NEWS FROM THE KABUKI WORLD
31 January
2016

Obituary: the actor Nakamura Umenosuke IV, 2nd generation leader of the Zenshinza troupe, passed away the 18th of January 2016, victim of a pneumonia. The troupe funeral service will be held the 3rd of March 2016 at T˘ky˘'s Aoyama Cemetery. The chief mourner will be his son Nakamura Baijaku II.

Ichikawa Somegor˘ will perform in Las Vegas in May 2016, from the 3rd to the 7th, at the MGM Grand David Copperfield Theater. The show will be the "Panasonic presents Wonder KABUKI Spectacle at MGM Grand" and the newly-created drama, which will be staged, will be entitled "SHI-SHI-ď The Adventures of the Mythical Lion". We can assume it will be based on the story within the traditional shishimono. Ichikawa Somegor˘ will lead the troupe, sharing the stage with Nakamura Karoku, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Nakamura Kash˘, ďtani Hirotar˘, Nakamura Yonekichi and Nakamura Hayato [more details].

Three Living National Treasures will share the stage with the Nakamura Jakuemon V to celebrate his shűmei in June 2016 in Fukuoka at the Hakataza : Sakata T˘jűr˘, Onoe Kikugor˘ and Kataoka Nizaemon [playbill].

The Zenshinza troupe will celebrate its 85th anniversary in May 2016 at the National Theatre by producing Tsuruya Nanboku IV's masterpiece "T˘kaid˘ Yotsuya Kaidan" [more details].

Nakamura Senjaku and Ichikawa Chűsha took part in a parade in ďsaka the 9th of January 2016, which was part of the T˘ka Ebisu Festival at the Imamiya Ebisu Shrine, which is located in the Naniwa Ward of ďsaka. The T˘ka Ebisu Festival was held from the 9th to the 11th of January 2016. T˘ka meaning the 10th day in Japanese, this festival is usually held around the 10th of January and it is extremely popular in ďsaka. During this festival sacred bamboo branches are sold to business people. The branches, known as fukusasa, are decorated with lucky symbols. The two actors were paraded through shopping and entertainment districts on special palanquins called h˘e kago, surrounded by people singing a simple catchy folk song [more details in Japanese and pictures].

Nakamura Shibajaku, ďtani Tomoemon, ďtani Hirotar˘ and ďtani Hiromatsu paraded the 27th of January 2016 in Asakusa ahead of the coming shűmei of Nakamura Jakuemon V in March 2016 at the Kabukiza [more details in Japanese and pictures].

Imai Toyoshige and Yokouchi Kensuke received the 25th of January 2016 the 44th ďtani Takejir˘ Award (ďtani Takejir˘ Sh˘). The former was award this prize for the writing of the script of "Arashi no Yoru ni", which was staged in September 2015 at the Minamiza; The latter for the writing of the script of "ONE PIECE" (premiered in October 2015 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘).

There will be at the 4F of the Kabukiza tower from the 2nd of February to the 27th of March 2016 an exhibition of pictures related to the coming shűmei of Nakamura Jakuemon V [more details in Japanese].

The programs for the April Young Actors Kabuki performances at the Meijiza in April 2016 have been published [more details]. The rarely-staged matsubamemono "Suehirogari" will be revived. There are only 2 records in T˘ky˘: in December 1909 at the T˘ky˘ Gekij˘ with Ichikawa Ennosuke I and Onoe Baik˘ VI in the roles of Tar˘kaja and his master. In August 1992 at the National Theatre with Ichikawa Danz˘ and Nakamura Tomotar˘ in the roles of Tar˘kaja and his master. In April 2016, the role of Tar˘kaja will be played by Nakamura Kankur˘. There will be lots of hatsuyaku for the 3 young stars:

  • Nakamura Shichinosuke will play for the first time the prestigious role of Kuzu-no-Ha in the eponymous drama "Kuzu-no-Ha".
  • Onoe Kikunosuke and Nakamura Shichinosuke will play for the first time the roles of Kawachiya Yohŕ and Okichi in Chikamatsu Monzaemon's drama "Abura no Jigoku".
  • Nakamura Kankur˘ and Onoe Kikunosuke will also play for the first time the roles of Eijir˘ and Osuzu in "Ukare Shinjű", a drama which is closely associated to late Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVIII.
  • Nakamura Shichinosuke and Onoe Kikunosuke will also play for the first time the roles of the courtesan Matsuyama and Wankyű in "Ninin Wankyű". Onoe Kikunosuke had the opportunity to perform twice in the past the role of Matsuyama in this beautiful dance.
  • They are cute or creepy. They prance around street fairs, sporting events, community gatherings and tourist destinations. They reprensent prefectures, cities, museums, schools, institutions ... even militaries forces or prisons. If you go to Japan, you are very likely to meet a few of them. I am talking about the yuru-kyara, the mascots, which have invaded Japan during the 2010s and are still on the rise. The yuru-kyara was made up of two real words, yurui meaning loose or relaxed, and kyara, a word coming from English and meaning character. The mascots are everywhere ... and we would like to report the "birth" of Konpy-kun, the mascot symbolizing the Konpira Kabuki, which is produced every April at the Kanamaruza. Is Konpy-kun cute or creepy ? Check on the kabuki-bito.jp website ! It was spotted advertising for the April performances the 25th of January in ďsaka and the 26th of January in T˘ky˘.

    Ichikawa Ebiz˘ met Detective Conan, the famous hero of the Anime series Meitantei Konan (Detective Conan), based on the eponymous Manga created by Aoyama G˘sh˘. The story in 2 episodes (804th and 805th) was about a murder case at the Kabukiza. As part of his investigations, Detective Conan met Ichikawa Ebiz˘, a character voiced by ... the real Ichikawa Ebiz˘. Episode 804 was aired the 9th of January 2016. Episode 805 was aired the 16th of January 2016. These two episodes were created to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Detective Conan Anime. They were entitled "Konan to Ebiz˘ Kabuki Jűhachiban Misuterţ", "Conan and Ebiz˘'s Kabuki Jűhachiban Mystery" [more details | picture 1 | picture 2].

    Four Kabuki films in high definition, belonging to the Shinema Kabuki ("Cinema Kabuki") series, will be screened in Toronto with English subtitles in February 2016 [more details]. This event will be sponsored by The Japan Foundation, Toronto:

    Day Drama
    Saturday, February 27 2009 Kagami Jishi [more details]
    Saturday, February 27 2014 Sannin Kichisa [more details]
    Sunday, February 28 2010 Kumagai Jin'ya [more details]
    Sunday, February 28 2010 Kagotsurube [more details]

    3 talks (kabuki yawa in Japanese, night talk about Kabuki) for Nakamura Shibajaku at the Kabukiza Gallery (5th floor of the Kabukiza building), every evening at 18:30 from the 8th to the 10th of February. The admission fee will be 3,000 JPY. There will be also at the same place the 27th of February at 19:00 another kabuki yawa in Japanese, night talk about Kabuki, with Nakamura Ky˘z˘, Nakamura Ky˘tae and Nakamura Ky˘shi. The subject will be the secrets of the Ky˘ya guild. Same admission fee as Nakamura Shibajaku's talks.

    Members of the Edo Firefighting Memorial Association performed kiyari ritual dances within the Kabukiza the 6th of January 2016 [more details in Japanese].

    Pictures for the Opening Days at the National Theatre of Kawatake Mokuami's drama "Koharunagi Okitsu Shiranami" in January 2016:

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