DECEMBER 2019

2 shows in Ky˘to (Minamiza) and 5 in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre, Shinbashi Enbuj˘)!

  • Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Living National Treasure Kataoka Hidetar˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Ainosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘ and Nakamura Hayato perform at the Minamiza!
  • Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Ichikawa Chűsha, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Nakamura Shid˘, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Nakamura Baishi and Nakamura Kotar˘ perform at the National Theatre
  • Matsumoto Haku˘, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Kaishun, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Band˘ Rakuzen and ďtani Tomoemon perform at the Kabukiza!
  • Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Onoe Matsuya, Band˘ Minosuke, Kataoka Kamez˘ and Onoe Ukon perform at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘!
  • Minamiza (Ky˘to)
    Dates 30 November ~ 26 December 2019
    Kichirei Kaomise K˘gy˘
    Annual Festive Face-Showing Performances
    MatinÚe

    Shinshű Kawanakajima Kassen (Terutora Haizen)

    Modori Kago Iro ni Aikata

    Gion Sairei Shink˘ki (Kinkakuji)

    Kanadehon Chűshingura
    (Gion Ichiriki Jaya)

    Evening

    Horikawa Nami no Tsuzumi

    Tsuri Onna

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

    Echigo Jishi

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Ainosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Nakamura Kikaku, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Nakamura Hayato, Band˘ Shűch˘, Nakamura Kangyoku, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Kataoka Sennosuke

    Comments

    The traditional kaomise in Ky˘to. Nakamura Kangyoku celebrates his shűmei in Ky˘to at the Minamiza.

  • Terutora Haizen: a rare performance of a historical play by Chikamatsu Monzaemon I. The warlord Nagao Terutora (Kataoka Ainosuke) wants the services of the great strategist Yamamoto Kansuke who is now the strategist for his rival Takeda Shingen. The wife of one of Terutora's retainers is Kansuke's sister and so Terutora invites Kansuke's wife and mother to see her. When the two women arrive, Terutora brings the food tray himself and knowing what he has in mind, the old woman Koshiji (Kataoka Hidetar˘) kicks it. The furious Terutora wants to kill them all, but is restrained by Kansuke's wife Okatsu (Nakamura Jakuemon), who desperately defends her mother, despite the fact that she cannot speak and must express herself in koto music instead.
  • Modori Kago: two palanquin bearers, one from ďsaka, the other from Edo (pre-modern T˘ky˘), decide to stop and rest. As they do so, each boasts of the respective merits of his native town. Finally, the little apprentice courtesan (kamuro) they have been carrying, alights from the palanquin and joins them in their dance. Featuring Nakamura Baigyoku as the palanquin bearer from ďsaka (in reality Ishikawa Goemon), Nakamura Tokiz˘ as the palanquin bearer from Edo (in reality Goemon's arch-enemy Mashiba Hisayoshi) and Nakamura Kangyoku as the kamuro.
  • Kinkakuji: "Kinkakuji" retains the epic scale of plays adapted from the Bunraku puppet theater and is full of miracles and larger-than-life characters common on the puppet stage. It is full of the classical forms of all kinds of stylized characters and the role of Princess Yuki is considered to be one of the most difficult and beautiful roles for an onnagata female role specialist. Matsunaga Daizen (Nakamura Ganjir˘) has defeated the Sh˘gun and has set up base in the Golden Pavilion. The brilliant strategist Hisayoshi, disguised as a disgruntled retainer named T˘kichi (Nakamura Senjaku), pretends to come under Daizen's employ to try to sabotage his plans from within. Princess Yuki (Nakamura Kazutar˘) is being held prisoner by Daizen, but is able to free herself by drawing a mouse in the cherry petals of the tree that she is tied to. It comes to life and chews the ropes holding her. Starring the best of the actors in their prime in a production sure to be full of fire and excitement. Featuring also Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Nakamura Shikan and Kataoka Ainosuke in the roles of Keijuin, Kan˘nosuke Naonobu and Sat˘ Masakiyo.
  • 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 (Living National Treasure 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 (Kataoka Takatar˘), 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 Shikan), 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.
  • Horikawa Nami no Tsuzumi: one of the three plays by Chikamatsu Monzaemon concerning adultery. Ogura Hikokur˘'s wife Otane (Nakamura Tokiz˘) leads a lonely life as Hikokur˘ (Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon) takes turns in attending on the Sh˘gun in Edo. She offers sake to her drum master Miyaji Gen'emon (Nakamura Baigyoku) to prevent him from revealing her makeshift answer to her husband's colleague Isobe Yukaemon (Nakamura Kikaku) who try to seduce her. Then she also gets drunk and commits adultery with Gen'emon. When his husband comes back home and discovers what has happened, Otane stabs herself in the chest and is slayed by her husband, as adultery was punishable by death.
  • Tsuri Onna: a dance based on a classical Ky˘gen farce. A master (Nakamura Hayato) longs for a wife and is told by the gods in a dream to go fishing for one. He is united with a beautiful princess (Nakamura Kangyoku). His servant Tar˘kaja (Kataoka Ainosuke) wants a wife as well, but when he goes fishing, is stuck with a very surprising companion, played by Nakamura Ganjir˘ in a rare, humorous, female role.
  • Sakanaya S˘gor˘: S˘gor˘ (Nakamura Shikan), 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 Jakuemon, Nakamura Ganjir˘ and Kataoka Takatar˘.
  • Echigo Jishi: one of the most popular dances in the Kabuki repertory, this shows four traveling entertainers (Nakamura Hayato, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Kataoka Sennosuke and Nakamura Kangyoku) that performed lion dances, with an adult playing the music and a child doing acrobatics like a little lion. The dance shows the feelings of the adult performers and their feelings for their home in the Echigo region and finally ends with the famous white cloth of the area as they wave long strips of cloth in a variety of different patterns.
  • Sources: Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 4 ~ 26 December 2019
    Program A

    ďmi Genji Senjin Yakata
    (Moritsuna Jin'ya)

    K˘mori no Yasu-san

    Program B

    K˘mori no Yasu-san

    Casting

    Matsumoto Haku˘, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Kaishun, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Band˘ Rakuzen, ďtani Tomoemon, Kamimura Kichiya, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Matsumoto Kingo, Ichikawa En'ya, Sawamura S˘nosuke, ďtani Hirotar˘

    Comments

    "K˘mori no Yasu-san", which was written by Kimura Kinka and premiered in August 1931 at the Kabukiza with Morita Kan'ya XIII in the role of K˘mori no Yasu, is a Kabuki adaptation of Charles Chaplin's 1931 movie "City Lights". It is revived at the National Theatre to commemorating the 130th Anniversary of Chaplin's Birth. Program A is staged everyday (except the 13th) at 11:00. Program B is staged at 19:00 the 6th, the 13th, the 20th, the 24th and the 25th. This program is entitled "Chaplin Kabuki Night".

  • Moritsuna Jin'ya: this play is one of the greatest classics of the jidaimono historical play style. Two brothers, Sasaki Moritsuna and Sasaki Takatsuna are generals on opposing sides. Moritsuna's forces are greater in number and strength, but his brother's brilliant strategies allow him to escape by preying on Moritsuna's psychological weaknesses. Ruthlessly, Takatsuna has his son sacrifice his life to force Moritsuna to identify the head of an imposter as that of his dead brother. Starring Matsumoto Haku˘ as Moritsuna, with Nakamura Kaishun as Kagaribi (the wife of Takatsuna), Ichikawa Komaz˘ as Hayase (the wife of Moritsuna), ACT as H˘j˘ Tokimasa, Band˘ Yajűr˘ as the crafty general Wada no Hy˘e and Kamimura Kichiya as Mimy˘ (the mother of the Sasaki brothers).
  • K˘mori no Yasu-san: Did you happen to know that Charles Chaplin also influenced traditional Japanese Kabuki? It was in August 1931 that Chaplin's blockbuster silent romantic comedy City Lights, which focused on the misadventures of Chaplin's most memorable on-screen character the Tramp, was adapted as a Kabuki play and introduced in Japan. It was three years before it premiered as a movie in Japan. One of the most popular playwrights of that time, Kimura Kinka, was already acquainted with Chaplin's works. He made the decision regarding choosing something very new and fresh for the Kabuki repertoire and came up with an innovative proposal. It is also noteworthy that even though Kimura had not seen City Lights at the time, he was able to create the main character K˘mori no Yasu-san, i.e. Yasu the Bat, based on Chaplinĺs The Little Tramp. It should not be forgotten that the lead character, K˘mori no Yasu-san, is also based on a widely known personality, whose name is K˘mori no Yasugor˘. He was presented in the famous act "Genjidana" of the popular Kabuki drama "The Love Affair of Yosabur˘ and Otomi." Yasugor˘ has a bat tattoo on his face. Kimura thought K˘mori no Yasugor˘ to be very similar to the Tramp and painted him in a very "Chaplin way" to reflect Charlie Chaplin himself. The play was very succesful and was subsequently remade into a Japanese movie. Kabuki star Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X (born in 1973), son of above-mentioned Haku˘ II, is also known to be a big fan of Chaplin. K˘shir˘ X is making his debut by impersonating Charlie himself on the Kabuki stage to commemorate 130 years since the birth of Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin and his deathday (25 December 1977).
  • Courtesy of Petr Holř, Adjunct Researcher, The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, Waseda University

    Dates 21 December 2019 (Dent˘ Kabuki Hozonkai Kenshű Happy˘kai)
    Training Recital of the Organization for the Preservation of Kabuki
    Program

    Zadankai

    Goaisatsu

    Keisei Hangonk˘ (Domo Mata)

    Casting

    ďtani Hirotar˘, Band˘ Shingo

    Comments

    24th Training Recital at the National Theatre produced by the Organization for the Preservation of Kabuki. "Zadankai" (literally "Roundtable Discussion") is a stage talk with Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Kaishun, Band˘ Rakuzen, ďtani Tomoemon, Koma1&, Matsumoto Kingo, Ichikawa En'ya, Sawamura S˘nosuke, Kamimura Kichiya, Band˘ Yajűr˘. "Goaisatsu" (literally "Greetings") is a stage speech done by Matsumoto Haku˘.

  • Domo Mata: the artist Matahei has been refused a professional name because of his stuttering. He makes a poor life by drawing folk paintings and decides to make one last effort to gain respectability. His wife Otoku, who is given as much to chatter as Matahei is silent, pleads his case. Turned down again by his master, Matahei decides to take his life. He draws a farewell portrait of himself, a painting so skillful that the lines seep through solid rock and this miracle convinces his master to confer a professional name. Starring ďtani Hirotar˘ as Matahei and Band˘ Shingo as his wife Otoku.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 December 2019
    Jűnigatsu ďkabuki
    December Grand Kabuki
    MatinÚe A

    Tanuki

    Mura no Matsukaze Ninin Shiokumi

    Dan no Ura Kabuto Gunki (Akoya)

    MatinÚe B

    Tanuki

    Yasuna

    Dan no Ura Kabuto Gunki (Akoya)

    Evening

    Shinrei Yaguchi no Watashi (Tonbŕ Sumika)

    Honch˘ Shirayuki-hime Monogatari

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Ichikawa Chűsha, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Nakamura Shid˘, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Nakamura Baishi, Nakamura Kotar˘, Ichimura Kakitsu, Ichikawa Sai'nyű, Nakamura Matsue, Ichikawa Emiya, Band˘ Kamez˘, ďtani Keiz˘, Nakamura Mantar˘, Ichikawa Kudanji, Nakamura Kamenoj˘

    Comments

    The usual December Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza with two different matinÚe programs and one evening program:

  • MatinÚe A: staged the 2nd, 3rd, 8th, 9th, 14th, 15th, 20th, 21st and 26th of December 2019. Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ plays the prestigious role of Akoya in the eponymous drama "Akoya". Nakamura Baishi and Nakamura Kotar˘ perform in "Mura no Matsukaze Ninin Shiokumi".
  • MatinÚe B: staged the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th of December 2019. The role of Akoya is played either by Nakamura Baishi (4th, 5th, 10th, 11th, 16th, 17th, 22nd and 23rd of December 2019) or Nakamura Kotar˘ (6th, 7th, 12th, 13th, 18th, 19th, 24th and 25th of December 2019). Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ perform in "Yasuna".
  • Evening: "Yaguchi no Watashi" and a newly-created Kabuki drama based on The Brothers Grimm' classic "Snow White" with Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ in the role of Shirayuki-hime (Snow White).
  • MatinÚe A or B/Tanuki: in Japanese tradition, tanuki, an animal like a raccoon dog, is supposed to be crafty, magical creatures. In this modern play by Osaragi JiroOsaragi Jir˘, human beings are shown as being even more deceitful than tanuki. A man named Kashiwaya Kinbŕ (Ichikawa Chűsha) dies and is about to be cremated when he strangely comes back to life. He decides to live with his mistress Osome (Nakamura Kotar˘) only to see that she actually has a lover, Sayama Sangor˘ (Band˘ Kamez˘), on the side and has been lying to him all the time. Kinbŕ is disgusted with his family and mistress and decides to change his name and make a new life. But one day, he happens to go by his old house. His young son Umekichi is the only one to recognize him and, moved by Umekichiĺs sincere love, Kinbŕ returns home. Featuring also Ichikawa Monnosuke (Kinbŕ's wife Oseki), Band˘ Hikosabur˘ and Kataoka Ichiz˘.
  • MatinÚe A/Ninin Shiokumi: in the classical Theatre, there are few plays as evocative as Matsukaze, the story of a court noble exiled to the seacoast where he falls in love with two fisher women. The women make their living scooping up heavy buckets of sea water to make salt and this has become a famous dance. Starring Nakamura Kotar˘ and Nakamura Baishi as the two fisher women.
  • MatinÚe A/Akoya: 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.
  • MatinÚe B/Yasuna: after the death of his lover, the handsome young Yasuna wanders through the open fields madly searching for his love. The tragedy is a contrast to the beautiful setting, a field of brilliant yellow flowers and the lush, sensuous Kiyomoto narrative music that accompanies it. Starring Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ in the role of Yasuna.
  • MatinÚe B/Akoya: 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 (Ichikawa Kudanji). 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 either Nakamura Kotar˘ or Nakamura Baishi as Akoya.
  • Tonbŕ Sumika: this play was written by Hiraga Gennai, an Edo inventor, explorer and writer of comic fiction. Young Ofune is the obedient daughter of her evil father Tonbŕ, the keeper of a river crossing. She meets and falls in love with a young fugitive. Unfortunately, her father wants to capture the fugitive for a reward and Ofune can only save his life by sacrificing her own. Starring Nakamura Baishi and Onoe Sh˘roku in the roles of Ofune and Tonbŕ.
  • Honch˘ Shirayuki-hime Monogatari: This is a brand-new Kabuki play adapted from The Brothers Grimm' fairy tale "Snow White". Nowake-no-Mae gives birth to a sweet baby and there are celebrations throughout the mansion. However, Nowake-no-Mae is cold towards the baby named Princess Shirayuki (Snow White) for she suspects that her own beauty is declining. She inquires of the mirror who is the most beautiful. The spirit of the mirror answers Nowake-no-Mae is the most beautiful. Sixteen years later, Princess Shirayuki grows up to be a beautiful princess and Nowake-no-Mae feels more and more uneasy. The spirit of the mirror finally says that Princess Shirayuki is more beautiful than Nowake-no-Mae. Nowake-no-Mae orders a vassal named Satomura Shingo to kill Princess Shirayuki, but he is moved by Princess Shirayukiĺs beauty and ... Starring Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ in the role of Princess Shirayuki. Featuring also Nakamura Shid˘, Nakamura Kotar˘ and Nakamura Baishi in the roles of Satomura Shingo, Nowake-no-Mae and the mirror.
  • Sources: Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 6 ~ 25 December 2019
    MatinÚe

    Kaze no Tani no Naushika (First Part)

    Evening

    Kaze no Tani no Naushika (Second Part)

    Casting

    Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Onoe Matsuya, Band˘ Minosuke, Kataoka Kamez˘, Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Nakamura Yonekichi, Onoe Ukon, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Arashi Kitsusabur˘, Ichimura Kitsutar˘, Nakamura Kichinoj˘

    Comments

    Miyazaki Hayaoĺs masterpiece "Nausicań of the Valley of the Wind" [manga | movie] is adapted into Kabuki for the very first time! It is staged with Onoe Kikunosuke and Nakamura Shichinosuke in the roles of Nausicań and Kushana [more details].

  • Kaze no Tani no Naushika: The huge industrial civilization was destroyed by the war called 'The Seven Days of Fire' and almost the entire earth is now covered with a vast Sea of Decay, which gives off noxious fumes and among which giant insects swarm. Nevertheless, the human conflict has not ended and two big countries, the Kingdom of Torumekia and the Dorok Principalities, continue to oppose each other. The Valley of the Wind, a remote and small country of people who reads the wind, formed an alliance with Torumekia long ago. Nausicań (Onoe Kikunosuke), the daughter of the patriarch, has come to know the Sea of Decay, loves and communicates with the giant insects and hopes to make clear how the toxic wilderness came into existence. One day, in the small country named Pejitei which is also allied to Torumekia, a secret stone is discovered that can bring back to life the God Warrior who burned up the world in 'The Seven Days of Fire'. In order to obtain the secret stone, Torumekia destroys Pejitei and starts to wage war against Dorok. By chance, Nausicań obtains the secret stone. Defending the alliance, she fights against all the difficulties caused by the foolish war, the Sea of Decay and the giant insects to light a beacon of hope in an ebbing world.
  • Sources: Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

     
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