NEWS FROM THE KABUKI WORLD
31 August
2023

The two programs for the October Grand Kabuki performances at the Kabukiza, have been published [more details].

Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XIII will celebrate his shűmei in December 2023 in Ky˘to at the Minamiza [more details]. His son Ichikawa Shinnosuke VIII will celebrate his hatsubutai.

The second part of the t˘shi ky˘gen production of the classic "Imoseyama Onna Teikin" will be staged in October 2023 at the National Theatre [more details]. The troupe will be led by Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘. This will be the final Kabuki performance at the 1st generation National Theatre, which will be closed, destroyed and rebuilt.

Got˘ge Koyoharu's famous manga/anime "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba" was expected to be adapted to Kabuki in 2024. Not as a Kabuki drama but a SűpÔ Kabuki Sekando drama. It has been reported that it would be staged in February and March 2024 in T˘ky˘ at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ with a troupe led by Ichikawa Ennosuke. Unfortunately, due to a tragic and sad event, the production will be postponed to unknown times.

The 8th edition of the Sh˘ no Kai, a gala program which stars Nakamura Tomijűr˘ V's son Nakamura Takanosuke, will happen in T˘ky˘ at the Asakusa K˘kaid˘ the 6th of October 2023. It will commemorate the 12th anniversary (13th memorial service) of the passing away of Nakamura Tomijűr˘ V [more details].

The 39th Haiyűsai (literally Actors Festival) will happen at the National Theatre the 28th of September 2023 with most of the Kabuki actors. This special gala is sponsored by the Japan Actors Association. It is usually a mix of classic dances, newly-created or newly-revised dramas and ... the most appreciated item in the program: all the refreshment stands which are managed by the actors. If you are lucky, your coffee will be made and given to you by one of the top Kabuki stars. Actors Festival is more a parody of Kabuki full of funny surprises than a set of real Kabuki performances. Some people might even think that it looks like an art university graduation show. The previous edition, the 38th, happened the 28th of March 2017 at the Kabukiza.

Ahead of the Kabuki performances in September 2023 in Fukuoka at the Hakataza, Ichikawa Danjűr˘ and his son Ichikawa Shinnosuke were paraded the 27th of August 2023 in rickshaws (a tradition called oneri) around the Hakataza [pictures and more details in Japanese].

In September 2023 at the Kabukiza, the prestigious role of Princess Yuki in "Kinkakuji" will be played by two young onnagata actors. They will also switch to play the role of the miko Sakaki in the dance-drama "Tsuchi-gumo". For Princess Yuki, here is the schedule:

  • Nakamura Yonekichi from the 2nd to the 6th of September, then from the 13th to the 18th of September.
  • Nakamura Kotar˘ from the 7th to the 12th of September, then from the 20th to the 25th of September.
  • 4 new videos on the YouTube channel Kabuki In-Depth: In Praise of Shadows:

    The Duty of Remembrance:

  • In August 2023, we could have celebrated the 300th anniversary of the first Kabuki performances of Takeda Izumo I's drama "ďt˘-no-Miya Asahi no Yoroi". This drama was originally written for the puppet theater (Bunraku) and staged for the first time in the 2nd lunar month of 1723 in ďsaka at the Takemotoza. It was adapted for Kabuki the same year and staged for the first time in the 7th lunar month of 1723 in Ky˘to. It was produced by Ogino Yaegiri I at Hoteiya Umenoj˘'s theater [casting].
  • The 1st of August 2023, we could have celebrated the 225th anniversary of the passing away of the actor Azuma T˘z˘ III (1756~1798). He died the 19th day of the 6th lunar month of the 10th year of the Kansei era, which was the 1st of August 1798 in the western calendar.
  • The 11th of August 2023, we could have celebrated the 150th anniversary of the passing away of the actor Onoe Tamimaru I. He died the 11th day of August 1873.
  • 3 posters for the September 2023 performances at the Kabukiza have been published and will be sold within the theater:

  • Tsuchi-gumo
  • Nij˘-j˘ no Kiyomasa
  • Renjishi
  • 31 July
    2023

    An official panel has recommenended seven artists to be named Living National Treasure (Ningen Kokuh˘ in Japanese) in 2023. One of them is the Kabuki wakiyaku actor Nakamura Karoku V. He will be officially designated this year in September. This is the 6th Kabuki Living National Treasure. There are 3 tachiyaku (Onoe Kikugor˘, Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Baigyoku), 1 onnagata (Band˘ Tamasabur˘) and 1 wakiyaku (Nakamura T˘z˘).

    The 2nd edition of the new "Shűzan Matsuri" (the festival of Shűzan) will happen in September 2023 at the Kabukiza [more details]. It will commemorate both Nakamura Kichiemon I and Nakamura Kichiemon II. Moreover, the 2nd anniversary (3rd memorial service) of the passing away of the latter actor will be commemorated. Shűzan was the haimy˘ used by these two stars.

    As reported last year, there will be a 2nd generation National Theatre in a near future! From November 2022 to October 2023, Sayonara K˘en ('Farewell Performances') were and will be staged in the existing theater. Then, the 1st generation National Theatre, which opened in November 1966, will be closed and rebuilt. These farewell performances have been precisely labeled as Mirai e Tsunagu Kokuritsu Gekij˘ Purojekuto ~ Shodai Kokuritsu Gekij˘ Sayonara K˘en (literally 'Project to Connect the National Theater to the Future ~ First generation National Theater Farewell Performances'). The two final set of performances will happen in September 2023 and October 2023. In November 1966 [more details] and December 1966 [more details], the opening of the theater was celebrated with a t˘shi ky˘gen production of the classic "Imoseyama Onna Teikin". In September 2023 and October 2023, the closing will be celebrated with ... a t˘shi ky˘gen production of the classic "Imoseyama Onna Teikin" [more details].

    The program for the 13th edition of the Eirakukan Grand Kabuki from the 22nd to the 26th of September 2023 at the Eirakukan, a renovated traditional theater built in the city of Toyooka (prefecture of Hy˘go), has been published [more details].

    Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke will be on tour in 14 cities in October 2023. This tour is the Kinshű Tokubetsu Kŕn ('Autumn Brocade Special Performances') [more details].

    The Omodakaya guild and special guests will perform from the 25th to the 28tg of October 2023 in Tachikawa at the Tachikawa Stage Garden [more details]. A special version of the classic "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura" focusing on Tadanobu will be staged under the supervision of Ichikawa En'˘ to celebrate the coming 100th anniversary of the creation of the Tachihi Group.

    The drama "Bunshichi Mottoi Monogatari", based on Enokido Kenji's drama "Ninj˘ Banashi Bunshichi Mottoi", will be staged in October 2023 at the Kabukiza. It will be directed by the veteran movie director Yamada Y˘ji and it will star Nakamura Shid˘ and Terajima Shinobu.

    The Heisei Nakamuraza will be in Kitakyűshű in Fukuoka Prefecture in November 2023! Second time in Kyűshű (the first time was in 2019 [more details])! The temporary koshibai look-alike theater will be built in the precincts of the Kokura Castle. These performances will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the reconstruction of the creation of the city of Kitakyűshű [more details].

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

    The Duty of Remembrance:

  • The 28th of July 2023, we could have celebrated the 225th anniversary of the passing away of the actor Ichikawa Ikuz˘. He died the 15th day of the 6th lunar month of the 10th year of the Kansei era, which was the 28th of July 1798 in the western calendar.
  • The 21st of July 2023, we could have celebrated the 200th anniversary of the premiere at the Moritaza of Tsuruya Nanboku IV's drama "Kesakake Matsu Narita no Riken". This drama was premiered the 14th day of the 6th lunar month of the 6th year of the Bunsei era, which was the 21st of July 1823 in the western calendar.
  • The 11th of July 2023, we could have celebrated the 175th anniversary of the passing away of the actor Nakamura T˘z˘ III (1791~1848). He died the 11th of the 6th lunar month of the 1st year of the Kaei era, which was the 11th of July 1848 in the western calendar.
  • The 20th of July 2023, we could have celebrated the 100th anniversary of the passing away of the actor Nakamura Denkur˘ VI (1859~1923). This actor died the 20th of July 1923.
  • The 29th of July 2023, we could have celebrated the 75th anniversary of the passing away of the actor Nakamura Shichisabur˘ V (1879~1948). This actor died the 29th of July 1948.
  • The 20th of July 2023, we could have celebrated the 50th anniversary of the passing away of the actor Nakamura Kash˘ II (1925~1973). He died the 20th of July 1973.
  • 3 posters for the August 2023 performances at the Kabukiza have been published and will be sold within the theater:

    Short videos of Kabuki performances in July 2023 at the Kabukiza have been uploaded on the Sh˘chiku Official YouTube Channel:

    Onoe Matsuya will perform outside Kabuki in September 2023 and October 2023. He will perform in Stephen Dolginoff's musical "Thrill Me", which will be staged in T˘ky˘ from the 7th of September to the 3rd of October 2023 at the T˘ky˘ Metropolitan Theatre, in ďsaka from the 7th to the 9th of October 2023 at the Sankei Hall Breeze, in Fukuoka from 11th to the 12th of October 2023 at the Canal City Theater, in Nagoya from 14th to the 15th of October 2023 at the Winc Aichi and in Takasaki from the 21st to the 22nd of October 2023 at the Takasaki City Theatre.

    30 June
    2023

    The three programs for the August Cool-Breeze Kabuki at the Kabukiza in August 2023 have been published [more details]. Taniya Mitsuru's drama "Hadaka D˘chű" will be revived in the first program. Mayama Seika's drama "Shinmon Tatsugor˘" will be revived in the second program. This drama was staged for the last time in June 1976 at the Kabukiza. In the third program, Ichikawa Ennosuke was initially expected to lead the troupe in "Shin Suikoden" but he will be replaced by Nakamura Hayato.

    Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ will perform in Ky˘to at the Minamiza with the rakugo storyteller Shunpűtei Koasa in a special program entitled 'Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Summer Time' [more details].

    There won't be an October kaomise in Nagoya in October 2023 but a special Kabuki program starring the goruden konbi Living National Treasures Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and Kataoka Nizaemon [more details].

    Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XIII will celebrate his shűmei, along with Living National Treasure Nakamura Baigyoku, in 20 cities in October 2023 and November 2023 [more details].

    Waterways occupy as much as ten percent of ďsaka's city area, and have played a crucial role in its development as a strategic point in land and water transportation. One of the most picturesque among the city's numerous rivers and canals is the D˘tonbori, which flows today through ďsaka's vibrant entertainment district. From the Edo period in the 17th century, rows of theaters formed along the river, and the area became the center for both Kabuki and Bunraku. It is a custom to do funa norikomi before July Grand Kabuki at the Sh˘chikuza [more details]. Actors in the July casting, led by Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, arrived at the theater the 29th of June 2023 in a colorful boat parade, applauded by fans and spectators on the bridges or the banks [pictures and more details in Japanese | Kabuki Cruise].

    The 7th edition of the Ken no Kai, a gala starring Onoe Kikugor˘ VI's great-grandson Onoe Ukon, will happen in August 2023 [more details]. Ken no Kai literally means 'Ken's Association' with Ken being the first ideogram in Onoe Ukon's real first name Kensuke. He will play the roles of Danshichi Kurobŕ and Otatsu in "Natsu Matsuri" and the leading role of the spectacular dance "Musume D˘j˘ji".

    There will be a special 1-day 2-performance Kabuki Buy˘ program in Saitama at the Rai BoC Hall (ďmiya Civic Hall) [more details].

    The program for the 33rd edition of the Kamigata Kabukikai (the Kamigata Kabuki Association), a summer program in ďsaka at the National Bunraku Theatre in August 2023 which stars Kamigata Kabuki stars' disciples in the leading roles under the supervision of Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon and the guidance of Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Kataoka Gat˘, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Kataoka Takatar˘, Kamimura Kichiya and the dance master Yamamura Tomogor˘ III, has been published [more details].

    The program for the 29th 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 at the National Theatre in August 2023 under the supervision of Nakamura Tokiz˘, Ichikawa Danz˘, Ichimura Kitsutar˘ and the furitsuke master Fujima Kanso III, has been published [more details].

    The 25th edition of the summer program of the association Ne no Kai (literally 'the Sound Association') will happen in August 2023 [more details].

    Ichikawa Danjűr˘ and his son Ichikawa Shinnosuke, who will perform in "Megumi no Kenka" in July 2023 at the Kabukiza, went The 22nd of June 2023 at the Shiba Daijingű Shrine to pray for the success of the coming performances [pictures and more details in Japanese].

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

    The Duty of Remembrance:

  • The 24th of June 2023, we could have celebrated the 150th anniversary of the premiere at the Nakamuraza of Kawatake Shinshichi II's drama "Tsuyu Kosode Mukashi Hachij˘" (commonly called "Kamiyui Shinza") [casting]. This drama was premiered the 24th of June 1873.
  • In June 2023, we could have celebrated the 125th anniversary of the first Kabuki adaptation of the puppet theater drama "R˘ben Sugi no Yurai", which was staged for the first time in February 1887 in ďsaka and was adapted for Kabuki at the Minamiza in June 1898 [more details].
  • 4 posters/visuals for the July 2023 performances at the Kabukiza have been published and will be sold within the theater:

    Nakamura Kazutar˘ will perform outside Kabuki from the 28th to the 30th of August 2023 in T˘ky˘ at the Owlspot Theatre. It will be a reading performance of Ivan Turgenev's novella "First Love".

    Ichikawa Ennosuke has been arrested for alleged role in mother's suicide [more details]. As a consequence, he won't perform in July 2023, August 2023 and September 2023. He will be replaced by Ichikawa Chűsha in "Kiku no En Tsuki no Shiranami" and Nakamura Hayato in "Shin Suikoden".

    31 May
    2023

    Obituary: the actor Ichikawa Danshir˘ IV (1946~2023) and his wife passed away the 18th of May 2023. He was a popular and talented katakiyaku of the Omodakaya guild, excelling in the art of aragoto. A terrible and sad loss for the Kabuki world. I had the chance to see him for the first time in December 1998 at the Kabukiza, where he played the roles of the evil T˘ma Sabur˘emon and the bombastic Sakata Kintoki in "Tengajaya" and "Kumo no Hy˘shimai". Unforgettable memories!

    The two programs for the July Grand Kabuki in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza in July 2023 have been published [more details]. The troupe will be led by Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, who will play the role of Shunkan in the eponymous drama "Shunkan" (the highlight of these programs along with Onoe Kikunosuke performing in "Musume D˘j˘ji"). It will be the 31st edition of the Kansai Kabuki Lovers Society July Grand Kabuki and it will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Sh˘chikuza in ďsaka, which was built in 1923, modelled after the famous La Scala in Milan. After WW2, it became a movie theater. It was completely refurbished while preserving its appearance to reopen in 1999 as a theater, replacing the Nakaza for Kabuki performances.

    Due to a tragic and sad event, Ichikawa Ennosuke stopped acting at the Meijiza in May 2023. He was replaced from the 19th of May by Ichikawa Danko in "Fushich˘ yo Hat˘ o Koete" and by Nakamura Hayato in "Gohiiki Tsunagi Uma". Moreover, he will not perform in June 2023 at the Kabukiza. He will be replaced by Nakamura Kazutar˘ to play the role of Otoku in the drama "Domo Mata".

    Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XIII will celebrate his shűmei in September 2023 in Fukuoka at the Hakataza. His son Ichikawa Shinnosuke VIII will celebrate his hatsubutai. The new Danjűr˘ will play the roles of Akushichiby˘e Kagekiyo and Kamakura Gongor˘ Kagemasa in "Kagekiyo" and "Shibaraku" [more details].

    The Grand Kabuki Tour in the western provinces will be back, as it used to be from the 31st of August to the 24th of September 2023. Due to the COVID crisis, there was no such tour from 2020 to 2022. Nakamura Ganjir˘ will be the zagashira [more details].

    The 13th edition of the Eirakukan Grand Kabuki will finally happen from the 22nd to the 26th of September 2023 at the Eirakukan, a renovated traditional theater built in the city of Toyooka (prefecture of Hy˘go). Due to the COVID crisis, there was no performance at the Eirakukan from 2020 to 2022. The zagashira will be as usual the young star Kataoka Ainosuke [more details].

    The 8th edition of the Abeno Kabuki, a gala of the Sora no Kai (literally 'Sky Society'), will happen from the 3rd to the 6th of August 2023 in ďsaka at the Kintetsu Art Kan. This program will star Kataoka Matsujűr˘, Kataoka Senjir˘, Kataoka Senju and others Kamigata Kabuki disciples. They will perform in "Higo no Komageta" (a drama revived in August 2019 by the Sora no Kai). There will be two performances each day, one at 12:00 and one at 17:00 [more details].

    The drama "Shin Suikoden" will be staged in August 2023 at the Kabukiza (third program) [more details] and in September 2023 at the Minamiza [more details]. Will the troupe be led by Ichikawa Ennosuke? The question is open. "Shin Suikoden" was staged for the first time in August 2008 at Le Theatre Ginza (T˘ky˘). It was staged in June 2011 at the Chűnichi Theatre (Nagoya) and in August 2013 at the ďsaka Shinkabukiza. This drama is based on the eponymous novel "Shin Suikoden", "New Tales from the Water Margin" in English, written by Yoshikawa Eiji and published in Japan between 1960 and 1963. This novel was itself based on the famous Chinese novel "Water Margin".

    There will 2 special events related to the educational Kabuki program, Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitu ("Kabuki appreciation class") in June 2023 at the National Theatre [more details]:

  • "Beginners' Kabuki for Business Person" the 9th of June, with a special session starting at 19:00 instead of the usual 11:00 or 14:30.
  • "Discover KABUKI" the 23rd 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.
  • There will 2 special events related to the educational Kabuki program, Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitu ("Kabuki appreciation class") in July 2023 at the National Theatre [more details]:

  • "Beginners' Kabuki for Business Person" the 6th and the 20th of July, with a special session starting at 18:30 instead of the usual 11:00 or 14:30.
  • There will a special Family Festival, called Oyako de Tanoshimu Kabuki Ky˘shitsu, the 16th of July at 14:30 and from the 20th to the 24th of July at 11:00 and at 14:30. This festival will aim at gathering together children and parents to enjoy Kabuki.
  • Single Act tickets at the Kabukiza, which used to be sold on the day of the performances, will now become available with online seat reservations in advance. In term of capacity, there are 90 Single Act Seats at the 4th floor of the Kabukiza. From the 3rd of June 2023, there will be 70 online-reserved seats and 20 non-reserved seats [more details].

    Kamimura Kichitar˘ was the award-winner of the 2022 "Blooming Flowers Award" (Sakuya Kono Hana Sh˘), Theater/Dance section. This award was established in 1983 by the city of ďsaka to promote cultural figures from ďsaka and to develop ďsaka culture. So far, this award has been given to the Kamigata Kabuki world a few times: Kataoka Senjir˘ (1986), Ichikawa Ukon (1989), Kataoka Ainosuke (1997), Band˘ Shinsha (2005), Nakamura Kazutar˘ (2011), Kataoka Senju (2013) and Sora no Kai (2017).

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

    The Duty of Remembrance:

  • The 8th of May 2023, we could have celebrated the 100th anniversary of the passing away of Onoe Tamimaru III (1871~1923). This actor died the 8th of May 1923.
  • The 2nd of May 2023, we could have celebrated the 200th anniversary of the passing away of Nakamura Daikichi I (1773~1823). This actor died the 22nd day of the 3rd lunar month of the 6th year of the Bunsei era, which was the 2nd of May 1823 in the western calendar.
  • The 7th of May 2023, we could have celebrated the 225th anniversary of the passing away of Nakamura T˘z˘ I (1752~1798). This actor died the 22nd day of the 3rd lunar month of the 10th year of the Kansei era, which was the 7th of May 1798 in the western calendar.
  • 1 poster for the June 2023 performances at the Kabukiza has been published and will be sold within the theater:

    It will be possible to visit the National Theatre in T˘ky˘ before its coming "end" (the theater will be rebuilt in the future to come). Worth a visit if you are in T˘ky˘! There will be a self-guided audio tour of the theater lobby or a stage tour with an english-speaking guide [more details].

  • Stage tour with an english-speaking guide in June: June 10(Sat.), 16(Fri.), 21(Wed.)
    17:30~18:15 and 19:00PM~19:45. 2 times a day, up to 50 people for each time.

  • Stage tour with an english-speaking guide in July: July 9(Sun.), 12(Wed.), 18(Tue.),21(Fri.)
    18:00~18:45. Up to 50 people.
  • Self-guided audio tour(Japanese/English) in June: June 10(Sat.), 16(Fri.), 21(Wed.) 17:00PM~20:00 (last entry 19:30).
  • Self-guided audio tour(Japanese/English) in July: July 9(Sun.), 12(Wed.), 18(Tue.),21(Fri.) 17:30PM~19:30PM (last entry 19:00).
  • 30 April
    2023

    Obituary: the actor the actor Ichikawa Sadanji IV (1940~2023) passed away of lung cancer the 15th of April 2023. He held for 36 years an important name in Kabuki History and he was a popular and talented tachiyaku/katakiyaku. I had the chance to see him for the first time in December 1998 at the Kabukiza, where he played the roles of Daikokuya S˘roku and Usui Sadamitsu in "Ageya" and "Kumo no Hy˘shimai".

    Onoe Maholo will make his hatsubutai in March 2023 at the Kabukiza. In order to celebrate this important event for the Otowaya guild, there will be a special iwai-maku, a celebration curtain, on the stage of the Kabukiza. This curtain has been designed with the support of Chanel and in collaboration with Xavier Veilhan and Aska Yamashita [pictures and more details in Japanese].

    The two programs for the June Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza in June 2023 have been published [more details]. Ichikawa Sadanji was expected to play the role of the old man in "Yűgao Dana", with Onoe Kikugor˘ in the role of the old woman. As he passed away, it has been decided to replace "Yűgao Dana" with the dance-drama "ďgi Jishi". The highlights will be:

  • The revival of the "Ukiyo Matahei Sumika" act of the drama "Keisei Hangonk˘" with Ichikawa Ennosuke and Ichikawa Chűsha in the roles of Otoku and Matahei.
  • Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon playing the role of Igami no Gonta in "Sushiya".
  • The two programs for the June Grand Kabuki at the Hakataza in June 2023 have been published [more details]. The highlights will be:

  • "Bunshichi Mottoi" with Onoe Kikunosuke and Nakamura Jakuemon.
  • "Natsu Matsuri" with Kataoka Ainosuke in the role of Danshichi Kurobŕ.
  • The two programs for the July Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza in July 2023 have been published [more details]. The highlights will be:

  • The revival of Tsuruya Nanboku IV's spectacular drama "Kiku no En Tsuki no Shiranami" with the troupe led by Ichikawa Ennosuke.
  • The staging of "Shizuka no H˘rakumai" with Ichikawa Danjűr˘, a dance-drama belonging to the Shin Kabuki Jűhachiban collection, to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the passing away of the Meiji star Ichikawa Danjűr˘ IX.
  • The educational Kabuki program, Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitu ("Kabuki appreciation class"), at the National Theatre in July 2023 has been published [more details]. The drama "Hikimado" will be staged with Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Kinnosuke and Ichikawa Komaz˘.

    Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and Kataoka Ainosuke will perform together in "Botan D˘r˘" in Ky˘to at the Minamiza in August 2023 [more details].

    Ahead of the Heisei Nakamuraza performances in Himeji in May 2023 [more details], the main actors were paraded the 30th of April 2023 in rickshaws (a tradition called oneri) from Himeji Station to Himeji Castle through Miyuki-d˘ri Shopping Street [pictures and more details in Japanese | more pictures].

    A special program in Ky˘to at the Minamiza to explain stage mechanisms, from the tachimawari to the hanamichi and to help visitors experiencing some of the unique stagecraft tricks used in Kabuki theatre, will happen from the 2nd to the 8th of May 2023 [more details in Japanese].

    4 posters for the May 2023 performances at the Kabukiza have been published and will be sold within the theater:

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

    There will be an special exhibition focusing on stage photographies dedicated to late Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XII in the Kabukiza Gallery (5th floor of the Kabukiza building) from the 2nd to the 27th of May 2023.

    The Kabuki adaptation of the game "Final Fantasy X" started to be streamed online internationally with English subtitles from the 12th of April! The online stream will be available until the 31st of October 2023 [more details]. The stream is available on the following streaming platforms:

    The Duty of Remembrance:

  • The 4th of April 2023, we could have celebrated the 250th anniversary of the passing away of Segawa Kikunoj˘ II (1741~1773). This actor died the 13th day of the 3rd lunar month of the 2nd year of the An'ei era, which was the 4th of April 1773 in the western calendar.
  • The 4th of April 2023, we could have celebrated the 225th anniversary of the passing away of Nakayama Bunshichi II (1755~1798). This actor died the 19th day of the 2nd lunar month of the 10th year of the Kansei era, which was the 4th of April 1798 in the western calendar.
  • The 17th of April 2023, we could have celebrated the 75th anniversary of the passing away of Ichikawa Aratar˘ III (1912~1948). He died the 17th of April 1948.
  • The 20th of April 2023, we could have celebrated the 200th anniversary of the premiere at the Moritaza of the dance-drama "Komori" [more details]. This dance was premiered the 10th day of the 3rd lunar month of the 6th year of the Bunsei era, which was the 20th of April 1823 in the western calendar.
  • 31 March
    2023

    The programs for the great yearly Dankiku festival for the Naritaya and Otowaya guilds at the Kabukiza in May 2023 have been published [more details]. The highlights will be:

  • The hatsubutai of Onoe Maholo, who will play the role of Iwami Jűtar˘ in "Oto-ni Kiku Makoto no Wakamusha".
  • "Wakaki Hi no Nobunaga" staged to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the passing away of Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XII.
  • "Kamiyui Shinza" with Onoe Kikunosuke in the eponymous role.
  • The educational Kabuki program, Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitu ("Kabuki appreciation class"), at the National Theatre in June 2023 has been published [more details].

    A newly-created Kabuki drama based on a ... free-to-play collectible card browser video game named "T˘ken Ranbu", developed by DMM.com LLC, will be staged in July 2023 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘. The stars of the unusual production will be Living National Treasure Nakamura Baigyoku, Onoe Matsuya, Onoe Ukon, Nakamura Kangyoku and Nakamura Takanosuke [more details].

    The 31st edition of the Kansai Kabuki o Ai Suru Kai Shichigatsu ďkabuki, 'Kansai Kabuki Lovers Society July Grand Kabuki", will happen at the Sh˘chikuza in July 2023 [more details].

    Onoe Kikunosuke was the award-winner of the "Excellence Award" (Yűshűsh˘) of the 44th Matsuo Artistic Awards (Matsuo Gein˘ Sh˘).

    Onoe Kikunosuke was one award-winner for the 73rd edition of the Art Awards of the Agency for Cultural Affairs. He received the Monbu Kagaku Daijinsh˘ ('The Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ward').

    We would like to report a short but very interesting radio program in French about Onoe Maholo, which was broadcasted by France Culture.

    5 young actors, who performed in March 2023 at the Minamiza in chűshinguramono, went at the ďishi Shrine in the Yamashina Ward of Ky˘to, the 2nd of March 2023 to pray for the success of the coming performances [pictures and more details in Japanese].

    Kamimura Kichiya fell ill and had to be replaced from the 21st of March 2023 to senshűraku by Kataoka Senju to play the role of Kizaemon's ny˘b˘ Okisa in "Yoshidaya".

    3 posters for the April 2023 performances at the Kabukiza have been published and will be sold within the theater:

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

    The Duty of Remembrance:

  • The 31st of March 2023, we could celebrate the 300th anniversary of the passing away of Miyazaki Jűshir˘ I (1667~1723). This actor died the 25th day of the 2nd lunar month of the 8th year of the Ky˘h˘ era, which was the 31st of March 1723 in the western calendar.
  • The 4th of March 2023, we could have celebrated the 275th anniversary of the passing away of Ogino Izabur˘ I (1703~1748). This actor died the 6th day of the 2nd lunar month of the 5th year of the Enky˘ era, which was the 4th of March 1748 in the western calendar.
  • The 9th of March 2023, we could have celebrated the 250th anniversary of the passing away of the playwright Namiki Sh˘z˘ I (1730~1773). He died the 17th day of the 2nd lunar month of the 2nd year of the An'ei era, which was the 9th of March 1773 in the western calendar.
  • In March 2023, we could have celebrated the 150th anniversary of the premiere in March 1873 at the Murayamaza of Kawatake Shinshichi II's drama "Sakai no Taiko" [casting].
  • In March 2023, we could have celebrated the 100th anniversary of the premiere in March 1923 at the Imperial Theater of Osanai Kaoru's drama "Musuko" [more details].
  • In March 2023, we could have celebrated the 100th anniversary of the premiere in March 1923 at the Hong˘za of Matsui Sh˘y˘'s drama "Satsuma no Yodogimi".
  • The 18th of March 2023, we could have celebrated the 75th anniversary of the passing away of Nakamura Baigyoku III (1875~1948). This actor died the 18th of March 1948.
  • The 25th of March 2023, we could have celebrated the 75th anniversary of the passing away of the playwright and novelist Mayama Seika (1878~1948). He died the 25th of March 1948.
  • Ichikawa Danjűr˘ and his two children, Ichikawa Shinnosuke and Ichikawa Botan, will perform the 15th and the 16th of April 2023 in ďsaka at the NHK ďsaka Hall in a special dance program which will be entitled Densh˘-he no Michi ('The Road to Tradition') [more details].

    28 February
    2023

    The programs for the April Phoenix Festival April Grand Kabuki performances at the Kabukiza in April 2023 have been published [more details]. It will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the opening of the 5th Kabukiza and we are back to the 2-program system. The highlights will be:

  • As already reported, "Kirare Yosa" with the goruden konbi made up of Living National Treasures Kataoka Nizaemon and Band˘ Tamasabur˘. They were supposed to do it in June 2022 but, due to health-related reason, Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon could not perform.
  • A newly-created Kabuki drama based on Yumemakura Baku's Onmy˘ji series of novels. With Nakamura Hayato and Ichikawa Ennosuke in the roles of the onmy˘ji Abe no Seimei and Ashiya D˘man.
  • Onoe Kikugor˘'s grandson and Onoe Kikunosuke's nephew Terajima Maholo will make his official hatsubutai in May 2023 at the Kabukiza, where he will receive the name of Onoe Maholo. He is the son of the actress Terajima Shinobu and Laurent Ghnassia. Interesting to note that he will be the second Kabuki actor in Kabuki history to have roots in Japan and France. The first one was the stage giant Ichimura Uzaemon XV, whose father was also a Frenchman. The announcement for this coming hatsubutai was made the 7th of February 2023 at the French Embassy in T˘ky˘. Young Maholo made his first stage appearance (omemie) in May 2017 at the Kabukiza, where he performed as a koyaku in the drama "Sakanaya S˘gor˘".

    The world of Kabuki and the world of otaku will collide for the 13th time in Kabuki history in April 2023! Ch˘kabuki (literally Ultra-Kabuki) will be back again! Nakamura Shid˘ will once again share the stage with the virtual 3D creature Hatsune Miku. They will perform together in the 2020 Ch˘kabuki drama entitled "Otogi Z˘shi Koi no Sugatae". It will be staged at the Makuhari Messe the 29th and the 30th of April 2023, as part of the Niconico Ch˘kaigi 2023 event, an important yearly event for the otaku tribes [more details].

    Ichikawa Ennosuke will perform with his troupe in May 2023 at the Meijiza in a special program entitled Ichikawa Ennosuke Funt˘ K˘en ('Ichikawa Ennosuke's Struggle Performances') [more details]. The casting has been published and the Omodakaya zagashira will have Nakamura Ganjir˘ as Kabuki special guest stars and 3 non-kabuki guests: Ishibashi Sh˘ji, Shimomura Ao and Kashima Noritoshi.

    The Grand Kabuki Tour in the eastern provinces will be back, as it used to be from the 30th of June to the 31st of July 2023. Due to the COVID crisis, there was no such tour from 2020 to 2022. Onoe Sh˘roku will be the zagashira [more details].

    The 1st edition of a gala for Nakamura Shikan's three sons will happen in T˘ky˘ at the Asakusa K˘kaid˘ from the 30th of June to the 2nd of July 2023. It will be entitled Kamiyach˘ Sh˘kabuki ('Kamiyach˘ Little Kabuki'). Kamiyach˘ was the name of late Nakamura Shikan VII's neighboorhood in T˘ky˘ and it was used as an original way to appraise this great actor (kakegoe) [more details].

    One poster for the February 2023 performances at the Kabukiza has been published and was sold within the theater:

    Two posters for the March 2023 performances at the Kabukiza have been published and will be sold within the theater:

    The Duty of Remembrance:

  • In February 2023, we could have celebrated the 325th anniversary of the premiere in Ky˘to in the 1st lunar month of 1698 of the drama "Keisei Asama-ga-Dake", which was produced by Yamashita Hanzaemon I [casting].
  • The 1st of February 2023, we could have celebrated the 150th anniversary of the passing away of ďtani Hiroji V (1833~1873). This actor died the 1st of February 1873.
  • The 7th of February 2023, we could have celebrated the 100th anniversary of the passing away of the playwright Takeshiba Kisui (1847~1923). He died the 7th of February 1923.
  • In February 2023, we could have celebrated the 100th anniversary of the premiere with a Kabuki casting in February 1923 at the Ichimuraza of Suzuki Senzabur˘'s ninj˘mono drama "Jirokichi Zange" [more details].
  • The 11th of February 2023, we could have celebrated the 50th anniversary of the passing away of Arashi Kichisabur˘ VII (1894~1973). This actor died the 11th of February 1973.
  • Matsumoto Haku˘ will play the lead role in the musical "Man of La Mancha" from the 14th to the 24th of April 2023 in Yokosuka at the Yokosuka Arts Theatre [more details].

    There will be from the 23rd of March to the 3rd of April 2023 an exhibition on the 8th floor of the Nihonbashi Takashimaya Shopping Center about the 3-generation K˘raiya actors: Matsumoto Haku˘ II, his son Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X and his grandson Ichikawa Somegor˘ VIII. Numerous stage costumes and stage photos will be displayed. This exhibition is part of a series of events celebrating the 90th anniversary of the opening of this shopping center.

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

    From the 1st of March 2023, the streaming site Kabuki on Demand will be adding Chikamatsu Monzaemon's masterpieces "Sonezaki Shinjű" and "Shunkan" to its lineup. The streaming period will be from the 1st of March 2023 12:00 PM (JST) to the 31st of October 2023 11:59 PM (JST).

    There was a mamemaki ceremony for setsubun the 3rd of February 2023 at the Hakataza [pictures and more details in Japanese].

    31 January
    2023

    The three programs for the March Grand Kabuki performances at the Kabukiza in March 2023 have been published. Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘ was expected to perform in "Migawari Zazen" but he has been diagnosed with spinal stenosis. He will be replaced by Onoe Sh˘roku [more details]. These performances will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the opening of the fifth Kabukiza. The highlights of these February Grand Kabuki performances will be:

  • Revival of Uno Nobuo's Shinkabuki drama "Hana no Gosho Shimatsu" (based on William Shakespeare's drama "Richard III" but set in medieval Japan at the times of Ashikaga Yoshinori), which was premiered in June 1974 at the Imperial Theater. It was revived only once, in February 1983 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘. In 1974 and in 1983, the role of Ashikaga Yoshinori was played by Ichikawa Somegor˘ VI/Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X. This time, it will be played by his son Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X.
  • The rarely-staged 10th act of "Chűshingura".
  • Revival of Yoshii Isamu's drama "Dokuro-ni" (the ama Dokuro, 'the Skull Nun'). It was premiered in February 1917 at the Ichimuraza with Onoe Baik˘ VI in the role of the Skull Nun. It was revived only once after WWII, in September 1962 at the Kabukiza, starring Nakamura Utaemon VI as the Skull Nun. This time, the Skull Nun will be Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘!
  • "Yoshidaya" with Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and Kataoka Ainosuke.
  • The March Kabuki program at the National Theatre has been published. It is part of the program entitled Kabuki Meisaku Nyűmon (literally 'Introduction to Kabuki Masterpieces'). A few scenes from the drama "Kiichi H˘gen Sanryaku no Maki" will be staged with Nakamura Matagor˘ in the role of Ichij˘ ďkura Naganari. There will be no performance the 10th and the 20th of March 2023 [more details].

    The Zenshinza started a long tour the 26th of January 2023 and they will perform up to the 5th of March 2023 [more details].

    As reported last year, the game "Final Fantasy X" will become a Kabuki play in March 2023 [more details] and April 2023 [more details] in T˘ky˘ at the IHI Stage Around Theater! The project will be led by Onoe Kikunosuke who will be both the stage director and the leading actor. Others members of this project will be Nakamura Shid˘, Onoe Matsuya, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Nakamura Baishi, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Mantar˘, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Shinobu and Kamimura Kichitar˘.

    As reported last year, the Nakamuraya brothers Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke will perform in Nagoya at the Misonoza in April 2023 [more details]. It will be a festival of hayagawari with Nakamura Shichinosuke performing 7 roles in "Osome no Nanayaku" and Nakamura Kankur˘ performing 3 roles in "Chibusa no Enoki".

    Ichikawa Ennosuke will perform with his troupe in May 2023 at the Meijiza in a special program entitled Ichikawa Ennosuke Funt˘ K˘en ('Ichikawa Ennosuke's Struggle Performances') [more details]. This production is part of a series of events celebrating the 150th anniversary of this prestigious theater located in the district of Nihonbashi Hama-ch˘. Ueda Shinji's drama "Fushich˘ yo Hat˘ o Koete", premiered with Ichikawa Ennosuke III 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.

    The Heisei Nakamuraza will be in Himeji in May 2023! The temporary koshibai look-alike theater will be 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 [more details].

    The Zenshinza will perform in T˘ky˘ at the National Theatre in May 2023 [more details].

    There will be a Kabuki Appreciation Class in May 2023 in Ky˘to at the Minamiza [more details].

    Matsumoto Haku˘ had to stop acting the 27th of January, the senshűraku of the Congratulation Early Spring Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza. He was replaced by Nakamura Karoku to play the role of Kud˘ Saemon Suketsune in the sogamono "Kotobuki Eh˘ Soga".

    The Duty of Remembrance:

  • In January 2023, we could have celebrated the 125th anniversary of the premiere at the Kabukiza in January 1898 of Kawatake Shinshichi III's dance-drama "Hagoromo" [casting].
  • In January 2023, we could have celebrated the 25th anniversary of the shűmei of Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon XV.
  • Ichikawa Ennosuke will perform with Kabuki and non-Kabuki actors in March 2023 in the 3rd edition of a special program entitled Ennosuke to Yukai-na Nakamatachi ('Ennosuke and Happy Friends'). They will perform in "Namida Doroppusu" ('Teardrops'), a newly-created hybrid drama mixing elements from Tsuruya Nanboku IV's masterpiece "Kin no Zai Sarushima Dairi" and Victor Hugo's masterpiece "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame". From the 8th to the 14th of March 2023 in T˘ky˘ at the Kanda My˘jin Hall, the 19th of March 2023 in Ky˘to at the Ky˘to Art Theater (Shunjűza) and the 21st of March 2023 in Okazaki at the Okazaki Shimin Kaian Aoi Hall.

    One poster for the production of "Funa Benkei" in February 2023 at the Kabukiza has been printed out and will be sold in the theater during the performances.

    The 1st edition of the Hakuenkai, a gala for young actor Nakamura Tamatar˘ will happen the 1st of May 2023, in T˘ky˘ at the Nihonbashi K˘kaid˘ [more details].

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

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