FEBRUARY 2017

3 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, EX THEATER), 2 in Fukuoka (Hakataza), 2 in ďsaka (Sh˘chikuza) and 1 tour (Zenshinza)!

Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
Dates 2 ~ 26 February 2017 (Saruwakasai Nigatsu ďkabuki)
Saruwaka Festival February Grand Kabuki
MatinÚe

Saruwaka Edo no Hatsuyagura

ďakinai Hiru-ga-Kojima

Shisen Ry˘ Koban no Ume no Ha

ďgi Jishi

Evening

Kadonde Futari Momotar˘

Ehon Taik˘ki

Ume Goyomi

Casting

Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Onoe Kikunosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Kantar˘, Nakamura Ch˘zabur˘

Comments

Nakamura Kankur˘'s two sons Nakamura Kantar˘ III and Nakamura Ch˘zabur˘ II make their debut on stage (hatsubutai)! These two programs also celebrate the 390th anniversary of Edo Kabuki (Okuni and her troupe performed at the Sh˘gun palace in Edo in 1607).

  • Saruwaka Edo no Hatsuyagura: Kabuki began with sensuous dances by a woman named Okuni and comic routines with a man named Saruwaka, who eventually led to the founding of the Nakamuraza, the oldest and most important of the three licensed theatres of Edo. This play evokes those figures and the earliest days of Kabuki. Starring Nakamura Kankur˘ in the role of Saruwaka. Featuring Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Ganjir˘ and Band˘ Yajűr˘.
  • ďakinai Hiru-ga-Kojima: this is a jidaimono history play set at the end of the Heian period (12th century). It is a time when the powerful Heike clan lives in splendor, eclipsing their rivals, the Genji clan. The leader of the latter, Minamoto no Yoritomo is now in exile. Masaki K˘zaemon (Onoe Sh˘roku), a writing-master in Shimoda, Izu Province, lives with his wife Ofuji (Nakamura Tokiz˘). K˘zaemon and Ofuji are always having matrimonial quarrels because he is so shameless with other women. But however often they argue she always pardons him when he flirts with her. Due to Ofuji's habitual jealousy, one day when the beautiful Omasu (Nakamura Shichinosuke) appears at the door asking to become a pupil, Ofuji drives her away. Omasu is just on her way home when she encounters K˘zaemon, and he brings her back with him. K˘zaemon is, in reality, Minamoto no Yoritomo who is concealing his ambition to destroy the Heike clan. Ofuji, on the other hand, is really Princess Tatsu, the daughter of It˘ Sukechika who is allied with the Heike. Furthermore, Omasu is none other than the daughter of H˘j˘ no Tokimasa, Yoritomo's ally. Princess Tatsu has Yoritomo's interests at heart and yields the position of wife to Masako. However, overhearing their intimate talk, Princess Tatsu is seized with jealousy. Just then, a mendicant priest named Seizaemon (Nakamura Kankur˘) who is staying at K˘zaemon's house, strikes her with his Buddhist rosary and suddenly her sinful thoughts disappear and she comes to her senses. Seizaemon is, in reality, Saint Mongaku. He has brought an Imperial decree from the cloistered emperor Goshirakawa which orders Yoritomo to destroy the Heike clan. Yoritomo and Mongaku reveal their identities to each other. Yoritomo accepts the Imperial order and prepares to raise his standard to destroy the Heike.
  • Shisen Ry˘:
    (Four Thousand Gold Coins)
    In this play loosely based on a true incident, two men, Fujioka T˘jűr˘ (Nakamura Baigyoku) and Tomiz˘ (Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘), the former a masterless samurai, the latter a seasoned thief, break into the treasury of the Shogunate and steal the immense sum of four thousand gold coins. Though the samurai tries to use the money to support a normal life by starting a loan business, the other wastes his money gambling and resorts to extorting money from his former partner. The enormity of their crime makes it impossible to keep it secret and they are soon caught. Written by Kawatake Mokuami, this play caused a sensation in its day for its realistic depiction of a Meiji period jail. Featuring also Nakamura Tokiz˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Karoku, Band˘ Hikosabur˘ and Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘.
  • ďgi Jishi:
    (The Lion-head Fans)
    This dance portrays the brilliant atmosphere of Edo (the old name for T˘ky˘). A fireman chief (Nakamura Baigyoku) and a geisha (Nakamura Jakuemon) dance with an ˘gi jishi, a fan beautifully decorated with flowers and with a cloth trailing from the end. This decorated fan represents the head of a shishi lion, and the trailing cloth is its mane of hair.
  • Kadonde Futari Momotar˘: this is a play based on the famous Japanese folktale Momotar˘ (The Peach Boy). On this occasion, it is performed to commemorate the debut of Nakamura Kankur˘'s two sons, Nakamura Kantar˘ and Nakamura Ch˘zabur˘. Once upon a time, an old man (Nakamura Shikan) carrying firewood comes to pick up his wife (Nakamura Tokiz˘) who is washing clothes in a river. Just then, a big peach comes floating towards them which they lift out of the water and take home. Out of the peach appears two energetic boys. These brothers, both called Momotar˘, declare that they will head for Ogre's Island to vanquish the wicked ogres. The god of Kibitsu sends Inuhiko (Ichikawa Somegor˘), Saruhiko (Onoe Sh˘roku) and Kijihiko (Onoe Kikunosuke) to accompany them. Following this, the Shint˘ priest (Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘) and the shrine maiden (Nakamura Kaishun) of Kibitsu Shrine, as well as the village headman (Nakamura Baigyoku) and his wife (Nakamura Jakuemon) all turn up to celebrate the boys' birth. The brothers put on armor and leave their house with the three others sent by the god. After a tough battle against the ogres at the Ogre's Castle, the Momotar˘ brothers capture the ogres, receive much treasure from them and return home triumphantly. Starring Nakamura Kankur˘ as Kansaku (the son of the grandparents) and the commanding general of the ogres, and Nakamura Shichinosuke as Kansaku's wife Otsuru.
  • Ehon Taik˘ki: Akechi Mitsuhide (known in this play as Takechi Mitsuhide) is known as the "three day ruler of Japan", having only control for a brief time after attacking and killing Oda Nobunaga (known in this play as Harunaga) and before being defeated in turn by Toyotomi Hideyoshi (known in this play as Mashiba Hisayoshi). In the most famous act of this play, after assassinating Harunaga, Mitsuhide comes to see his mother, but she refuses to forgive him for betraying his lord. Mitsuhide sees his son and mother both die before his eyes as he tries to defeat his rival Hisayoshi, but instead is confronted with the drama of his own immediate family. Starring Nakamura Shikan and Nakamura Kinnosuke as Mitsuhide and Hisayoshi. Featuring also Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Kataoka Takatar˘ and Kataoka Hidetar˘ as Mitsuhide's wife Misao, Mitsuhide's son Jűjir˘, Jűjir˘'s fiancee Hatsugiku and Mitsuhide's mother Satsuki.
  • Ume Goyomi: this work is a Kabuki adaptation of a famous love story from the Edo period called "Shunshoku Ume Goyomi". Tanjir˘ (Ichikawa Somegor˘), the foster child of a rich merchant in the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters lives with Yonehachi (Nakamura Kankur˘), a geisha of the Fukagawa district, even though he has a fiancÚe named Och˘. Adakichi (Onoe Kikunosuke), another geisha in Fukagawa, falls in love with him at first sight as they pass each other on boats, and she and Yonehachi become rivals for Tanjir˘'s love. Tanjir˘ĺs master Chiba Hanjir˘ (Nakamura Karoku) was disowned for losing a precious tea caddy named Zangetsu, the heirloom of the Hatakeyama clan, and he now lives at Tanjir˘'s house. Adakichi persuades Furutori Sabunta to sell the tea caddy in his possession as she wants to get it for Tanjir˘ who is searching for the lost one with Hanjir˘. But this tea caddy turns out to be a complete fake. Tanjir˘ recovers the genuine one after great difficulty and hands it to Hanjir˘. As a result, Hanjir˘ is permitted to return to his house and the ill feeling between Adakichi and Yonehachi dispels and they make up.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Sh˘chikuza (ďsaka)
    Dates 1 ~ 25 February 2017 (Nigatsu Hanagata Kabuki)
    February Young Actors Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura

  • Tokaiya
  • Funayagura
  • Daimotsu no Ura
  • Mitsu Ningy˘

    Evening

    Gion Sairei Shink˘ki (Kinkakuji)

    Renjishi

    Casting

    Nakamura Matagor˘, Onoe Matsuya, Nakamura Baishi, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Nakamura Kash˘, Band˘ Shingo, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Onoe Ukon

    Comments

    A special Kabuki program with seven young actors.

  • Tokaiya/Daimotsu no Ura: these are two scenes from one of the greatest classics of the puppet theatre, which has also become a classic of Kabuki. After the wars between the Genji and Heike clans, the Genji are victorious and their leader Yoritomo is now Sh˘gun. But there is a falling out between Yoritomo and his brother Yoshitsune, the brilliant general responsible for the victory. Now Yoshitsune is fleeing through the country and this play fancifully has him encounter several famous warriors from the Heike clan, who are not dead, as history has it. Yoshitsune (Band˘ Shingo) books passage on a boat to Kyűshű, but the captain is actually Taira no Tomomori (Onoe Matsuya), a general of the Heike clan that Yoshitsune helped to defeat. Tomomori was supposedly killed by Yoshitsune in the final battle of the war, but in this play, Tomomori is shown as surviving, living in disguise with the child emperor Antoku and his nursemaid (Nakamura Kazutar˘). At one moment the captain is a gallant commoner, but in the next, he is Tomomori, a high ranking general close to the emperor. His wife as well is a cheerful commoner who shows her true identity as a high-ranking lady-in-waiting in the magnificent robes of the imperial court. Tomomori uses the opportunity to try to get his revenge on Yoshitsune but is defeated again. Finally Tomomori holds a giant anchor and plunges into the sea.
  • Mitsu Ningy˘:
    (The Three Dolls)
    The characters in this graceful dance are not actually dolls, but are three characters that are often depicted with dolls, a courtesan (Band˘ Shingo), a handsome youth (Nakamura Baishi) and a samurai footman (Nakamura Tanenosuke).
  • 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 (Nakamura Matagor˘) 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 Kash˘), pretends to come under Daizen's employ to try to sabotage his plans from within. Princess Yuki (Nakamura Baishi) 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.
  • 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 Matsuya in the role of the parent shishi and his son Onoe Ukon in the role of the cub.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Hakataza (Fukuoka)
    Dates 3 ~ 26 February 2017 (Nigatsu Hanagata Kabuki)
    February Young Actors Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Otoko no Hanamichi

    Hade Sugata Omodaka Matsuri

    Evening

    Yukinoj˘ Henge

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ennosuke, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa Juen, Ichikawa Omez˘, Band˘ Minosuke, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Hayato, Ichikawa K˘tar˘, Nakamura Umemaru

    Comments

    A special Kabuki program with the Omodakaya guild led by Ichikawa Ennosuke:

  • Otoko no Hanamichi: this is a stage version of a popular movie. It is about the famous Kabuki actor, Kagaya Utaemon (Ichikawa Ennosuke). When he is about to lose his eyesight, he is saved when he happens to meet a doctor who knows Western medicine at his inn. The two become fast friends. Several years later, when Utaemon is now the top star of the Kabuki theater, he gets an urgent summons from the doctor and the actor is faced with the dilemma of whether he should go to his friend and benefactor, even if it means missing his all important appearance on stage. Featuring also Ichikawa Monnosuke, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa Omez˘ and Ichikawa Juen.
  • Hade Sugata Omodaka Matsuri: a newly-created dance-drama celebrating the actors of the Omodakaya guild.
  • Yukinoj˘ Henge: this is the story of the fictious Kabuki actor Nakamura Yukinoj˘ (Ichikawa Ennosuke). His parents were driven to suicide by three local officials when the actor was just a child. He grew up to become a well-known onnagata. In 1863, he travels with his Kabuki troupe to Edo. When he discovers his three archenemies in the audience, he plots revenge! Featuring also Ichikawa Monnosuke, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa En'ya and Ichikawa Omez˘.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    EX THEATER (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 4 ~ 20 February 2017 (Roppongi Kabuki)
    Roppongi Kabuki
    Program

    Zat˘ Ichi

    Casting

    Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Terajima Shinobu, Ichikawa Udanji, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichikawa Udanji, Ichikawa Kudanji, Ichikawa Shinz˘, Band˘ Shinsha, ďtani Hiromatsu, Ichikawa Fukutar˘, Ichikawa Fukunosuke, Ichikawa Fukumaru

    Comments

    Second edition of the Roppongi Kabuki performances at the EX THEATER. Based on a script written by Lily Franky, the stage direction is done by the famous movie director Miike Takashi, an expert in violent and bizarre movies who worked twice with Ichikawa Ebiz˘ for the movies "Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai" (2011) and "Over your Dead Body" (2014). The story is about Zat˘ Ichi, the zat˘ Ichi, a blind masseur and blademaster who was created by novelist Shimozawa Kan. The guest star of this production is not a Kabuki actor but the actress Terajima Shinobu, the daughter of Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘.

    ďtsuka Museum of Art (Naruto)
    Zenshinza Tour
    Dates ??? ~ ??? February 2017
    Program

    Ushiwakamaru

    Casting

    Hayase Einoj˘, Motomura Yűki, Watarai Motoyuki

    Comments

    A February and March tour all over Japan for the Zenshinza troupe with the staging of the newly-created Kabuki drama "Ushiwakamaru"! Among many others dates, they perform the 27th of February 2017 in T˘ky˘ at the Asakusa K˘kaid˘.

  • Ushiwakamaru: this newly-created Kabuki drama about Ushiwakamaru (the future young general Minamoto no Yoshitsune). The three first ideograms of the title are yuki (snow), tsuki (moon) and hana (flower). Each one symbolizes one of the 3 parts of this drama. The first part is the village of Fushimi under the snow : after her husband Minamoto no Yoshitomo was murdered in 1160, Lady Tokiwa (Hayase Einoj˘) and her son Ushiwakamaru escape through the snow from Ky˘to to nearby Fushimi. She is caught by her enemy Taira no Munekiyo. Instead of killing her and her son, he rescue the mother and his boy. The second part is set at the Goj˘ Bridge at night under the moon. Ushiwakamaru (Motomura Yűki) is now a powerful warrior picking fights on the Goj˘ Bridge in Ky˘to. A stout warrior priest named Benkei (Watarai Motoyuki) challenges him. Vanquished, he becomes a disciple of Ushiwakamaru. The third part is set in Mount Kurama during the autumn leaves season. Ushiwakamaru, who cherishes the ambition of destroying the Heike clan, discovers that his new friend is actually a tengű, who promises to teach him secret tactics and war strategies.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

     
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