APRIL 2016

5 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, Meijiza, Makuhari Messe), 2 on Shikoku island (Kanamaruza), 1 in Ky˘to (Ky˘to Gekij˘) and 1 in Fukuoka (Hakataza)!

  • Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘ and Ichikawa Sadanji perform at the Kabukiza!
  • Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Ainosuke, Ichikawa Chűsha, Nakamura Kikaku and Nakamura Kazutar˘ perform at the Kanamaruza!
  • Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Band˘ Hikosabur˘ and Kataoka Kamez˘ perform at the Meijiza!
  • Ichikawa Ebiz˘ performs at the Ky˘to Gekij˘!
  • Ichikawa Ennosuke and the Omodakaya guild perform at the Hakataza!
  • Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 April 2016 (Shigatsu ďkabuki)
    April Grand Kabuki

    Matsu no Kotobuki Ayatsuri Sanbas˘

    Okitsu Nami Yami no Shiranui (Shiranui Kengy˘)

    Migawari Zazen


    Hikosan Gongen Chikai no Sukedachi

  • Sugisaka Hakasho

  • Keya-mura Rokusuke Sumika

  • Gens˘shin Kűkai


    Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Nakamura T˘z˘, Onoe Matsuya, ďtani Tomoemon, Ichikawa Komaz˘


    "Gens˘shin Kűkai" is a newly-created drama and it is about the stay in China of the priest Kűkai. This drama is staged to celebrate the 1200 anniversary of the acceptation by the emperor of Japan in 816 of the request made by Kűkai to build K˘yasan. The original story was written by the Japanese SF master Yumemakura Baku. Others highlights in April will be:

  • Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon and his son Kataoka Takatar˘ playing the roles of Rokusuke and Osono in "Keya-mura".
  • Matsumoto K˘shir˘ playing the role of the anma Tomi-no-Ichi, later Shiranui Kengy˘ II in Uno Nobuo's drama "Okitsu Nami Yami no Shiranui".
  • Ayatsuri Sanbas˘:
    (The Puppet Sanbas˘)
    The Sanbas˘ is part of the ritual play "Okina", a prayer for prosperity and in Kabuki the vigorous Sanbas˘ dance is often performed separately. To make the dance especially auspicious, the old man Okina and attendant Senzai appear as well. In Kabuki, the Sanbas˘ dance appears in all kinds of versions. In this particular version, the Sanbas˘ is actually a giant marionette (Ichikawa Somegor˘), dancing lightly until his antics tangle his strings, creating problems for his puppeteer (Onoe Matsuya).
  • Shiranui Kengy˘: a fishmonger Tomigor˘ (Matsumoto Kingo) tries to rent 5 ry˘ gold pieces from a blind masseur Masanoichi, but as Masanoichi starts making an uproar Tomigor˘ kills him. Tomigor˘'s son Tominosuke (Matsumoto K˘shir˘) who was born on that day is blind. He starts practicing to be a masseur from his childhood and grows up to be one named Tominoichi (Matsumoto K˘shir˘), but he does various evil deeds. He rapes Namie (Nakamura Kaishun), the wife of a direct retainer of Sh˘gun, kills and robs a showman Kanji (Sawamura Yoshijir˘) of 200 ry˘ gold pieces and shares the money with Namakubi no Jir˘ (Ichikawa Somegor˘) who witnessed the murder and becomes his companion. Later Tominoichi comes to do evil deeds with Tobaya brothers, Tanji (Band˘ Yajűr˘) and Tamatar˘ (Onoe Matsuya), and makes them kill Shiranui Kengy˘ (ďtani Keiz˘). Kengy˘ is the highest position of the blind masseurs (zat˘Ó. And Tominoichi becomes Shiranui Kengy˘ II (Matsumoto K˘shir˘). Namie, who was divorced for stealing the money because of Tominoichi's evil deed, tries to take revenge, but is killed and thrown to Kanda river. He tries to make Yushima no Ohan (Kataoka Takatar˘) known for her beauty his wife using the power of wealth but fails. Knowing that Fusagor˘ (Nakamura Kinnosuke) had close relations with Ohan, he orders him to make a large cabinet and after killing them both, puts their corpses inside. Kengy˘ continues to commit series of crime but this comes to an end when Tamatar˘, suffering from a guilty conscience, accuses him of his evil deeds Ishizaka Kinai (Ichikawa Sadanji), comes with police officers and Kengy˘ is finally arrested. Even then, he walks shamelessly and curses at a crowd.
  • Migawari Zazen: a dance play adopted from a classical ky˘gen farce. A man (Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon) wants nothing more than to visit his lover Hanako, but he has one important problem, his homely and overbearing wife (Ichikawa Sadanji). He creates a scheme saying that he will be practicing Zen meditation all night and has his servant (Nakamura Matagor˘) take his place while he visits Hanako. He returns, giddy from a night of pleasure and tells his story to his servant in dance, unaware that his wife has discovered his deception and has taken his servant's place.
  • Sugisaka/Keya-mura: Rokusuke (Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon), a farmer who lives at the foot of Mt. Hiko in Buzen Province, is a master swordsman. In Kokura Domain, a proclamation was issued that they will employ a man who defeats Rokusuke as a retainer. After his mother's death, Rokusuke keeps vigil at Sugisaka Grave for 49 nights. One night, when Rokusuke is praying to Amida Buddha, Mijin Danj˘ (Nakamura Karoku), a masterless samurai passes by with his old mother (Nakamura T˘z˘). Mijin Danj˘ asks Rokusuke to let him win the sword match wanting to be a good son. Touched by his filial piety towards his mother, Rokusuke promises to do so. After they part, a young samurai serving Rokusuke's master, Yoshioka Ichimisai, is attacked by a bandit. Rokusuke drives the bandit away, but he breathes his last after leaving the boy he was with in Rokusuke's care. A few days later the sword match is held at Rokusuke's house and Rokusuke gives Danj˘ the match as he had promised. Just after, Rokusuke's fiancee Osono (Kataoka Takatar˘) whom Rokusuke has never met comes to Rokusuke's house disguised as a Zen priest. To Rokusuke's surprise, Yasomatsu (ACT), the boy left in Rokusuke's care, turns out to be the son of Osono's sister. Furthermore, Rokusuke finds out that Danj˘ is in reality Ky˘goku no Takumi who attacked Ichimisai, Osono's father and Rokusuke's master, under the cover of darkness. Rokusuke becomes furious to know that he was deceived, and goes out with Osono to avenge himself on Ky˘goku no Takumi.
  • Gens˘shin Kűkai:
    (Kűkai's feast with demons in China)
    It is a new production Kabuki adapted from a romance by a famous novelist Yumemakura Baku published in 2010. The plot centers round Kűkai (Ichikawa Somegor˘) and Tachibana no Hayanari (Onoe Matsuya) who study in China and various characters such as Emperor Tokus˘ (Matsumoto K˘shir˘), Y˘kihi (Nakamura Jakuemon), Tan'˘ (Nakamura Karoku), K˘kaku (Band˘ Yajűr˘), Hakuryű (Nakamura Matagor˘) and Hakurakuten (Nakamura Kash˘). It is the era of the Emperor Tokus˘ of the Tang Dynasty China. Kűkai, a monk, and Tachibana no Hayanari, a student in Confucianism, came to China as members of Japanese envoy to Tang Dynasty China. They hear a rumor about a monstrous cat at a brothel and drinks with Shunkin (Nakamura Kotar˘), a woman who was possessed by the cat. A few days later the monks of Seiryűji Temple who visited Shunkin's house to exorcise the cat tell them that Shunkin has been changed to an old woman after the cat has gone away. Kűkai and Hayanari gradually become involved in the case of cursing the Emperor.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Kanamaruza (Konpira)
    Dates 9 ~ 24 April 2016 (Shikoku Konpira Kabuki ďshibai)

    Hikosan Gongen Chikai no Sukedachi (Keya-mura)


    K˘suke Mochi


    Anma to Dorob˘

    Sagi Musume

    Koi Bikyaku Yamato ďrai (Fűin Giri)


    Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Ainosuke, Ichikawa Chűsha, Nakamura Kikaku, Nakamura Kazutar˘


    32nd edition of the Spring Kabuki performance Shikoku Konpira Kabuki ďshibai at the Kanamaruza on Shikoku Island! Nakamura Ganjir˘ IV celebrates his shűmei at the Kanamaruza!

  • Keya-mura: Rokusuke (Kataoka Ainosuke), a sword master who lives a simple country life, is taking care of a small foundling child. He hangs the boy's kimono outside his house in the hope that the boy's relatives will see it and know where he is. One day he finds himself attacked by a woman named Osono (Nakamura Kazutar˘) who turns out to be the aunt of the child. As they talk, they find that they are in fact linked by promises of marriage although they have never met directly. Osono is searching for Ky˘goku no Takumi (Nakamura Kikaku), the killer of her father, Rokusuke's master, and Rokusuke promises to help in her vendetta.
  • K˘j˘: the close relationship between the actors and the audience is shown by these stage announcements, lavish ceremonies to commemorate various important events. In this case, all the stars of the cast, led by Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, assemble to celebrate the shűmei of Nakamura Ganjir˘ IV.
  • K˘suke Mochi: based on a classic of Kansai-style rakugo comic storytelling, this was a famous part of the ďsaka comedian Fujiyama Kanbi's repertory. The play focuses on Daikokuya K˘suke (Nakamura Ganjir˘), the proprietor of a rice cake shop who is forced to sell his wife Okimi (Nakamura Kikaku) into prostitution for the money and then the complications when he encounters a famous sum˘ wrestler (Ichikawa Chűsha). Featuring also Nakamura Senjaku and Nakamura Kazutar˘.
  • Anma to Dorob˘:
    (The Blind Masseur and the Thief)
    This modern play by Murakami Genz˘ shows a thief (Kataoka Ainosuke) who tries to rob a blind masseur (Ichikawa Chűsha) of his savings, thinking that he would be an easy target. But the masseur is more than a match for him and before the thief knows what has happened, the two are drinking together like old friends and the masseur begins to try to persuade him to give up his life of crime.
  • Sagi Musume: one of the most famous dances in Kabuki, this figure is familiar through pictures and Japanese dolls. A beautiful young woman all in white appears in the snowy landscape. She dances lightly of love, but then reveals that she is the spirit of a bird, a magnificent heron that struggles wounded through a snowstorm. Starring Nakamura Senjaku.
  • Fűin Giri:
    (Breaking the Seals)
    In the pleasure quarters, the most important possessions were money and reputation. In danger of losing his lover, the courtesan Umegawa, the money courier Kameya Chűbŕ breaks the seals on a package of money entrusted to him after being taunted by a rival, even though the use of such money is punishable by death. Starring Nakamura Ganjir˘ as Chűbŕ, Nakamura Kazutar˘ as Umegawa, Kataoka Ainosuke as Chűbŕ's treacherous friend Tanbaya Hachiemon and Nakamura Senjaku as Oen, the proprietress of the teahouse.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Meijiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 April 2016 (Shigatsu Hanagata Kabuki)
    April Young Actors Kabuki

    Ashiya D˘man ďuchi Kagami (Kuzu-no-Ha)


    Onna Goroshi Abura no Jigoku


    Ukare Shinjű

    Ninin Wankyű


    Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Band˘ Kametoshi, Nakamura Baishi, Band˘ Shingo, Nakamura Mantar˘, Arashi Kitsusabur˘, Nakamura Kamenoj˘, Ichimura Kitsutar˘, Nakamura Tsurumatsu, Nakamura Kunio


    April Young Actors Kabuki performances at the Meijiza! The rarely-staged matsubamemono "Suehirogari" is revived. There were 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. Lots of hatsuyaku for the 3 young stars:

  • Nakamura Shichinosuke plays for the first time the prestigious role of Kuzu-no-Ha in the eponymous drama "Kuzu-no-Ha".
  • Onoe Kikunosuke and Nakamura Shichinosuke 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 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 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.
  • Kuzu-no-Ha: Abe no Yasuna, a court astrologer in disgrace, has married a beautiful woman named Kuzu-no-Ha, not knowing that she is actually a fox that has taken human form to repay his kindness in saving his life. The couple has a child and lives happily together until the real woman whose form the fox borrowed appears. Knowing that she can no longer stay, Kuzu-no-Ha writes a tearful farewell poem on the paper screen and returns to the wilderness. Starring Nakamura Shichinosuke as Kuzu-no-Ha and Nakamura Baishi as Yasuna.
  • Suehirogari: a master (Kataoka Kamez˘) gives a big sum of money to his servant Tar˘kaja (Nakamura Kankur˘) and asks him to buy him a suehirogari at the market. Tar˘kaja is not familiar with the word suehirogari and doesnĺt know that it means a fan. He arrives at the market and is fooled by a mischievous merchant into buying an old umbrella instead. When his master sees Tar˘kaja coming back with an umbrella, he becomes upset and starts scolding him for being such a fool. But Tar˘kaja starts singing and dancing to get himself out of trouble and the master ends up forgiving him and happily singing and dancing with him.
  • Abura no Jigoku: this play has become phenomenally popular in modern times for its hard-boiled sensibility and sensuous killing scene with the protagonists slipping and struggling through puddles of spilled oil, but was virtually ignored at the time it was written. It shows Yohŕ, the wastrel son of a well-to-do merchant, who constantly tries to borrow money from Okichi, the wife of a neighboring oil merchant. Pressed for funds, he tries to blackmail her, but ends up killing her in the long, dream-like scene that gives this plays its title, "the woman killer and the hell of oil". Starring Onoe Kikunosuke and Nakamura Shichinosuke in the roles of Yohŕ and Okichi.
  • Ukare Shinjű: based on a novel by contemporary writer Inoue Hisashi, this is a parody of all serious love suicide plays and finally ends with the main characters flying through the air on their way to the underworld. Full of thrills and comedy and with popular star Nakamura Kankur˘ making a rare flight through the theater.
  • Ninin Wankyű: the fabulously wealthy Wan'ya Kyűbŕ (nicknamed Wankyű) is disowned by his family for falling in love with the courtesan Matsuyama. Then, when she dies, he goes mad with grief and wanders through the countryside. This dance shows him as he imagines meeting Matsuyama again and there is a lively dance recalling their happiness together before the vision fades and he is left alone. Starring Onoe Kikunosuke as Wankyű and Nakamura Shichinosuke as Matsuyama.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Ky˘to (Ky˘to Gekij˘)
    Dates 6 ~ 16 April 2016 (Ichikawa Ebiz˘ Tokubetsu K˘en)
    Ichikawa Ebiz˘ Special Performances

    Genji Monogatari

    Kabuki Casting

    Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichikawa Unosuke, Ichikawa Kudanji, ďtani Hiromatsu, Katayama Kur˘emon, Kanze Yoshimasa, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Shigeyama Ippei, Ichikawa Botan


    A special program mixing Kabuki, and Opera. The young heir of the Naritaya guild performs in a special version of "Genji Monogatari", featuring the actors Katayama Kur˘emon X and Kanze Yoshimasa, and the Opera Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo. The script for this version of "Genji Monogatari" focuses on the story from Oborozukiyo to Suma/Akashi.

  • Genji Monogatari: Japan's oldest love story is reborn from a wondrous collaboration of Kabuki, and Opera. The Tale of Genji was written in the 11th century by Murasaki Shikibu, a lady of the Heian court. The whole story consists of 54 chapters and unfolds in a number of human relationships and romances that Hikaru-no-kimi,,the hero of the tale(acted by Ichikawa Ebiz˘), had in his life while describing to the court about life in the Heian period of Japan. This story is to recreate a new "The Tale of Genji" incorporating the essence of Kabuki, , another form of traditional Japanese theatre culture, and Opera, an art long-cultivated in Western culture. That is sometimes elegant and quiet, yet sometimes dramatic and aggressive. The beautiful four seasons of Japan are recreated on the stage which will remind audiences of profoundness Japanese sensitivity.
  • Source: Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Hakataza (Fukuoka)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 April 2016 (SűpÔ Kabuki Sekando)
    Super Kabuki II



    Ichikawa Ennosuke, Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Omez˘, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa Shun'en, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa Juen, Ichikawa K˘tar˘, Band˘ Minosuke, Nakamura Hayato, Onoe Ukon


    Oda Eiichir˘'s internationally popular manga "ONE PIECE" gets his first Kabuki adaptation by Ichikawa Ennosuke. Premiered in October 2015/November 2015 at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘, it is staged this month in Fukuoka at the Hakataza. Technically and artistically speaking, it is not Kabuki but SűpÔ Kabuki Sekando (the second generation of SűpÔ Kabuki), a genre created by Ichikawa Ennosuke III and continued by his nephew Ichikawa Ennosuke IV. Most of the actors are Kabuki actors, with 3 non-Kabuki guest actors : Hira Takehiro, Kashima Noritoshi and Asano Kazuyuki.

  • ONE PIECE: "ONE PIECE", a big hit comic of Japan, and Super Kabuki II by Ichikawa Ennosuke IV make a miraculous collaboration! The largest-scale project ever begins! "ONE PIECE" has started since the July 1997 issue of Weekly Sh˘nen Jump. As a book, the first volume was published in December 1997 and gained a national reputation soon. The series reach 77 volumes and the number of copies printed of the series is more than the world record 320,000,000, so it was awarded Guinness World Record as the most printed comic series by a writer in June 2015. Ichikawa Ennosuke IV is one of star Kabuki actors who will bear the next generation. He challenges aggressively to classic kabuki and new kabuki with rich expression and unique personality. He succeeded to the spirit of Super Kabuki which had been originated by his uncle Ichikawa Ennosuke III (Ichikawa En墠II) and performed "Sora o Kizamu Mono" [A Man who sculptures the Sky] as the first play of Super Kabuki II in March and April 2014, which resulted in a great success. It is a marine adventure roman by the hero Luffy (Ichikawa Ennosuke) who explores the ocean with his diverse crew of pirates, named the Straw Hat Pirates, in search of the world ultimate treasure known as ONE PIECE in order to become the next Pirate King. The Straw Hat Pirates broke up in the battle against the navy at Sabaody Islands, the entrance to the new world, the next step to the big navigation in search of the world ultimate treasure. Luffy became alone, hears of his brother Aceĺs execution and hurries to rescue him. Luffy is able to break through the navyĺs barricade, but Ace has already been transferred to the navy head quarter. Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates fight Summit Battle against the navy at its head quarter!
  • Sources: Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Makuhari Messe (Chiba)
    Dates 29 ~ 30 April 2016 (Ch˘kabuki)

    Hana Kurabe Senbon Zakura [In Japanese]


    Nakamura Shid˘, Hatsune Miku


    The world of Kabuki and the world of otaku collide! Resulting from this spectacular collision, a new genre, the Ch˘kabuki (literally Ultra-Kabuki), is born! Nakamura Shid˘, performing the role of Sat˘ Shiroby˘e Tadanobu (in reality the fox Genkur˘), shares the stage with the virtual 3D creature Hatsune Miku. They perform "together" in a Ch˘kabuki dance-drama which is choreographed by Fujima Kanjűr˘ VIII and is entitled "Hana Kurabe Senbon Zakura". It is staged at the Makuhari Messe as part of the Niconico Ch˘kaigi 2016 event, an important yearly event for the otaku tribes [the flyer | a video of Hatsune Miku | website].

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