APRIL 2010

5 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, Shinbashi Enbuj˘) 2 on Shikoku island (Kanamaruza)!

  • Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Onoe Kikugor˘, Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Kataoka Nizaemon, Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Tomijűr˘, Nakamura Kichiemon, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Kanzabur˘, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun and Onoe Kikunosuke perform at the Kabukiza!
  • Lots of young talented actors at the Kanamaruza!
  • The Omodakaya guild performs at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘!
  • Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 28 April 2010 (Onagori Shigatsu ďkabuki)
    Kabukiza Sayonara K˘en

    Onagori Kobiki no Danmari

    Ichi-no-Tani Futaba Gunki (Kumagai Jin'ya)



    Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami (Terakoya)

    Sannin Kichisa Tomoe no Shiranami

    Fuji Musume


    Jitsuroku Sendai Hagi

    Sukeroku Yukari no Edo Zakura


    Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Onoe Kikugor˘, Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Kataoka Nizaemon, Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Tomijűr˘, Nakamura Kichiemon, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Kanzabur˘, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Takatar˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Ichikawa Danshir˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Fukusuke, Nakamura Shid˘, Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Kash˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Kantar˘, Nakamura Baishi


    16th of the 16 Kabukiza Sayonara K˘en, the Kabukiza Farewell Performances ... the last programs before the destruction and the rebuilding of the Temple of Kabuki:

  • Kobiki no Danmari: a danmari is a fight in the dark where all the characters grope in the dark over some key object. This particular danmari is filled with the larger-than-life characters of Kabuki and features Living National Treasure Nakamura Shikan and the younger stars of Kabuki to say farewell to Kabukiza in this final month of performances before it closes for rebuilding.
  • Kumagai Jin'ya: this play is a dramatization of the clash between the Genji general Kumagai Jir˘ Naozane and the Heike warrior Taira no Atsumori at the battle of Ichi-no-Tani, one of the most famous passages of the epic "Tales of the Heike". In the Kabuki version, on the cryptic orders of the Genji leader Yoshitsune, Kumagai hides the enemy warrior Atsumori and has his own son take the warrior's place. On the battlefield, Kumagai has to kill his own son in Atsumori's place. Things become worse when his wife Sagami and Atsumori's mother Fuji-no-Kata arrive at his camp. In the highlight of the play, he tells them the story of his mortal battle with Atsumori, keeping Atsumori's well-being and his own sacrifice a secret. He then shows the head of Atsumori for inspection by his leader to see if he has interpreted his orders correctly. This performance stars Nakamura Kichiemon as Kumagai, with Sakata T˘jűr˘ as Kumagai's wife Sagami, Nakamura Kaishun as Fuji-no-Kata, Nakamura Baigyoku as Yoshitsune and Nakamura Tomijűr˘ as Midaroku.
  • 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 is unusual because it features 2 cubs instead of one, starring Nakamura Kanzabur˘ in the role of the parent shishi and his two sons, Nakamura Kantar˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke, in the roles of the cubs.
  • Terakoya: Genz˘ and his wife Tonami run a small school and are protecting Kan Sh˘j˘'s son and heir, saying that he is their son. However, word has gotten out Kan Sh˘j˘'s son is there and Genz˘ has been ordered to behead him. Moreover, Matsu˘maru is to come to inspect the head. Their only alternative is to kill one of the other students as a substitute, but all of the students are farmer's children who could never pass for the son of a court aristocrat. However, a new boy arrives that day and Genz˘ makes the terrible decision to kill him in the place of his lord. As it turns out, Matsu˘maru has sent his own son to be sacrificed, because of his family's long loyalty to Kan Sh˘j˘. But he must face the most terrible situation for a father, inspecting the head of his own son and lying when he says that it is the genuine head of the son of Kan Sh˘j˘. Finally Matsu˘maru reveals his true feelings to Genz˘ and he and his wife Chiyo mourn their dead son. Starring Matsumoto K˘shir˘ as Matsu˘maru, Kataoka Nizaemon as Genz˘, Band˘ Tamasabur˘ as Chiyo and Nakamura Kanzabur˘ as Tonami.
  • Sannin Kichisa:
    (Three Thieves Named Kichisa)
    The playwright Kawatake Mokuami excelled at portrayals of thieves and this short scene, with its music and poetic lines, is one of his most famous. A beautiful young woman helps out a woman who is lost on the road. But she is actually Oj˘ Kichisa, a male thief who is disguised as a woman. He steals an immense sum of money that the woman is carrying and this leads to an encounter on this riverbank of three thieves, all with the name Kichisa. The two others Kichisa are Osh˘ Kichisa, a bonze turned thief, and Ob˘ Kichisa, an ex-samurai turned thief Though they start out as rivals, they decide to become blood brothers and form a gang. Featuring Onoe Kikugor˘ as Oj˘ Kichisa, Ichikawa Danjűr˘ as Osh˘ Kichisa and Nakamura Kichiemon as Ob˘ Kichisa.
  • 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 Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘.
  • Jitsuroku Sendai Hagi:
    (True Report of the Troubles in the Date Clan)
    In the late 17th century, there was a dispute over leadership in the Date clan that led to the villainous head retainer Harada Kai being interrogated in the mansion of the highest advisor to the Sh˘gun and killing his accuser Date Aki there before being killed himself. This incident was reported in jitsuroku (true record) books that laced reportage with lurid fiction. This was then dramatized in the popular play "Meiboku Sendai Hagi". This is a rare performance of a dramatization of this jitsuroku version and shows the nurse Asaoka caught between her duty to protect the young lord of the clan while the investigation is being conducted and her love for her own son, who comes from the home clan far away to see her. Starring Living National Treasure Nakamura Shikan, Matsumoto K˘shir˘ and Nakamura Hashinosuke in the roles of Asaoka, Katakura Kojűr˘ and Matsumae Tetsunosuke. Featuring also Ichimura Manjir˘, Kataoka Takatar˘, Nakamura Senjaku and Nakamura Shibajaku in the roles of the ladies-in-waiting Nishikigi, Matsushima, Kuretake and Sawada.
  • Sukeroku: the dandy Sukeroku is the most famous patron of the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters. But his reputation as the lover of Agemaki, the highest ranking courtesan in the quarter is matched by that of his tendency to pick fights. In fact, Sukeroku is the samurai Soga no Gor˘ in disguise, and he uses the fights to find a lost heirloom sword. His search takes place in the colorful atmosphere of the Yoshiwara where processions of beautiful courtesans compete with the splendor of cherry blossoms in full bloom. All the top stars in Kabuki appear in a procession of beautiful, exciting and amusing roles. Starring Ichikawa Danjűr˘ and Band˘ Tamasabur˘ as Hanakawado Sukeroku and Miuraya Agemaki. Featuring also Ichikawa Sadanji, Onoe Kikugor˘, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Fukusuke, Nakamura Kanzabur˘, Kataoka Nizaemon and Ichikawa Danshir˘ in the roles of Ikyű, the shirozake seller Shinbŕ, Fukuyama Jukichi, the courtesan Miuraya Shiratama, the passer-by, Kanpera Monbei and Asagao Senpei.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 30 April 2010 (Kabukiza Heij˘shiki)
    Kabukiza closing Ceremony


    Miyako Fűryű

    Ky˘ganoko Musume D˘j˘ji


    Kabukiza Tejimeshiki


    Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Onoe Kikugor˘, Sakata T˘jűr˘, Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Tomijűr˘, Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Kichiemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Kanzabur˘, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Fukusuke


  • Goaisatsu: the close relationship between the Kabuki stage and the audience is shown by this goaisatsu (literally greetings), done by ďtani Nobuyoshi, the chairperson of the Sh˘chiku Company, to start the official closing ceremony of the Kabukiza.
  • Miyako Fűryű: in this dance, the scenes and customs of the old commercial neighborhood of T˘ky˘ around the Meiji/Taish˘ Periods were written as a suite as they change with the change of seasons. The performance begins with a depiction of the life and customs of the Yoshiwara District, then it moves across the Sanyabori to the summer scenes of the Sumida River. The season of spring is then expressed in the mood of the spring rain in the Sennari Marketplace. Many of the famous scenes of Edo, such as the Forty-Six Thousand Day Festival of the Asakusa Kannon, the Kusa Marketplace, and the Bettara Marketplace are written into this song which sings of the charms of the Yoshiwara District and the mannerisms of the people of that time. Featuring Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Onoe Kikugor˘, Nakamura Kichiemon, Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Kanzabur˘, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Band˘ Mitsugor˘ and Nakamura Baigyoku.
  • 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. Featuring Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Kaishun and Nakamura Fukusuke.
  • 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, Living National Treasures Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Tomijűr˘ and Sakata T˘jűr˘ will talk about the Kabukiza and its closing.
  • Tejimeshiki: a ceremonial hand-clapping (tejime in Japanese) at the successful close of this closing ceremony. This traditional hand-clapping ceremony is led by Sakomoto Jun'ichi, the President of the Sh˘chiku Company.
  • Sources: Nihon Buy˘ ("Miyako Fűryű") and Earphone Guide ("Musume D˘j˘ji")

    Kanamaruza (Konpira)
    Dates 10 ~ 25 April 2010 (Shikoku Konpira Kabuki ďshibai)

    Genpei Nunobiki no Taki
    (Yoshikata Saigo)

    B˘ Shibari

    Ukiyo Buro


    Katakiuchi Tengajaya-mura


    Kataoka Ainosuke, Nakamura Kanjaku, Ichikawa Kamejir˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Nakamura Kikaku, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Onoe Ukon


    26th edition of the Spring Kabuki performance Shikoku Konpira Kabuki ďshibai at the Kanamaruza on Shikoku Island.

  • Yoshikata Saigo: the full-length play shows the early rise of the Genji clan after a time of oppression. Yoshikata (Kataoka Ainosuke) is the lone member of the Genji clan and pretends to have no interest in reviving its fortunes, but Yukitsuna (Nakamura Kanjaku) a good-humored footman who is actually a spy, realizes his true intentions. Yoshikata is about to have a son, the general Yoshinaka, who will lead the Genji to victory, but Yoshikata himself is attacked and surrounded and dies in a spectacular scene where he falls from the top of a flight of stairs.
  • B˘ Shibari:
    (Tied to a Pole)
    A dance play based on a classical Ky˘gen farce. A master (Nakamura Kikaku) is irritated that his two servants always drink his wine while he is out. He plots with his servant Tar˘kaja (Kataoka Ainosuke) to trick the other servant Jir˘kaja (Nakamura Kanjaku) into demonstrating his skill at stick fighting, tying him to the stick. The master then ties up Tar˘kaja as well. But he is outsmarted when the two still manage to drink his wine while tied up. Their happy singing and dancing while tied up is a dazzling display of virtuoso dancing and star two of the finest young dancers in Kabuki.
  • Ukiyo Buro: this lively dance evokes the lively atmosphere of the Edo bathhouses. In the Kinoshi-yu bathhouse, the young attendant Sansuke is busy taking care of the customers, pouring hot water on their back. A Japanese slug, shaped as a beautiful woman, nestles close to him and engages Sansuke in a beautiful kudoki. This Nagauta-based dance was premiered in 1937 and starred Ichikawa Ennosuke II. It was added by his grandson Ichikawa Ennosuke III in 1975 in the Omodaka Jűshu collection of dances. Featuring Ichikawa Kamejir˘ and Nakamura Kazutar˘ in the roles of Sansuke and the slug.
  • Tengajaya: "Tengajaya" was first performed in 1781 in ďsaka, dramatizing a true event that occurred over a century earlier. It is in the classical vengeance play form, following the sufferings of the brothers Iori (Nakamura Kikaku) and Genjir˘ (Onoe Ukon) as they search for T˘ma (Kataoka Ainosuke), the killer of their father. Iori first falls ill and then is wounded by the enemy and finally ends up living in a shack as a beggar where he is killed by the enemy. But the real reason for the continuing popularity of this is not due to the historical incident, which has long since been forgotten, nor because it is a vengeance play since there are other, much more popular vendetta plays. Originally the role of the servant Motoemon (Ichikawa Kamejir˘), a retainer of Iori's family who goes over to the enemy side was very small, but the actor ďtani Tomoemon IV transformed it into a brilliant, virtuoso role. At first Motoemon is supposed to guard his lord, but fails due to his weakness for drink. He promises his brother Yasuke (Nakamura Kanjaku) to stop drinking, but is tricked by the enemy into getting dead drunk and during this time, T˘ma kills his lord. Motoemon is ready to kill himself to atone, but instead decides to go to the enemy side. There is no trick he will not stoop to, in order to turn things to his advantage. For example, Motoemon tells his brother (who is still loyal to Iori) that he has become blind due to illness, no doubt punishment for his evil arts, and asks for charity. But in fact, he soon sneaks in, kills his brother and wounds Iori, all in order to protect his new lord T˘ma. But in the end, Genjir˘ avenges his father's death with the help of former retainers of his father's clan.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website, except "Ukiyo Buro"

    Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 1 ~ 23 April 2010 (Y˘shun Hanagata Kabuki)

    Kanadehon Futae Z˘shi


    Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa Danjir˘, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa Shun'en, Ichikawa Juen, Ichikawa K˘tar˘


  • Kanadehon Futae Z˘shi: a combination of Kabuki's greatest classic of loyalty with a ghost play that is Kabuki's greatest classic of disloyalty. When "Kanadehon Chűshingura" (The Treasury of Loyal Retainers) first appeared in 1748 it was a tremendous hit because it dramatized a historical incident in 1703 that showed that feudal values were still alive. A samurai lord suddenly attacked a senior advisor to the Sh˘gun inside the Sh˘gun's palace and was punished by being forced to commit ritual suicide. After great hardship, forty-seven of his loyal retainers banded together to avenge their lord's death by attacking his enemy. But by 1825 when "Yotsuya Kaidan" first appeared, the world was a great deal more cynical about all the samurai values. "Yotsuya Kaidan" was actually performed together with "Kanadehon Chűshingura" and its characters are disloyal members of the clan. It is also the story of Iemon (Ichikawa Danjir˘), a former member of the clan who is in love with Oiwa (Ichikawa Emisabur˘), also a former member of the clan. But her father takes her away when he knows that lemon has stolen money from the clan. Iemon kills her father and then promises her to help her avenge her father's death. They live together in poverty, but at this point, the Oume, the granddaughter of a wealthy doctor who belongs to the enemy clan, falls in love with him. To get Iemon, the doctor gives Oiwa a poison that disfigures her horribly. Iemon decides to betray Oiwa and she becomes a vengeful ghost. Ennosuke has combined these two classics with his customary spectacle and speed with his trademark flight through the air as well. Ennosuke is not part of the cast but he has supervised the production, which stars Ichikawa Ukon in the roles of the ghost of Nitta Yoshisada, Naosuke Gonbŕ and Amakawaya Gihei. Featuring also Ichikawa Monnosuke in the roles of Akatsuki Hoshigor˘ (in reality Kiryűmaru), Sat˘ Yomoshichi and Gihei's wife Osono.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

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