MAY 2023

7 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre, Meijiza, Nihonbashi K˘kaid˘), 2 in Himeji (Heisei Nakamuraza) and 1 in Ky˘to (Minamiza)!

  • Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Living National Treasure Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Jakuemon, Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Band˘ Minosuke, Onoe Matsuya, Ichikawa Udanji, Nakamura Kotar˘, Nakamura Baishi, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Ichikawa Danz˘, Band˘ Rakuzen, Nakamura Karoku and Nakamura Matagor˘ perform at the Kabukiza!
  • Ichikawa Ennosuke and his troupe perform at the Meijiza!
  • Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Senjaku and Kataoka Kamez˘ perform at the Heisei Nakamuraza!
  • The Zenshinza troupe performs at the National Theatre!
  • Young actors perform at the Minamiza!
  • Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 27 May 2023
    Dankikusai Gogatsu ďkabuki
    Dankikusai May Grand Kabuki

    Kotobuki Soga no Taimen

    Wakaki Hi no Nobunaga

    Oto-ni Kiku Makoto no Wakamusha


    Miyajima no Danmari


    Tsuyu Kosode Mukashi Hachij˘ (Kamiyui Shinza)


    Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Living National Treasure Nakamura Baigyoku, Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘, Onoe Maholo, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Jakuemon, Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Band˘ Minosuke, Onoe Matsuya, Onoe Ukon, Ichikawa Udanji, Nakamura Kotar˘, Nakamura Baishi, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Ichikawa Danz˘, Band˘ Rakuzen, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Band˘ Kamez˘, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichikawa Sai'nyű, Ichimura Kakitsu, ďtani Tomoemon, Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, ďtani Keiz˘, Ichikawa Omez˘, Ichikawa Kudanji, Nakamura Matsue, Band˘ Shingo, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Kangyoku, Nakamura Mantar˘, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Nakamura Takanosuke, ďtani Hirotar˘, ďtani Hiromatsu, Onoe Sakon, Nakamura Tamatar˘, Nakamura Kichinoj˘, Nakamura Kamenoj˘, Ichimura Kitsutar˘


    The great yearly Dankiku festival is back at the Kabukiza! 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. "Wakaki Hi no Nobunaga" is staged to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the passing away of Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XII. "Oto-ni Kiku Makoto no Wakamusha" is staged for the hatsubutai of Onoe Maholo.

  • Soga no Taimen: this is one of the oldest and most classical of all Kabuki plays. In the Edo period, every January, plays appeared about the vendetta carried out by the Soga brothers Jűr˘ and Gor˘ after eighteen years of hardship. In "Soga no Taimen" the brothers confront Kud˘ Suketsune, the man responsible for their father's death. More ceremony than play, it features each of the important Kabuki character types, including the bombastic aragoto style of Gor˘ and the soft wagoto style of Jűr˘. This month features a cast headed by Living National Treasure Nakamura Baigyoku as Kud˘ and some of the most popular young stars in Kabuki with Onoe Matsuya as Gor˘ and Onoe Ukon as Jűr˘. Featuring Band˘ Minosuke, Band˘ Shingo, Nakamura Kaishun and ďtani Tomoemon as Kobayashi no Asahina, the courtesan Kewaizaka no Sh˘sh˘ (Gor˘'s lover), the courtesan ďiso no Tora (Jűr˘'s lover) and Oni˘ Shinzaemon (Jűr˘'s retainer).
  • Wakaki Hi no Nobunaga:
    (The Young Nobunaga)
    This classic of post-war Kabuki drama was written especially for Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XI by the popular novelist Osaragi Jir˘. The play shows Oda Nobunaga (Ichikawa Danjűr˘) as a youth, before becoming the callous, hardened warrior that conquered Japan. Pressures from within and without force Nobunaga to act aloof of political affairs. His true intentions are hidden from even his closest friends, but his deception leads to the death of his advisor, Hirate (Living National Treasure Nakamura Baigyoku). Featuring also Ichikawa Udanji, Nakamura Kotar˘, Ichikawa Sai'nyű, Kataoka Ichiz˘ and Ichimura Kakitsu.
  • Oto-ni Kiku Makoto no Wakamusha: This play, staged to celebrate of the hatsubutai of Onoe Maholo, is based on the legend of the hero Iwami Jűtar˘ who slayed a baboon and a giant serpent. Onoe Maholo plays the role of Iwami Jűtar˘. He performs a lovely dance dressed as a girl in the first half, and performs a stylized fight scene with a baboon in the latter half. Top-ranking actors like his grandfather Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Ichikawa Danz˘ and Band˘ Rakuzen, perform with him to celebrate his stage debut.
  • Miyajima no Danmari: the beautiful courtesan Ukifune (Nakamura Jakuemon) appears at Itsukushima Shrine, but she is actually the famous and daring thief Kesatar˘ coming to steal the treasures of the shrine. Other famous characters from the Heike clan, closely associated with the shrine, appear, and there is a dreamy fight in the dark. This play is especially famous for the odd way in which Ukifune mixes both masculine and feminine movements. Featuring also Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘ and Onoe Ukon.
  • Dattan: this is an evocative dance, that takes its name from a Buddhist rite held every March at T˘daiji Temple in Nara. The story is about a monk yearning for a woman he left behind. Featuring Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Baishi and Band˘ Kamez˘.
  • Kamiyui Shinza: Shinza is a barber that goes from door to door, but at the same time, he is a villain that kidnaps Okuma, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy household, and even resists the efforts of Yatagor˘ Genshichi, the most prestigious strongman in town, to get her release. Starring Onoe Kikunosuke as Shinza, Nakamura Kotar˘ as Okuma, Nakamura Mantar˘ as Chűshichi and Band˘ Hikosabur˘ as Yatagor˘ Genshichi. Featuring also Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘ and Ichimura Manjir˘.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Meijiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 28 May 2023
    Ichikawa Ennosuke Funt˘ K˘en
    Ichikawa Ennosuke's Struggle Performances

    Fushich˘ yo Hat˘ o Koete


    Gohiiki Tsunagi Uma


    Ichikawa Ennosuke, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Chűsha, Nakamura Hayato, Nakamura Yonekichi, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa Juen, Ichikawa Seiko, Nakamura Fukunosuke, Nakamura Utanosuke, Ichikawa Danko, Ichikawa Otora, Ishibashi Sh˘ji, Shimomura Ao, Kashima Noritoshi


    The Omodakaya guild strikes T˘ky˘ in full force and full regalia this month at the Meijiza, which celebrates its 150th anniversary! Ueda Shinji's drama "Fushich˘ yo Hat˘ o Koete", premiered in February 1979 in ďsaka at the Umeda Koma Gekij˘, will be revived for the first time in 44 years! Tsuruya Nanboku IV's spectacular 1813 kaomise drama "Gohiiki Tsunagi Uma", which was revived by Ichikawa Ennosuke III in April 1984 at the Meijiza, will also be staged.

    Heisei Nakamuraza (Himeji)
    Dates 1 ~ 26 November 2019

    Banshű Sarayashiki

    Iwashi Uri Koi no Hikiami


    B˘ Shibari

    Tenshu Monogatari


    Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Kamez˘, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Tsurumatsu, Nakamura Toranosuke


    The Heisei Nakamuraza is in Himeji. The temporary koshibai look-alike theater is built in the precincts of the Himeji Castle. Interesting to note that the stories of "Banshű Sarayashiki" and "Tenshu Monogatari" are set within this castle.

  • Banshű Sarayashiki: this is a Kabuki dramatization of a famous ghost story. Okiku, a lady-in-waiting in a samurai mansion breaks one of a set of ten precious plates and is executed for her mistake. Her ghost then appears nightly, counting out the plates, this time desperately hoping that she will find ten plates. Starring Nakamura Toranosuke, Nakamura Hashinosuke and Kataoka Kamez˘ in the roles of Okiku, the cruel Asayama Tetsuzan and Tetsuzan's retainer Iwabuchi Chűta.
  • Iwashi Uri:
    (The Princess and the Sardine Seller)
    A modern play by novelist Mishima Yukio, this recreates the leisurely, comic atmosphere of early 18th century Kabuki. A sardine seller famous for his vigorous chanting falls in love with a beautiful courtesan and disguises himself as a wealthy patron, only to discover that she is actually a princess that ran away from her family after falling in love with the call of a sardine seller. Starring Nakamura Kankur˘ as the sardine seller and Nakamura Shichinosuke as the princess.
  • B˘ Shibari:
    (Tied to a Pole)
    A dance play based on a classical Ky˘gen farce. A master (Nakamura Senjaku) is irritated that his two servants always drink his wine while he is out. He plots with his servant Tar˘kaja (Nakamura Hashinosuke) to trick the other servant Jir˘kaja (Nakamura Kankur˘) into demonstrating his skill at stick fighting, tying him to the stick. The master then ties up Tar˘kaja as well. But he is outsmarted when the two still manage to drink his wine while tied up. Their happy singing and dancing while tied up is a dazzling display of virtuoso dancing and star two of the finest young dancers in Kabuki.
  • Tenshu Monogatari: Izumi Ky˘ka's "Tenshu Monogatari" creates the romantic and fantastic atmosphere for which the playwright is famous. Princess Tomi (Nakamura Shichinosuke), a mysterious immortal spirit in Himeji Castle, lives in an elegant feminine world of her own at the top of the castle tower. But an encounter with the handsome young warrior Zushonosuke (Nakamura Toranosuke) brings her into the world of human beings and she is moved to sacrifice all to help him. Featuring also Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Kankur˘ and Kataoka Kamez˘.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 9 ~ 17 May 2023
    Zenshinza Gogatsu K˘en
    Zenshinza May Performances

    Shin Sarayashiki Tsuki no Amagasa
    (Sakanaya S˘gor˘)

    Kaze Kaoru Hayabusa no Nigiwai


    Kawarazaki Kunitar˘, Fujikawa Yanosuke, Yamazaki Tatsusabur˘, Nakajima K˘tar˘, Hayase Einoj˘, Matsuura Kainosuke, Arashi Ichitar˘, Kamitaki Keitar˘, Tamaura Yűnosuke


    The usual Zenshinza May program at the National Theatre!

    Minamiza (Ky˘to)
    Dates 12 ~ 21 May 2023
    Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitsu
    Kabuki Appreciation Class

    Kabuki no K˘shaku

    Imoseyama Onna Teikin
    (Negai no Ito Enishi no Odamaki)


    Kamimura Kichitar˘, Kataoka Rikiya, Kataoka Senjir˘


    Young actors performing in Ky˘to at the Minamiza.

  • Kabuki no K˘shaku: A lecture about Kabuki made by the Kamigata k˘dan storyteller Kyokud˘ Nanryű.
  • Negai no Ito Enishi no Odamaki: "Imoseyama Onna Teikin", is a masterpiece by Chikamatsu Hanji (1725~1783) first presented in 1771 in the puppet theater. It is an epic taken from early Japanese history, weaving together history, legend and myth. The country chafes under the domination of the dictator Iruka. The dance-drama from this epic classic show love and jealousy in a realm ruled by an evil dictator. Motome (Kataoka Senjir˘), the son of an important aristocrat opposed to the rule of the dictator Soga no Iruka is secretly planning to kill him. Having disguised himself as a commoner, he has had nightly trysts with a mysterious woman, an elegant princess (Kataoka Rikiya). He has attached a string to her kimono to follow her and discover her identity. But Motome is followed as well by Omiwa (Kamimura Kichitar˘), the beautiful daughter of a humble sake shop owner who has fallen in love with him during his time living undercover as a humble maker of court caps.
  • Sources: Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Nihonbashi K˘kaid˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 1 May 2023 (Hakuenkai)
    Hakuen Gala


    Mizu no Hentai


    Fuji Musume


    Nakamura Tamatar˘


    1st edition of the gala for young actor Nakamura Tamatar˘, who will perform in the dances "Sanbas˘" and "Fuji Musume". "Mizu no Hentai" and "Shakky˘" will be musical performances only.

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