MAY 2022

5 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre, Hitotsubashi Hall), 1 in Ky˘to (Minamiza), 1 in Nagoya (Misonoza), 1 in Ky˘tango (Tango Bunka Kaikan) and 1 in Saitama (RaiBoC Hall)!

  • Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Fukusuke, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Jakuemon, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Kataoka Ainosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Ichikawa Sadanji, Ichikawa Udanji and Band˘ Hikosabur˘ perform at the Kabukiza!
  • The Zenshinza troupe performs at the National Theatre!
  • Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ performs at the Tango Bunka Kaikan and at the Misonoza!
  • Young actors perform at the Minamiza!
  • Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 27 May 2022
    Dankikusai Gogatsu ďkabuki
    Dankikusai May Grand Kabuki
    1st program

    Gion Sairei Shink˘ki (Kinkakuji)

    Ayame Yukata

    2nd program

    Shibaraku

    Tsuchi-gumo

    3rd program

    Ichiharano no Danmari

    Benten Musume Meo no Shiranami

  • Hamamatsuya
  • Inasegawa Seizoroi
  • Casting

    Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Fukusuke, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Jakuemon, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Kataoka Ainosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Ichikawa Sadanji, Ichikawa Udanji, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, ďtani Tomoemon, Nakamura Kotar˘, Nakamura Baishi, Nakamura Hayato, Band˘ Minosuke, Onoe Ukon, Nakamura Matagor˘, Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Band˘ Kamez˘, Ichikawa Sai'nyű, Ichimura Kakitsu, Ichikawa Omez˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Ichikawa Kudanji, Nakamura Kangyoku, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Mantar˘, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Band˘ Shingo, Nakamura Takanosuke, ďtani Hiromatsu, Kataoka Sennosuke, Nakamura Kichinoj˘, Ichimura Kitsutar˘, Nakamura Fukunosuke, Nakamura Utanosuke, Onoe Ushinosuke, Onoe Sakon, Ichikawa Otora, Nakamura Tamatar˘, Band˘ Kamesabur˘

    Comments

    The great yearly Dankiku festival is back at the Kabukiza! No Dankiku festival in May 2020 and May 2021. This important festival for the Naritaya and Otowaya guilds commemorates 2 great stars of the Meiji era: Dan = Ichikawa Danjűr˘ IX and Kiku = Onoe Kikugor˘ V.

  • Kinkakuji: "Kinkakuji" retains the epic scale of plays adapted from the Bunraku puppet theater and is full of miracles and larger-than-life characters common on the puppet stage. It is full of the classical forms of all kinds of stylized characters and the role of Princess Yuki is considered to be one of the most difficult and beautiful roles for an onnagata female role specialist. Matsunaga Daizen (Onoe Sh˘roku) has defeated the Sh˘gun and has set up base in the Golden Pavilion. The brilliant strategist Hisayoshi, disguised as a disgruntled retainer named T˘kichi (Kataoka Ainosuke), pretends to come under Daizen's employ to try to sabotage his plans from within. Princess Yuki (Nakamura Jakuemon) is being held prisoner by Daizen, but is able to free herself by drawing a mouse in the cherry petals of the tree that she is tied to. It comes to life and chews the ropes holding her. Starring the best of the actors in their prime in a production sure to be full of fire and excitement. Featuring also Kamimura Kichiya and Nakamura Fukusuke in the roles of Kan˘nosuke Naonobu and Keijuin.
  • Ayame Yukata:
    (Cotton Kimono with a Pattern of Irises)
    It is around the time of the Boy's Festival when irises bloom. A geisha (Nakamura Kaishun), along with some young men and women, portray in dance the cool light breeze in early summer and the romance between men and women. This is a chic dance in which the performers wear a joyful, fresh costume design of irises, which illustrates playing at a river, a common feature in early summer.
  • Shibaraku:
    (Wait a Minute!)
    More ceremony than play, "Shibaraku" is one of the oldest pieces in Kabuki. Just as an evil villain is about to execute a group of loyal retainers, a voice calls out for him to wait and a hero of justice (Ichikawa Ebiz˘) appears to save the day. This play features the bombastic aragoto style of acting, which is the specialty of the Ichikawa Danjűr˘ line of actors and is part of the collection of the Eighteen Favorite Plays (Kabuki Jűhachiban) of the Ichikawa Family.
  • 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 Kikunosuke) 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 Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘ as Raik˘.
  • Ichiharano no Danmari: A danmari is a special scene in Kabuki that shows people groping in the dark for a treasure or a banner. In this play, the danmari takes place in the vast wilderness in the suburbs of Ky˘to, named Ichiharano. Hirai Yasumasa (Nakamura Baigyoku), one of the 4 strong retainers of Minamoto no Raik˘ starts playing a bamboo flute. Then Hakamadare Yasusuke (Nakamura Hayato) and Kid˘maru (Nakamura Kangyoku), bandits causing havoc in Ky˘to, appear and Yasumasa takes flight from danger by groping his way through the pitch darkness.
  • 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. Onoe Ukon stars as Benten Koz˘, with Band˘ Hikosabur˘ as Nippon Daemon, Band˘ Minosuke as Nang˘ Rikimaru, Nakamura Hayato as Tadanobu Rihei and Nakamura Yonekichi as Akaboshi Jűzabur˘. Featuring also Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘.
  • Sources: Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 14 ~ 23 May 2022
    Zenshinza Gogatsu K˘en
    Zenshinza May Performances
    Program

    Kakitsubata Iro mo Edozome (Oroku to Gantetsu)

    Casting

    Kawarazaki Kunitar˘, Fujikawa Yanosuke, Arashi Yoshisabur˘

    Comments

    Revival at the National Theatre by the Zenshinza of Tsuruya Nanboku IV's masterpiece "Kakitsubata Iro mo Edozome". It is staged to commemorate the 32nd anniversary (33rd memorial services) of the passing away of late Kawarasaki Kunitar˘ V.

  • Oroku to Gantetsu:
    (Beautiful Purple Iris in Edo)
    A drama by Tsuruya Nanboku IV about fascinating characters against the background of a bygone, decadent age. A samurai Sano Jirozaemon (Arashi Yoshisabur˘) loses a precious sword which is the heirloom of his lord and becomes masterless. He searches it to return to his lord's service. He kills the courtesan Yatsuhashi (Kawarazaki Kunitar˘) whom he believes has betrayed him; a female snake-charmer Oroku (Kawarazaki Kunitar˘) commits blackmail in league with the evil priest Gantetsu (Fujikawa Yanosuke). The word Kakitsubata in the title is associated with Yatsuhashi, a place name in Mikawa Province famous for iris and also a name of a character in this drama. Another possible reading for Kakitsubata is Tojaku, the haimy˘ of the Edo star Iwai Hanshir˘ V, who played the role of Oroku in 1815.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Tango Bunka Kaikan (Ky˘tango)
    Dates 3 ~ 4 May 2022
    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Ky˘tango Tokubetsu Buy˘ K˘en
    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Ky˘tango Special Dance Performances
    Program

    Omemie K˘j˘

    Oimatsu

    Hagoromo

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘

    Comments

    A special Buy˘ program starring the amazing Living National Treasure onnagata Band˘ Tamasabur˘ in Ky˘tango at the Tango Bunka Kaikan (Tango Culture Center).

  • K˘j˘: the close relationship between the actors and the audience is shown by stage announcements, usually lavish ceremonies to commemorate various important events. This month at the Tango Bunka Kaikan, it is a stage speech done by Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘.
  • Oimatsu: This Nagauta-based dance was created by Kineya Rokusabur˘ IV and it was derived from an earlier drama. It was written in 1820 for a concert in honor of the composer's eighty-year-old mother. Oimatsu means 'old pine' and, in Japan, the pine tree is a symbol of age and eternal freshness. Images about old trees and longevity from classical poetry and drama texts dominate much of the dance. Starring Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘.
  • Hagoromo: the legend of the angel who came to earth to bathe and then had her heavenly feathered robe stolen by a fisherman is famous in all forms of Japanese theater. This month features an elegant dance version of the story with Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ as the angel.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Minamiza (Ky˘to)
    Dates 12 ~ 18 May 2022
    Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitsu
    Kabuki Appreciation Class
    Program

    Kabuki no Iroha

    Yoshinoyama

    Casting

    Kamimura Kichitar˘, Kataoka Senju, Shigeyama Ippei

    Comments

    Young actors performing in Ky˘to at the Minamiza. The same program is staged twice a day, at 11 and at 15:30 with a different casting.

  • Kabuki no Iroha: Literally the fundamentals of Kabuki. A lively presentation on stage of Kabuki or some aspects of this art made by the ky˘genshi Shigeyama Ippei.
  • Yoshinoyama: a dance travel scene from the epic "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura". Now in exile and disgrace, Yoshitsune has left his lover Shizuka in the safekeeping of his trusted retainer Tadanobu. But she is unaware that this Tadanobu is actually a magical fox who has disguised himself to be near the treasured drum that Shizuka carries, a drum made from the skins of his fox parents. Starring Kamimura Kichitar˘ and Kataoka Senju as Tadanobu and Shizuka.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Misonoza (Nagoya)
    Dates 27 ~ 29 May 2022
    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Tokubetsu Buy˘ K˘en
    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Special Dance Performances
    Program

    K˘j˘

    Sumidagawa

    Keisei

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Nakamura Ganjir˘

    Comments

    A special Buy˘ program starring the amazing Living National Treasure onnagata Band˘ Tamasabur˘ in Nagoya at the Misonoza.

  • K˘j˘: the close relationship between the actors and the audience is shown by stage announcements, usually lavish ceremonies to commemorate various important events. This month at the Misonoza, it is a stage speech done by Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘.
  • Sumidagawa:
    (The Sumida River)
    One of the most famous musical plays in Kabuki with a deep and universal theme. A mother wanders in madness searching for her son, stolen away by a slave trader. She comes to the Sumida River and encounters a boatman who tells her a sad story about a small boy who died on the road here. Much to her shock, this is none other than her own child. Staring Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ as the mother and Nakamura Ganjir˘ as the boatman.
  • Keisei: a beautiful top-rank courtesan (keisei) with her attendants makes parade along the Nakanoch˘ Boulevard of the Yoshiwara pleasure quarter in Edo. She enters a room in the brothel and expresses her pure love for her lover in a graceful manner, though complaining that he does not come how long she waits for him. Then she expresses in dance the scenic beauty in each season and the elegant atmosphere in the pleasure quarters, and her love for him grows stronger. A scene from a seven-transformation hengemono "Nijirigaki Nanatsu Iroha", this is an old-fashioned, tasteful dance. Enjoy the cultured elegance of the top-rank courtesan in the pleasure quarters acted by Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    RaiBoC Hall (Saitama)
    Dates 10 May 2022
    Kokera Otoshi Kabuki K˘en
    Opening Ceremony Kabuki Performances
    Program

    K˘j˘

    Fuji Musume

    Renjishi

    Casting

    Nakamura Ganjir˘, Kataoka Ainosuke, Nakamura Kazutar˘

    Comments

    Kokera Otoshi Kabuki program for the RaiBoC Hall (ďmiya Civic Hall) in Saitama. The name RaiBoC comes from the words Railway, Bonsai and Cartoon.

  • K˘j˘: the close relationship between the actors and the audience is shown by stage announcements, usually lavish ceremonies to commemorate various important events. This month at the RaiBoC Hall, it is a stage speech to celebrate the opening of this hall.
  • 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 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 Ganjir˘ in the role of the parent shishi and his son Kataoka Ainosuke in the role of the cub.
  • Sources: Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Hitotsubashi Hall (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 23 ~ 24 May 2022
    Futari o Miru Kai
    Program

    Tanemaki Sanbas˘
    Suodori

    Zadankai

    Omatsuri
    Kabuki Buy˘

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ennosuke, Nakamura Kazutar˘

    Comments

    1st edition of the Futari o Miru Kai, a gala program which stars Ichikawa Ennosuke and Nakamura Kazutar˘, in T˘ky˘ at the Hitotsubashi Hall of the Japan Education Center.

  • Tanemaki Sanbas˘: based on the ritual play "Okina" in the theatre, the sanbas˘ is both an important prayer for prosperity and a vigorous dance. The sanbas˘ stamps and shakes bells as a ritual for agricultural prosperity while the Senzai is an elegant attendant to the prayers. This particular version elaborates the original ritual into a dance evoking love, marriage and the prosperity symbolized by many children. Featuring Ichikawa Ennosuke and Nakamura Kazutar˘.
  • Zadankai: Literally a "Roundtable Discussion".
  • Omatsuri: the gallant commoners of Edo's neighborhoods loved nothing better than a festival, and this performance is a dance based on one of the biggest festivals in Edo. In this dance, a geisha and a gallant fireman boss dance together. Featuring Ichikawa Ennosuke and Nakamura Kazutar˘.
  • Sources: Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

     
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