|NEWS FROM THE KABUKI WORLD|
Obituary: Kobayashi Mao, a famous actress and freelance newscaster, the spouse of Ichikawa Ebiz˘ since 2010, has lost her courageous fight with cancer. She passed away the 22nd of June 2017. The following words have been written by my friend Marion Hudson: "It is rare for me to mention, let alone write extensively about, the women associated with Kabuki in this Journal. Not only do none of them ever appear onstage, but in truth they mostly remain shadowy figures who are very difficult to research, at any rate from the distance of England, although one or two are famous in their own right in different fields. Nevertheless, even though I know precious little about Kobayashi Mao, who was a television presenter and hence well-known in Japan, I feel strangely moved by her death. It seems so unjust that such an attractive young woman, who for a while appeared to have everything - good looks, celebrity, a high-profile career, a handsome and famous husband, and two lovely children - should be snatched away in the prime of life. I also deeply pity her children, currently aged just 4 and 5, who have been deprived of their mother so early that later in life they will probably scarcely remember her. Mao achieved additional fame by writing a blog about her battle against cancer, which I understand many fellow cancer-sufferers in Japan have found inspirational. She was also courageous enough to release pictures of herself whilst she was undergoing treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, on which she understandably looked far from her best. She was obviously a very brave woman, and let's remember her as a beautiful one. R.I.P."
The three programs for the August Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza in August 2017 have been published [more details]. The main actors will be Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Ichikawa Ennosuke, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Band˘ Yajűr˘ and Ichikawa Chűsha. Okamoto Kid˘'s drama "Shuzenji Monogatari" will be staged to commemorate the 36th and 12th anniversaries (37th and 13th memorial services) of the passing away of Band˘ K˘tar˘ and Band˘ Kichiya II. Noda Hideki's newly-created Kabuki noda-ban drama will also be premiered.
Waterways occupy as much as ten percent of ďsaka's city area, and have played a crucial role in its development as a strategic point in land and water transportation. One of the most picturesque among the city's numerous rivers and canals is the D˘tonbori, which flows today through ďsaka's vibrant entertainment district. From the Edo period in the 17th century, rows of theaters formed along the river, and the area became the center for both Kabuki and Bunraku. It is a custom to do funa norikomi before July Grand Kabuki at the Sh˘chikuza [more details]. Actors in the July casting, led by Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Tokiz˘ and Nakamura Ganjir˘, arrived at the theater the 29th of June 2017 in a colorful boat parade, applauded by fans and spectators on the bridges or the banks [pictures and more details in Japanese].
Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ will perform along with the Kod˘ taiko drummers in a newly-created 2017-premiered (in May 2017) dance-drama entitled "Yűgen", which features an array of classical Japanese images from plays by N˘ founder Zeami Motokiyo, incorporating themes from iconic works such as "Hagoromo" (The Feather Robe), "D˘j˘ji" (D˘j˘ji Temple) and "Shakky˘" (The Stone Bridge). Band˘ Tamasabur˘ will share the stage with the dance master Hanayagi Jusuke IV and his disciples. They will perform from the 2nd to the 16th of September 2017 in Fukuoka at the Hakataza [more details] and from the 21st to the 23rd of September 2017 in Ky˘to at the ROHM Theatre [more details].
The October 2017 kaomise programs in Nagoya have been published [more details]. As the Misonoza closed in Spring 2013, these programs will be staged at the Nihon Tokushu T˘gy˘ Shimin Kaikan for the 5th time, a venue commonly called NTK Hall in Nagoya. "Haru o Kasanete Shikai Nami" will be staged in the evening program. This is a newly-created Kabuki drama based on a Kigeki drama, which was written by Ikkai Gyojin, who was in reality the Shinkigeki actor Soganoya Gor˘. It was was premiered at the Eirakukan in November 2016.
Ichikawa Somegor˘ and the puppeteer Kiritake Kanjűr˘ III went to the K˘zugű Shrine the 24th of June 2017 to pray for the success of their coming summer performances in ďsaka in the role of Danshichi Kurobŕ ("Natsu Matsuri Naniwa Kagami"). Ichikawa Somegor˘ will play this role in July 2017 at the Sh˘chikuza. Kiritake Kanjűr˘ III will be the leading puppeteer handling the puppet of Danshichi Kurobŕ from the 22nd of July to the 8th of August at the National Bunraku Theatre [pictures and more details in Japanese].
Ichikawa Ebiz˘ will be on tour all over Japan (17 cities) from the 12th of October to the 25th of November. This tour will be as usual entitled Koten he no Izanai, literally "Invitation to the Classics" [more details].
The 3rd edition of the S˘ch˘kai (literally "the Two Butterflies Association"), which stars Nakamura Kash˘ and his brother Nakamura Tanenosuke, will happen the 5th and the 6th of August 2017 in T˘ky˘ at the National Theatre [more details].
The SűpÔ Kabuki Sekando drama "ONE PIECE", based on Oda Eiichir˘'s internationally popular manga "ONE PIECE", which got his first very successful stage adaptation by Ichikawa Ennosuke in October 2015/November 2015 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘, will be staged at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ from the 6th of October to the 25th of November 2017 [more details]. The 30th of June 2017, there was a huge oversized advertisement overhanging the famous Shibuya Crossing in T˘ky˘ [more details].
Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ will perform in a special Buy˘ program from the 1st to the 2nd of July 2017 in Hita in ďita Prefecture at the Patria Hita which celebrates the 10th anniversary of its opening [more details].
The 19th edition of the summer program of the association Ne no Kai (the Sound Association) will happen the 11th and the 12th of August 2017 [more details].
Nakamura Kankur˘ is part of the casting of the movie "Gintama", which was directed by Fukuda Yűichi and released in Japan the 14th of July 2017. This movie was based on Sorachi Hideaki's eponymous manga "Gintama".
Band˘ Minosuke is part of the casting of the movie "T˘ky˘ Gűru" (in English "T˘ky˘ Ghoul"), which was directed by Hagiwara Kentar˘ and released in Japan the 29th of July 2017. This movie was based on Ishida Sui's eponymous manga "T˘ky˘ Gűru".
Ichimura Manjir˘ will perform, along with Kitamura Rokur˘, Mizutani Yaeko and Asano Yűko, in Kigeki in July 2017 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘. He will perform in "Oedo Miyage" (also part of the Kabuki repertoire) and "Kon'ya to Takao".
Obituary: the supporting actor Nakamura Mataz˘ II (1933~2017) passed away the 7th of March 2017.
Nakamura Shid˘ has been diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer. He will stop acting for a while as he will have to undergo surgery. We wish him a successful fight against his cancer and a return on stage. As a consequence, he will not appear on stage at the Hakataza in June 2017. He was expected to play the roles of Matsu˘maru, Naoe and a sum˘ wrestler in "Kurumabiki", "Terutora Haizen" and "K˘suke Mochi". He will be replaced by Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Ganjir˘ and Nakamura Kikaku.
The 16th of May 2017, the young star Ichikawa Ennosuke IV did his 1000th chűnori. It happened at the Sh˘chikuza in the drama "Kin no Zai Sarushima Dairi". His first chűnori occurred in October 1985 at the Kabukiza in the drama "Futago Sumidagawa". He was still a child and did the chűnori along with his uncle Ichikawa Ennosuke III and Onoe Kikugor˘ VII. His next challenge might be to do more chűnori than his uncle but there is a long way to go as his uncle did it more than 5000 times.
There was an important funa norikomi on the Hakata River in Fukuoka the 29th of May 2017, before June Grand Kabuki at the Hakataza which will celebrate the shűmei of Nakamura Shikan and his three sons, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Fukunosuke and Nakamura Utanosuke in Fukuoka [more details]. Actors on colorful boats were applauded by fans and spectators on the bridges or the banks of the Hakata river [more details with pictures].
Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke inaugurated a statue celebrating the birth of Nakamura Kanzabur˘ I in the precincts of the Toyokuni Shrine in Nagoya [pictures and more details in Japanese].
The second edition of the Roppongi Kabuki performances, which happened in February 2017 at the EX THEATER in Roppongi [more details], will also be staged in ďsaka and Nagoya in August 2017. From the 2nd to the 7th of August in Nagoya at the Chűnichi Theatre [more details] and from the 10th to the 13th in ďsaka at the Festival Hall [more details]. Based on a script written by Lily Franky, the stage direction was 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. Ichikawa Ebiz˘ will be the zagashira and the guest star of this production will not be a Kabuki actor but the actress Terajima Shinobu, the daughter of Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘.
The program for the 23rd edition of the common program for 2 associations, the Chigyokai (the Young Fishes Association) and the Kabukikai (the Kabuki Association), which stars stars' disciples in the leading roles at the National Theatre in August 2017, has been published [more details].
The 3rd edition of the Ken no Kai, which stars Onoe Kikugor˘ VI's great-grandson Onoe Ukon, will happen the 6th and the 7th of August 2016 in T˘ky˘ at the National Theatre. Ken no Kai literally means "Ken's Association" with Ken being the first ideogram in Onoe Ukon's real first name Kensuke. Kataoka Ichiz˘ and Onoe Matsuya will be the guest stars [more details].
3rd edition of the gala of the Sora no Kai (literally "the Sky Association"), which stars Kataoka Matsujűr˘, Kataoka Senjir˘ and Kataoka Senju, Kataoka Yűjir˘ and Kataoka Rikiya. They will perform from the 3rd to the 6th of August 2017 in ďsaka at the Kintetsu Art Kan [more details]. These performances are entitled Abeno Kabuki (Abeno is the name of a famous district in ďsaka).
The program for the 27th edition of the Kamigata Kabukikai (the Kamigata Kabuki Association), a summer program in ďsaka at the National Bunraku Theatre in August 2017 which stars Kamigata Kabuki stars' disciples in the leading roles with the guidance of Kataoka Nizaemon, Kataoka Hidetar˘ and Kataoka Gat˘, has been published [more details].
There will be a shienkai, a trial session, within the Heisei Nakamuraza in Nagoya the 14th of June 2017. Only one play will be staged at 16:30 with stars' disciples in the leading roles. There will be also an otanoshimi zadankai (literally "Enjoyable Roundtable Discussion"), a stage speech with the stars performing at the Heisei Nakamuraza [more details].
Nakamura Ky˘z˘ will perform in "Ninagawa Macbeth", the classic of the late Japanese theatre director Ninagawa Yukio based on William Shakespeare's masterpiece "Macbeth". The troupe will perform in Hong-Kong at the Grand Theatre of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre from the 23rd to the 25th of June 2017, in Japan in Saitama at the Sainokuni Saitama Arts Theater from the 13th to the 29th of July 2017, in Japan in Tosu at the Tosu Civic Center from the 4th to the 6th of August 2017, in London (UK) at the Barbican Theatre from the 5th to the 8th of October 2017, in Plymouth (UK) at the Theatre Royal from the 13th to the 14th of October 2017 and later (not yet scheduled) in Singapore [dedicated website in Japanese].
A rakugo storyteller will perform at the Kabukiza Gallery (5th floor of the Kabukiza building) the 8th of June 2017. It will be the 5th edition of an event called Kabuki Shibai Banashi. Shibai Banashi are "performances by rakugo artists in which they employ kabuki-type speech and movements, often with musical accompaniment and against a scenic background" (Samuel Leiter in "New Kabuki Encyclopedia"). The performer will be Ryűtei Ichiba IV and he will tell the rakugo "Shichidanme", in which a servant boy and his young master, who likes kabuki, play the roles of Okaru and Heiemon respectively (in "Shichidanme"), in a room on the second floor. The servant boy falls down the stairs and the young master asks him if he is all right. Then, the servant boy replies that he is all right and that he only fell down from shichidanme. This word has two meanings: the seventh act of the Kabuki play and the seventh step on the stairs.
Ichikawa Somegor˘ will perform, along with many dancers, in a special Buy˘ program, which will be entitled "Miraiza Sai", from the 15th to the 18th of June 2017 at the National Theatre (small hall). 4 newly-created dances, "Mizu Monogatari", "Nyonin Sumida", "T˘sei Ukiyo Neko" and "Kusuguri", will be staged. Ichikawa Somegor˘ will perform under his Buy˘ name Matsumoto Kinsh˘.
The two programs for the July Grand Kabuki in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza in July 2017 have been published [more details]. The troupe will be led by Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon and the highlights will be:
Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ will perform along with the Kod˘ taiko drummers in a newly-created dance-drama entitled "Yűgen", which will feature an array of classical Japanese images from plays by N˘ founder Zeami Motokiyo, incorporating themes from iconic works such as "Hagoromo" (The Feather Robe), "D˘j˘ji" (D˘j˘ji Temple) and "Shakky˘" (The Stone Bridge). Band˘ Tamasabur˘ will share the stage with the dance master Hanayagi Jusuke IV and his disciples. They will perform from the 16th to the 20th of May in T˘ky˘ at the Orchard Hall [more details], from the 26th to the 28th of May 2017 in Niigata at the Niigata Kenmin Kaikan (Niigata Prefectural Civic Center) [more details] and from the 31st of May to the 2nd of June 2017 in Nagoya at the Aichi Arts Center [more details]. They will also perform in September 2017 in Fukuoka at the Hakataza.
The program for the July 2017 educational Kabuki program at the National Theatre, called Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitu ("Kabuki appreciation class") has been published. "Ichij˘ ďkura Monogatari" will be staged with Onoe Kikunosuke in the prestigious role of Ichij˘ ďkura Naganari [more details].
Several actors led by Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon went to the Konpira Shrine the 7th of April 2017 to pray for the success of April 2017 performances at the Kanamaruza, where Nakamura Jakuemon was about to celebrate his shűmei from the 8th of April. Afterwards, The 7 stars were paraded in the streets of Kotohira in rickshaws [pictures and more details in Japanese|more details about the performances].
Nakamura Shikan and his three sons, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Fukunosuke and Nakamura Utanosuke went to the Dazaifu Tenmangű Shrine the 15th of April 2017 to pray for the success of the coming performances celebrating their shűmei in June 2017 at the Hakataza. The Shint˘ god of scholarship Tenjin was enshrined in the Dazaifu Tenmangű Shrine. Tenjin was Sugawara no Michizane (845~903), a high-ranking imperial court minister, a brilliant calligrapher and scholar, who also became a key character in the Kabuki drama "Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami". One act from this drama, the spectacular "Kurumabiki", will be staged at the Hakataza. The actors were paraded on the way to the shrine in rickshaws [pictures and more details in Japanese|more details about the performances].
The fourth edition of the ABKAI (Ebikai in Japanese), a gala for the young star Ichikawa Ebiz˘ will happen from the 9th to the 25th of June 2017 at the Shibuya Bunkamura Theatre Cocoon in T˘ky˘ [more details]. The newly-created drama "Ishikawa Goemon Gaiden", "Goemon Ishikawa: A Side Story", will be staged. It was written by the manga storywriter, novelist and screenwriter Kibayashi Shin, based on a book of Matsuoka Ry˘ and it will be directed by the dance master Fujima Kanjűr˘ VIII. Three non-Kabuki actors, Nakayama Yűma, Maeno Tomoya and Yamada Jundai, will perform alongside Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and his disciples of the Ichikawa clan.
Due to health related issues, Nakamura Kichinoj˘ and Matsumoto K˘jaku could not perform in April 2017 at the Kabukiza. The former was replaced by Nakamura Ky˘tae to play the role of the nakai Senno in "Ise Ondo Koi no Netaba". The latter was replaced by Matsumoto Kin'ichi to play the role of Aidamaya Jirosuke in the same drama.
One new poster celebrating the coming 3-generation shűmei of Band˘ Rakuzen, Band˘ Hikosabur˘ IX and Band˘ Kamez˘ III and the hatsubutai of Band˘ Kamesabur˘ VI in May 2017 at the Kabukiza has been printed out and will be sold in the theater:
Obituary: the Otowaya supporting actor Onoe Juk˘ (1939~2017) passed away the 15th of March 2017. His real name was Kida Yasuo.
The programs for the Grand Kabuki Tours in the eastern and central provinces in July 2017 have been published!
Nakamura Shikan VIII and his three sons will celebrate their shűmei in June 2017 in Fukuoka at the Hakataza. The new Shikan will play the roles of K˘chiyama S˘shun and the father shishi in the drama "K˘chiyama" and the dance "Seizoroi Kotobuki Renjishi". His three sons will play the roles of the three shishi cubs in "Renjishi" [more details].
The Kabuki TV program Kabuki Kool, which is produced by NHK World TV, will have a 4th season in 10 episodes. the focus of this new season will be the star dramatists of Kabuki history. It will host Nakamura Kazutar˘ and the first episode of the new season will be broadcasted the 5th and the 26th of April 2017, four times each day at 04:30 08:30 16:30 and 22:30 (UTC) [more details].
An important photograph shooting session for Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘ and Matsumoto Kintar˘ was held, ahead of the coming 3-generation K˘raiya shűmei (K˘raiya Sandai Shűmei) of Matsumoto Haku˘ II, Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X and Ichikawa Somegor˘ VIII in January and February 2018 at the Kabukiza [pictures and more details in Japanese]. The three actors were photographed at the end of March 2017 by the famous Japanese photographer Shinoyama Kishin, who is famous for his pictures of nude/undressed girls, not traditionally-dressed Kabuki actors. The mon of Ichikawa Somegor˘ VIII will be mitsu ich˘ (three ginko trees). Matsumoto Haku˘ II and Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X will use fusench˘ (raised stripe butterfly). None of them will use the old traditional mon of the K˘raiya guild: yotsu hanabishi (4 diamond-shaped flowers) [K˘shir˘'s crest].
As reported before, there will be in May 2017 at the Kabukiza the important 3-generation shűmei of Band˘ Rakuzen, Band˘ Hikosabur˘ IX and Band˘ Kamez˘ III, the hatsubutai of Band˘ Kamesabur˘ VI, the omemie of Terajima Mahoro and the commemoration of the 22nd and 16th anniversaries (23rd and 17th memorial services) of the passing away of Onoe Baik˘ VII and Ichimura Uzaemon XVII. There will be no k˘j˘ performed as in independent entry in one of the two programs. The k˘j˘ will instead be included in the staging of "Soga no Taimen" (evening program) [more details].
Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ will perform in a special Buy˘ program from the 7th to the 9th of April 2017 in Shimonoseki at the newly-renovated Shimonoseki Shimin Kaikan (Shimonoseki Civic Center) [more details].
Kabuki on Ice! For the very first time in Kabuki history, a special performance will mix ice skating and Kabuki (hy˘en in Japanese). It will happened from the 20th to the 22nd of May 2017, 2 performances a day, at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium. A newly-created dance-skate-drama entitled "Basara" will be staged. Famous Kabuki heroes or villains will appear and a battle between good and evil will break out on ice. It will star famous ice-skaters like Takahashi Daisuke, Arakawa Shizuka, Suzuki Akiko, Oda Nobunari and Asada Mai. It will also star the following Kabuki actors : Ichikawa Somegor˘, Ichikawa Emiya, Nakamura Kikaku, Sawamura S˘nosuke and ďtani Hirotar˘.
As part of the 55th ďsaka International Festival, a special dance program entitled "Hanabutai Naniwa no Nigiwai" will be staged the 28th of April 2017 at the Festival Hall. The first item in the program will a dance performed by geisha and maiko from the famous district of Miyagawa-ch˘. The second item will be the Kamigata dance "Mitsumen Wankyű", performed by the furitsuke Yamamura Tomogor˘ III. The third item will be a dance performed by actresses who used to be famous members of the Takarazuka Revue. The fourth and last item will be the Kabuki dance "Renjishi", which will star Kataoka Ainosuke (the father shishi), Nakamura Kazutar˘ (the mother shishi) and Nakamura Tanenosuke (the child shishi) in a special version of the Umemoto school of Buy˘. The rakugo storyteller Katsura Yonedanji V will be a guest in charge of all the talking.
The Nakamuraya brothers, Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke, who will perform in April 2017 at the Akasaka Act Theater, went to the Hikawa Shrine in Akasaka the 14th of March 2017 to pray for the success of their coming performances [pictures and more details in Japanese].
The 16th of March 2017, Ichikawa Somegor˘ performed in the dance "Shakky˘" in front of "Edo Fuji", a 6m high and 23m long vegetal green monument created by the famous horticultural director and worldwide plant hunter Nishihata Seijun to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the opening of T˘ky˘ Midtown, a mixed-use posh development zone in Akasaka (T˘ky˘). This zone with very expensive offices, residential buildings, hotels and leisure spaces was completed in March 2007 [pictures and more details in Japanese].
A rakugo storyteller will perform at the Kabukiza Gallery (5th floor of the Kabukiza building) the 20th of January 2017. It will be the 4th edition of an event called Kabuki Shibai Banashi. Shibai Banashi are "performances by rakugo artists in which they employ kabuki-type speech and movements, often with musical accompaniment and against a scenic background" (Samuel Leiter in "New Kabuki Encyclopedia"). The performer will be Tatekawa Dansh˘ VI and he will tell the rakugo "Shibahama".
There will be Kabuki performances in the People's Republic of China in Beijing in March 2017! The troupe led by Nakamura Shikan and Nakamura Ganjir˘ will perform from the 18th to the 20th of March 2017 at the Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center in the heart of the Tianqiao District [more details].
The two programs for the Dankikusai May Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza in May 2017 have been published [more details]. As reported before, there will be the important 3-generation shűmei of Band˘ Rakuzen, Band˘ Hikosabur˘ IX and Band˘ Kamez˘ III and the hatsubutai of Band˘ Kamesabur˘ VI. Terajima Mahoro, the grandson of Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘ and son of the actress Terajima Shinobu will make his first stage appearance (omemie). Moreover, the 22nd and 16th anniversaries (23rd and 17th memorial services) of the passing away of Onoe Baik˘ VII and Ichimura Uzaemon XVII will be commemorated. The highlights will be:
The program for the June 2017 educational Kabuki program at the National Theatre, called Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitu ("Kabuki appreciation class") has been published. "Kenuki" will be staged with Nakamura Kinnosuke and Kataoka Takatar˘ [more details].
Nakamura Takanosuke, Nakamura Tamatar˘ and Nakamura Umemaru will perform, along with the dance masters Fujima Kanjűr˘ VIII and Onoe Kikunoj˘ III, at the Kanagawa Arts Theatre from the 23rd to the 26th of March 2017 in a dance program which is entitled "SUGATA". The program is made up of a newly-created dance-drama which is entitled "Zoku Shinsetsu Saiyűki", a sequel to 2016 ""Shinsetsu Saiyűki".
Nakamura Kinnosuke is one the award-winners of the 38th Matsuo Artistic Awards (Matsuo Gein˘ Sh˘). He will receive at the end of March 2017 the "Outstanding Performance Award" (Yűshű Sh˘ in Japanese).
The 38th Haiyűsai (literally Actors Festival) will happen at the Kabukiza the 28th of March 2017 with most of the Kabuki actors. This special gala is sponsored by the Japan Actors Association. It is usually a mix of classic dances, newly-created or newly-revised dramas and ... the most appreciated item in the program: all the refreshment stands which are managed by the actors. If you are lucky, your coffee will be made and given to you by one of the top Kabuki stars. Actors Festival is more a parody of Kabuki full of funny surprise than a set of real Kabuki performances. Some people might even think that it looks like an art university graduation show.
The Duty of Remembrance:
Opening the 1st of January 2017 of the Sh˘chiku official Kabuki facebook site:
The drama "Igagoe D˘chű Sugoroku" will be staged as a t˘shi ky˘gen in March 2017 at the National Theatre. The core of this revival will be "Okazaki" but it is also very interesting to report that the third act, commonly called "Engakuji", which was staged for the last time in February 1931 at the Meijiza, will be revived as well [more details | casting].
No Kabuki for Nakamura Senjaku from January to March 2017! He started to perform from the 18th of January and he will perform up to the 12th of March at the T˘ky˘ Metropolitan Theatre in Noda Hideki's new drama "Ashiato Hime" (literally "Princess Footprints" [more details in Japanese].
The Zenshinza troupe will perform as usual in May 2017 at the National Theatre. A newly-created drama, which was written by the veteran movie director Yamada Y˘ji and is entitled "Ura Nagaya S˘d˘ki", will be staged. It will mix two famous rakugo stories, "Rakuda" and "Ido no Chawan" [more details].
Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke will perform in April 2017 at the Akasaka Act Theater for the 5th edition of the Akasaka Grand Kabuki. They will perform in a newly-created drama made by the playwhright and script writer H˘rai Yűta, the writer of the famous anime "Piano no Mori", which will be entitled "Yume Maboroshi-ka Koi Z˘shi" [more details].
Nakamura Ganjir˘ and Kataoka Takatar˘ took part in a parade in ďsaka the 10th of January 2017, which was part of the T˘ka Ebisu Festival at the Imamiya Ebisu Shrine, which is located in the Naniwa Ward of ďsaka and is commonly (and affectiously) called Ebessan by the people of ďsaka. The T˘ka Ebisu Festival was held from the 9th to the 11th of January 2017. 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 hoe kago, surrounded by people singing a simple catchy folk song [more details in Japanese and pictures].
The world of Kabuki and the world of Otaku will collide for the second time in Kabuki history at the end of April 2017! Ch˘kabuki (literally Ultra-Kabuki) will be back! Nakamura Shid˘ will once again share the stage with the virtual 3D creature Hatsune Miku. They will perform together in a Ch˘kabuki dance-drama which will be entitled "Kuruwa Kotoba Awase Kagami". It will staged at the Makuhari Messe the 29th and the 30th of April 2017, as part of the Niconico Ch˘kaigi 2017 event, an important yearly event for the Otaku tribes [more details].
The seven young actors, who will perform in February 2017 at the Sh˘chikuza, went to the H˘zenji Temple in the heart of the famous H˘zenji Yokoch˘ Lane in ďsaka the 30th of January 2017 to pray for the success of their performances [pictures and more details in Japanese].
What about some fancy Kabuki coloring? A book has just been published full of 76 illustrations, drawn in the style of the Edo period by the manga artist Suzuki Junko under the guidance of Ichikawa Somegor˘. You can test your coloring skills on all of them and compete with others coloring artists over the Internet. There will be a contest and the best colored drawing will be selected by Ichikawa Somegor˘ [more details].
Pikotar˘ is one of the nicknames of comedian Kosaka Kazuhito used to portray a funny fictional singer/songwriter who fathered the Internet hit song "PPAP (Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen)", which went viral in 2016 in Japan. Onoe Kikugor˘ wanted to make a reference to Pikotar˘'s song in his January performance in January 2017 at the National Theatre. There was Kataoka Kamez˘ perfectly disguised as Pikotar˘ on stage in the first scene of the fourth act of "Shiranui Monogatari". For this occasion, the Kabuki program was promoted on youtube with a Edo-flavored parody of the song. Kurogo-chan, the official mascot of the National Theatre, did the dancing part while a Nagauta ensemble played a traditional version of the song. Apple, pineapple and pen were replaced by old style pen, nurisanp˘ (a lacquered stand used in shrines) and a sanp˘ (a wooden stand used in shrines). The 23rd of January, there was a big surprise as the audience got not one but two Pikotar˘, Kataoka Kamez˘ and the real Pikotar˘!
Konpy-kun, the mascot symbolizing the Konpira Kabuki, which is produced every April at the Kanamaruza, was spotted advertising for the coming April performances the 25th and the 26th of January in T˘ky˘ in Asakusa [pictures and more details in Japanese].
The Heisei Nakamuraza will be for the second time in Nagoya in June 2017. The temporary koshibai look-alike theater will be built in the precincts of the Nagoya Castle, same location as for the first time in September 2009.
The next release (27th) in the Shinema Kabuki ("Cinema Kabuki") series will be "T˘kaid˘chű Hizakurige, which was shot live in high definition in August 2016 at the Kabukiza with Ichikawa Somegor˘ as Yaji and Ichikawa Ennosuke as Kita. It will be released all over Japan from the 3rd of June 2017.
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