NEWS FROM THE KABUKI WORLD
30 April
2024

The programs for the June Grand Kabuki in June 2024 at the Kabukiza have been published [more details]. It will celebrate the shűmei of Nakamura Manju and his son Nakamura Tokiz˘ VI and the hatsubutai of Nakamura Baishi V, Nakamura Haruki and Nakamura Natsuki. The highlights will be:

  • "Mikasayama Goten" to celebrate the shűmei of Nakamura Tokiz˘ VI (playing the role of Omiwa) with Onoe Sh˘roku in the role of the fisherman Fukashichi (in reality Kanawa Gor˘ Imakuni) and Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon in the role of Omura. There will be a k˘j˘ offered within the staging of "Mikasayama Goten".
  • The most important act of "Hakkenden" with height young actors.
  • "Yamanba" with the Yorozuya on stage. There will be a k˘j˘ offered within the staging of "Yamanba".
  • "Sakanaya S˘gor˘" with Nakamura Shid˘ and his two sons.
  • Nakamura Manju, Nakamura Tokiz˘ VI and Nakamura Baishi V will celebrate their 3-generation shűmei/hatsubutai in July 2024 in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza [more details]. The guest star will be Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon. The highlights will be:

  • Nakamura Manju and Nakamura Baishi V playing the role of Shigenoi and Shigenoi's son Sankichi in "Shigenoi Kowakare".
  • Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon playing the role of Igami no Gonta in "Sushiya".
  • Nakamura Tokiz˘ VI playing the role of Oginoya Yaegiri in "Yaegiri Kuruwa Banashi".
  • The two programs for the July Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza in July 2024 have been published [more details]. The highlights will be:

  • Ichikawa Danjűr˘ performing 13 roles in a digested-version and spectacular revision of the classic "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura".
  • The revival of "Ura Omote Taiheiki", which was staged for the last time in July 1981 at the Meijiza.
  • The educational Kabuki program, Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitu ("Kabuki appreciation class") in July 2024 has been published. As the National Theatre is no more available, two substitute venues will be used: the Tiara K˘t˘ in T˘ky˘ from the 5th to the 12th of July 2024 [more details] and the Ch˘fu City Green Hall in Ch˘fu from the 18th to the 27th of July 2024 [more details]. The drama "Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata" will be staged with two different castings.

    The program for the 30th edition of the common program for 2 associations, the Chigyokai (the Young Fishes Association) and the Kabukikai (the Kabuki Association), which stars stars' disciples in the leading roles has not yet been published but we know so far that it will happen from the 15th to the 18th of August 2024, not at the closed down National Theatre but at the Asakusa K˘kaid˘ [more details].

    Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XIII will celebrate his shűmei, along with Living National Treasure Nakamura Baigyoku, in 18 cities from the 31st of August to the 27th of September 2024 [more details].

    The program for the 34th edition of the Kamigata Kabukikai (the Kamigata Kabuki Association), a summer program in ďsaka at the National Bunraku Theatre in August 2024 which stars Kamigata Kabuki stars' disciples in the leading roles has not yet been published but we know for sure that it will happen from the 24th to the 25th of August 2024 [more details].

    Matsumoto K˘shir˘ and Ichikawa Somegor˘ are part of the casting of Sugita Shigemichi's movie "Onihei Hankach˘: Kett˘", which will be released all over Japan the 10th of May 2024.

    Nakamura Tokiz˘ was the award-winner of the 'Grand Prize' (Taish˘) of the 45th Matsuo Artistic Awards (Matsuo Gein˘ Sh˘).

    Nakamura Kotar˘ was the award-winner of the 'New Face Award' (Shinjinsh˘) of the 45th Matsuo Artistic Awards (Matsuo Gein˘ Sh˘).

    4 new videos on the YouTube channel Kabuki In-Depth: In Praise of Shadows:

    The Duty of Remembrance:

  • The 2nd of April 2024, we could have celebrated the 400th anniversary of an important event in Kabuki history : the 15th day of the 2nd lunar month of the 10th year of the Genna era, which was the 2nd of April 1624 in the western calendar, Nakamura Kanzabur˘ I received a license from the authorities to open a theater in Edo.
  • The 14th of April 2024, we could have celebrated the 100th anniversary of the passing away of the actor Asao Kuzaemon IV (1853~1924). He died the 14th of April 1924.
  • The 1st of April 2024, we could have celebrated the 25th anniversary of the passing away of the actor Band˘ Mitsugor˘ IX (1929~1999). He died the 1st of April 1999.
  • 4 posters/visuals for the May 2024 performances at the Kabukiza have been published and will be sold within the theater:

    31 March
    2024

    The programs for the great yearly Dankiku festival for the Naritaya and Otowaya guilds at the Kabukiza in May 2024 have been published [more details]. The highlights will be:

  • "Kenuki" with Ichikawa Omez˘ in the role of Kumedera Danj˘.
  • "Yudono no Ch˘bŕ" with Ichikawa Danjűr˘ and Onoe Kikunosuke in the roles of Banzui Ch˘bŕ and Mizuno Jűr˘zaemon.
  • "Meiboku Sendai Hagi" with Onoe Kikunosuke and Ichikawa Danjűr˘ in the roles of Masaoka and Nikki Danj˘.
  • "Shisen Ry˘" with Onoe Sh˘roku and Living National Treasure Nakamura Baigyoku in the roles of Yashű no Tomiz˘ and Fujioka T˘jűr˘.
  • The famous SűpÔ Kabuki drama "Yamato Takeru" will be staged in May 2024 in Nagoya at the Misonoza [more details]. In the absence of Ichikawa Ennosuke, the eponymous role of Yamato Takeru will be played by Ichikawa Ennosuke III's grandson Ichikawa Danko. The non-Kabuki guest star will be Kashima Noritoshi.

    Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ will perform in "Botan D˘r˘" in Nagoya at the Misonoza in June 2024 [more details]. The guest star will be Kataoka Ainosuke.

    The educational Kabuki program, Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitu ("Kabuki appreciation class") in June 2024 has been published [more details]. As the National Theatre is no more available, the Sunpearl Arakawa will be used as a substitute venue. Nakamura Ganjir˘ and Ichikawa Komaz˘ will perform in "Fűin Giri". There will be performances in two others venues, from the 23rd to the 24th of June in Yokohama at the Kanagawa Prefectural Youth Center Momijizaka Hall [more details] and the 26th of June in Shizuoka at the Shizuoka Convention & Arts Center Granship [more details].

    The drama "Hoshi Awase Jűsandan (Narita Senbon Zakura)", which was premiered in July 2019 at the Kabukiza, will be revived in July 2024 in the same theater. It was a completely revised, digested-version and spectacular revision on high octane of the classic "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura", with Ichikawa Danjűr˘ performing 13 roles in the 13 scenes of this drama. Jűsandan has two meaning, either 13 scenes (jűsandan) or a shorter way to say Ichikawa Danjűr˘ the thirteenth (jűsandaime). The Narita in "Narita Senbon Zakura" is in fact the Naritaya guild of the Ichikawa clan [more details].

    Nakamura Shid˘ will be on tour in July 2024 [more details]. Will this tour replace the usual tour in the eastern provinces in the same period of time? So far, we don't know.

    The signed handprint of Nakamura Jakuemon was taken the 16th of March 2024 and set into the Plaza of Stars (SutÔ no Hiroba in Japanese) on Orange Street (Orenji D˘ri in Japanese) near the Asakusa K˘kaid˘ in the heart of Asakusa. Nakamura Jakuemon was one of the 5 artists selected for the 5th year of the Reiwa era (2023). The others were the actress ďtake Shinobu, the singer Nakajima Miyuki and the two rakugo storytellers San'yűtei K˘raku and Hayashiya Sh˘raku III (who died the 21st of January 2024!) [picture].

    There will 2 special events related to the educational Kabuki program, Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitu ("Kabuki appreciation class") in June 2024 at the Sunpearl Arakawa [more details]:

  • "Beginners' Kabuki for Business Person" the 5th and the 6th of June, with a special session starting at 18:30 instead of the usual 11:00 or 14:30.
  • "Discover KABUKI" the 20th of June, with a presentation "how to appreciate Kabuki" in English. the audio guides in English and Japanese will be available for free. There will be subtitles in English displayed on a screen above the stage. Moreover, there will be multilingual booklets for free in English, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Korean, Spanish, French and Japanese.
  • 5 new videos on the YouTube channel Kabuki In-Depth: In Praise of Shadows:

    Matsumoto Haku˘ and Nakamura Shinobu received the 27th of February 2024 an award from the 31st Yomiuri Engeki Taish˘ (the Yomiuri Theatre Awards), sponsored by the famous paper Yomiuri Shimbun. Matsumoto Haku˘ received the Geijutsu Eiyosh˘, the 'Art Honor award'. Nakamura Shinobu received the Senk˘ Iin tokubetsush˘, the 'Selection Committee Special Award'.

    The Duty of Remembrance:

  • The 20th of March 2024, we could have celebrated the 225th anniversary of the passing away of the the zamoto Ichimura Uzaemon X (1748~1799). He died the 15th day of the 2nd lunar month of the 11th year of the Kansei era, which was the 20th of March 1799 in the western calendar.
  • In March 2024, we could have celebrated the 125th anniversary of the premiere at the Meijiza of the drama "Kurotegumi Kuruwa no Tatehiki", which gathered the main scenes from the sukerokumono part of Kawatake Shinshichi II's 1858 drama "Edo Zakura Kiyomizu Seigen" [casting]. The opening day was the 3rd of March 1899.
  • The 2nd of March 2024, we could have celebrated the 75th anniversary of the passing away of the star Sawamura S˘jűr˘ VII (1875~1949). He died the 2nd of March 1949.
  • 2 posters for the April 2024 performances at the Kabukiza have been published and will be sold within the theater:

    Exhibition of Kabuki costumes at the 9F of the Mitsukoshi Department Store in Ginza from the 27th of March to the 8th of April 2024 [more details].

    For tourists in T˘ky˘ eager to get more information about Kabuki and others Sh˘chiku-related performances, a new office has just opened, the SHďCHIKU INFORMATION, which is located on the 1st floor of the T˘geki building (Sh˘chiku Head office building) [more details].

    It seems that there won't be any Ch˘kabuki (literally Ultra-Kabuki) in April 2024 at the Makuhari Messe for the Niconico Ch˘kaigi 2024 event, an important yearly event for the otaku tribes.

    29 February
    2024

    The two programs for the April Grand Kabuki performances at the Kabukiza in April 2024 have been published [more details]. There will be 5 Living National Treasures on stage: Kataoka Nizaemon, Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Karoku and Nakamura T˘z˘. The highlights of these performances will be:

  • "Hikimado" with Nakamura Baigyoku, Onoe Sh˘roku and Nakamura Senjaku in the roles of Nan Yohŕ (later Nanp˘ Jűjibŕ), Nuregami Ch˘gor˘ and Ohaya.
  • "Natsu Matsuri Naniwa Kagami" with Kataoka Ainosuke, Onoe Kikunosuke and Nakamura Karoku in the roles of Danshichi Kurobŕ, Issun Tokubŕ and Tsuribune Sabu.
  • Two acts of Tsuruya Nanboku IV's masterpiece "Osome Hisamatsu Ukina no Yomiuri" with Kataoka Nizaemon and Band˘ Tamasabur˘ in the roles of Kimon no Kihŕ and Dote no Oroku.
  • Revival of Kuj˘ Takeko's dance-drama "Shiki" in 4 parts, one for each season of the year.
  • The program for the Kabuki Appreciation Class in May 2024 in Ky˘to at the Minamiza has been published [more details].

    The two programs for the June Grand Kabuki at the Hakataza in June 2024 have been published [more details]. The highlights will be:

  • "Shuzenji Monogatari" with Band˘ Yajűr˘ and Onoe Matsuya in the roles of the mask-carver Yasha˘ and Minamoto no Yoriie.
  • "Ninokuchi-mura" with Living National Treasure Nakamura Baigyoku and Nakamura Senjaku in the roles of Kameya Chűbŕ/Magoemon and Umegawa.

  • "Yotsuya Kaidan" with Onoe Ukon, Matsu2 and Ya1 in the roles of Oiwa, Tamiya Iemon and Naosuke Gonbŕ. Onoe Ukon will also play the roles of Kobotoke Kohei and Sat˘ Yomoshichi.
  • Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ will perform in "Akoya" in Ky˘to at the Minamiza in June 2024 [more details].

    The famous SűpÔ Kabuki drama "Yamato Takeru" will be staged in June 2024 in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza [more details]. In the absence of Ichikawa Ennosuke, the eponymous role of Yamato Takeru will be played by Ichikawa Ennosuke III's grandson Ichikawa Danko. The non-Kabuki guest star will be Kashima Noritoshi.

    The 2nd edition of a gala for Nakamura Fukusuke and his son Nakamura Kotar˘ will happen in T˘ky˘ at the T˘ky˘ International Forum the 27th of March 2024 [more details].

    Ahead of the Kabuki performances in February 2024 in Nagoya at the Misonoza [more details], Ichikawa Danjűr˘ and his son Ichikawa Shinnosuke went the 1st of February 2024 to the Manpukuin, a Nagoya branch of the Narita-san Shinsh˘ji Temple, to pray for the success of the shűmei performances [pictures and more details in Japanese].

    Ahead of the staging of "Keisei D˘j˘ji" in March 2024 at the Kabukiza to commemorate the 12th anniversary (13th memorial service) of the passing away of Nakamura Jakuemon IV, Nakamura Jakuemon, ďtani Tomoemon, ďtani Hirotar˘ and ďtani Hiromatsu went the 21st of February 2024 to the tombstone of their father/grandfather in Aoyama Cemetery to pray for the success of the performances [pictures and more details in Japanese].

    There were mamemaki ceremonies for setsubun the 3rd of February 2024 in 3 theaters:

    The 10th of March 2024, in T˘ky˘ at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘, the role of Yamato Takeru in the eponymous drama will be played for the 1000th time! It was played for the first time the 4th of February 1986 in T˘ky˘ at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ and it was the beginning of SűpÔ Kabuki in Japan. Here is the list of performers for the role of Yamato Takeru (calculated the 10th of March 2024):

    Number of Times Actors
    564 times Ichikawa Ennosuke III
    5 times Nakamura Shinjir˘
    161 times Ichikawa Ukon I
    143 times Ichikawa Danjir˘
    76 times Ichikawa Ennosuke IV
    23 times Nakamura Hayato
    28 times Ichikawa Danko V

    In order to celebrate this 1000th performance, two special posters have been published:

    5 posters for the March 2024 performances at the Kabukiza have been published and will be sold within the theater:

    3 visuals for the March 2024 performances at the Minamiza have been published:

    4 new videos on the YouTube channel Kabuki In-Depth: In Praise of Shadows:

    The Duty of Remembrance:

  • The 4th of February 2024, we could have celebrated the 100th anniversary of the passing away of the actor Jitsukawa Yaoz˘ II (1880~1924). He died the 4th of February 1924.
  • 31 January
    2024

    Important: there will be shűmei/hatsubutai performances in June 2024 at the Kabukiza for the Yorozuya guild!

  • Shűmei: Nakamura Tokiz˘ V and his son Nakamura Baishi IV will respectively take the names of Nakamura Manju and Nakamura Tokiz˘ VI. The new Tokiz˘ will play the role of Omiwa in "Mikasayama Goten". The new Manju will play the role of Yamanba in the eponymous dance-drama. Interesting to note that the name Manju, in which the ideogram for man is the same as yorozu in Nakamura Tokiz˘'s yag˘ Yorozuya, was not an old haimy˘ used by ancestors of Nakamura Tokiz˘. It was created by the actor and there is a hint at the Manju Era, which started the 19th of August 1024, almost 1000 years ago.
  • Hatsubutai: Nakamura Tokiz˘'s grandson and Nakamura Baishi's son Ogawa Hiroharu (born the 28th of October 2015) will make his hatsubutai and receive the name of Nakamura Baishi V. He will perform with his grandfather in "Yamanba". Nakamura Shid˘'s sons Ogawa Haruki (born the 18th of December 2017) and Ogawa Natsuki (born the 27th of June 2020) will also make their hatsubutai and receive the names of Nakamura Haruki and Nakamura Natsuki. They will play the roles of decchi in "Sakanaya S˘gor˘" (the role of S˘gor˘ will be played by their father Nakamura Shid˘).
  • The two programs for the March Grand Kabuki performances at the Kabukiza in March 2024 have been published [more details]. The highlights of these performances will be:

  • "Keisei D˘j˘ji", which will be staged to commemorate the 12th anniversary (13th memorial service) of the passing away of Nakamura Jakuemon IV. His son Nakamura Jakuemon V will play the leading role.
  • Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon in the role of Tokugawa Tsunatoyo in "Ohama Goten".
  • The rarely-staged "Daidaik˘" act in a t˘shi ky˘gen production of "Ise Ondo Koi no Netaba". This act was staged for the last time in October 2015 at the National Theatre and, before, in July 1962 at the Kabukiza.
  • Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke will be on tour from the 26th of March to the 1st of April 2024 [more details]. They will perform in 6 venues to commemorate the 12th anniversary (13th memorial service) of the passing away of Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVIII.

    Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke will be on tour in April 2024 [more details]. This is the 5th edition of a Spring Tour called Shungy˘ Kabuki Tokubetsu K˘en, literally 'The Dawn of Spring Kabuki Special Performances'. They will perform in 15 venues, including 7 traditional wooden-built theaters (listed below), to commemorate the 12th anniversary (13th memorial service) of the passing away of Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVIII:

  • The Yachiyoza in Yamaga the 5th of April 2024.
  • The Uchikoza in Uchiko the 10th of April 2024.
  • The Gom˘za in Gifu Prefecture the 12th of April 2024.
  • The Azumaza in Nakatsugawa the 13th of April 2024.
  • The Kashimo Meijiza in Nakatsugawa the 14th of April 2024.
  • The Aioiza in Mizunami the 15th of April 2024.
  • The K˘rakukan in Kosaka (Akita Prefecture) the 18th of April 2024.
  • Grand Kabuki right in the heart of the Kabukich˘ entertainment district near Shinjuku Station! The Nakamuraya guild will perform at the Theater MILANO-Za in May 2024 [more details].

    The Zenshinza will perform in May 2024 at the T˘ky˘ Tatemono Brillia Hall (T˘shima Arts and Culture Theatre), instead of the usual Kabuki performances at the National Theatre [more details].

    There will be a Kabuki Appreciation Class in May 2024 in Ky˘to at the Minamiza [more details].

    The Duty of Remembrance:

  • The 19th of January 2024, we could have celebrated the 275th anniversary of the premiere of "Kanadehon Chűshingura", which was originally written for the puppet theater and staged for the first time in the 8th lunar month of 1748 in ďsaka at the Takemotoza, which was adapted for Kabuki for the first time, in ďsaka at the Kado no Shibai [casting]. The opening day was the 1st day of the 12th lunar month of the 1st year of the Kan'en era, which was the 19th of January 1749 in the western calendar.
  • The 16th of January 2024, we could have celebrated the 125th anniversary of the passing away of the star Nakamura Shikan IV (1830~1899). He died the 16th of January 1899.
  • The 27th of January 2024, we could have celebrated the 75th anniversary of the passing away of the star Matsumoto K˘shir˘ VII (1870~1949). He died the 27th of January 1949.
  • The 5th of January 2024, we could have celebrated the 50th anniversary of the passing away of the actor Fujikawa Buzaemon IV (1906~1974). He died the 5th of January 1974.
  • Members of the Edo Firefighting Memorial Association performed kiyari ritual dances within the Kabukiza the 5th of January 2024 [more details in Japanese].

    A new release of Shinema Kabuki ("Cinema Kabuki") all over Japan from the 5th of April 2024. It will be "T˘ken Ranbu ~ Tsuki no Tsurugi Enishi no Kiri no Ha", a newly-created Kabuki drama based on a ... free-to-play collectible card browser video game named "T˘ken Ranbu". It was shot live in high definition in July 2023 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘. It starred Living National Treasure Nakamura Baigyoku, Onoe Matsuya, Onoe Ukon, Nakamura Kangyoku and Nakamura Takanosuke [more details].

    4 new videos on the YouTube channel Kabuki In-Depth: In Praise of Shadows:

    1 poster for the February 2024 performances at the Hakataza has been published and will be sold within the theater:

    The 13th of January 2024, there was a memorial meeting held in a T˘ky˘ hotel with the heirs of the Nakamuraya guild: Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Kantar˘ and Nakamura Ch˘zabur˘. It was the beginning of a coming long series of performances commemorating the 12th anniversary (13th memorial service) of the passing away of Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVIII [pictures and more details in Japanese].

    Interesting exhibition at the Minamiza related to the collaboaration of the world of Kabuki with the world of anime. It started the 20th of January 2024 and it will end the 18th of February 2024. The two anime series Macross Frontier and Macross Delta, which celebrate in 2024 their 40th anniversary, have collaborated with the Sh˘chiku Company to produce Kabuki design and costumes related to these two series [more details].

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