MARCH 2011

3 shows in T˘ky˘ (Shinbashi Enbuj˘, National Theatre), 1 in Kosaka (K˘rakukan), 1 in Nagoya (Misonoza), 2 in Fukuoka (Hakataza) and 1 show in Ky˘to (Minamiza)!

  • Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Kichiemon, Onoe Kikugor˘, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Shibajaku, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Baigyoku and Nakamura Fukusuke perform at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘!
  • Kataoka Nizaemon performs at the National Theatre!
  • Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Senjaku and Band˘ Yajűr˘ perform at the Hakataza
  • The Omodakaya guild performs at the Minamiza!
  • Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 March 2011 (Sangatsu ďkabuki)
    March Grand Kabuki

    Onshű no Kanata-ni

    Meiboku Sendai Hagi

  • Goten
  • Yukashita
  • Soga Moy˘ Tateshi no Goshozome
    (Gosho no Goroz˘)



    Suitengű Megumi no Fukagawa (Fudeya K˘bŕ)

    Yoshiwara Suzume


    Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Kichiemon, Onoe Kikugor˘, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Shibajaku, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Fukusuke, Nakamura T˘z˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Matsue, Nakamura Tamatar˘


    The 10th anniversary of the passing away of Nakamura Utaemon VI is commemorated at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ with the staging of both "Goten" and "Yoshiwara Suzume":

  • 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 Onoe Kikunosuke, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Onoe Sh˘roku and Nakamura Karoku.
  • 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 (Nakamura Kaishun), 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 Kash˘), 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 Fukusuke (Okinoi) and Nakamura Shikan (Sakae Gozen).
  • Gosho no Goroz˘: a portrait of the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters at the height of its splendor. Rival gangs dressed in the height of fashion exchange stately speeches before fighting in the elaborate poetic cadences of Kawatake Mokuami, the last great playwright of Kabuki. Goroz˘ is the handsome leader of a gang, but his lover, the top courtesan Satsuki pretends to reject him to save his life. Tragedy strikes when Goroz˘ is driven to revenge. Starring Onoe Kikugor˘ as Goroz˘, Nakamura Kichiemon as his rival in love, Nakamura Fukusuke as Goroz˘'s lover, the courtesan Satsuki and Onoe Kikunosuke as ďshű, a courtesan who is tragically killed.
  • Ukifune: sixty years ago, as Japan was struggling to rebuild from the ashes of World War II, the lights came back to the Kabuki world with a lavish modern production of the tenth-century romance, "The Tale of Genji". This month, there will be a staging of the famous final section of the novel, the ten chapters set in the village of Uji that shows the story of the second generation of the main characters and the tragedy of the woman Ukifune who, much to her misfortune, is desired by the most handsome and powerful young men of the land. Starring Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Kichiemon and Ichikawa Somegor˘ in the roles of Ukifune, Niou-no-Miya and Kaoru. Featuring also Onoe Kikugor˘ and Nakamura Shibajaku.
  • Fudeya K˘bŕ: first performed in 1885, this play by Kawatake Mokuami shows the disruptions in society caused by the Meiji Restoration. In the Edo period, the samurai were on top of society, but in the new Meiji world, a samurai unable to find a new way of becoming a success got left behind. This play stars Matsumoto K˘shir˘ as a former samurai named K˘bŕ, who makes a meager living making writing brushes. Since his wife has died, he must raise his three children by himself, but his oldest daughter is blind and the youngest boy is a baby. K˘bŕ is helped by a generous woman named Omura (Nakamura Kaishun), but everything that he has is taken by a moneylender and he decides that he and his family have no choice but to commit suicide. Suddenly, there is the sound of merry music from a party at the house of a rich man next door and something in K˘bŕ snaps. He starts to dance madly around, doing the dance from the theatre of the ghost of Tomomori with a ragged broom in place of a magnificent halbard. This scene is the highlight of the play and is a virtuoso test of the actor's skills.
  • Yoshiwara Suzume: in this dance, a husband and wife come to the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters to sell caged sparrows for a ceremony to gain Buddhist merit by releasing living things. Caged sparrows were also images for the courtesans of the pleasure quarters, and the two dance a romantic meeting between a courtesan and her lover, showing the lively and erotic atmosphere of the pleasure quarters. Starring Nakamura Baigyoku and Nakamura Fukusuke as the husband and wife.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 5 ~ 27 March 2011

    Ehon Gapp˘-ga-Tsuji


    Kataoka Nizaemon


    Revival at the National Theatre of Tsuruya Nanboku IV's masterpiece "Ehon Gapp˘-ga-Tsuji".

  • Ehon Gapp˘-ga-Tsuji: in March at the National Theatre, there will be a rare full-length performance of a revenge classic by Tsuruya Nanboku IV (1755~1829). First performed in 1810, "Ehon Gapp˘-ga-Tsuji" was a dramatization of a popular novel of the time about a revenge at Gapp˘-ga-Tsuji. Nanboku used his intimate knowledge of the top stars of the time and the talented up and coming stars to create this play, full of exciting action and sardonic humor. The heart of the play was Matsumoto K˘shir˘ V, the most famous actor of villain roles, lean, with a craggy, sinister face, in a double role, Daigakunosuke, a samurai who is trying to take over his clan, has stolen the clan treasures and killed everyone who has gotten in his way and Tateba no Taheiji, a villain from the bottom of society who plots together with Daigakunosuke. Instead of a revenge play as the triumph of good over evil, this play shows the exuberant rampage of the villains until finally, they are defeated at a terrible cost to the heroes. This revival stars Kataoka Nizaemon, one of the top Kansai actors of today in the double role of Daigakunosuke and Tateba no Taheiji. Kataoka Nizaemon strongly resembles Matsumoto K˘shir˘ V physically and in mood and will be the perfect actor to bring this powerful side of kabuki back to life.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    As a consequence of the 2011 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake Disaster, this program was stopped from the 15th of March!

    Hakataza (Fukuoka)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 March 2011 (Baiju Hakataza ďkabuki)

    Iso Ijinkan

    Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura (Yoshinoyama)

    Heike Nyogo no Shima (Shunkan)


    B˘ Shibari

    Natsu Matsuri Naniwa Kagami

  • Otai Jaya
  • Sumiyoshi Torii Mae
  • Tsuribune Sabu Uchi
  • Nagamachi Ura
  • Tajima-ch˘/Yane Ue
  • Casting

    Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Senjaku, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Sasano Takashi, Ichikawa En'ya, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Kantar˘, Band˘ Shingo


    A special program at the Hakataza, commemorating the opening in March 2011 of a 130 km "Shinkansen" bullet train segment between Fukuoka and Yatsushiro, linking the Kyűshű Shinkansen with the San'y˘ Shinkansen.

  • Iso Ijinkan:
    (The Foreign Settlement in Satsuma)
    This is a new play written and published in 1969 as part of a competition for plays commemorating the Meiji Restoration. The play shows events during the turbulent final years of the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate and the establishment of the new Meiji state and shows the tragedy of glass craftsman Okano Seinosuke (Nakamura Kantar˘) and his family as they are caught in the changes of attitude of their Satsuma clan toward the West. At first the clan is violently anti-foreign and starts a war with England that leaves Seinosuke horribly disfigured when he tries to defend the glass factory from the foreigners. But then the clan decides that it needs the technology of the West and invites the foreigners in. Finally Seinosuke loses everything, including the beautiful Ruri (Nakamura Shichinosuke), the daughter of the king of the Ryűkyű Islands, who has been brought up in Kagoshima as a hostage. Also featuring Kataoka Kamez˘, Sasano Takashi, Ichikawa En'ya, Onoe Matsuya and Band˘ Shingo.
  • 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 Nakamura Hashinosuke as Tadanobu, with Nakamura Senjaku as Shizuka. Featuring also Kataoka Kamez˘ as Hayami no T˘ta.
  • Shunkan: the priest Shunkan (Nakamura Hashinosuke, replacing his brother-in-law Nakamura Kanzabur˘ who is on sick leave) 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 Nakamura Kantar˘ as the merciful envoy Tanzaemon. With Nakamura Shichinosuke as the island girl Chidori and Onoe Matsuya as Naritsune, Shunkan's fellow exile who has fallen in love with her.
  • B˘ Shibari:
    (Tied to a Pole)
    A dance play based on a classical Ky˘gen farce. A master (Kataoka Kamez˘) is irritated that his two servants always drink his wine while he is out. He plots with his servant Tar˘kaja (Nakamura Shichinosuke) to trick the other servant Jir˘kaja (Ichikawa En'ya) 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.
  • Natsu Matsuri: this grisly murder story became a smashing hit when it was first performed in 1745 because of the chivalrous spirit of the many ďsaka characters appearing in this story, the contrast between a brutal murder and the jovial mood of a summer festival, and the splashing of real water used on the stage. Danshichi, a gallant fishmonger, does everything he can to protect the weak young son of his patron with the help of his companion Tokubŕ and the older Sabu. Although even Tokubŕ's wife Otatsu heroically helps out, in the end, Danshichi is betrayed by his evil father-in-law Giheiji and, in the most famous scene of the play, must kill him in a mud-covered fight in a lonely alley with the shouts of the local festival nearby. This program stars Nakamura Kantar˘ as Danshichi (replacing his father Nakamura Kanzabur˘, who is on sick leave), with Nakamura Hashinosuke and Band˘ Yajűr˘ as Tokubŕ and Sabu. Featuring also Nakamura Shichinosuke as Tokubŕ's wife Otatsu.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Minamiza (Ky˘to)
    Dates 3 ~ 27 March 2011 (Sangatsu Hanagata Kabuki)
    March Young Actors Kabuki

    Hitori Tabi Gojűsan Tsugi


    Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa Danjir˘, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Shun'en, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa Juen


    Revival at the Minamiza of the spectacular drama "Hitori Tabi Gojűsan Tsugi", which belongs to the Ennosuke Jűhachiban collection of plays. Ichikawa Ukon plays 15 roles in a drama full of keren and hayagawari:

  • Hitori Tabi Gojűsan Tsugi:
    (Traveling Alone to the Fifty-three Stations)
    "Hitori Tabi Gojűsan Tsugi" was first performed in 1827, and was written by the famous playwright Tsuruya Nanboku IV (1755 - 1829). It built on the popular explosion of fascination of travel on this highway seen in the bestselling comic novel "Hizakurige" ("Shanks Mare") about the adventures of Yaji and Kita on the road and lavish series of multi-colored woodblock prints showing all fifty-three stations along the highway. But in addition to the expected travel scenes and comedy of Yaji and Kita, audiences also got a spectacular series of scenes scary, sexy and comic reworking all Nanboku's favorite themes including a monstrous cat. Ichikawa Ennosuke long specialized in reviving Nanbokuĺs plays, each production including Ennosukeĺs trademark fast-changes and flight through the air. March at Minamiza features the young actors of Ennosukeĺs troupe headed by Ichikawa Ukon in a full-length performance of this exciting and entertaining spectacle.
  • Source: Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Tour
    Dates 26 ~ 29 March 2011 (Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Tokubetsu Buy˘ K˘en)
    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Special Dance Performances


    Aoi no Ue



    Band˘ Tamasabur˘


    A short Buy˘ tour, starring Band˘ Tamasabur˘ in 3 of his favorite dances. He performs from the 26th to the 27th of March 2011 in Kosaka (Akita prefecture), at the K˘rakukan, the oldest operating traditional Kabuki theatre in Japan (which celebrates its 100th anniversary with these performances). He also performs in Nagoya at the Misonoza the 29th of March 2011.

    As a consequence of the 2011 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake Disaster, the shows at the K˘rakukan were canceled!

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