JUNE 2014

4 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre, Theatre Cocoon), 2 in Fukuoka (Hakataza), 2 shows in Ky˘to (Minamiza) and 1 tour (Central Provinces)!

  • Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon, Kataoka Nizaemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Shibajaku, Kataoka Takatar˘, Kataoka Gat˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Ichikawa Sadanji, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Band˘ Yajűr˘ and Ichikawa Danz˘ perform at the Kabukiza!
  • Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Kanjaku, Kataoka Ainosuke, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun and Ichikawa Somegor˘ perform at the Hakataza!
  • Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke and Onoe Matsuya perform at the Theatre Cocoon!
  • Nakamura Hashinosuke and Nakamura Senjaku perform at the National Theatre!
  • Ichikawa Ennosuke, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Ichikawa Chűsha and the Omodakaya guild are on tour in the Central Provinces!
  • Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ performs at the Minamiza)!
  • Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 1 ~ 25 June 2014 (Rokugatsu ďkabuki)
    June Grand Kabuki

    Harugasumi Kabuki Z˘shi (Okuni Sanza)

    Genpei Nunobiki no Taki
    (Sanemori Monogatari)

    Genroku Chűshingura
    (ďishi Saigo no Ichinichi)



    Yamatogana Ariwara Keizu
    (Ranpei Monogurui)

    Su˘ Otoshi

    Meigetsu Hachiman Matsuri


    Onoe Kikugor˘, Kataoka Nizaemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Kichiemon, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Shibajaku, Kataoka Takatar˘, Kataoka Gat˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Ichikawa Sadanji, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Ichikawa Danz˘, Nakamura Matagor˘, Nakamura Karoku, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Onoe Sakon


    The son of Onoe Sh˘roku IV receives the name of Onoe Sakon III and makes his debut on stage (hatsubutai).

  • Okuni Sanza:
    (A Kabuki Scroll)
    Kabuki is said to have begun in the early 17th century with the colorful dances of the shrine maiden Okuni and the short sketches she performed with her lover, the gallant samurai Nagoya Sanza. This modern dance recreates the romantic atmosphere of the earliest days of Kabuki. Starring Nakamura Tokiz˘ and Onoe Kikunosuke in the roles of Okuni and Nagoya Sanza.
  • Sanemori Monogatari: a play about the early days of the rivalry between the Genji and Heike warrior clans. The warrior Sait˘ Bett˘ Sanemori (Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘) has been charged by the leaders of the dominant Heike clan with finding Aoi Gozen, the pregnant wife of the leader of the enemy Genji clan. He is to kill her child if it is a son who can succeed to head of the clan, but old loyalties to the Genji lead him to protect the boy. Sanemori tells the story of how Koman, the daughter of the old couple who is protecting Aoi Gozen, bravely fought to protect the sacred standard of the Genji from the Heike. Koman mysteriously comes back to life when her severed arm is rejoined to it. Featuring also Ichikawa Sadanji as Senoo Jűr˘.
  • ďishi Saigo no Ichinichi:
    (The Last Day of ďishi Kuranosuke's Life)
    This modern play comes from a series by Mayama Seika based on the famous revenge classic but based on historical sources of the sensational event. In this particular act, ďishi Kuranosuke is shown being torn between the severe samurai duty that has made their mission a success and the desire to let a young couple meet one last time before they must die. The masterless samurai of the Ak˘ clan have successfully completed their unauthorized vendetta and are being housed at the mansion of a samurai lord while their fate is being decided. The vendetta has caused a sensation and a young boy comes to meet the men as they are imprisoned. The boy turns out to be a woman in disguise, Omino (Kataoka Takatar˘), hoping to meet her betrothed, Jűr˘zaemon (Nakamura Kinnosuke), one of the group. But until they know whether they will be able to have honorable deaths by ritual suicide or die by execution like common criminals, the leader of the group ďishi Kuranosuke (Matsumoto K˘shir˘) cannot allow her to meet her fiance.
  • Omatsuri: Kataoka Nizaemon as a gallant fireman boss at a festival telling a rueful tale of failure in love and showing the vigorous work songs of firefighters.
  • Ranpei Monogurui: in order to recover a treasure, Ranpei claims to go mad at the sight of a sword. But he is unmasked and the play ends with one of the most spectacular fight scenes in Kabuki including a struggle on top of a high ladder held up on the hanamichi runway. Starring Onoe Sh˘roku as Ranpei. Featuring also Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Tokiz˘ and Ichikawa Danz˘. The role of Ranpei's son Shigez˘ is played by Onoe Sh˘roku's son Onoe Sakon.
  • Su˘ Otoshi:
    (The Dropped Coat)
    This play transforms a classical Ky˘gen farce into Kabuki dance. Delivering a message for his lord, the servant Tar˘kaja (Matsumoto K˘shir˘) charms a princess and in reward for a dance showing a famous battle, he receives a formal coat and large amounts of drink. Knowing his lord is a greedy man, he tries to hide the coat on his return, but unfortunately, the sake that helped him feel so good earlier works against him.
  • Meigetsu Hachiman Matsuri:
    (The Autumn Hachiman Festival)
    Miyokichi (Nakamura Shibajaku) is a spirited geisha in the Fukagawa district with a distinguished lord as a patron and Sanji (Nakamura Kinnosuke), a good for nothing boatman, as a lover. On the occasion of the Hachiman festival, she tries to raise an enormous sum of money for Sanji, but refuses to try to get it from the patron who has been so good to her. Instead, she tries to get it from the merchant Shinsuke (Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon). Shinsuke has long been in love with Miyokichi and brings the money to make her his own, but instead, she gets the money from her patron and so, has no further interest in Shinsuke. When the ardent merchant learns that he has been deceived, love turns to anger and he kills Miyokichi in a beautiful and gruesome scene in the rain, under the full moon of the autumn festival.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Hakataza (Fukuoka)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 June 2014 (Rokugatsu Hakataza ďkabuki)
    June Hakataza Grand Kabuki

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

    Mitsu Ningy˘

    Kari no Tayori


    Onshű no Kanata-ni

    Funa Benkei

    Waki Noboru Mizu-ni Koi Taki (Koi Tsukami)


    Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Kanjaku, Kataoka Ainosuke, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Nakamura Matsue, Arashi Kitsusabur˘, Sawamura S˘nosuke, ďtani Hirotar˘


    The Hakataza, the main theater in Fukuoka, celebrates the 15th anniversary of its opening with 2 Kabuki programs. The troupe is led by Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘.

  • 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˘ (Kataoka Ainosuke) buy out the contract of the beautiful Azuma (Nakamura Kazutar˘), 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 actors Ichikawa Somegor˘ as Ch˘gor˘ and Kataoka Ainosuke as Ch˘kichi.
  • Mitsu Ningy˘:
    (The Three Dolls)
    The characters in this graceful dance are not actually dolls, but are three characters that are often depicted with dolls, a courtesan (Nakamura Kaishun), a handsome youth (Nakamura Baigyoku) and a samurai footman (Nakamura Kanjaku).
  • Kari no Tayori: an unusual play in the ďsaka acting style originally written in the 19th century by Nakamura Utaemon III. A barber (Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘) finds his feelings twisted one way and another by the events in the neighboring samurai mansion where the lord is trying to force Tsukasa (Nakamura Kazutar˘), a beautiful woman, to become his mistress. The play shows the barber's changing reactions to two letters from the beautiful woman declaring her love for him. One letter is sincere, the other is a forgery but both turn out to be dangerous traps. Featuring also Nakamura Kanjaku, Ichikawa Somegor˘ and Nakamura T˘z˘.
  • Onshű no Kanata-ni: a rare staging of a famous novel by Kikuchi Kan. A man kills a samurai and flees. He becomes a Buddhist monk, and seeing a stone cliff in Kyűshű, decides to carve a tunnel through to atone for his killing. The son of the man he killed comes to avenge his fatherĺs death, but the monk asks him to wait until the tunnel is finished. With the completion of the tunnel comes forgiveness and a capacity to go beyond the spirit of vengeance. Featuring Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kanjaku, Nakamura Kaishun and Nakamura T˘z˘.
  • Funa Benkei: although he won a war against the enemy Heike clan, the young general Yoshitsune (Nakamura Kanjaku) has gained the disfavor of his brother, the Sh˘gun, and tries to flee to Kyűshű by boat. Before he sets sail, he must say farewell to his lover Shizuka (Ichikawa Somegor˘), who performs a dance expressing her grief at their separation. Once the boat sets sail, the spirit of the great Heike general Tomomori (Ichikawa Somegor˘), killed by Yoshitsune in battle at sea, appears and attacks to take revenge for the destruction of his clan. They are only saved by the prayers of Yoshitsune's companion, the warrior-priest Benkei (Kataoka Ainosuke). The roles of both Shizuka and Tomomori are played by the same actor.
  • Koi Tsukami: a koi tsukami is a spectacular scene in a Kabuki drama, where a hero fights in real water (honmizu) the spirit of a giant carp. During the Edo period, it was developped by the Onoe clan, from Onoe Kikugor˘ I to Onoe Kikugor˘ III through Onoe Sh˘roku I. In modern times, it became the trademark of the Ichikawa Udanji line. "Waki Noboru Mizu-ni Koi Taki", a rarely-staged drama, was premiered in September 1914 at the Hong˘za of the drama "Waki Noboru Mizu-ni Koi Taki" [more details] and it used the sekai of the Priest Seigen and the Princess Sakura. Starring Kataoka Ainosuke and Nakamura Kazutar˘ in the roles of Takimado Shiganosuke (in reality the spirit of a giant carp) and Princess Kozakura.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website, except "Koi Tsukami"

    Shibuya Bunkamura Theatre Cocoon (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 6 ~ 28 June 2014

    Sannin Kichisa


    Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Onoe Matsuya, Kataoka Kamez˘, Band˘ Shingo, Nakamura Tsurumatsu, Sasano Takashi, Manako Keiji, ďmori Hiroshi, Oida Yoshi


    14th edition of the original Cocoon Kabuki performance, which recreates the atmosphere of the Edo koshibai and brings the actors closer to the audience. 4 actors are non-Kabuki actors!

  • Sannin Kichisa:
    (Three Thieves Named Kichisa)
    The late 19th century playwright Kawatake Mokuami excelled at plays about thieves and this play is considered to be one of his greatest. This month, it is a special version of this Kabuki classic staged by modern theater director Kushida Kazuyoshi with a direction in a new perspective. Three thieves, all with the name Kichisa, meet on a riverbank. Oj˘ Kichisa (Nakamura Shichinosuke) was once a Kabuki onnagata and robs in the guise of a woman. Ob˘ Kichisa (Onoe Matsuya) is a handsome young man while Osh˘ Kichisa (Nakamura Kankur˘) has more weight and stature as the head of a derelict temple. Though they start out as rivals, they decide to become blood brothers and form a gang. The three are bound by fate in many ways, with the crimes of one leading to hardship of the family of another. But the same sins and crimes also lead to rescue and salvation. The play combines dark drama with the most beautiful of poetry. In the famous scene on a riverbank Oj˘ Kichisa kills a young prostitute and then speaks in the playwrightĺs famous rhythmical speech of the moon on a hazy night and the gold coins that have fallen into his hands. Soon, these gold coins will link together the three thieves named Kichisa, and in turn, draw these three into a larger drama of crime and retribution. The play combines the playwright Kawatake Mokuami's gritty depiction of the lowest levels of society with intoxicatingly beautiful music and poetry to bring life to his vision of the cycles of sin and retribution.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 24 June 2014 (Rokugatsu Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitsu)
    June Kabuki Appreciation Class

    Jiisan Baasan


    Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Senjaku, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Nakamura Kotar˘, Nakamura Toranosuke, Nakamura Kunio


    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 of Kabuki or some aspects of the art like music, stage tricks or fighting scenes. It is followed by the drama "Jiisan Baasan".

  • Jiisan Baasan: based on a short story by Mori ďgai, this modern play by Uno Nobuo shows a loving young couple. The samurai Iori travels to Ky˘to with his lord, leaving Run, his beloved wife, behind. While there, he attacks another man in a fight over a sword and is forced into house arrest, separating him from his wife. Many years later, he returns to his home as an old man. There he meets an elderly woman and they do not recognize each other until she sees the one thing that has not changed with age, Iori's peculiar habit of putting his hand to his nose. Starring Nakamura Hashinosuke and Nakamura Senjaku as Iori and Run.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Kabuki Tour in the central provinces
    Dates 31 May ~ 27 June 2014 (Sh˘chiku ďkabuki)
    Sh˘chiku Grand Kabuki

    Taik˘ Sanbas˘


    Ippon Gatana Dohy˘ Iri


    Ichikawa Ennosuke, Ichikawa Chűsha, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa Tsukinosuke, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa K˘tar˘, Ichikawa Juen, Ichikawa Enshir˘


    Ichikawa Ennosuke IV and Ichikawa Chűsha IX celebrate their shűmei touring in the central provinces!

  • Taik˘ Sanbas˘: the sanbas˘ is an auspicious dance based on the ritual play "Okina" in the classical theater which shows an old man as a symbol of longevity and the energetic sanbas˘ as a symbol of fertility and prosperity. This version is quite different as it is set in the famous Taik˘ki sekai and the main character is the warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi. It was created by Ichikawa Ennosuke III and premiered in April 1981 at the Meijiza. With Ichikawa Ukon (Ichikawa Emisabur˘ from the 23rd of June) as the kanpaku Hideyoshi. Featuring also Ichikawa Emiya and Ichikawa Emisabur˘ (Ichikawa Emino from the 23rd of June).
  • 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 Ichikawa Ennosuke IV and Ichikawa Chűsha IX.
  • Ippon Gatana Dohy˘ Iri: this is a modern play by Hasegawa Shin and shows Komagata Mohŕ (Ichikawa Chűsha), a starving, would-be sum˘ wrestler. He encounters a courtesan Otsuta (Ichikawa Ennosuke), who gives him her purse and hair ornaments and makes him promise to become a champion sum˘ wrestler. In turn, she promises to go see him make his ceremonial entry into the ring. But ten years later, Mohŕ has become a gangster instead. Now a powerful fighter, he rescues Otsuta and her family. Ironically, this has become the only way that he can repay her kindness and the shameful form that his entry into the ring has taken.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website, except "Taik˘ Sanbas˘"

    Minamiza (Ky˘to)
    Dates 5 ~ 12 June 2014 (Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Tokubetsu K˘en)
    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Special Performances

    Chifuijin Tanj˘

    H˘rai nu Shima


    Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Tamagusuku Seigi, Kawamitsu K˘ta


    Collaboration of the highest quality between the traditional art in Okinawa which prospered uniquely as Ryűkyű Islands and Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘. He will share the stage with two young and talented Okinawa Kumi Odori dancers, Tamagusuku Seigi and Kawamitsu K˘ta.

  • Chifuijin Tanj˘:
    (The Birth of the Supreme Female Priest)
    a new production of Kumi Odori. Utuchi Tunumuigani, a younger sister of the King of Ryűkyű Sh˘shin, falls in love with Ishichi Satunushi whom she meets by chance. At that time the struggle for power arises between noro, official female priests, and yuta, private fortunetellers, in Yambaru district of Ryűkyű kingdom. And Ishichi is dispatched there. Sh˘shin appoints Utuchi as chifuijin, the top of noro, and plans to unify the kingdom. This dance shows Utuchi's fate with her lover and the historical moment when she becomes chifuijin lead by her loyalty to her brother.
  • H˘rai nu Shima:
    (H˘rai Island)
    This is an original dance getting its material from the Niraikanai legend which is passed on from ancient days in Ryűkyű, composed and directed by Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘. Niraikanai is a kind of utopia and regarded as the origin of life and everything. People believed that it is where the soul of human beings comes from and goes back to. The god of Niraikanai is performed by Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and a variety of Ryűkyűan classic dances by dancers from Okinawa are shown one after another according to the proceeding of the story.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Dates 15 ~ 21 June 2014 (Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Tokubetsu K˘en)
    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Special Performances





    Band˘ Tamasabur˘


    Three traditional Jiutamai dances by a Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ which show his attractive elegance.

  • 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.
  • Kurokami:
    (Black hair)
    A woman's heart lamenting the painfulness and loneliness of sleeping alone is expressed with deep feeling. It is impressive that a woman's feeling of love and jealousy is skillfully expressed from the contrast of black hair, the symbol for the beauty of Japanese women, and white snow, as the words say.
  • 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 performed in a restrained chamber style.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

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