2 shows in Ky˘to (Minamiza) and 3 in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre)!

  • Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Kataoka Nizaemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Kaishun, Kataoka Gat˘, Kataoka Takatar˘, Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke and Kataoka Hidetar˘ perform at the Minamiza!
  • Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Karoku and Nakamura Matagor˘ perform at the National Theatre
  • Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Kataoka Ainosuke, Nakamura Shid˘ and Onoe Matsuya perform at the Kabukiza!
  • Minamiza (Ky˘to)
    Dates 30 November ~ 26 December 2014 (Kichirei Kaomise K˘gy˘)
    Annual Festive Face-Showing Performances

    T˘jűr˘ no Koi

    Koi Bikyaku Yamato ďrai (Ninokuchi-mura)

    Shin Sarayashiki Tsuki no Amagasa
    (Sakanaya S˘gor˘)

    Kanadehon Chűshingura
    (Gion Ichiriki Jaya)


    Kanadehon Chűshingura
    (Yamashina Kankyo)


    Toribeyama Shinjű



    Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Kataoka Nizaemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Kaishun, Kataoka Gat˘, Kataoka Takatar˘, Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Kataoka Hidetar˘, ďtani Tomoemon, Nakamura Kikaku, Ichikawa Komaz˘,Nakamura Matsue, Kataoka Shinnosuke, Nakamura Kazutar˘


    The traditional kaomise in Ky˘to at the Minamiza:

  • T˘jűr˘ no Koi: this modern play by writer and publisher Kikuchi Kan shows T˘jűr˘ at the peak of his career when he has a new challenge, to play a man who seduces a married woman, a serious thing when adultery could be punished by death. In order to find inspiration for the role, he finds it in real life by seducing Okaji, the owner of a restaurant. Yet when T˘jűr˘ sees that his method of creating a role has succeeded, he leaves, giving no thought how he has ruined Okaji's life. Starring Nakamura Senjaku as T˘jűr˘ and Kataoka Takatar˘ as Okaji.
  • Ninokuchi-mura: in the pleasure quarters, the most important possessions were money and reputation. In danger of losing his lover, the courtesan Umegawa (Kataoka Hidetar˘), the money courier Chűbŕ (Nakamura Baigyoku) 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. In this scene, on their way to love suicide, the couple go through the snow covered landscape on their way to the man's home town where they will meet their end. Featuring also Kataoka Gat˘ in the role of Chűbŕ's father Magoemon.
  • Sakanaya S˘gor˘: S˘gor˘ (Matsumoto K˘shir˘), a fish seller, has taken a vow to not drink, but when he learns about his sister's unjust murder at the hands of a daimy˘ lord, a death that they were told was execution for her wrongdoing, he starts to drink again. Drunk, he storms into the lord's mansion to seek an apology. This play by Meiji playwright Kawatake Mokuami is known for its realistic portrayal of members of the common class during the Edo period and highlights their fierce pride and frustration at the privileges of the dominant samurai class. Featuring also Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Kaishun, ďtani Tomoemon, Nakamura Kikaku and Ichikawa Komaz˘.
  • Gion Ichiriki Jaya: "Chűshingura" is one of the most popular plays in the theatre and shows a true event when forty-seven masterless samurai avenged the death of their lord by killing his enemy. The seventh act is one of the most popular and shows the leader of the vendetta Yuranosuke as he is hiding his intention to avenge his lordĺs death by pretending to be only interested in pleasure, but also encountering key figures on his side and the side of the enemy. Yuranosuke (Kataoka Nizaemon) spends his days and nights in the pleasure quarters of Ky˘to in an effort to make their lordĺs enemy, Moron˘, believe he is not planning a vendetta. His acting is so good that even men in his own group believe he has given his life up to pleasure. Moron˘ is not so easily convinced, though, and has sent spies, including a former retainer of their late lord, En'ya Hangan, to find Yuranosuke's true intentions. Okaru (Nakamura Shichinosuke), the wife of one of the retainers is now a courtesan at the Ichiriki Teahouse, unaware that her husband is dead. Okaru's brother Heiemon (Nakamura Kankur˘), a servant in the Hangan household, has also come to the teahouse and the interaction of these characters becomes a matter of life and death and ends with Yuranosuke preparing to lead the vendetta.
  • Yamashina Kankyo: this is an act of the epic play based on a sensational incident in the early 17th century. Lord En'ya Hangan's attack on the senior official K˘ no Moron˘ affected people even outside his own household. When Honz˘, the senior retainer of another lord, stopped En'ya from killing Moron˘, he thought that he was doing a good thing. But his actions earned him the scorn of Enya's retainers and brought personal tragedy to his daughter who was engaged to Rikiya, the son of Yuranosuke, En'ya's head retainer. The scene shows the tragedy as it affects Honz˘'s wife and daughter and how ultimately Honz˘ sacrifices his life to atone for his misjudgement. Starring Matsumoto K˘shir˘ as Honz˘, Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ as his wife Tonase and Nakamura Kazutar˘ as his daughter Konami, with Nakamura Baigyoku as Yuranosuke, Kataoka Hidetar˘ as his wife Oishi and Nakamura Senjaku as his son Rikiya.
  • Omatsuri: Kataoka Nizaemon as a gallant fireman boss at a festival telling a rueful tale of failure in love and showing the vigorous work songs of firefighters.
  • Toribeyama Shinjű:
    (The Love Suicides at Toribeyama)
    This play by 20th century playwright Okamoto Kid˘ mixes old and new Kabuki styles. The samurai Hankur˘ (Nakamura Hashinosuke) is in love with the courtesan Osome (Kataoka Takatar˘). Visiting her one night in the pleasure quarters of Ky˘to, he gets into a drunken quarrel and ends up killing a man in a fight. Knowing that execution awaits him, the two lovers decide to die together instead. Hankur˘ and Osome travel the road to death in new kimono that ironically were made for them to celebrate the New Year together. Featuring also Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Shichinosuke and Nakamura Kikaku.
  • Tsume˘:
    (The Talons of the King)
    This is a rare performance of a unique dance based on a childrenĺs story of a falconer and his young falcon by Togawa Yukio (1912~2004). His stories are based on a wealth of observation of nature and this unlikely theme for a Kabuki dance was first staged in a commemorative performance for the Saruwaka school of classical Japanese dance, a school closely associated with the Nakamura Kanzabur˘ family. Featuring Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 26 December 2014

    Igagoe D˘chű Sugoroku

  • Yukie Goroshi
  • H˘sho Jiai
  • Fujikawa Shinseki
  • Okazaki
  • Adauchi
  • Casting

    Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Arashi Kitsusabur˘, Nakamura Kash˘, ďtani Keiz˘, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Hayato


    "Igagoe D˘chű Sugoroku" is staged as a t˘shi ky˘gen (5 acts, 6 scenes) at the National Theatre with Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon as zagashira. The contents is different from the November 2013 revival: it includes the rarely-staged "Fujikawa Shinseki" and "Okazaki" acts. "Okazaki" was staged for the last time more than 44 years ago, in September 1970 at the National Theatre. Karaki Masaemon, which used to be the most famous role of "Igagoe D˘chű Sugoroku" in the past, is back on stage in his main act!

  • Igagoe: during Japan feudal period, from time to time, there were people that could not be punished due to clan loyalties and highly fragmented authority. Under certain conditions, retainers and family members were empowered to take the law into their own hands and conduct an official vendetta. Written by Chikamatsu Hanji and first presented in the Bunraku puppet theater in 1783, "Igagoe D˘chű Sugoroku" is an epic based on a true incident in 1634 in which Watanabe Kazuma killed the murderer of his younger brother, a man named Kawai Matagor˘ at Iga Ueno, with the aid of Araki Mataemon. In the final fight, Mataemon killed several people, which has made him legendary as a master swordsman celebrated in theatre (under the name Karaki Masaemon), k˘dan storytelling and popular novels. Kazuma's search for Matagor˘ takes him throughout Japan and the success of the vendetta is due to the help he gets from others. This month's performance focuses on Masaemon..
  • Yukie Goroshi:
    [The Mansion of Wada Yukie in Kamakura]
    Sawai Matagor˘ (Nakamura Kinnosuke) lusts after Otani (Nakamura Shibajaku), the daughter of Wada Yukie (Arashi Kitsusabur˘), and a precious sword belonging to the family, for which he has tempted Yukie's son Wada Shizuma (Onoe Kikunosuke) into disgracing the family name. Yukie rejects all of Matagor˘'s requests, but suddenly, Yukie is killed by a sword coming through the floor, part of a plot by the treacherous Matagor˘.
  • H˘sho Jiai:
    [The Castle of the Konda Family in Yamato]
    Otani's husband Karaki Masaemon (Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon) loses the fencing match in the presence of the lord so that he can travel in search of Matagor˘ and avenge the death of Otani's father Yukie. But the lord (Nakamura Matagor˘) sees that he is the superior swordsman due to the excellence of his stance. The lord lets him meet Shizuma and gives him leave immediately to participate in the vendetta.
  • Fujikawa Shinseki:
    [The Barrier and the Bamboo Forest at Fujikawa in Mikawa Province]
    Pursuing Matagor˘, the killer of his father, Shizuma comes to a barrier at Fujikawa, but hoe does not have a certificate to let him through. Osode (Nakamura Yonekichi), the daughter of Yamada K˘bŕ who initiated Masaemon into fencing, meets Shizuma. She distracts a footman Sukehei (Nakamura Matagor˘) by showing him the telescope used to watch travelers approaching the barrier. Shizuma takes the certificate and documents from Sukehei while he is absorbed in peeping. Sukehei also helps Masaemon to break through the barrier.
  • Okazaki:
    [The House of Yamada K˘bŕ in Okazaki]
    Shizuma presents a letter addressed to Osode's father K˘bŕ (Nakamura Karoku) from the stolen travel documents and the letter asks him to protect Matagor˘, who has been betrothed to marry Osode. She has never met Matagor˘, so Shizuma immediately poses as him from the stolen documents and pretends to be Matagor˘. Afterwards, Masaemon, who has been attacked, is rescued by K˘bŕ. K˘bŕ was once Masaemon's fencing teacher and recognizes him immediately. But at that time, Masaemon was still using his childhood name and so K˘bŕ does not realize that Masaemon is now the enemy of his family and even requests his help in protecting Matagor˘. Masaemon's wife Otani has followed him with her newborn baby hoping to unite it with him. Masaemon drives her back and kills the baby to keep his true identity a secret and to find out where Matagor˘ is. Now K˘bŕ realizes that his old student is actually Masaemon by the hidden tears in his eyes when he killed his own son. He has already seen through the true identity of Shizuma. Impressed by Masaemon's resolution, K˘bŕ tells Shizuma and Masaemon where Matagor˘ is.
  • Adauchi:
    [The Revenge at Iga Ueno]
    Shizuma and Masaemon overtake Matagor˘ at Iga Uemon, halfway between Nara and Nagoya. They kill Matagor˘ to avenge the death of Shizuma's father.
  • A big "thank you very much!" to Kaneko-san

    Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 December 2014 (Jűnigatsu ďkabuki)
    December Grand Kabuki

    Genpei Nunobiki no Taki
    (Yoshikata Saigo)

    Maboroshi Musashi

    Ninin Wankyű


    Narukami Fud˘ Kitayama Zakura


    Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Kataoka Ainosuke, Nakamura Shid˘, Onoe Matsuya, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichimura Kakitsu, Ichikawa Unosuke, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa Michiyuki, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Band˘ Kametoshi, Nakamura Baishi, Nakamura Mantar˘, Nakamura Kotar˘, Onoe Ukon


    This December, the Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza stars Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and Ichikawa Ebiz˘. They play the roles of the courtesan Matsuyama and Wankyű in "Ninin Wankyű" and the roles of Princess Kumo-no-Taema and the evil priest Narukami in "Narukami Fud˘ Kitayama Zakura". The other highlight this month is Kataoka Ainosuke performing the leading role of the drama "Yoshikata Saigo" which has one of the most spectacular tachimawari. "Maboroshi Musashi" is a newly-created drama.

  • Yoshikata Saigo: the full-length play shows the early rise of the Genji clan after a time of oppression. Yoshikata (Kataoka Ainosuke) is the lone member of the Genji clan and pretends to have no interest in reviving its fortunes, but Yukitsuna (Band˘ Kamesabur˘) a good-humored footman who is actually a spy, realizes his true intentions. Yoshikata is about to have a son, the general Yoshinaka, who will lead the Genji to victory, but Yoshikata himself is attacked and surrounded and dies in a spectacular scene where he falls from the top of a flight of stairs.
  • Maboroshi Musashi:
    [The Illusion of Musashi]
    It is a new production by Moriyama Haruo. It describes Miyamoto Musashi facing himself to be initiated into the mysteries of the swordsmanship as a strategist. All the scenes are set in infinite profundity, in the castle tower of the Himeji Castle. The Toyotomi family became extinct in the Summer Siege of ďsaka and the time of wars came to an end Japan was becoming peaceful. Miyamoto Musashi (Nakamura Shid˘) began to be called the greatest swordsman in Japan. He comes to the Himeji Castle, led by Honda Tadamasa, the lord of Harima. Musashi is asked by Tadamasa to slay the ghosts which haunts Princess Sen, Tadamasaĺs son and Tadatokiĺs wife. There is a small shrine to worship Osakabe My˘jin, the deity associated with the local area, on the top floor of the castle tower of the Himeji Castle. No one comes near to it fearing for the curses, except for Tadamasa who comes to pray once a year. Musashi comes to unmask the ghosts and confronts Osakabe My˘jin (Onoe Matsuya). Musashi who does not fear deity tries to slay My˘jin. My˘jin creates an illusion with the same figure as Musashi. Musashi fights puzzled against the illusion of himself. Also featuring Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and Ichikawa Michiyuki in the roles of the ghosts of Yodogimi and Sakazaki Dewa-no-Kami.
  • 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 Ichikawa Ebiz˘ as Wankyű and Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ as Matsuyama.
  • Narukami Fud˘: in 1742, the actor Ichikawa Ebiz˘ II (1688~1758) made a big gamble. His father Ichikawa Danjűr˘ I had created the bombastic aragoto style with exaggerated movements and red make-up to indicate strength but his career was cut short when he was murdered on stage. The big question was whether this vigorous style which was suited to the tastes of the brash new city of Edo would be acceptable to the more refined tastes of ďsaka and Ky˘to. He put together "Narukami Fud˘ Kitayama Zakura", a play showcasing the greatest hits of Ichikawa Danjűr˘ I and Ichikawa Ebiz˘ II, including the plays "Narukami", "Kenuki" and "Fud˘." "Narukami" is about a holy man who imprisons the rain god bringing a drought, who is then conquered by a beautiful woman sent to seduce him. When he finds that he has been betrayed, his anger transforms him into a thunder god. The play also includes a scene called "Kenuki" (The Whiskers Tweezers) about a powerful man who acts as a detective finding out why a princess's hair mysteriously stands on end. He finds the crucial clue when his fashionable whisker tweezers float in the air. Finally, Ichikawa Ebiz˘ II appeared as the Buddhist deity Fud˘ My˘˘, the god to whom he attributed his success. Originally all of these scenes were separate plays or routines that were inserted into other plays. The performance in ďsaka was the first time that all of these scenes were combined with a story about conspirators trying to seize the imperial throne. Ichikawa Ebiz˘ II's gamble paid off and he was not only a massive success in Kansai, he established his family's name as the top acting family in all of Japan. Starring Ichikawa Ebiz˘ in 5 roles: Kumedera Danj˘, the wicked priest Narukami, Prince Hayagumo, Abe Kiyoyuki and the Deity Fud˘ My˘˘. Featuring also Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ (Princess Taema), Kataoka Ainosuke, Onoe Matsuya and Nakamura Shid˘.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

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