The first kaomise of the year and the 44th kaomise at the Misonoza.
It celebrates the shűmei of Nakamura Kinnosuke, who plays the roles of
Konoshita T˘kichi, Minamoto no Yoriie and Lord Matsue in "Kinkakuji", "Shuzenji Monogatari" and "K˘chiyama".
Shihei no Nana Warai:
(Shihei's Seven Laughs)
The Heian period court minister Sugawara no
Michizane is famous for being exiled to Kyushu by a political rival.
He died angry and vengeful and was said to be transformed into a thunder god.
His angry spirit was placated by making him a god and now Michizane is worshipped
as Tenjin, the god of learning. This is the subject of one of the most famous
plays of Bunraku and Kabuki ("Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami")
and Michizane's political rival, Fujiwara no Shihei,
is always depicted as a larger-than-life villain, an evil courtier with magical
powers. This play, a rarely performed classic of the Kansai style of Kabuki,
and reverses the story totally. Michizane (Band˘ Hikosabur˘) is the victim of slander and
Shihei (Kataoka Gat˘) does his best to try to mend the situation, but unfortunately
Michizane is exiled. But after Michizane leaves, Shihei shows his true self
and in a famous scene, laughs triumphantly. Shihei engineered Michizane's exile
Musume D˘j˘ji: a beautiful young woman dances under cherry blossoms
at a dedication ceremony for a temple bell. She dances the many aspects of a
woman in love, but is actually the spirit of a serpent, driven to destroy the
bell out of jealousy. In addition to being the most famous of all Kabuki dances,
"Musume D˘j˘ji" is considered to be the pinnacle of the art of the onnagata.
The role of the shiraby˘shi
is played by Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘,
who performs at the Misonoza his kiju kinen dance.
This performance includes the bombastic oshimodoshi finale,
with Sakata T˘jűr˘'s elder son Nakamura Kanjaku in the role of the demon-queller.
Kinkakuji: "Kinkakuji" retains the epic scale of plays adapted from
the Bunraku puppet theater and is full of miracles and larger-than-life characters
common on the puppet stage. It is full of the classical forms of all kinds of
stylized characters and the role of Princess Yuki is considered to be one of
the most difficult and beautiful roles for an onnagata
female role specialist. Matsunaga Daizen (Band˘ Mitsugor˘) has defeated the Sh˘gun and has
set up base in the Golden Pavilion. The brilliant strategist Hisayoshi, disguised
as a disgruntled retainer named T˘kichi (Nakamura Kinnosuke), pretends to come under
Daizen's employ to try to sabotage his plans from within.
Princess Yuki (Nakamura Tokiz˘) is being held prisoner by Daizen, but is able to free
herself by drawing a mouse in the cherry petals of the tree that she is tied to.
It comes to life and chews the ropes holding her.
Tsuru Kame: the crane (tsuru) is said to live for a thousand
years, the tortoise (kame) is said to live for ten thousand years.
Together, they are a traditional symbol of longevity. There is no particular plot
to this play, but simply shows a visit by the empress to the Moon Pavilion where
two courtiers dance as the spirits of the crane and tortoise.
Starring Nakamura Tokiz˘ as the empress and his two sons, Nakamura Baishi and Nakamura Mantar˘, as the spirits of the crane and the tortoise.
Shuzenji Monogatari: a mask carver (Nakamura Tomijűr˘) has been ordered to make a portrait
of Yoriie (Nakamura Kinnosuke), the second Sh˘gun, but despairs of his artistic powers because no matter
how many times he tries, the mask always shows the signs of death.
But finally he learns that the mask holds the secrets of the tragic fate of
Yoriie and his own daughter. This modern play by Okamoto Kid˘ is probably the
greatest classic of New Kabuki (Shinkabuki),
a perfect blend of the technique of old Kabuki and modern ideas of drama.
K˘chiyama: the tea priest K˘chiyama (Band˘ Mitsugor˘) is a skilled thief and
extortionist, but cannot turn down a request to help those in need.
He disguises himself as a high-ranking priest to try to gain the freedom of a
girl held by a powerful samurai lord (Nakamura Kinnosuke) because she will not become his mistress.
Using the famous poetic cadences of the late 19th century playwright Mokuami,
K˘chiyama not only succeeds in his mission to rescue the girl, but he manages to
extort a fair amount for himself.
Fuji Musume: the spirit of wisteria blossoms dances of love in the form of a
beautiful young maiden. One of Kabuki's most famous and colorful dances, it will
feature the dancing skills of Nakamura Senjaku.
Tomo Yakko: a samurai footman rushes after his master in the pleasure
quarters, but loses sight of him. He dances with pride in his master and enjoys
his dance so much that he begins emphasizing it with vigorous foot stamping.
Starring Nakamura Kanjaku in the role of the yakko.
Source: Earphone Guide website