31 January

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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