NEWS FROM THE KABUKI WORLD
31 March
2014

A special program at the Minamiza in Ky˘to to explain stage mechanisms, from the tachimawari to the hanamichi: in this program, you can experience some of the unique stagecraft tricks used in Japanese Kabuki theatre. Tours are organized eight times a day from the 24th to the 29th of April 2014 and last about 30 minutes. The number of people for each tour is limited. Tour will be conducted in Japanese [more details].

A special exhibition dedicated to the Sh˘wa onnagata star Nakamura Utaemon VI started the 25th of March 2014 at the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, located within the Waseda University. It will end the 25th of April 2014. If you are in T˘ky˘ this spring, do not hesitate to visit this beautiful museum!

One new joiner in the the first league of Kabuki actors ("kambu sh˘shin"): Band˘ Kitsutar˘, a disciple of late Ichimura Uzaemon XVII, will take the name of Ichimura Kitsutar˘ in May 2014 at the Kabukiza.

Ichikawa Ennosuke IV and Ichikawa Chűsha IX will celebrate their shűmei in the central provinces in June 2014 [more details].

Nakamura Matagor˘ III and his son Nakamura Kash˘ IV will celebrate their shűmei in the western provinces in July 2014 [more details].

Nakamura Umemaru and Nakamura Ky˘z˘ will play in a modern version of Izumi Ky˘ka's "Tenshu Monogatari", which will be staged in ďsaka at the Festival Hall the 23rd of April 2014 and in T˘ky˘ at the Orchard Hall the 26th and 27th of April 2014.

Nakamura Shid˘ will perform in Tsuji Hitonari's modern drama "Kaiky˘ no Hikari" (based on his eponymous novel which was published in 1997) from the 11th to the 29th of April 2014 at the ďtemachi Hall. The original music was created (and will be performed) by Luna Sea's extremely talented guitarist Sugizo.

Nakamura Kikaku will perform in Nishida Daisuke's modern drama "Mahoroba Kanata" from the 3rd to the 13th of April 2014 in T˘ky˘ at the Galaxy Theatre [more details in Japanese].

A special exhibition about Kabuki tours outside Japan, which is entitled "Kabuki ha Tabi Suru Taishikan" (in English: "Kabuki, the Travelling Embassy") will be held at the Kabukiza Gallery. Located on the fifth floor of the Kabukiza Tower building, the gallery consists of an exhibition room and a small hall. It will be divided into two parts: the first part from from the 2nd of April 2014 to the 24th of August 2014 and the second part from the 4th of September 2014 to the 25th of January 2015.

28 February
2014

The Hakataza, the main theater in Fukuoka, will celebrate the 15th anniversary of its opening in June 2014. 2 Kabuki programs will be staged and the troupe will be led by Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ [more details].

The Dankikusai May Grand Kabuki performances will be back at the Kabukiza after 5 years of absence (it was staged for the last time in May 2008). Due to the closing/opening ceremonies at the Kabukiza, the non-availability of this theater or the passing away of late Ichikawa Danjűr˘, it was either staged in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza (in May 2010 and May 2011) or not produced at all. It will be staged in May 2014 at the Kabukiza to celebrate the first anniversary of the passing away of late Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XII [more details].

Ichikawa Somegor˘ will perform for the very first time the prestigious ten roles of "Date no Jűyaku", in May 2014 at the Meijiza [more details]. These roles were the privilege of the star Ichikawa Ennosuke, who revived them for the first time in April 1979 and performed them in 9 productions from 1979 to 1999. In the 2010s, it was staged 3 times with Ichikawa Ebiz˘ in the 10 roles, in January 2010 and August 2012 at the Shimbashi Embuj˘, and in May 2013 at the Minamiza.

Band˘ Mitsugor˘ received the 27th of February 2014 the Best Actor Award from the 21st Yomiuri Engeki Taish˘ (the Yomiuri Theatre Awards), sponsored by the famous paper Yomiuri Shimbun.

Onoe Sh˘roku and Nakamura Kosanza are the prize-winners of the "Outstanding Performance Award" and the "Achievement Award" of the 35th Matsuo Artistic Prizes (Matsuo Gein˘ Sh˘). He will receive his prize the 29th of March 2012 at the ANA Intercontinental Hotel in T˘ky˘.

Ichikawa En'˘ II did a daily chronicle for one month (all days of February 2014) in the culture page of the morning edition of the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, a leading economic newspaper in Japan. This serialized column was entitled "My CV" (watashi no rirekisho in Japanese).

The 37th Haiyűsai (literally Actors Festival) will happen at the Kabukiza the 27th of March 2014 with most of the Kabuki actors [online flyer]. This special gala is sponsored by the Japan Actors Association (led by Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘). There will be one matinÚe and one evening programs. The contents is as usual quite original with a mix of classic dance, 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 surprises (in the style of the Umezawa Brothers shows?) than a set of real Kabuki performances. Some people might even think that it looks like an art university graduation show. By the way, it will be the first Actors Festival in the new Kabukiza. Here are some details:

  • "Rokkasen Sugata no Irodori" will be staged to open the 37th Actors Festival. It is a humorous series of five dances, which show the ancient poetic geniuses famous from classical Japanese literature, reinterpreted to the tastes of Edo period audiences. Ono no Komachi, the only woman of the six, was famous as a great beauty and in this dance, all the other poets are in love with her. In "Henj˘", Onoe Sh˘roku and Nakamura Shibajaku play the roles of S˘j˘ Henj˘ and Komachi. In "Bun'ya", Nakamura Kankur˘ plays the role of Bun'ya no Yasuhide. In "Narihira", Onoe Kikunosuke and Nakamura Shichinosuke play the roles of Ariwara no Narihira and Komachi. In "Kisen", Ichikawa Somegor˘ and Nakamura Tokiz˘ play the roles of the priest Kisen and Okaji. In "Kuronushi", Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and Band˘ Tamasabur˘ play the roles of ďtomo no Kuronushi and Komachi.
  • The second item of this 37th Actors Festival is the dance "Nank˘". A 1902 Nagauta-based dance-drama focusing on the 14th century warrior Kusunoki Masashige.
  • The refreshment stands festival!
  • A revision of "Suzu-ga-Mori" (entitled "Suzu-ga-Mori Nishiki no Kumokago") with the two main roles, Shirai Gompachi and Banzui Ch˘bei, played by Ichikawa Somegor˘'s son Matsumoto Kintar˘ and Onoe Sh˘roku's son Fujima Taiga. The kumosuke and kagokaki will be played by major actors and ... two actesses: Namino Kuriko and Mizutani Yaeko.
  • Nakamura Hayato, who performed in February 2014 at the Hakataza, did a special public relations campaign for the National Tax Agency the 14th of February 2014 in Fukuoka. Some taxpayers must fill their final tax return for the previous year between the 16th of February and the 15th of March in order to pay their income tax. Why not a little reminder with a Kabuki actor ? [more in Japanese].

    A special program starring Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and mixing Kabuki, N˘ and Opera will be staged in April 2014 at the Minamiza. The young heir of the Naritaya guild will perform in a special version of "Genji Monogatari", along with the major N˘ actors like Katayama Kur˘emon X, Umewaka Kish˘ II and Kanze Yoshimasa and the Opera Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo. Kataoka Takatar˘ will be a special guest [more details].

    31 January
    2014

    The Harimaya veteran Nakamura Kichinoj˘ II passed away the 26th of January 2014 (lung abscess).

    Band˘ Mitsugor˘ will be back on stage in April 2014 at the Kabukiza, where he will perform in the dance-drama "Kotobuki Utsubo Zaru".

    The 14th edition of the original Cocoon Kabuki will happen in June 2014 at the Theatre Cocoon. These performances recreate the atmosphere of the Edo koshibai and brings the actors closer to the audience. the drama "Sannin Kichisa" will be staged under the supervision and direction of Kazuyoshi Kushida. The stars of this new edition will be the heirs of late Nakamura Kanzabur˘, the founder of Cocoon Kabuki, Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke. The third Kichisa will be played by the young and popular actor Onoe Matsuya, who will take part in Cocoon Kabuki for the first time.

    Nakamura Tokiz˘ will play for the first time in his career the role of Otomi in Kawatake Mokuami's drama "Musume Gonomi Ukina no Yokogushi", in March 2014 at the National Theatre [more details]. This kizewamono drama is commonly called "Kirare Otomi" ("Scarface Otomi") is a kakikae ky˘gen based on "Kirare Yosa" ("Scarface Yosa").

    Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ will do his isse ichidai performance for the role of the courtesan Ohatsu in the drama "Sonezaki Shinjű", which will be staged in April 2014 at the Kabukiza; the role of Ohatsu's lover Tokubei will be played by his son Nakamura Kanjaku.

    Ichikawa Sadanji's disciple Ichikawa Satojir˘ celebrated his success in 2007 at the nadai exam in January 2014 at the Shimbashi Embuj˘, where he received the name of Ichikawa Sash˘ IV.

    The April 2013, May 2013 and June 2013 Kokera Otoshi (opening ceremony) Performances at the Kabukiza have been released in DVD and Blu-Ray. The DVD package (18 discs; 75,000 JPY) was released in Japan the 18th of December 2013 [more details in Japanese]. The Blu-Ray package (10 discs; 88,000 JPY) was released in Japan the 29th of January 2014 [more details in Japanese]. The famous English commentaries are included!

    The Zenshinza tateonnagata Kawarazaki Kunitar˘ will perform the 7 roles of Tsuruya Namboku IV's masterpiece "Osome no Nanayaku" in May 2014 at the National Theatre [more details].

    The two months (four programs) of March 2014 and April 2014 at the Kabukiza, which should have been dedicated to the shűmei of Nakamura Utaemon VII and Nakamura Fukusuke X, will be replaced by special programs called H˘˘sai, which means Phoenix Festival. The Phoenix Bird is the symbol of the Kabukiza as it is the official mon of this prestigious theater.

  • In March 2014, there will be 4 Living National Treasures on stage! 3 of them will perform the 3 major roles of the classic "Kanjinch˘" [more details].
  • In April 2014, Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ will do his isse ichidai performance for the role of the courtesan Ohatsu in the drama "Sonezaki Shinjű" and Band˘ Mitsugor˘ will be back on stage [more details]!
  • Ichimura Manjir˘, Nakamura Shid˘ and Band˘ Minosuke will perform in February 2014 at the Shimbashi Embuj˘ in Makino Nozomi's comedy "Haha o Tazunete Hizakurige", along with famous actors or actresses like Okuda Eiji, Fujiyama Naomi or Mizutani Yaeko. This drama will be staged with the same casting in June 2014 at the Sh˘chikuza.

    Kataoka Kamez˘ will play in Kazuyoshi Kushida's 1977 musical masterpiece "Motto Naite-yo Furappa" ("Cry Some More for Me, Flapper" in English), along with Matsu Takako, Matsuo Suzuki, Akiyama Natsuko, Ry˘, Daid˘ Shunsuke, Suzuki Ranran, ďta Midori Laurens, ďmori Hiroshi, Manako Keiji, Konishi Yasuhisa, Sak˘ Yoshi, Uchida Shinichir˘, Kataoka Sh˘jir˘, Kushida Kazuyoshi and Ishimaru Kanji. This musical drama will be revived in T˘ky˘ at the Theatre Cocoon from the 8th of February 2014 to the 2nd of March 2014. It will also be staged in March 2014 in Matsumoto at the Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre and in ďsaka at the Theater Brava.

    Kataoka Ainosuke will perform in Mitani K˘ki's drama "Sake to Namida to Jikiru to Haido" ("Alcohol, Tears, Jekyll and Hide" in English), which will be staged at the T˘ky˘ Metropolitan Theatre (10~30 April 2014) and at the Galaxy Theatre (4~18 May 2014).

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