise to a sword boom, which were the models for the 't˘ken danshi', and it has been adapted for different genres such as the theater, anime and movies. It is now one of the most popular entertainment phenomena. This month, "T˘ken Ranb" is at last adapted as a brand-new kabuki production. The 't˘ken danshi' who appear in Kabuki's central castle compound are Mikazuki Munechika (Onoe Matsuya), Kogitsunemaru (Onoe Ukon), Dodanuki Masakuni (Nakamura Takanosuke), Higekiri (Nakamura Kangyoku), Hizamaru (Kamimura Kichitar˘) and Kogarasumaru (Kawai Yukinoj˘). The story is based on the Eiroku Incident, an historical event in which Ashikaga Yoshiteru (Onoe Ukon), the 13th Muromachi Sh˘gun, was assassinated. Evil forces that are trying to change the course of history attempt to assassinate the next shogun Ashikaga Kikud˘maru and his sister Princess K˘bai, but Mikazuki Munechika and others guard them against their wicked schemes. In time, Kikud˘maru comes of age and assumes the shogunate as Ashikaga Yoshiteru, assisted by Matsunaga Danj˘ (Living National Treasure Nakamura Baigyoku), but he is possessed by an evil spirit. Danj˘ son Matsunaga Hisanao (Nakamura Takanosuke) remonstrates with Yoshiteru.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Asakusa K˘kaid˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 30 June ~ 2 July 2023
    Kamiyach˘ Sh˘kabuki
    Kamiyach˘ Little Kabuki
    Program

    Goaisatsu

    Benten Musume Meo no Shiranami

  • Hamamatsuya
  • Inasegawa Seizoroi
  • Takatsuki

    Casting

    Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Fukunosuke, Nakamura Utanosuke, Nakamura Baika

    Comments

    1st edition of a gala for Nakamura Shikan's three sons. It is entitled Kamiyach˘ Sh˘kabuki ('Kamiyach˘ Little Kabuki'). Kamiyach˘ was the name of late Nakamura Shikan VII's neighboorhood in T˘ky˘ and it was used as an original way to appraise this great actor (kakegoe).

  • Goaisatsu: greetings on stage.
  • 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 Utanosuke stars as Benten Koz˘, with Nakamura Hashinosuke as Nippon Daemon and Nakamura Fukunosuke as Nang˘ Rikimaru.
  • Takatsuki: in this relatively modern dance-comedy adapted from the style of classical Ky˘gen farces, the servant Jir˘kaja (Nakamura Hashinosuke) is ordered by his lord to buy a takatsuki, which is a kind of ceremonial sake cup on a stand. Jir˘kaja does not understand his lord's orders and is persuaded by a fast-talking geta clog salesman to buy a pair of clogs instead, thinking that this is the stand for which he was sent. After drinking a good amount of sake, he brings his purchase to the lord and responds to the lord's anger with a dance on the clogs, a virtuoso routine inspired by tap dancing, showing off the dancing skills of Nakamura Hashinosuke.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Minamiza (Ky˘to)
    Dates 3 ~ 27 August 2023
    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Natsu no Hitotoki
    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Summer Time
    Program

    Taidan

    Kazutoyo to Chiyo

    Yukari no Tsuki

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘

    Comments

    A special program starring Living National Treasure onnagata Band˘ Tamasabur˘ in Ky˘to at the Minamiza with the rakugo storyteller Shunpűtei Koasa.

  • Taidan: a conversation on stage with Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and Shunpűtei Koasa.
  • Kazutoyo to Chiyo: A rakugo told by Shunpűtei Koasa.
  • Yukari no Tsuki:
    (The moon of Karma)
    A dance about a courtesan's sad mental state. While watching the moon, she is lamenting that she has to separate from her lover and to marry another man because of her poverty. Starring Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

     
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