NAKAMURA JAKUEMON IV

Stage names:

Nakamura Jakuemon IV In Japanese
ďtani Tomoemon VII In Japanese
ďtani Hirotar˘ I In Japanese

Real name: Aoki Kiyoharu

Guilds: Ky˘ya, Akashiya

Line number: YODAIME (IV)

Existence: 20 August 1920 ~ 23 February 2012

Connections:

Grandfather: Nakamura Sagisuke II

Father: ďtani Tomoemon VI

Father-in-law: Matsumoto K˘shir˘ VII

Sons: Nakamura Shibajaku VII, ďtani Tomoemon VIII

Grandsons: ďtani Hirotar˘ III, ďtani Hiromatsu II

Disciples: Nakamura Ky˘z˘, Nakamura Ky˘tae, Nakamura Ky˘sabur˘, Nakamura Ky˘shi

Career:

December 1927: he makes his first appearance on stage at the Ichimuraza, receiving the name of ďtani Hirotar˘ I.

March 1948: ďtani Hirotar˘ I becomes ďtani Tomoemon VII at the T˘ky˘ Gekij˘, playing in the drama "Suma Miyako Gempei no Tsutsuji".

May 1949: premiere at the T˘ky˘ Gekij˘ of the dance-drama "Higaki"; Tomoemon plays the role of Ono no Komachi [casting].

December 1949: Chikamatsu Monzaemon's drama "Ikutama Shinjű" is revived at the Mitsukoshi Gekij˘, using a new script written by Uno Nobuo; Tomoemon plays the role of Kashiwaya Osaga [more details].

1952: Tomoemon plays the role of Gohei in Naruse Mikio's movie "Okuni to Gohei"; the role of Okuni is played by the actress Kogure Michiyo.

1954: Tomoemon plays the role of Dr. Motaba in Mizoguchi Kenji's movie "Uwasa no Onna" ("A Woman of Rumour"); his movie partner is the famous actress Tanaka Kinuyo.

March 1958: Tomoemon takes part in the final Kabuki performance at the ďsaka Kabukiza [more details].

June 1963: premiere at the Kabukiza of Hagiwara Yukio's Nagauta-based dance-drama "ďeyama Shuten D˘ji"; Tomoemon plays the role of Lady Wakasa [casting].

September 1964: ďtani Tomoemon VII takes the name of Nakamura Jakuemon IV at the Kabukiza, playing the roles of Princess Yuki, Omiwa and Matsutar˘'s wife in the plays "Kinkakuji", "Mikasayama Goten" and "Hitoyo"; in "Kinkakuji", he performs in ningy˘buri style (the puppeteer is Iwai Hanshir˘ X) and his stage partners in the roles of Matsunaga Daizen and Konoshita T˘kichi are Onoe Sh˘roku II and Ichikawa Jukai III; in "Mikasayama Goten", the new Jakuemon shares the stage with Onoe Sh˘roku II (Fukashichi, in reality Kanawa Gor˘ Imakuni), Band˘ Mitsugor˘ VIII (Soga no Iruka), Morita Kan'ya XIV (Motome) and Nakamura Senjaku II (Princess Tachibana).

June 1965: Nakamura Jakuemon IV, Ichikawa Ennosuke III, Sawamura Tanosuke VI and Ichimura Takenoj˘ VI celebrate their shűmei in ďsaka at the ďsaka Shinkabukiza; Jakuemon plays the roles of the shiraby˘shi Hanako, Shizuka Gozen and Princess Yaegaki in "Musume D˘j˘ji", "Kawatsura H˘gen Yakata" and "Jusshuk˘"/"Kitsunebi"; his stage partners in "Jusshuk˘" are Kataoka Nizaemon XIII (Katsuyori), Sawamura Tanosuke VI (Nureginu), Arashi Kichisabur˘ VII (Nagao Kenshin), Ichimura Takenoj˘ VI (Shirasuga Rokur˘) and Onoe Kikujir˘ IV (Hara Kobunji); in "Kitsunebi", Princess Yaegaki is performed in ningy˘buri style (the puppeteer is Kataoka Nizaemon XIII).

November 1966: opening ceremony of the National Theatre in T˘ky˘ with the full length performance of the classic "Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami"; Jakuemon plays the roles of Tatsuta no Mae and Yae [casting].

December 1966: second month of the opening ceremony of the National Theatre with the full length performance of the classic "Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami"; Jakuemon plays the role of Yae [casting].

March 1967: revival at the National Theatre of Tsuruya Namboku IV's masterpiece "Sakura Hime Azuma Bunsh˘", which is supervised by Gunji Masakatsu; Jakuemon plays the roles of Princess Sakura and Fűrin Ohime [casting].

April 1976: revival in 5 acts and 9 scenes at the National Theatre of Namiki Gohei I's drama "Kinmon Gosan no Kiri"; Jakuemon plays the roles of Sonoo-no-Kata and Oritsu [casting].

January 1983: revival of "Nanatsu Men" at the National Theatre; Jakuemon plays the role of the keisei Akoya [casting].

January 1984: historic revival at the National Theatre of the play "Sankai Nagoya"; Jakuemon plays the role of the courtesan Katsuragi [casting].

1991: Jakuemon receives the prestigious title of Living National Treasure (ningen kokuh˘ in Japanese).

15 December 1992: Jakuemon joins the prestigious Japan Art Academy (Nihon Geijutsuin).

November 2002: the Kabukiza commemorates the 74th anniversary (75th memorial service) of the passing away of Nakamura Jakuemon III; Jakuemon plays the prestigious role of Princess Princess Yaegaki in the drama "Jusshuk˘". He is supported by an all-star ensemble: Onoe Kikugor˘ (Katsuyori), Nakamura Shikan (Nureginu), Nakamura Tomijűr˘ (Nagao Kenshin), Ichikawa Danjűr˘ (Shirasuga Rokur˘) and Kataoka Nizaemon (Hara Kobunji).

January 2008: Jakuemon plays at the Kabukiza the role of the keisei Ishikawaya Masagoji in the drama "Onna Goemon"; the role of Mashiba Hisayoshi is played by Nakamura Kichiemon.

February 2008: Jakuemon takes part in the k˘j˘ which is staged at the Kabukiza to commemorate the 26th anniversary (27th memorial service) of the passing away of his late father-in-law Matsumoto Haku˘.

January 2010: Jakuemon appears on stage for the last time, at the Kabukiza, where he plays the role of the empress in the festive dance "Haru no Kotobuki", which is staged to launch the final few months of performances at the Kabukiza before it closes for rebuilding. Jakuemon being too frail, he dances only the 19th. He is replaced by Nakamura Kaishun the others days.

23 February 2012: Jakuemon passed away from pneumonia at St. Luke's International Hospital in T˘ky˘.

Comments:

Living National Treasure Nakamura Jakuemon IV was an amazing onnagata actor who played all the most difficult princesses and courtesans roles of the Kabuki repertoire. His favourite roles were Agemaki ("Sukeroku"), Chiyo ("Terakoya"), the shiraby˘shi Hanako ("Musume D˘j˘ji"), Hanjo-no-Mae ("Sumidagawa"), Izayoi ("Izayoi Seishin"), Kasane ("Kasane"), Matsuyama ("Ninin Wankyű"), Okaru ("Chűshingura"), Omiwa ("Imoseyama"), Onoe ("Kagamiyama"), Otatsu ("Natsu Matsuri"), Otoku ("Domo Mata"), Otomi ("Kirare Yosa"), Sagami ("Kumagai Jin'ya"), Princess Taema ("Narukami"), Takiyasha ("Masakado"), Princess Toki ("Kamakura Sandaiki"), Umegawa ("Koi Bikyaku"), Princess Yaegaki ("Honch˘ Nijűshik˘"), Yatsuhashi ("Kagotsurube") and Princess Yuki ("Kinkakuji").

"Jakuemon's Yatsuhashi is the highlight of this production. When the onnagata first tackled the role in 1958 he was coached by Nakamura Utaemon VI (1917~2001), at the time kabuki's foremost onnagata -- a prominence established with his performance of Yatsuhashi in 1947. When Jakuemon played Yatsuhashi for two seasons in 1997, he again received instruction from Utaemon, then on his sickbed. And this month, Jakuemon is taking on Yatsuhashi -- performing this most demanding of roles for 25 consecutive days -- a real feat for an actor in his 80s! Traditionally, it is essential for an onnagata to perform courtesans perfectly. Jakuemon has observed that, for him, an onnagata's performance is a "crystallization" of femininity into something of highly restrained beauty, a process he learned from the late Nakamura Utaemon. In the past decade, since Utaemon retired from the Kabuki stage in 1993, Jakuemon has increasingly characterized his performances, while carefully adhering to the kata (acting patterns) he mastered under Utaemon. Jakuemon's performances are now uniquely his own, warm and sensuous, different from the cool, ethereal beauty of the late Utaemon. Audiences forget his real age as -- thanks to his superb acting and exquisite elocution -- Jakuemon suggests youthfulness and freshness even when performing opposite handsome male leads considerably younger than himself. And, needless to say, this octogenerian keeps himself physically fit by exercising regularly. Jakuemon's Yatsuhashi is the spellbinding achievement of a more than 50-year career and should not be missed." (Sasaguchi Rei about Nakamura Jakuemon IV's performance in the role of Yatsuhashi in the drama "Kagotsurube", which was staged in September 2002 at the Kabukiza)

Official Internet website: http://www.kabuki.ne.jp/jakuemon/

Nakamura Jakuemon playing the role of the Wisteria Maiden in the dance "Fuji Musume"
Print courtesy of Paul Binnie (all rights reserved)

Print made by Tsuruya K˘kei in 1986

The ďtani Hirotar˘ line of actors

The ďtani Tomoemon line of actors

The Nakamura Jakuemon line of actors

 
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