MAY 2009

6 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, Shinbashi Enbuj˘, National Theatre), 1 in Nagoya (Chűnichi Theatre) and 1 in Ky˘to (Minamiza)!

  • Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Onoe Kikugor˘, Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Tomijűr˘, Nakamura Shikan, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Kanjaku and Nakamura Senjaku perform at the Kabukiza!
  • Nakamura Kichiemon, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Fukusuke, Nakamura Kinnosuke and Ichikawa Danshir˘ perform at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘!
  • The Omodakaya guild performs at the Chűnichi Theatre!
  • Young talented actors perform at the Minamiza!
  • The Zenshinza troupe performs at the National Theatre!
  • Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 May 2009 (Gogatsu ďkabuki)
    Kabukiza Sayonara K˘en


    Kotobuki Sh˘j˘


    Mekura Nagaya Ume-ga-Kagatobi

    Modori Kago Iro ni Aikata


    Koi Minato Hakata no Hitofushi (Kezori)


    Kanda Bayashi

    Oshi no Fusuma Koi no Mutsugoto (Oshidori)


    Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Onoe Kikugor˘, Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Tomijűr˘, Nakamura Shikan, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Kanjaku, Nakamura Senjaku, Ichikawa Danz˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Nakamura T˘z˘, Band˘ Shűch˘, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘, ďtani Tomoemon, Nakamura Baishi


    5th of the 16 Kabukiza Sayonara K˘en, the Kabukiza Farewell Performances, which will be held up to April 2010.

  • 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 Ebiz˘) 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.
  • Kotobuki Sh˘j˘: the sh˘j˘ is a mythical sake-loving spirit that lives in the sea. In this dance, a sake seller has a mysterious customer that appears daily and drinks enormous amounts with great satisfaction. The sake seller has a dream with instructions to go by the beach with a large tub of sake. As it turns out, the customer has actually been the sh˘j˘ in disguise and he drinks and dances joyfully. Starring Nakamura Kaishun as the sake seller and Living National Treasure Nakamura Tomijűr˘ as the sh˘j˘.
  • Tenaraiko: a girl dawdles on her way home from school, plays with the butterflies in the field and dreams of love. Starring Living National Treasure Nakamura Shikan.
  • Kagatobi: the firemen serving the fabulously wealthy Kaga clan were famous for their colorful spirit. This play features a short pageant of these firefighters combined with a dark story of the sinister masseur D˘gen who uses murder, theft and extortion to satisfy his lust and greed. The actor playing D˘gen doubles as one of the gallant bosses of the firefighting gang alongside the firefighter that unmasks D˘genĺs villainy. Starring Onoe Kikugor˘ as D˘gen and Nakamura Baigyoku as Matsuz˘, the firefighter that defeats him.
  • Modori Kago: two palanquin bearers, one from ďsaka, the other from Edo (pre-modern T˘ky˘), decide to stop and rest. As they do so, each boasts of the respective merits of his native town. Finally, the little apprentice courtesan (kamuro) they have been carrying, alights from the palanquin and joins them in their dance. Featuring Onoe Sh˘roku as the palanquin bearer from ďsaka (in reality Ishikawa Goemon), Onoe Kikunosuke as the palanquin bearer from Edo (in reality Goemon's arch-enemy Mashiba Hisayoshi) and Onoe Ukon as the kamuro.
  • Kezori: one of the most spectacular plays in Kabuki, "Kezori" shows a man who has grown wealthy as a smuggler and shows his exotic lifestyle and expansive spirit. A merchant named S˘shichi (Sakata T˘jűr˘) is in love with a courtesan named Kojor˘ (Onoe Kikunosuke). He boards a boat unaware that it is owned by the smuggler Kezori (Ichikawa Danjűr˘) who is also his rival in love. S˘shichi happens to see illicit merchandise being unloaded and Kezori has him thrown into the sea. The boat revolves and Kezori poses on its prow, gazing proudly out at the world he rules. However, S˘shichi survives and goes to Kojor˘ for help. She says that she will ask one of her patrons for money and S˘shichi greets the patron only to find that it is Kezori. Magnanimously, Kezori forgives S˘shichi and will help him, but on the condition that S˘shichi become a member of his gang.
  • Yűdachi: a dance to Kiyomoto music with decadent mood of the end of the Edo period. The music was originally composed for a drama "Shiranami Gonin Otoko" but it is now more often used as a music to a dance version of a scene from the drama "Kosaru Shichinosuke". Takikawa (Nakamura Tokiz˘), a maid of the Edo palace, faints away by a hard roll of thunder. Shichinosuke (Onoe Kikugor˘) holds her out from a palanquin. After a fighting scene, they make love in a hut.
  • Kanda Bayashi: a heart-warming drama by a famous playwright Uno Nobuo (1904~1991) which shows the life of the commoners in Edo in the end of the Edo period. One day at the end of a year, a cooper Tomekichi (Ichikawa Ebiz˘) is suspected of stealing money which the society of nenbutsu prayers has gathered for a year. Though he did not steal, he rented and paid the sum and worked very hard after that. In September of the next year, the lost money is found and they are reconciled. Tomekichi is not angry as he also doubted them at that time, and thanks them as he could become richer by working harder. Featuring Band˘ Mitsugor˘ as the landlord Hikobŕ
  • Oshidori:
    (The Lovebirds)
    A rare performance of a dance showing two men fighting over a beautiful woman in the guise of a sum˘ match only to show that the woman and one of the men are actually the spirits of birds, conjugal birds that are an image of faithful love. Starring Onoe Kikunosuke, Onoe Sh˘roku and Ichikawa Ebiz˘.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 27 May 2009 (Yaguruma no Kai)

    Kotobuki Sanbas˘

    Yuki Keisei



    Kotobuki Kurabe




    Nakamura Tomijűr˘, Nakamura Kichiemon, Nakamura Kanzabur˘, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Ichikawa Danshir˘, Nakamura Fukusuke, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Kash˘, Onoe Ukon, Nakamura Takanosuke


    Nakamura Tomijűr˘ celebrates at the Kabukiza his 80th birthday. This is an important age and it is a custom to celebrate it with a sanju kinen performance, which is this time a short dance program of the association Yaguruma no Kai (yaguruma is the mon of Nakamura Tomijűr˘). The Living National Treasure performs the role of Musashib˘ Benkei in the spectacular dance-drama "Kanjinch˘". He also performs with his son Nakamura Takanosuke in the dance "Renjishi".

    Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 May 2009 (Gogatsu ďkabuki)

    Gion Sairei Shink˘ki (Kinkakuji)


    ďmi no Okane



    Onihei Hankach˘ (Kitsunebi)

    Osome Hisamatsu Ukina no Yomiuri
    (Osome no Nanayaku)


    Nakamura Kichiemon, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Fukusuke, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Ichikawa Danshir˘, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Kash˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Arashi Keishi, Nakamura Kichinoj˘, Sawamura Yoshijir˘


    Nakamura Kichiemon is for the 4th time the zagashira of a troupe performing at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘. The star plays the roles of Matsunaga Daizen, Kyűroku and Hasegawa Heiz˘ in the dramas "Kinkakuji", "Rakuda" and "Kitsunebi".

  • 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 Kichiemon) 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 (Ichikawa Somegor˘), pretends to come under Daizen's employ to try to sabotage his plans from within. Princess Yuki (Nakamura Shibajaku) 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.
  • Shin'en: this rare and lively dance is about a sacred monkey, messenger of the God in the Hiyoshi shrine in ďtsu, who dances with a sacred white horse of the shrine. Starring Nakamura Fukusuke in the role of the sacred monkey.
  • ďmi no Okane: Okane was a famous strong woman living on the shores of Lake Biwa and is known for stopping a runaway horse with her bare hands. This has become a Kabuki dance that combines strength and charming femininity. This production stars Nakamura Fukusuke as Okane.
  • Both "Shin'en" and "ďmi no Okane" are from the same hengemono, "Mata Koko-ni Sugata Hakkei", which was premiered in the 6th lunar month of 1813 at the Moritaza.

  • Rakuda: this is a popular dramatization of a rakugo comic story. A petty gang boss named Rakuda has died after eating blowfish. Hanji (Nakamura Kash˘), one of his gang members, finds him and hopes to bury him, but has no money. When he tries to get the neighbors to contribute, everyone is overjoyed that such a nuisance is dead, but won't contribute a cent towards his burial. Finally Hanji pulls in a passing waste paper collector named Kyűroku (Nakamura Kichiemon) and forces him to carry around Rakuda's body and threaten to make it dance if the neighbors won't pay up. They get a great sum of money and start drinking together. But as he drinks, the hapless Kyűroku becomes surprisingly aggressive.
  • Kitsunebi: Onihei Hankach˘ is a popular series of novels, written by Ikenami Shotar˘ from 1967, and successfully adapted to television. In all, 135 stories were published. The hero is Hasegawa Heiz˘, head of the special police who had jurisdiction over arson and robberies in Edo. His nickname is "Onihei," which means "Heiz˘ the Devil". He leads a band of law-enforcers and cultivates reformed criminals as informants to solve difficult crimes. This episode, "The foxfires (or St. Elmo's Fires)" is about the violent and bloody burglary, which has annihilated all the people working in a drugs wholesale shop in Edo Ichigaya. Foxfires labels are found plastered on the walls, hinting to the involment of Kitsunebi Yűgor˘ gang in the massacre. Heiz˘ is informed by the spy Omasa that Yűgor˘ has died but his two sons might be involved. Featuring Nakamura Kichiemon and Nakamura Shibajaku in the roles of Onihei and Omasa.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website, except "Kitsunebi"

    Chűnichi Theatre (Nagoya)
    Dates 11 ~ 28 May 2009
    Program T˘kaid˘chű Hizakurige

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


    Ichikawa Ennosuke's troupe of young and talented actors perform Kimura Kinka's Kabuki adaptation of Jippensha Ikku's picaresque comic novel "T˘kaid˘chű Hizakurige".

  • Hizakurige: this is a rare performance of what was once one of Kabukiĺs most popular plays. Based on Jippensha Ikkuĺs Edo period novel, the play follows the wandering edokko Yaji and Kita as they travel down the T˘kaid˘ highway with comic adventures along the way. Starring Ichikawa Ukon as Yaji and Ichikawa Danjir˘ as Kita.
  • Minamiza (Ky˘to)
    Dates 3 ~ 26 May 2009 (Gogatsu Hanagata Kabuki)

    Ogasawara S˘d˘


    Nakamura Hashinosuke, Kataoka Ainosuke, Nakamura Kantar˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Ichimura Manjir˘


    "Ogasawara S˘d˘" is a spectacular but hardly performed Kamigata play full of stage tricks (keren). This play was revived in September 1999 at the Minamiza, in March 2000 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ and in April 2001 at the Misonoza.

  • Ogasawara S˘d˘:
    (The Troubles in the Ogasawara Clan)
    This play is based on a true incident in Kyűshű in which the head retainer of a clan gained great power and tried to take over. It was dramatized in the late 19th century in the showy, theatrical style of Kamigata Kabuki. It takes the sober story of the inner workings of a samurai clan and combines them with the scheming of a sexy geisha who has become the lover of a lord, and a magical fox who takes the form of a samurai footman to repay the lord for saving his life. This play was revived in recent years to showcase both this style of Kabuki and the talents of young stars and promises to be an exciting experience of Kabuki. Featuring Nakamura Hashinosuke (Inugami Hy˘bu, Okada Ry˘suke), Kataoka Ainosuke (Ogasawara Haito, the yakko Kikuhei, in reality the fox of Mt. My˘jin), Nakamura Shichinosuke (Odai-no-Kata, Koheiji's wife Ohaya) and Nakamura Kantar˘ (Ogasawara Buzen-no-Kami, Koheiji).
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 10 ~ 22 May 2009 (Zenshinza Gogatsu K˘en)

    Edo-j˘ S˘zeme

    Hidari no Ude (Mushukunin Betsuch˘)


    Nakamura Umenosuke, Arashi Keishi, Kawarasaki Kunitar˘, Segawa Kikunoj˘, Fujikawa Yanosuke, Arashi Hironari, Yamazaki Ryűnosuke, Nakamura Seinosuke


    The first item of this program is Mayama Seika's shinkabuki 3-part drama about the submission of the Shogunate forces to the Imperial Army in 1868. The second item is a newly-created sewamono, based on a novel written by Matsumoto Seich˘. This new drama is the occasion for the Zenshinza troupe to celebrate the 70 years on stage of the great actor Nakamura Umenosuke and the 100th anniversary of the birth of Matsumoto Seich˘.

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