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

Pontoch˘ Kaburenj˘ (Ky˘to)
Dates 30 November ~ 25 December 2016 (Kichirei Kaomise K˘gy˘)
Annual Festive Face-Showing Performances
First program

Genpei Nunobiki no Taki
(Sanemori Monogatari)

Kanadehon Chűshingura
(Michiyuki Tabiji no Yomeiri)

Second program

Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami (Kurumabiki)

Kuruwa Bunsh˘ (Yoshidaya)

Mimasu Kuruwa no Kasauri

Third program

Futatsu Ch˘ch˘ Kuruwa Nikki (Hikimado)

Ky˘ganoko Musume D˘j˘ji


Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Kataoka Ainosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Nakamura Kikaku, Kamimura Kichiya, ďtani Tomoemon


The traditional kaomise in Ky˘to. As the Minamiza is closed, it is staged at the Pontoch˘ Kaburenj˘, a venue in the famous hanamachi district of Pontoch˘. Nakamura Jakuemon V celebrates his shűmei in this theater.

  • Sanemori Monogatari: a play about the early days of the rivalry between the Genji and Heike warrior clans. The warrior Sait˘ Bett˘ Sanemori (Kataoka Ainosuke) has been charged by the leaders of the dominant Heike clan with finding Aoi Gozen, the pregnant wife of the leader of the enemy Genji clan. He is to kill her child if it is a son who can succeed to head of the clan, but old loyalties to the Genji lead him to protect the boy. Sanemori tells the story of how Koman, the daughter of the old couple who is protecting Aoi Gozen, bravely fought to protect the sacred standard of the Genji from the Heike. Koman mysteriously comes back to life when her severed arm is rejoined to it. Featuring also Nakamura Kikaku as Senoo Jűr˘.
  • Michiyuki Tabiji no Yomeiri: this is a short dance scene that shows Honz˘ĺs wife Tonase (Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘) and her daughter Konami (Nakamura Jakuemon) traveling along the T˘kaid˘ highway to Ky˘to on a desperate journey to unite her with Rikiya. The beauty of the journey and innocent happiness of the young bride contrast with the anxious feelings of the mother, aware that this trip will end in tragedy. There is also a humorous encounter with a boisterous samurai footman (Nakamura Ganjir˘). There is a shűmei k˘j˘ staged within "Michiyuki Tabiji no Yomeiri".
  • Kurumabiki: this short scene shows the three brothers that dominate the drama "Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami", each with a distinctive personality. Sakuramaru (Kataoka Takatar˘) and Ume˘maru (Nakamura Ganjir˘) have been rendered masterless by Kan Sh˘j˘'s exile. The third brother Matsu˘maru (Kataoka Ainosuke) serves the villain Shihei (???), who is responsible for the downfall of Kan Sh˘j˘. Sakuramaru and Ume˘maru try to destroy Shihei's carriage but are stopped by Matsu˘maru and the magical glare of Shihei. Finally the brothers agree to suspend their disputes until they all meet at their father's seventieth birthday party.
  • Yoshidaya: the roots of this play go back to the earliest days of Kabuki. Izaemon, the son of a wealthy family, has been disowned for loving a courtesan and now has nothing but a paper kimono. This role is a classic example of the wagoto or soft style of acting that is one of the representative acting styles of the Kansai region. Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon stars as Izaemon, a role that is a specialty of his family's Kansai acting style. Featuring Nakamura Jakuemon as his lover, the courtesan ďgiya Yűgiri (Izaemon's lover), Band˘ Yajűr˘ and Kataoka Hidetar˘ as the proprietor and proprietress of the Yoshidaya teahouse. There is a shűmei k˘j˘ staged within "Yoshidaya".
  • Mimasu Kuruwa no Kasauri: set in Edo, this newly-created dance (2015) is centered around an umbrella seller (Ichikawa Ebiz˘) in the Yoshiwara pleasure district. With his fine wares and irresistible charisma, the umbrella seller charms passers-by into buying his umbrellas, and conducts a brisk business until he's beset by ruffians who want a piece of his profits. However, their attempt at intimidation backfires when the umbrella seller reveals himslef to be Ishikawa Goemon, Japan's greatest thief and outlaw.
  • Hikimado: originally written for the puppet theater, this play shows a tragedy of commoners caught between their duty and their feelings toward their loved ones. A sum˘ wrestler named Nuregami Ch˘gor˘ (Band˘ Yajűr˘) has killed a man and takes refuge at the home of his mother. Unfortunately, her son (Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon) has been ordered to arrest him. All of these complicated conflicts are symbolized by the lightness and darkness created by the humble skylight (hikimado in Japanese) as a rope is pulled to move a wooden shutter. Featuring also Kataoka Takatar˘ in the role of Ohaya.
  • Musume D˘j˘ji: a beautiful young woman dances under cherry blossoms at a dedication ceremony for a temple bell. She dances the many aspects of a woman in love, but is actually the spirit of a serpent, driven to destroy the bell out of jealousy. In addition to being the most famous of all Kabuki dances, "Musume D˘j˘ji" is considered to be the pinnacle of the art of the onnagata. This monthĺs production stars Nakamura Jakuemon as the maiden and also features a rare performance of the second part of the dance where the maiden appears as a serpent and is pushed back by a powerful hero played in the bombastic aragoto style. Ichikawa Ebiz˘ appears as the hero ďdate Samagor˘ Teruhide and aragoto is the specialty of his acting family.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 December 2016

    Kanadehon Chűshingura

  • Michiyuki Tabiji no Yomeiri
  • Yamashina Kankyo
  • Amakawaya Gihei Uchi
  • Uchiiri, Hiroma, Sensui, Shibabeya, Hikiage
  • Casting

    Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Ichikawa Danz˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Ichikawa Sadanji, Nakamura Karoku, Kataoka Kamez˘, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Ichikawa Omez˘, Ichikawa Emiya, Matsumoto Kingo, Band˘ Kametoshi, Nakamura Matsue, Sawamura S˘nosuke, Arashi Kitsusabur˘, Nakamura Kamenoj˘, Nakamura Jűjir˘, Nakamura Kotar˘, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Hayato, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Nakamura Tamatar˘, Ichikawa Otora


    Third month of the t˘shi ky˘gen production of the classic "Kanadehon Chűshingura" to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the National Theatre!

    The play "Kanadehon Chűshingura" (The Treasure of 47 Loyal Retainers) is the most popular in the Kabuki repertory and is known throughout the world.

  • Michiyuki Tabiji no Yomeiri: this is a short michiyuki that shows Honz˘ĺs wife Tonase (Nakamura Kaishun) and her daughter Konami (Nakamura Kotar˘) traveling along the T˘kaid˘ highway to Ky˘to on a desperate journey to unite her with Rikiya. The beauty of the journey and innocent happiness of the young bride contrast with the anxious feelings of the mother, aware that this trip will end in tragedy.
  • Yamashina Kankyo: 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˘, Nakamura Kaishun as his wife Tonase and Nakamura Kotar˘ as his daughter Konami, with Nakamura Baigyoku as Yuranosuke, Ichikawa Emiya as his wife Oishi and Nakamura Kinnosuke as his son Rikiya.
  • Amakawaya Gihei Uchi: Yuranosuke (Nakamura Baigyoku) has involved Amakawaya Gihei (Nakamura Karoku), a merchant, in the vendetta so as to assemble weapons for the raid. Gihei has sent his wife (Ichikawa Komaz˘) to her father-in-lawĺs home so as to prevent her from knowing of his involvement. His father-in-law pesters him to divorce her so that he can marry her off to a wealthy man. At this moment some of Yuranosukeĺs men arrive to test Giheiĺs loyalty. Even when they threaten to kill his infant son unless he confesses the location of the weapons, Gihei remains steadfast. Yuranosuke then reveals himself and the fact that Gihei has passed the test. Yuranosuke abruptly cuts off the hair of Giheiĺs wife and declares to the father-in-law that she cannot be married off because she has become a nun.
  • Uchiiri/Okuniwa Sensui/Shibabeya: disguised as firemen, En'ya Hangan's retainers attack Moron˘'s mansion on a snowy night. After a fierce fight, they find Moron˘ hiding in a charcoal shed and take revenge for their lord's wrongful death. Featuring Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Onoe Sh˘roku and Band˘ Kametoshi in the roles of Yuranosuke, Teraoka Heiemon, Kobayashi Heihachir˘ and Takemori Kitahachi.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website or Paul Kennelly

    Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 December 2016 (Jűnigatsu ďkabuki)
    December Grand Kabuki
    1st Program

    Arashi no Yoru ni

    2nd Program

    Fubuki T˘ge

    Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami (Terakoya)

    3rd Program

    Ninin Wankyű

    Ky˘ganoko Musume Gonin D˘j˘ji


    Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Shid˘, Ichikawa Chűsha, Ichimura Manjir˘, Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘, Onoe Matsuya, Ichikawa En'ya, Nakamura Baishi, Nakamura Kotar˘, Band˘ Shingo, Nakamura Mantar˘, Ichimura Takematsu, Ichimura Kitsutar˘


    The sanbusei tripartite system, which is usually used only in August, is used in December as well! The newly-created Kabuki drama "Arashi no Yoru ni", which was premiered in September 2015 in Ky˘to at the Minamiza [more details], is staged for the first time in T˘ky˘ with almost the same casting. The highlights of the second program is "Terakoya" with Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Onoe Matsuya and Nakamura Baishi in the roles of Matsu˘maru, Chiyo, Genz˘ and Tonami. The star of the third program is Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘, who performs in "Ninin Wankyű" and in a special version of "Musume D˘j˘ji" with 5 shiraby˘shi.

  • Arashi no Yoru ni: it is a series of picture books written by Kimura Yűichi. The first edition was published in 1994. As many people wanted to read a sequel to the story, it lasted to the seventh volume and became a best seller. More than 3,000,000 books have been sold. It became so popular that it has been turned into a game and made into plays. In 2005, it was made into an animated movie (the voice for the main character Gabu was supplied by Nakamura Shid˘) by Sugii Gisabur˘, an esteemed movie producer in the animation industry. It was adapted to Kabuki for the first time in September 2015 in Ky˘to at the Minamiza. The main character Gabu is played by Nakamura Shid˘ but also in various genres. On the night of a storm, a wolf Gabu and a goat Mei (Onoe Matsuya) encounters in a mountain hut in pitch darkness by chance. They talk through night not knowing their identity and become friends. They determine their password as 'On the night of a storm' and promise to meet again. They are shocked when they meet again, but they nurture friendship keeping it secret to their each group. But their friendship is at last known to both groups and meets with violent opposition. The two are pushed to the edge ... Featuring Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Ichikawa En'ya and Ichikawa Chűsha.
  • Fubuki T˘ge: Oen and Sukez˘, an adulterous couple, have to take refuge in a mountain hut built for pilgrims because of a violent snow storm. Oen was the wife of the gambler Naokichi, who was Sukez˘'s boss. They fell in love and, in order to escape death (a normal punishment for their immoral conduct), they had to elope. They now live as fugitives, in great fear of revenge by Naokichi. Fate has something in store for them as, this very night, Naokichi, who goes on pilgrimage, turns up and an interesting encounter takes place. A play by the modern playwright Uno Nobuo that shows the characters in a complex love relationship all thrown together in a house on a mountain pass in a snowstorm. Featuring Ichikawa Chűsha, Nakamura Shichinosuke and Onoe Matsuya in the roles of Naokichi, Oen and Sukez˘.
  • Terakoya: Genz˘ and his wife Tonami run a small school and are protecting Kan Sh˘j˘'s son and heir, saying that he is their son. However, word has gotten out Kan Sh˘j˘'s son is there and Genz˘ has been ordered to behead him. Moreover, Matsu˘maru is to come to inspect the head. Their only alternative is to kill one of the other students as a substitute, but all of the students are farmer's children who could never pass for the son of a court aristocrat. However, a new boy arrives that day and Genz˘ makes the terrible decision to kill him in the place of his lord. As it turns out, Matsu˘maru has sent his own son to be sacrificed, because of his family's long loyalty to Kan Sh˘j˘. But he must face the most terrible situation for a father, inspecting the head of his own son and lying when he says that it is the genuine head of the son of Kan Sh˘j˘. Finally Matsu˘maru reveals his true feelings to Genz˘ and he and his wife Chiyo mourn their dead son. Starring Nakamura Kankur˘ as Matsu˘maru, Onoe Matsuya as Genz˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke as Chiyo and Nakamura Baishi as Tonami. Featuring also Ichikawa En'ya as Shund˘ Genba.
  • 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 Nakamura Kankur˘ as Wankyű and Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ as Matsuyama.
  • Gonin D˘j˘ji: this is a variation of "Ky˘ganoko Musume D˘j˘ji" which was adapted from a play "D˘j˘ji". "Ky˘ganoko Musume D˘j˘ji" is the most famous of all Kabuki dances and considered to be the pinnacle of the art of the onnagata female role specialist. There was a young woman called Princess Kiyo who had fallen in love with a monk. The monk soon left her and knowing this betrayal, she changed into a snake from jealousy. The snake followed him, and coiling itself around the bell of the D˘j˘ji temple it burned him and itself to death. A few years later, a new bell was made for the D˘j˘ji temple, and the dedication ceremony was being held. A woman suddenly appeared and asked to have a look at the new bell. D˘j˘ji temple was closed to women ever since Princess Kiyo's incident, but promising to dance for the ceremony, she was admitted to enter. She danced a beautiful dance representing many aspects of a woman in love. However, she is actually the spirit of Princess Kiyo hoping to destroy the bell again. In the original "Ky˘ganoko Musume D˘j˘ji", the woman is played by one actor and the actor dances the whole dancing part but in this special version, 5 actors will be playing the woman and dance the dancing part. Starring Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Baishi and Nakamura Kotar˘.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

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