Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘, Matsumoto Haku˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Jakuemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Kaishun, Kataoka Ainosuke, Ichikawa Ennosuke, Onoe Sh˘roku, Ichikawa Sadanji, Ichikawa Danz˘, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Onoe Ukon, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Band˘ Minosuke, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Nakamura Baishi, Nakamura Hayato, Band˘ Kamez˘, Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Band˘ Shingo, Nakamura Yonekichi, ďtani Hirotar˘, Nakamura Kash˘, Kataoka Sennosuke, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Nakamura Mantar˘
The traditional November kaomise programs at the Kabukiza.
K˘ no Tori: this is a new dance drama first performed at the Eirakukan Theatre in Hy˘go Prefecture in 2014,
which portrays the stork, the divine bird of Tajima Province. It was revived
at the Eirakukan again in 2018 and is being performed
for the first time at the Kabukiza Theatre this month. It is set in the Muromachi period.
Akamatsu Mitsusuke (Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘), the military governor turned daimy˘ who is based in Harima Province,
has become more and more powerful. So much so that, at a single nod from him, the Sh˘gun Ashikaga Yoshinori was assassinated.
A banquet is about to be held in front of the Izushi Shrine and prayers that Mitsusuke will control the world take place.
A stork, which is believed to be a messenger of the gods, is held in a big bird cage. Mitsusuke's retainers have dedicated it to him because
legend says that eating its meat will bring longevity. As they surround the bird cage to kill and cook it,
it becomes pitch-dark and two ky˘genshi appear (Kataoka Ainosuke and Nakamura Kazutar˘).
They perform a dance in Mitsusuke's presence, but when they approach the bird cage...
Ii Tair˘: Ii Naosuke was the head of state in Japan in 1860 when there were
pressures from inside and outside the country. Imperial loyalists demanded that
the Sh˘gun step down and hand over rule to the emperor to resist the foreign
barbarians. The United States and other countries insisted that Japan open its
doors. On March 3, at the snow-covered gate to the Sh˘gun's castle, Ii Naosuke
was assassinated by imperial loyalists. This modern play by H˘j˘ Hideji features
the last day before the assassination as Naosuke senses that his end is near.
The deaths of an old friend and his newborn daughter make Naosuke and his
mistress Oshizu-no-Kata think back to simpler times before he was burdened by such
responsibilities. Starring Nakamura Kaishun as Oshizu-no-Kata, Matsumoto Haku˘ as Ii Naosuke and Nakamura Karoku as Naosuke's Zen teacher.
Soga no Taimen: this is one of the oldest and most classical of all
Kabuki plays. In the Edo period, every January, plays appeared about the vendetta
carried out by the Soga brothers Jűr˘ and Gor˘ after eighteen years of hardship.
In "Soga no Taimen" the brothers confront Kud˘ Suketsune, the man responsible for
their father's death. More ceremony than play, it features each of the important
Kabuki character types, including the bombastic aragoto
style of Gor˘ and the soft wagoto style
of Jűr˘. This month features a cast headed by Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘ as Kud˘
and some of the most popular young stars in Kabuki with Band˘ Minosuke as Gor˘ and
Nakamura Tokiz˘ as Jűr˘.
Featuring Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Baishi, Nakamura Jakuemon and Ichikawa Sadanji as
Kobayashi no Asahina, the courtesan Kewaizaka no Sh˘sh˘ (Gor˘'s lover),
the courtesan ďiso no Tora (Jűr˘'s lover) and Oni˘ Shinzaemon (Jűr˘'s retainer).
Renjishi: 2 entertainers dance a tale of the legendary shishi or lion-like spirits that live at the foot of a
holy Buddhist mountain. There is a comic interlude with 2 Buddhist pilgrims. Then, the shishi themselves appear and perform their dance with wild shaking of their long manes.
The dance shows a parent shishi forcing his cub to undergo harsh training in order to grow up strong.
This theme is often associated with the training a parent actor gives his son.
This performance features Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon in the role of the parent shishi and
his grandsson Kataoka Sennosuke in the role of the cub.
Hana Kurabe Gishi no Kaomise: The feudal lords En'ya Hangan (Nakamura Hayato) and Momonoi Wakasanosuke (Matsumoto K˘shir˘) are entertaining the Sh˘gun's brother,
Ashikaga Tadayoshi (Band˘ Shingo), at the Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine in Kamakura. En'ya Hangan's wife, Lady Kaoyo (Onoe Ukon),
has also been summoned to attend so that she can identify a group of helmets. Later, when K˘ no Moron˘ (Ichikawa Ennosuke), the steward to Ashikaga clan,
forces his attentions on Lady Kaoyo, Wakasanosuke helps her escape from Moron˘. This angers Moron˘, who insults Wakasanosuke so harshly
that the latter is unable to bear it and unsheathes his sword... In fact, this is what Wakasanosuke sees in a dream. In reality,
Moron˘ insulted En'ya Hangan who slashed at him with his sword and was then ordered to commit ritual suicide.
A year has passed since then. Old retainers of En'ya Hangan, ďboshi Yuranosuke and others, have lived separately,
but the time has come for them to attack Moron˘'s mansion to avenge their lordĺs death... This play features highlights from the famous work,
"Kanadehon Chűshingura", but with new direction which enables the story to proceed at a faster pace.
Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website