MAY 2013

6 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre, Meijiza) and 2 shows in Ky˘to (Minamiza)!

  • Onoe Kikugor˘, Kataoka Nizaemon, Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Nakamura Kichiemon, Sakata T˘jűr˘, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Kanjaku, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Fukusuke and Kataoka Hidetar˘ perform at the Kabukiza!
  • Young actors perform at the Meijiza!
  • Young actors perform at the Minamiza!
  • The Zenshinza troupe performs at the National Theatre!
  • Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 29 May 2013 (Kokera Otoshi Gogatsu ďkabuki)
    Opening Ceremony May Grand Kabuki

    Tsuru Kame

    Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami (Terakoya)

    Sannin Kichisa Tomoe no Shiranami


    Meiboku Sendai Hagi

  • Goten
  • Yukashita
  • Kuruwa Bunsh˘ (Yoshidaya)


    Kajiwara Heiz˘ Homare no Ishikiri
    (Ishikiri Kajiwara)

    Ky˘ganoko Musume Ninin D˘j˘ji


    Onoe Kikugor˘, Kataoka Nizaemon, Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Nakamura Kichiemon, Sakata T˘jűr˘, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Kanjaku, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Fukusuke, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘, Ichikawa Danz˘, Band˘ Shűch˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Nakamura T˘z˘, ďtani Keiz˘, Sawamura Yoshijir˘, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Matsue, Band˘ Kametoshi, Onoe Ukon, Sawamura S˘nosuke, Nakamura Baishi, Band˘ Minosuke, Kataoka Sennosuke, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Hayato, Nakamura Mantar˘, ďtani Hirotar˘, Nakamura Toranosuke


    Second month celebrating the opening of the new Kabukiza within a 1-year long cycle of kokera otoshi programs!

  • 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 emperor to the Moon Pavilion where two courtiers dance as the spirits of the crane and tortoise. Starring Nakamura Baigyoku as the emperor, Nakamura Kanjaku as the spirit of the crane and Nakamura Hashinosuke as the spirit of the tortoise.
  • Terakoya: Genz˘ and his wife Tonami run a small school and are protecting Kan Sh˘j˘'s son and heir, saying that he is their son. However, word has gotten out Kan Sh˘j˘'s son is there and Genz˘ has been ordered to behead him. Moreover, Matsu˘maru is to come to inspect the head. Their only alternative is to kill one of the other students as a substitute, but all of the students are farmer's children who could never pass for the son of a court aristocrat. However, a new boy arrives that day and Genz˘ makes the terrible decision to kill him in the place of his lord. As it turns out, Matsu˘maru has sent his own son to be sacrificed, because of his family's long loyalty to Kan Sh˘j˘. But he must face the most terrible situation for a father, inspecting the head of his own son and lying when he says that it is the genuine head of the son of Kan Sh˘j˘. Finally Matsu˘maru reveals his true feelings to Genz˘ and he and his wife Chiyo mourn their dead son. Starring Matsumoto K˘shir˘ as Matsu˘maru, Band˘ Mitsugor˘ as Genz˘, Nakamura Kaishun as Chiyo and Nakamura Fukusuke as Tonami. Featuring also Band˘ Hikosabur˘ as Shund˘ Genba.
  • Sannin Kichisa:
    (Three Thieves Named Kichisa)
    The playwright Kawatake Mokuami excelled at portrayals of thieves and this short scene, with its music and poetic lines, is one of his most famous. A beautiful young woman helps out a woman who is lost on the road. But she is actually Oj˘ Kichisa, a male thief who is disguised as a woman. He steals an immense sum of money that the woman is carrying and this leads to an encounter on this riverbank of three thieves, all with the name Kichisa. The two others Kichisa are Osh˘ Kichisa, a bonze turned thief, and Ob˘ Kichisa, an ex-samurai turned thief Though they start out as rivals, they decide to become blood brothers and form a gang. Featuring Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘ as Oj˘ Kichisa, Matsumoto K˘shir˘ as Osh˘ Kichisa and Kataoka Nizaemon as Ob˘ Kichisa.
  • Meiboku Sendai Hagi: this play is about the attempt to take over one of the most famous samurai households in the Edo period, the Date clan ruling Sendai, a scandal that caused a sensation in its day. After the death of the lord of the clan, his young heir is the target of villains. Masaoka (Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘), the boy's nurse is desperately afraid that he will be poisoned. She refuses to let anyone see him who might try to assassinate him and attempts to keep him safe in the women's quarters where men are forbidden. 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 Senmatsu sacrifices his life for the young lord by eating the poisoned candy, and when he is killed by the evil Yashio (Nakamura Baigyoku), Masaoka 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. As another faithful retainer Otokonosuke (Nakamura Kichiemon), stands guard underneath the room, the evil Nikki Danj˘ (Matsumoto K˘shir˘) appears as a giant rat, but then slips away, walking calmly through the clouds. Featuring also Nakamura Tokiz˘ (Okinoi), Kataoka Hidetar˘ (Sakae Gozen) and Nakamura Senjaku (Matsushima).
  • Yoshidaya: the roots of this play go back to the earliest days of Kabuki. Izaemon, the son of a wealthy family, has been disowned for loving a courtesan and now has nothing but a paper kimono. This role is a classic example of the wagoto or soft style of acting that is one of the representative acting styles of the Kansai region. Kataoka Nizaemon stars as Izaemon, a role that is a specialty of his family's Kansai acting style. Featuring Band˘ Tamasabur˘ as the courtesan ďgiya Yűgiri (Izaemon's lover), Band˘ Yajűr˘ and Kataoka Hidetar˘ as the proprietor and proprietress of the Yoshidaya teahouse and Kataoka Nizaemon's grandson Kataoka Sennosuke as a comic entertainer in the pleasure quarters.
  • Ishikiri Kajiwara: the Heike general Kajiwara (Nakamura Kichiemon) is asked to test the sharpness of a sword by slicing two live human beings in half. He deliberately makes the sword fail the test to keep the sword, a priceless heirloom belonging to the enemy Genji clan, from falling into the hands of his Taira clan. A miracle has convinced Kajiwara to change sides. Kajiwara finally demonstrates the true power of the sword by cutting a large stone basin in two. Featuring also Onoe Kikugor˘, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Karoku and Nakamura Matagor˘.
  • Ninin 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 female role specialist. Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘, whose beauty and artistic genius is renowned throughout the world, will give his definitive performance of this dance in a special double version together with young onnagata star Onoe Kikunosuke.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Meijiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 27 May 2013 (Gogatsu Hanagata Kabuki)
    May Young Actors Kabuki

    Genpei Nunobiki no Taki
    (Sanemori Monogatari)

    Yowa Nasake Ukina no Yokogushi (Kirare Yosa)

  • Misome
  • Aibiki
  • Genjidana
  • Evening

    Sh˘gun Edo o Saru

    Fuji Musume

    Waki Noboru Mizu-ni Koi Taki (Koi Tsukami)


    Nakamura Kankur˘, Kataoka Ainosuke, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Nakamura Kikaku, Matsumoto Kingo, Ichikawa Omez˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Band˘ Shinsha, Nakamura Kazutar˘, ďtani Hirotar˘


  • Sanemori Monogatari: a play about the early days of the rivalry between the Genji and Heike warrior clans. The warrior Sait˘ Bett˘ Sanemori (Nakamura Kankur˘) 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 Kataoka Kamez˘ as Senoo Jűr˘.
  • Kirare Yosa: Yosabur˘ (Ichikawa Somegor˘), the refined young son of a wealthy merchant falls in love with Otomi (Nakamura Shichinosuke) the moment he first sees her on the beach. But Otomi is the mistress of a powerful gangster, and when their relationship is discovered, the two are attacked. Yosabur˘ is cut from head to toe and the two are dumped into the sea. Otomi lives and is taken in by a rich merchant (Kataoka Ainosuke) while Yosabur˘ is now covered with scars. Yosabur˘ turns into a petty thief and extortionist but one day, finds that the woman he is about to blackmail is none other than Otomi, alive and well.
  • Sh˘gun Edo o Saru:
    (The Sh˘gun's Surrender)
    This modern play by Mayama Seika is part of a trilogy about the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate. The shogunate official Yamaoka Tetsutar˘ (Nakamura Kankur˘) has already pleaded successfully to the imperial forces for the life of the Sh˘gun in return for his surrender. But the Sh˘gun Tokugawa Yoshinobu (Ichikawa Somegor˘) begins to reconsider and now Yamaoka must plead with the Sh˘gun to surrender without a struggle as he promised or he will run the risk of having the entire country fall into civil war. Featuring also Kataoka Ainosuke as Takahashi Ise-no-Kami.
  • 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 Nakamura Shichinosuke.
  • 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

    Minamiza (Ky˘to)
    Dates 3 ~ 27 May 2013 (Gogatsu Hanagata Kabuki)
    May Young Actors Kabuki


    Tachi Nusubito



    Haji Momiji Ase no Kaomise (Date no Jűyaku)


    Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichikawa Unosuke, Ichimura Kakitsu, Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa Juen, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Onoe Matsuya, Band˘ Shingo


    The highlights of these performances by a troupe led by Ichikawa Ebiz˘ are "Kamahige", an important drama for the Ichikawa Ennosuke line of actors, and "Date no Jűyaku" which was revived in 1979 by Ichikawa Ennosuke III:

  • 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 tengu 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.
  • Tachi Nusubito: the farces of the classical Ky˘gen theater have universal appeal, showing the relationships of masters and servants and husbands and wives. In this particular dance play, a farmer named Manbŕ (Band˘ Kamesabur˘) carries a precious sword, which is made of gold. The thief Kurobŕ (Onoe Matsuya) quietly removes the sword from Manbŕ in a crowd. When Manbŕ finds his sword missing and notices Kurobŕ wearing it, a loud dispute ensues. Manbŕ and Kurobŕ must both explain who owns the sword, first in words, then in dance to a magistrate (Kataoka Ichiz˘), who must try to figure out who tells the truth.
  • Kamahige:
    (Shaving a Beard with a Sickle)
    This is one of the leisurely, fanciful plays from the "Eighteen Favorite Plays" of the Ichikawa Danjűr˘ Family. A larger-than-life villain is disguised as a humble pilgrim. He asks a servant at the inn where he stays to give him a shave, but the servant is actually a great hero and offers to cut his beard with an outsize sickle, in fact looking for an opportunity to cut his head off. The play ends with a spectacular stage fight. Starring Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and Ichikawa Sadanji.
  • Date no Jűyaku: One of the most famous plays in Kabuki is "Meiboku Sendai Hagi", the story of the fabulously wealthy Date clan in Sendai and plots to take over the clan. In the early 19th century, this play was rewritten so that one actor could play all the roles, switching from one to another with fast changes. The script for this particular version was lost, but some twenty years ago, Ichikawa Ennosuke had a new version prepared and this has since become a classic of Ennosuke's style of Kabuki. Ichikawa Ebiz˘ plays ten roles, male and female, young and old, villain and hero.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 10 ~ 22 May 2013 (Zenshinza Gogatsu K˘en)
    Zenshinza May Performances

    Genroku Chűshingura
    (Ohama Goten Tsunatoyo-ky˘)

    Ippon Gatana Dohy˘ Iri


    Nakamura Umenosuke, Arashi Keishi, Kawarasaki Kunitar˘, Fujikawa Yanosuke, Arashi Yoshisabur˘, Yamazaki Tatsusabur˘


    The usual Zenshinza May program at the National Theatre!

  • Ohama Goten: there are few plays more popular in Kabuki than "Chűshingura" or the Treasury of the Forty-Seven Loyal Retainers. In the modern period, this play was reworked by Mayama Seika as "Genroku Chűshingura", a play focusing on different incidents and different characters in this revenge classic adding historical details reflecting the Genroku period. One of the most popular parts of this play shows the man that will be the next Sh˘gun, seemingly detached from the vendetta, but in fact, intensely interested in the progress of the quest of the band of loyal retainers. Starring Arashi Keishi as Lord Tsunatoyo and Arashi Yoshisabur˘ as Tominomori Sukeĺemon. With Kawarasaki Kunitar˘ as Okiyo, Nakamura Umenosuke as the guard Jinnai and Yamazaki Tatsusabur˘ as Ejima.
  • Ippon Gatana Dohy˘ Iri: this is a modern play by Hasegawa Shin and shows Komagata Mohŕ (Fujikawa Yanosuke), a starving, would-be sum˘ wrestler. He encounters a courtesan Otsuta (Kawarasaki Kunitar˘), 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

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