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

Minamiza (Ky˘to)
Dates 1 ~ 26 December 2018
Kichirei Kaomise K˘gy˘
Annual Festive Face-Showing Performances

Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami (Terakoya)

Toribeyama Shinjű

Jiisan Baasan

Koi Bikyaku Yamato ďrai (Ninokuchi-mura)


Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura

  • Ko-no-Mi
  • Kokingo Uchijini
  • Sushiya
  • Men Kaburi

    Benten Musume Meo no Shiranami

  • Hamamatsuya
  • Inasegawa Seizoroi
  • Sanja Matsuri


    Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Ainosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Ichikawa Udanji, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Nakamura Kikaku, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Kataoka Sennosuke, Nakamura Takanosuke, Nakamura Fukunosuke, Nakamura Jűjir˘, Kataoka Matsunosuke


    The traditional kaomise in Ky˘to. The first one since the reopening of the theater in Spring 2018 and ... the last one for the Heisei era.

  • 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 Shikan as Matsu˘maru, Kataoka Ainosuke as Genz˘, Nakamura Kaishun as Chiyo and Nakamura Senjaku as Tonami. Featuring also Nakamura Kikaku as Shund˘ Genba.
  • 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 Baigyoku) 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 Ichikawa Sadanji, Ichikawa Udanji, Kataoka Ichiz˘ and Nakamura Kaishun.
  • Jiisan Baasan: based on a short story by Mori ďgai, this modern play by Uno Nobuo shows a loving young couple. The samurai Iori travels to Ky˘to with his lord, leaving Run, his beloved wife, behind. While there, he attacks another man in a fight over a sword and is forced into house arrest, separating him from his wife. Many years later, he returns to his home as an old man. There he meets an elderly woman and they do not recognize each other until she sees the one thing that has not changed with age, Iori's peculiar habit of putting his hand to his nose. Starring Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon and Nakamura Tokiz˘ as Iori and Run. Featuring also Nakamura Shikan, Kataoka Ainosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Kataoka Ichiz˘ and Ichikawa Komaz˘.
  • Ninokuchi-mura: in the pleasure quarters, the most important possessions were money and reputation. In danger of losing his lover, the courtesan Umegawa (Nakamura Senjaku), the money courier Chűbŕ (Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘) 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 Nakamura Ganjir˘ in the role of Chűbŕ's father Magoemon.
  • Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura: this is section of an epic originally written for the Bunraku puppet theatre. The full-length play shows the fate of various Heike generals in hiding after the victory of their enemy, the Genji.
  • Konomi/Kokingo Uchijini:
    (The Chestnut Tree and The Death of Kokingo)
    Wakaba-no-Naishi (Kataoka Takatar˘), the wife of the Heike commander Koremochi travels with her young son and their retainer Kokingo (Kataoka Sennosuke), searching for her husband. While resting in a small mountain village, they are met by Gonta (Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon), a local bully who skillfully cons them out of their money. Later they are set upon by Genji forces, and in a spectacular fight scene, Kokingo sacrifices himself to save his mistress and her son.
  • Sushiya:
    (The Sushi Shop)
    Gonta's father Yazaemon (Ichikawa Sadanji) runs a sushi shop, but was formerly a retainer of Taira Koremochi. With his clan defeated, Koremochi (Nakamura Tokiz˘) now lives with Yazaemon's family disguised as a humble apprentice. Innocently, Yazaemon's daughter, Osato (Nakamura Senjaku) is in love with him. But knowing of the bounty on Koremochi's head, her brother Gonta kills him and turns his wife and child over to the Genji commander. Furious at his son, Yazaemon stabs him, but before his death, Gonta reveals that he only pretended to kill Koremochi and sacrificed his own wife and son to save the real Koremochi and his family.
  • Men Kaburi: this is a dance portraying a little boy at his games. An adult Kabuki actor (Nakamura Ganjir˘) will depict skillfully the innocent cheerfulness of a child. He first dances showing how he plays usually, but will then put on the mask of a monkey, pretending to be one himself. However, as the lyrics mention about a horse, he pulls together the reigns and shows the movements of riding a horse. This dance is rarely performed.
  • Benten Musume: this play is a sewamono (realistic play about commoners) written by the late 19th century playwright Mokuami who is famous for his plays about thieves. The thief Benten Koz˘ dresses up as a woman to commit extortion, but his plans are ruined when his disguise is seen through. In the highlight of the play, he undresses, showing his colorful tattoos and introduces himself in a famous poetic speech. Afterwards, he is joined by the members of his gang on a riverbank, and, using the playwright's famous poetic rhythms, in turn, they each boast of their careers as thieves. Kataoka Ainosuke stars as Benten Koz˘, with Nakamura Shikan as Nippon Daemon, Ichikawa Udanji as Nang˘ Rikimaru, Nakamura Ganjir˘ as Tadanobu Rihei and Kataoka Takatar˘ as Akaboshi Jűzabur˘.
  • Sanja Matsuri: a vigorous dance starring Kataoka Sennosuke and Nakamura Takanosuke. It is based on dolls at the Sanja festival showing the founding of the temple at Asakusa when two fishermen found a golden image of the Kannon in their nets. In this case, the holy spirits that they encounter are two spheres with the characters for "good" and "evil" on them, and the spirits possess the two and animate them into a lively dance.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 26 December 2018

    Z˘ho Futatsu Domoe (Ishikawa Goemon)


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


    Revival at the National Theatre of Segawa Jok˘ III's 1861 drama "Z˘ho Futatsu Domoe", commonly called "Ishikawa Goemon", with the rarely-staged "Mibu-mura" act.

  • Ishikawa Goemon: the December kabuki program at the National Theatre is a rare full-length performance of "Z˘ho Futatsu Domoe" with scenes which have not been performed over 50 years. It is a play about Ishikawa Goemon, the famous larger-than-life thief in 16th century, starring Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon flying through the air. The farmer Jizaemon (Nakamura Karoku) robs and kills a lady-in-waiting who is pregnant with a child of a daimy˘ lord. He nurses the child Goemon born then. 26 years later, he kills his beloved daughter by mistake as he tries to kill himself to remonstrate Goemon who has become a thief. As Jizaemon shows him the family tree his natural mother had, Goemon learns that he is the son of the late Ouchi Yoshihiro, a powerful warlord of West Japan, and becomes ambitious to take over Japan. He disguises himself as the Imperial envoy and enters the mansion of the Sh˘gun Ashikaga Yoshiteru (Nakamura Kinnosuke), but his bosom friend Konoshita T˘kichi (Onoe Kikunosuke) unmasks him. Goemon hides in a giant basket, which then flies through the air. As the basket goes to the ceiling of the theatre, suddenly Goemon bursts out and travels triumphantly through the sky. But all the scenes before were his dream. Hisayoshi (Onoe Kikunosuke), disguised as a pilgrim, passes by and notices the fugitive Goemon. In Goemonĺs house in town, his second wife Otaki (Nakamura Jakuemon) is cold to her foster son Goroichi and he is sorry to see that. Goroichi stabs her by mistake and she dies feeling concerns for Goroichiĺs future. Goemon is choked with tears as he learns her true feeling and feels remorse for being a thief. Hisayoshi has caught Goroichi and appears with him in front of Goemon who is run down by the police. Goemon declines Hisayoshiĺs generous offer and sets out quiet in bonds for the execution ground.
  • Source: National Theatre

    Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 December 2018
    Jűnigatsu ďkabuki
    December Grand Kabuki

    K˘suke Mochi

    Osome Hisamatsu Ukina no Yomiuri
    (Osome no Nanayaku)

    Evening A

    Dan no Ura Kabuto Gunki (Akoya)

    Anma to Dorob˘

    Ninin Fuji Musume

    Evening B

    Dan no Ura Kabuto Gunki (Akoya)

    Anma to Dorob˘

    Keisei Yuki no Yoshiwara


    Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Kataoka Kamez˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Ichikawa Chűsha, Onoe Matsuya, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Band˘ Kamez˘, Nakamura Baishi, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Emiya, Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘, Nakamura Kotar˘, Ichikawa En'ya, Nakamura Mantar˘, ďtani Hirotar˘, Ichimura Takematsu, Nakamura Kamenoj˘


    The programs for the December Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza. There are two different evening programs:

  • MatinÚe: Nakamura Kazutar˘ plays seven roles in Tsuruya Nanboku IV's masterpiece "Osome no Nanayaku" under the supervision of Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘. Onoe Matsuya plays the leading role of "K˘suke Mochi", a drama associated to the Nakamura Ganjir˘ line of actors.
  • Program A: staged the 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th, 10th, 11th, 13th, 14th, 17th, 18th, 20th, 21st, 24th and 26th of December 2018. Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ plays the prestigious role of Akoya in the eponymous drama "Akoya". Nakamura Baishi and Nakamura Kotar˘ perform in "Ninin Fuji Musume", the "Two Wisteria Maidens".
  • Program B: staged the 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th, 12th, 15th, 16th, 19th, 22nd, 23rd and 25th of December 2018. The role of Akoya is played for the very first time by two young onnagata actors: Nakamura Baishi (4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, 22nd and 25th of December 2018) and Nakamura Kotar˘ (5th, 9th, 15th, 19th and 23rd of December 2018). Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ plays for the very first time the comical role of Iwanaga Saemon, a male villain role! He is also the star of the newly-created dance-drama "Keisei Yuki no Yoshiwara".
  • 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 (Onoe Matsuya), the proprietor of a rice cake shop who is forced to sell his wife Okimi (Ichikawa Emisabur˘) into prostitution for the money and then the complications when he encounters a famous sum˘ wrestler (Ichikawa Chűsha). Featuring also Ichimura Manjir˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Nakamura Kotar˘ and Ichikawa Emiya.
  • Osome no Nanayaku:
    (The 7 roles of Osome)
    The story of the love suicide of Osome, the daughter of a wealthy merchant and Hisamatsu, a handsome young man that was an apprentice in her family's shop, is one of the most popular stories in Kabuki and was dramatized countless times. In 1813, Tsuruya Nanboku IV (1755~1829) wrote up this story as a showpiece for Iwai Hanshir˘ V, an onnagata specialist in female roles. One actor plays seven of the major roles in the play: Osome, Hisamatsu, the poor Osaku, Omitsu (Hisamatsu's official fiance), Hisamatsu's sister Takegawa, the geisha Koito, Osome's mother Teish˘ and a snake charmer named Oroku. Onnagata young star Nakamura Kazutar˘ makes a virtuoso appearance in this play, acting in all seven roles, including the fastest on-stage fast change in all Kabuki. Also featuring Onoe Sh˘roku as Oroku's fiance Kimon no Kihŕ. Featuring also Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Band˘ Kamez˘, Onoe Matsuya, Nakamura Baishi and Ichikawa Monnosuke.
  • Akoya (A Prgm): the courtesan Akoya is the wife of the fugitive general Kagekiyo and has been captured and will be tortured until she reveals his whereabouts. But she claims not to know. The wise Shigetada (Band˘ Hikosabur˘) puts Akoya to a test, all the time hindered by his companion, the humorous villain Iwanaga (Onoe Sh˘roku). Shigetada forces Akoya to play several instruments since the slightest disturbance in the sound would indicate that she is lying. A showpiece for an onnagata who must actually play the koto, the bowed kokyű and the shamisen flawlessly as part of the drama. Starring Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ as Akoya.
  • Anma to Dorob˘:
    (The Blind Masseur and the Thief)
    This modern play by Murakami Genz˘ shows a thief (Onoe Sh˘roku) 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.
  • Ninin Fuji Musume (A Prgm): the spirit of wisteria blossoms dances of love in the form of a beautiful young maiden. The scene is set in ďtsu City near the Lake Biwa. This dance is one of Kabuki's most famous and colorful dances. This is a special double version together with two spirits of wisteria blossoms. Starring Nakamura Kotar˘ and Nakamura Baishi.
  • Akoya (B Prgm): the courtesan Akoya is the wife of the fugitive general Kagekiyo and has been captured and will be tortured until she reveals his whereabouts. But she claims not to know. The wise Shigetada (Band˘ Hikosabur˘) puts Akoya to a test, all the time hindered by his companion, the humorous villain Iwanaga (Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘). Shigetada forces Akoya to play several instruments since the slightest disturbance in the sound would indicate that she is lying. A showpiece for an onnagata who must actually play the koto, the bowed kokyű and the shamisen flawlessly as part of the drama. Starring Nakamura Kotar˘ or Nakamura Baishi as Akoya.
  • Keisei Yuki no Yoshiwara (B Prgm): This is a brand-new dance, the highlight of which is when the beautiful courtesan in her gorgeous costume expresses her love for her beloved, romance in the pleasure quarters, and her poor life story in dance, weaving into that scenes of the four seasons. Starring Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

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