SEPTEMBER 2023

3 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre), 2 in Fukuoka (Hakataza), 1 in Toyooka (Eirakukan), 1 in Ky˘to (Minamiza) and 1 tour (Western Provinces)!

  • Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘, Living National Treasure Nakamura Karoku, Matsumoto Haku˘, Nakamura Kaishun, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Jakuemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Kankur˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Matagor˘, Nakamura Fukusuke, Nakamura Kotar˘, Nakamura Yonekichi and Ichikawa Komaz˘ perform at the Kabukiza !
  • Nakamura Tokiz˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Band˘ Kamez˘, Nakamura Baishi, Band˘ Shingo and Nakamura Mantar˘ perform at the National Theatre !
  • Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Ichikawa Shinnosuke, Living National Treasure Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Ainosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘ and Ichikawa Udanji perform at the Hakataza !
  • Nakamura Ganjir˘ and Kamimura Kichiya are tour in the Western Provinces!
  • Kataoka Ainosuke and Ichikawa Omez˘ perform at the Eirakukan!
  • Nakamura Hayato, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Ichikawa Chűsha, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Emiya and Ichikawa En'ya perform at the Minamiza!
  • Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 25 September 2023
    Shűzan Matsuri Kugatsu ďkabuki
    Shűzan's Festival September Grand Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Gion Sairei Shink˘ki (Kinkakuji)

    Tsuchi-gumo

    Nij˘-j˘ no Kiyomasa

    Evening

    Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami (Kurumabiki)

    Renjishi

    Ippon Gatana Dohy˘ Iri

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘, Living National Treasure Nakamura Karoku, Matsumoto Haku˘, Nakamura Kaishun, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Jakuemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Kankur˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Matagor˘, Nakamura Fukusuke, Nakamura Kotar˘, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Nakamura Yonekichi, Ichikawa Komaz˘, ďtani Keiz˘, Matsumoto Kingo, Sawamura S˘nosuke, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Nakamura Kash˘, ďtani Hirotar˘, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Nakamura Takanosuke, Nakamura Kichinoj˘, Nakamura Baika, Onoe Ushinosuke, Nakamura Tanetar˘, Nakamura Hidenosuke

    Comments

    The 2nd edition at the Kabukiza of the new "Shűzan Matsuri" (the festival of Shűzan), which is staged to commemorate late Nakamura Kichiemon II. Shűzan was the haimy˘ used by both Nakamura Kichiemon I and Nakamura Kichiemon II.

  • 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 (Living National Treasure Nakamura Karoku) 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 Kankur˘), pretends to come under Daizen's employ to try to sabotage his plans from within. Princess Yuki (Nakamura Kotar˘/Nakamura Yonekichi) 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. Starring the best of the actors in their prime in a production sure to be full of fire and excitement. Featuring also Onoe Kikunosuke and Nakamura Fukusuke in the roles of Kan˘nosuke Naonobu and Keijuin.
  • Tsuchi-gumo: a dance play adapted from the classical theatre. The samurai Lord Minamoto Raik˘ is famous in legend for ridding Ky˘to of demons. While Raik˘ is confined to bed with illness, a priest (Matsumoto K˘shir˘) from a prominent temple comes to pray for his health. In fact, the priest is actually the spirit of the earth spider which has caused Raik˘'s illness in the first place and hopes to destroy him. The spider's plan to kill Raik˘ is defeated by his retainers (the famous shitenn˘) in an exciting fight. Featuring Nakamura Matagor˘ as Raik˘. Featuring also Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Kinnosuke.
  • Nij˘-j˘ no Kiyomasa: in the early Edo period, the first Sh˘gun had a great problem in dealing with Toyotomi Hideyori, the young son of Hideyoshi. Even though Tokugawa Ieyasu took control of Japan away from Hideyoriĺs clan, it remained very influential and powerful. Although the Tokugawa Sh˘gun was respectful and cordial on the surface, he constantly searched for an opportunity to destroy Hideyori and his clan. This play is one of many that focuses on Hideyoriĺs loyal retainer, the elderly but still powerful Kat˘ Kiyomasa. Tokugawa Ieyasu (ACT) invites Hideyori (Ichikawa Somegor˘) to a banquet at the Nij˘ Castle in Ky˘to. Hideyori is at constant risk and is only protected by the constant vigilance of Kiyomasa (Matsumoto Haku˘).
  • Kurumabiki: this short scene shows the three brothers that dominate the drama "Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami", each with a distinctive personality. Sakuramaru (Nakamura Tanenosuke) and Ume˘maru (Nakamura Kash˘) have been rendered masterless by Kan Sh˘j˘'s exile. The third brother Matsu˘maru (Nakamura Matagor˘) serves the villain Shihei (Living National Treasure Nakamura Karoku), who is responsible for the downfall of Kan Sh˘j˘. Sakuramaru and Ume˘maru try to destroy Shihei's carriage but are stopped by Matsu˘maru and the magical glare of Shihei. Finally the brothers agree to suspend their disputes until they all meet at their father's seventieth birthday party.
  • Renjishi: 2 entertainers dance a tale of the legendary shishi or lion-like spirits that live at the foot of a holy Buddhist mountain. There is a comic interlude with 2 Buddhist pilgrims. Then, the shishi themselves appear and perform their dance with wild shaking of their long manes. The dance shows a parent shishi forcing his cub to undergo harsh training in order to grow up strong. This theme is often associated with the training a parent actor gives his son. This performance features Onoe Kikunosuke in the role of the parent shishi and his son Onoe Ushinosuke in the role of the cub.
  • Ippon Gatana Dohy˘ Iri: this is a modern play by Hasegawa Shin and shows Komagata Mohŕ (Matsumoto K˘shir˘), a starving, would-be sum˘ wrestler. He encounters a courtesan Otsuta (Nakamura Jakuemon), who gives him her purse and hair ornaments and makes him promise to become a champion sum˘ wrestler. In turn, she promises to go see him make his ceremonial entry into the ring. But ten years later, Mohŕ has become a gangster instead. Now a powerful fighter, he rescues Otsuta and her family. Ironically, this has become the only way that he can repay her kindness and the shameful form that his entry into the ring has taken. Featuring also Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘, Onoe Sh˘roku and Nakamura Kinnosuke.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 September 2023
    Program

    Imoseyama Onna Teikin

    Casting

    Nakamura Tokiz˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Band˘ Kamez˘, Nakamura Baishi, Band˘ Shingo, Nakamura Mantar˘

    Comments

    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'). 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 is celebrated with ... a t˘shi ky˘gen production of the classic "Imoseyama Onna Teikin".

  • Imoseyama: "Imoseyama Onna Teikin", is a masterpiece by Chikamatsu Hanji (1725~1783) first presented in 1771 in the puppet theater. It is an epic taken from early Japanese history, weaving together history, legend and myth. The country chafes under the domination of the dictator Iruka. This short section of the full-length play shows the story of two rival families who are only alike in being dominated by the dictator until a tragedy reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet brings them together.
  • Komatsubara: on a beautiful spring day, handsome young Koganosuke (Nakamura Mantar˘), son of Daihanji and Hinadori (Nakamura Baishi), the beautiful daughter of Sadaka, widow of Dazai happen to meet and fall in love, not realizing that their families are bitter enemies, with estates on either side of the Yoshino river. But Koganosuke also has heavy duties and helps Uneme (Band˘ Shingo), the daughter of the loyal minister Fujiwara no Kamatari to escape from the clutches of the evil minister Emiji.
  • Hana Watashi: Iruka (Band˘ Kamez˘) blames Koganosuke for the loss of Uneme and has heard of his love for Hinadori. He fears that these two rival clans may be plotting against him so summons Daihanji (Onoe Sh˘roku) to Sadaka's (Nakamura Tokiz˘) mansion, confronts the two rival parents and orders Koganosuke to become his retainer and Hinadori to serve in his bedchamber. He gives them branches of cherry blossoms to be thrown into the Yoshino river as a signal of the answers of the young people.
  • Yoshinogawa: in the most famous scene of the play, there is a spectacular set with the house of Daihanji on one side of the stage and the house of Sadaka on the other side with the river running through the center of the stage. Both parents know that their children would rather accept death than bow down to the dictator Iruka, but hide this and speak proudly and aggressively to the other, hoping desperately that at least the other child might be spared. However, all their efforts are in vain and finally, in death, the young couple is united in marriage, ending the feud between the two families.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Hakataza (Fukuoka)
    Dates 1 ~ 17 September 2023
    Kugatsu Hakataza ďkabuki
    September Hakataza Grand Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Ya-no-Ne

    Uir˘ Uri

    Kagekiyo

    Evening

    Sayaate

    K˘j˘

    Shibaraku

    Casting

    Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Ichikawa Shinnosuke, Living National Treasure Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Ainosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Ichikawa Udanji, Kataoka Ichiz˘, ďtani Tomoemon, Ichimura Manjir˘, Ichikawa Omez˘, Ichikawa Kudanji, Nakamura Kangyoku, ďtani Hiromatsu, Nakamura Toranosuke, Ichikawa Otora, Nakamura Kamenoj˘

    Comments

    Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XIII celebrates his shűmei in September 2023 in Fukuoka at the Hakataza. His son Ichikawa Shinnosuke VIII celebrates his hatsubutai. Four dramas are from the Kabuki Jűhachiban!

  • Ya-no-Ne: like a picture come to life, this play combines the most exaggerated costumes and movements with leisurely humor. The aragoto hero Soga no Gor˘ is sharpening a giant arrow and sleeping in wishes of good fortune for the New Year when he sees his brother Jűr˘ in a dream asking him to come and rescue him. The two Soga brothers are part of one of the most popular vendetta stories in Kabuki, suffering for eighteen years before being able to avenge the death of their father. In this play, when Gor˘ finds out that his brother is in trouble, he jumps on the horse of a passing daikon vendor and, brandishing a giant daikon as a whip prepares to rush to his brother's side. Starring Ichikawa Udanji and ďtani Hiromatsu as Gor˘ and Jűr˘. A classic from Kabuki Jűhachiban, the collection of the Eighteen Favorite Plays of the Ichikawa Family.
  • Uir˘ Uri: there are many plays based on the revenge by the Soga brothers on Kud˘ Suketsune, the man that arranged to have their father killed. In this particular play, this dramatic fight is transformed into light fantasy by showing one of the Soga brothers disguised as a peddler of uir˘, a medicine that makes it possible to speak quickly and elegantly. The highlight of the play is a long speech full of puns and wordplays. Starring Ichikawa Shinnosuke as the peddler. Featuring also Living National Treasure Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Ichiz˘ and Ichimura Manjir˘. A classic from Kabuki Jűhachiban, the collection of the Eighteen Favorite Plays of the Ichikawa Family.
  • Kagekiyo: The powerful Heike warrior Akushichiby˘e Kagekiyo (Ichikawa Danjűr˘) is captured and imprisoned by his enemies, the Genji clan. He uses his superhuman strength to smash his way out of his prison cell, and then struggles with his enemies in a violent and spectacular tachimawari. Featuring also Kataoka Ainosuke (Chichibu Sh˘ji Shigetada) and Kataoka Takatar˘ (Akoya). A rare play from Kabuki Jűhachiban, the collection of the Eighteen Favorite Plays of the Ichikawa Family.
  • Sayaate: This famous act is set in the main avenue of the Yoshiwara Pleasure Quarters where cherry blossoms are in full bloom. Two men appear: Fuwa Banzaemon (Nakamura Shikan) in a haori coat patterned with a design of lightning bolts, and Nagoya Sanza (Kataoka Ainosuke), dressed in a short-sleeved kimono and a haori coat with a pattern of swallows in the rain. After their scabbards brush against each other as they pass, they begin arguing and draw their swords, but the proprietress of a teahouse (Kataoka Takatar˘) mediates between them.
  • 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 Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XIII and the hatsubutai of Ichikawa Shinnosuke VIII.
  • 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 Danjűr˘) appears to save the day. This play features the bombastic aragoto style of acting, which is the specialty of the Ichikawa Danjűr˘ line of actors and is part of the collection of the Eighteen Favorite Plays (Kabuki Jűhachiban) of the Ichikawa Family. Featuring also Living National Treasure Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Senjaku, Ichikawa Udanji, ďtani Tomoemon and Kataoka Ichiz˘.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Kabuki Tour in the Western Provinces
    Dates 31 August ~ 24 September 2023
    Sh˘chiku ďkabuki Nishi K˘su
    Sh˘chiku Grand Kabuki Western Course
    Program

    Tsuchiya Chikara

    Shiokumi

    Casting

    Nakamura Ganjir˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Nakamura Kikaku, Nakamura Jűjir˘, Arashi Kitsusabur˘, Kamimura Kichitar˘

    Comments

    The Grand Kabuki Tour in the Western Provinces.

  • Tsuchiya Chikara: this play is a specialty of the Nakamura Ganjir˘ family and features the distinctive flashy acting of Kansai actors. This month it will be performed by the younger members of this acting line. One of many stories set on the theme of the revenge of the forty-seven loyal retainers features a lord named Tsuchiya Chikara (Nakamura Ganjir˘) who lives next door to the enemy of the loyal retainers and is disgusted because they do not seem to be interested in avenging the death of the lord. He learns from his haiku teacher that ďtaka Gengo (Nakamura Kikaku), one of his students who should be part of the vendetta left a poem suggesting that he was forgetting his former lord and going to take service with another samurai lord. But in fact, this poem is a riddle hiding the secret of the vendetta.
  • Shiokumi: in the classical Theatre, there are few plays as evocative as Matsukaze, the story of a court noble exiled to the seacoast where he falls in love with two fisher women. The women make their living scooping up heavy buckets of sea water to make salt and this has become a famous dance. Starring Kamimura Kichiya and Nakamura Kikaku.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Eirakukan (Toyooka)
    Dates 22 ~ 26 September 2023
    Eirakukan ďkabuki
    Eirakukan Grand Kabuki
    Program

    Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami (Kurumabiki)

    Omemie K˘j˘

    Tsuri Onna

    Casting

    Kataoka Ainosuke, Ichikawa Omez˘, Ichikawa Kudanji, Nakamura Kangyoku, Ichikawa Otora

    Comments

    The Eirakukan Grand Kabuki is back! Due to the COVID crisis, there was no performance at the Eirakukan from 2020 to 2022. This is the 13th Kabuki program at the Eirakukan, a renovated traditional theater built in the city of Toyooka (prefecture of Hy˘go).

  • Kurumabiki: this short scene shows the three brothers that dominate the drama "Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami", each with a distinctive personality. Sakuramaru (Nakamura Kangyoku) and Ume˘maru (Kataoka Ainosuke) have been rendered masterless by Kan Sh˘j˘'s exile. The third brother Matsu˘maru (Ichikawa Kudanji) serves the villain Shihei (Ichikawa Omez˘), who is responsible for the downfall of Kan Sh˘j˘. Sakuramaru and Ume˘maru try to destroy Shihei's carriage but are stopped by Matsu˘maru and the magical glare of Shihei. Finally the brothers agree to suspend their disputes until they all meet at their father's seventieth birthday party.
  • K˘j˘: the close relationship between the actors and the audience is shown by stage announcements, usually lavish ceremonies to commemorate various important events. This month at the Yachiyoza, it is a stage speech done by the leading actors of the troupe performing at the Eirakukan.
  • Tsuri Onna: a dance based on a classical Ky˘gen farce. A master (Ichikawa Otora) longs for a wife and is told by the gods in a dream to go fishing for one. He is united with a beautiful princess (Nakamura Kangyoku). His servant Tar˘kaja (Kataoka Ainosuke) wants a wife as well, but when he goes fishing, is stuck with a very surprising companion, played by Ichikawa Omez˘ in a rare, humorous, female role.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Minamiza (Ky˘to)
    Dates 3 ~ 24 September 2023
    Kugatsu Hanagata Kabuki
    September Young Actors Kabuki
    Program

    Shin Suikoden

    Casting

    Nakamura Hayato, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Ichikawa Chűsha, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa Juen, Nakamura Fukunosuke, Nakamura Utanosuke, Ichikawa Seiko, Ichikawa Danko, Asano Kazuyuki, Kashima Noritoshi

    Comments

    A special program starring Nakamura Hayato and the Omodakaya guild. "Shin Suikoden" was staged for the first time in August 2008 at Le Theatre Ginza (T˘ky˘). The story is based on "Shin Suikoden", "New Tales from the Water Margin" in English, a novel written by Yoshikawa Eiji and published in Japan between 1960 and 1963. This novel was itself based on the famous Chinese novel "Water Margin" ("Shui Hu Zhuan" in Chinese). The story of this 14th century novel is set in the Song Dynasty and it tells of how a group of 108 outlaws gathers at Mount Liang to form a sizable army before they are eventually granted amnesty by the government and sent on campaigns to resist foreign invaders and suppress rebel forces. In 1805, Kyokutei Bakin released a Japanese translation of the "Water Margin" illustrated by Hokusai. The book, which was called "Shinpen Suikogaden", (the "New Illustrated Edition of the Suikoden"), was a success during the Edo period and spurred a Japanese "Suikoden" craze.

  • Shin Suikoden: this play is set in the 12th century in China during the Northern Song dynasty. Rin Chű (Nakamura Hayato), the most evil scoundrel in China, is imprisoned as punishment for committing many crimes. Ch˘ Gai (Ichikawa Chűsha), who has brought together a band of villains under his leadership and who has a stronghold in Ry˘zanpaku, hears rumours of Rin Chű's imprisonment and orders his right-hand man K˘son Sh˘ (Ichikawa Monnosuke) to rescue him. However, Rin Chű does not get along with the comrades in Ry˘zanpaku, such as Oyasha (Nakamura Kazutar˘) and others, and spends day after day drinking alcohol. The young heir of the neighbouring town Dokuryűk˘ attacks them, supported by the tough Imperial army led by K˘ Kyű (Asano Kazuyuki), a senior statesman of the Imperial Palace. Though his stalwart comrades head off to battle, Rin Chű remains unconcerned. H˘ Ki (Ichikawa Danko), Rin Chű's former pupil while he was an instructor at the military academy and now a soldier of the Imperial army, secretly presents him with calligraphy that reads 'Be just and do Heaven's will', which Rin Chű had previously given him. He urges him to withdraw, but Rin Chű treats H˘ Ki cruelly. Meanwhile, the Imperial army plans to destroy Rin Chű and Ry˘zanpaku...
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

     
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