MARCH 2012

5 shows in T˘ky˘ (Shinbashi Enbuj˘, National Theatre, Heisei Nakamuraza) and 2 shows in Ky˘to (Minamiza)!

  • Onoe Kikugor˘, Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Fukusuke, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Ichikawa Somegor˘ and Ichikawa Danz˘ perform at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘!
  • Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Kaishun, Band˘ Yajűr˘ and Nakamura T˘z˘ perform at the National Theatre!
  • Nakamura Kanzabur˘, Kataoka Nizaemon, Kataoka Gat˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Kankur˘, Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke perform at the Heisei Nakamuraza!
  • Nakamura Kichiemon, Nakamura Kanjaku, the new Nakamura Matagor˘, the new Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Shibajaku, Kataoka Ainosuke and Nakamura Kinnosuke perform at the Minamiza!
  • Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 March 2012 (Sangatsu ďkabuki)
    March Grand Kabuki

    Arakawa no Sakichi
    Edoe Ry˘goku Hakkei

    Kanadehon Chűshingura
    (Yamashina Kankyo)


    Sakura Giminden


    Kosan Kingor˘


    Onoe Kikugor˘, Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Fukusuke, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Ichikawa Danz˘, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, ďtani Tomoemon, Matsumoto Kingo, Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Nakamura Utae, Nakamura Kikaku, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Band˘ Kametoshi, Nakamura Matsue, Onoe Matsuya, Sawamura S˘nosuke, Onoe Ukon, Nakamura Baishi, Matsumoto Kintar˘, ďtani Hirotar˘, ďtani Hiromatsu, Nakamura Mantar˘


  • Arakawa no Sakichi: a modern classic by Mayama Seika, this play set in the late Edo period combines tears and laughter as it focuses on a gang member caught between the bitter territorial battles of the people around him, and his fierce determination to raise his child. Starring Ichikawa Somegor˘ and Matsumoto K˘shir˘ in the roles of Arakawa no Sakichi and Sagamiya Masagor˘. Featuring also Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Fukusuke, Ichikawa Komaz˘ and Nakamura Kikaku.
  • Yamashina Kankyo: this is an act of the epic play based on a sensational incident in the early 17th century. Lord En'ya Hangan's attack on the senior official K˘ no Moron˘ affected people even outside his own household. When Honz˘, the senior retainer of another lord, stopped En'ya from killing Moron˘, he thought that he was doing a good thing. But his actions earned him the scorn of Enya's retainers and brought personal tragedy to his daughter who was engaged to Rikiya, the son of Yuranosuke, En'ya's head retainer. The scene shows the tragedy as it affects Honz˘'s wife and daughter and how ultimately Honz˘ sacrifices his life to atone for his misjudgement. Starring Matsumoto K˘shir˘ as Honz˘, Sakata T˘jűr˘ as his wife Tonase and Nakamura Fukusuke as his daughter Konami, with Onoe Kikugor˘ as Yuranosuke, Nakamura Tokiz˘ as Yuranosuke's wife ďboshi and Ichikawa Somegor˘ as Yuranosuke's son Rikiya.
  • Sakura Giminden: this play is rare among classics in having a political theme. It depicts a country landlord Kiuchi S˘g˘ (Matsumoto K˘shir˘) who cannot stand the suffering of the farmers around him. A series of bad harvests has made things very hard, but corrupt officials refuse to lower taxes or relent in any way. Finally, S˘g˘ decides to bring the case directly to the Sh˘gun, a move punishable by death. The play shows S˘g˘ as he persuades the old keeper of the river crossing (Ichikawa Sadanji) to let him pass and says a final farewell to his wife Osan (Nakamura Fukusuke) and children. Meanwhile, he is watched by a villainous informer, Maboroshi no Ch˘kichi (Nakamura Baigyoku). Finally, S˘g˘ brings his case directly to the Sh˘gun (Ichikawa Somegor˘), knowing that whether he is successful or not, he will be executed.
  • T˘zum˘:
    (Chinese sum˘)
    This is a rare Kabuki version of one of the most unusual plays in the repertory of plays from the classical Ky˘gen comical theatre. A sum˘ wrestler in China wishes to return home and has to sum˘ wrestle first. One by one he confronts a series of Chinese opponents, finally wrestling the emperor himself. Featuring Onoe Kikugor˘, Ichikawa Danz˘ and Ichikawa Sadanji.
  • Kosan Kingor˘: this is a rare revival of a play about the actor Kanaya Kingor˘ from the early Edo period who became famous for his love affair with the courtesan Kosan. Their story inspired all sorts of plays. In this particular one, Kingor˘ (Nakamura Baigyoku) is a barber and Kosan (Nakamura Tokiz˘) is a courtesan. They do not know each other, but get involved in helping a loving couple to be united by struggling to get a precious tea caddy which has been pawned for fifty gold coins. When they are successful, they gradually learn that they encountered each other five years before on a boat, fell in love, but parted without knowing the other's identity. Kingor˘ and Kosan are happily united. Featuring also Kataoka Hidetar˘ in the role of Otsuru.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 27 March 2012

    Ichi-no-Tani Futaba Gunki

  • Horikawa Gosho
  • Nagashi no Eda
  • Kumagai Jin'ya
  • Casting

    Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Kaishun, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Nakamura T˘z˘, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichimura Kakitsu, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Band˘ Shűch˘, Band˘ Minosuke


  • Ichi-no-Tani Futaba Gunki:
    (Chronicle of the Battle of Ichi-no-Tani)
    Namiki S˘suke (1695~1751) is famous as one of the three playwrights that wrote the classic "Sugawara and the Secrets of Calligraphy", "Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees" and "The Treasury of Loyal Retainers" for the puppet theatre. His final play, "Ichi-no-Tani Futaba Gunki", first performed in 1751 is known for its scene at Kumagaiĺs battle camp and is a great masterpiece that is performed frequently in Bunraku and Kabuki. The National Theatre continues its celebration of its 45th anniversary with a definitive production of this classic scene as well as a revival of two acts that have not been performed in Kabuki in many years. In the scene at the Horikawa Palace (last performed 98 years ago), the Heike clan has fled Ky˘to and the Genji general Yoshitsune (Band˘ Mitsugor˘) must recover the three imperial regalia. He plans to do so by showing mercy to the imperial court and the Heike clan. Yoshitsune gives a veiled order to the warrior Kumagai (Ichikawa Danjűr˘) to spare the life of the young Heike general Atsumori because he is actually the son of the retired emperor. He also tries to see that the Heike warrior Tadanori (Ichikawa Danjűr˘) gets his final wish to have a poem included in an imperial anthology, even though it must be labeled ôpoet unknownö because the Heike clan has now been designated enemies of the imperial court. Yoshitsune sends Okabe no Rokuyata (Band˘ Mitsugor˘) to take this message to Tadanori. The "Nagashi no Eda" (Flowing Branch) scene was last performed in Kabuki in 1975 and continues the story of Tadanori, a famous historical figure who was a model of a warrior and a poet and is the subject of a famous classical play. In this scene, Tadanori encounters Okabe no Rokuyata who eventually killed Tadanori in battle. The scene combines foreshadowing of Tadanoriĺs actual death with his romance with the daughter of the poet Shunzei and develops the theme of magnanimity and severity in wartime. Finally, the famous scene at Kumagaiĺs battle camp shows the anguish of Kumagai as he finds that the only way he can save the life of Atsumori is by sacrificing his own son. Featuring also Nakamura T˘z˘ and Nakamura Kaishun in the roles of Atsumori's mother Fuji-no-Kata and Kumagai's wife Sagami. Featuring also Band˘ Yajűr˘ in the roles of Midaroku and Tagohei.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Heisei Nakamuraza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 27 March 2012 (Sangatsu ďkabuki)
    March Grand Kabuki


    Kiichi H˘gen Sanryaku no Maki
    (Ichij˘ ďkura Monogatari)

    Bukaku Setsugekka

  • Sakura
  • Matsumushi
  • Yuki Daruma Goyomi
  • Evening

    Keisei Hangonk˘ (Domo Mata)


    Soga Moy˘ Tateshi no Goshozome
    (Gosho no Goroz˘)

    Genroku Hanami Odori


    Nakamura Kanzabur˘, Kataoka Nizaemon, Kataoka Gat˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Kankur˘, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Tsurumatsu, Nakamura Kotar˘, Kataoka Sennosuke, Nakamura Toranosuke, Nakamura Muneo, Nakamura Kunio, Sasano Takashi


    The Heisei Nakamuraza is back in T˘ky˘ in the popular district of Asakusa. This time, it is a 7-month project (performances up to May 2012!) for this temporary theater built within the Sumida Park. This month is special as the new Nakamura Kankur˘, the heir of the Nakamuraya guild, will celebrate his shűmei at the family theater!

  • 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˘ and Ichikawa Ebiz˘ lines of actors and is part of the collection of the Eighteen Favorite Plays (Kabuki Jűhachiban) of the Ichikawa Family. The role of the villain is played by Kataoka Gat˘.
  • Ichij˘ ďkura Monogatari: the world is ruled by Taira no Kiyomori, the leader of the Heike clan. Tokiwa Gozen, the widow of the head of the defeated Genji clan and mother of Yoritomo and Yoshitsune, the future leaders of the clan, has become the mistress of the dictator Kiyomori, then the wife of Lord ďkura, a seemingly simple-minded fool who spends all his time watching pretty women dance. Outraged members of the Genji clan sneak into Lord ďkura's mansion only to discover that Tokiwa Gozen's immorality and Lord ďkura's idiocy are a guise, the only way to survive in a world ruled by the enemy. This performance stars the new Nakamura Kankur˘ as Lord ďkura, Nakamura Senjaku as Tokiwa Gozen, Kataoka Nizaemon as Yoshioka Kijir˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke as Yoshioka's wife Oky˘.
  • Bukaku Setsugekka: a modern series of dances featuring Nakamura Shichinosuke as the spirit of the cherry blossoms ("Sakura"), Kataoka Nizaemon and his grandson Kataoka Sennosuke as autumn insects under the full moon ("Matsumushi") and Nakamura Kanzabur˘ as a snowman ("Yuki Daruma Goyomi").
  • Domo Mata: the artist Matahei has been refused a professional name because of his stuttering. He makes a poor life by drawing folk paintings and decides to make one last effort to gain respectability. His wife Otoku, who is given as much to chatter as Matahei is silent, pleads his case. Turned down again by his master, Matahei decides to take his life. He draws a farewell portrait of himself, a painting so skillful that the lines seep through solid rock and this miracle convinces his master to confer a professional name. Starring Kataoka Nizaemon as Matahei and Nakamura Kanzabur˘ as his wife Otoku.
  • 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 Nakamura Kankur˘ VI at the Heisei Nakamuraza.
  • 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 the new Nakamura Kankur˘ as Goroz˘, Ichikawa Ebiz˘ as his rival in love, Nakamura Senjaku as Goroz˘'s lover, the courtesan Satsuki and Nakamura Shichinosuke as ďshű, a courtesan who is tragically killed. Featuring also Kataoka Gat˘.
  • Hanami Odori:
    (Viewing the Cherry Blossoms in the Genroku Period)
    A dance like a picture screen that recreates the splendid atmosphere of the early Edo period with the beautiful courtesans and samurai footmen in colorful and lavish costumes going to see the cherry blossoms. Featuring Nakamura Tsurumatsu, Nakamura Kotar˘, Nakamura Toranosuke, Nakamura Muneo and Nakamura Kunio.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Minamiza (Ky˘to)
    Dates 3 ~ 27 March 2012 (Shűzan Matsuri Sangatsu ďkabuki)
    Shűzan's Festival March Grand Kabuki

    Genroku Chűshingura
    (Ohama Goten Tsunatoyo-ky˘)


    Ichi-no-Tani Futaba Gunki (Kumagai Jin'ya)


    Heike Nyogo no Shima (Shunkan)


    Funa Benkei


    Nakamura Kichiemon, Nakamura Kanjaku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Shibajaku, Kataoka Ainosuke, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Sawamura Yoshijir˘, ďtani Keiz˘, Nakamura Hayato, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Nakamura Kichinosuke


    Nakamura Matagor˘ III and his son Nakamura Kash˘ IV celebrate their shűmei in Ky˘to! This is also the first Shűzan's Festival outside T˘ky˘, which commemorates the memory of Nakamura Kichiemon's grandfather Nakamura Kichiemon I!

  • 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 Kataoka Ainosuke as Lord Tsunatoyo and Nakamura Kinnosuke as Tominomori Sukeĺemon. Featuring also Nakamura Kazutar˘ and Nakamura Shibajaku.
  • Sh˘j˘: the sh˘j˘ is a mythical sake-loving spirit that lives in the sea. In this dance, a sake seller has a mysterious customer that appears daily and drinks enormous amounts with great satisfaction. The sake seller has a dream with instructions to go by the beach with a large tub of sake. As it turns out, the customer has actually been the sh˘j˘ in disguise. The dance shows two sh˘j˘ as they drink and dance joyfully. Starring Nakamura Kanjaku and the new Nakamura Kash˘ as the sh˘j˘.
  • Kumagai Jin'ya: this play is a dramatization of the clash between the Genji general Kumagai Jir˘ Naozane and the Heike warrior Taira no Atsumori at the battle of Ichi-no-Tani, one of the most famous passages of the epic "Tales of the Heike". In the Kabuki version, on the cryptic orders of the Genji leader Yoshitsune, Kumagai hides the enemy warrior Atsumori and has his own son take the warrior's place. On the battlefield, Kumagai has to kill his own son in Atsumori's place. Things become worse when his wife Sagami and Atsumori's mother Fuji-no-Kata arrive at his camp. In the highlight of the play, he tells them the story of his mortal battle with Atsumori, keeping Atsumori's well-being and his own sacrifice a secret. He then shows the head of Atsumori for inspection by his leader to see if he has interpreted his orders correctly. This performance stars Nakamura Kichiemon as Kumagai, with Nakamura Shibajaku as Kumagai's wife Sagami, Nakamura Kazutar˘ as Fuji-no-Kata, the new Nakamura Matagor˘ as Yoshitsune, the new Nakamura Kash˘ as Gunji and Nakamura Karoku as Midaroku.
  • Shunkan: the priest Shunkan (Nakamura Kichiemon) 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 Nakamura Karoku as the evil emissary Senoo and Nakamura Kinnosuke as the merciful envoy Tanzaemon. With Nakamura Shibajaku as the island girl Chidori and the new Nakamura Kash˘ as Naritsune, Shunkan's fellow exile who has fallen in love with her.
  • 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 Nakamura Matagor˘ III and his son Nakamura Kash˘ IV.
  • Funa Benkei: although he won a war against the enemy Heike clan, the young general Yoshitsune (Kataoka Ainosuke) 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 (the new Nakamura Matagor˘), who performs a dance expressing her grief at their separation. Once the boat sets sail, the spirit of the great Heike general Tomomori (the new Nakamura Matagor˘), 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 (Nakamura Kanjaku). The roles of both Shizuka and Tomomori are played by the same actor. Featuring also Nakamura Kichiemon, the new Nakamura Kash˘ and Nakamura Kazutar˘ as boatmen.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

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