DECEMBER 2023

2 shows in Ky˘to (Minamiza) and 4 in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, Shinbashi Enbuj˘, National Theatre)!

  • Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Living National Treasure Nakamura Baigyoku, Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Ichikawa Shinnosuke, Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Takatar˘, Ichikawa Udanji, Nakamura Hayato, Nakamura Kazutar˘ and Nakamura Kotar˘ perform at the Minamiza!
  • Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Shid˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Band˘ Minosuke, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Band˘ Kamez˘ and Kamimura Kichiya perform at the Kabukiza!
  • Kataoka Ainosuke, Ichikawa Chűsha, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Onoe Matsuya and Band˘ Yajűr˘ perform at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘

  • Nobody performs at the National Theatre!
  • Minamiza (Ky˘to)
    Dates 1 ~ 24 December 2023
    Kichirei Kaomise K˘gy˘
    Annual Festive Face-Showing Performances
    MatinÚe

    Futatsu Ch˘ch˘ Kuruwa Nikki (Sum˘ba)

    Uir˘ Uri

    Otokodate Hana no Yoshiwara

    Kagekiyo

    Evening

    Kanadehon Chűshingura
    (Gion Ichiriki Jaya)

    K˘j˘

    Sukeroku Yukari no Edo Zakura

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Living National Treasure Nakamura Baigyoku, Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Ichikawa Shinnosuke, Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Takatar˘, Ichikawa Udanji, Nakamura Hayato, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Nakamura Kotar˘, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichimura Manjir˘, Ichikawa Omez˘, Kataoka Shinnosuke, Nakamura Kash˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Ichikawa Botan

    Comments

    The traditional kaomise in Ky˘to at the Minamiza with the shűmei of Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XIII and the hatsubutai of Ichikawa Shinnosuke VIII.

  • Sum˘ba: "Futatsu Ch˘ch˘" means "two butterflies" and also comes from the fact that two sum˘ wrestlers who play important roles in the full length play have names beginning with "ch˘": Ch˘kichi and Ch˘gor˘. In order to help his master Yamazakiya Yogor˘ (Ichikawa Somegor˘) buy out the contract of the beautiful Azuma (Nakamura Kazutar˘), the senior wrestler Nuregami Ch˘gor˘ throws a match, letting the younger wrestler Hanaregoma Ch˘kichi win, hoping to get his help. But Ch˘kichi loses his temper and the two end up competing in a test of pride. Starring popular actor Nakamura Ganjir˘ as Ch˘gor˘ and Nakamura Hayato as Ch˘kichi.
  • Uir˘ Uri: there are many plays based on the revenge by the Soga brothers on Kud˘ Suketsune (Living National Treasure Nakamura Baigyoku), the man that arranged to have their father killed. In this particular play, this dramatic fight is transformed into light fantasy by showing one of the Soga brothers disguised as a peddler of uir˘, a medicine that makes it possible to speak quickly and elegantly. The highlight of the play is a long speech full of puns and wordplays. Starring Ichikawa Shinnosuke as the peddler. Featuring also Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Senjaku and Kataoka Takatar˘.
  • Otokodate Hana no Yoshiwara: Gosho no Goroz˘ (Ichikawa Danjűr˘), the most gallant and chivalrous of men in the capital of Edo, is off to the bustling Nakanoch˘ corner of the Yoshiwara pleasure district. He has received a love letter from his lover, a famous keisei in Yoshiwara. Goroz˘ tells us the story of how they met and their many rendezvous in a dance. On his way, he is ambushed by men who hold a grudge against him, but Goroz˘ effortlessly fends them off and continues on his way to his beloved.
  • Kagekiyo: The powerful Heike warrior Akushichiby˘e Kagekiyo (Ichikawa Danjűr˘) is captured and imprisoned by his enemies, the Genji clan. He uses his superhuman strength to smash his way out of his prison cell, and then struggles with his enemies in a violent and spectacular tachimawari. Featuring also Living National Treasure Nakamura Baigyoku (Chichibu Sh˘ji Shigetada), Nakamura Jakuemon (Akoya) and Ichikawa Udanji (Iwanaga Saemon). A rare play from Kabuki Jűhachiban, the collection of the Eighteen Favorite Plays of the Ichikawa Family.
  • 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.
  • 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 assemble to celebrate the shűmei of Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XIII and the hatsubutai of Ichikawa Shinnosuke VIII.
  • Sukeroku: the dandy Sukeroku is the most famous patron of the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters. But his reputation as the lover of Agemaki, the highest ranking courtesan in the quarter is matched by that of his tendency to pick fights. In fact, Sukeroku is the samurai Soga no Gor˘ in disguise, and he uses the fights to find a lost heirloom sword. His search takes place in the colorful atmosphere of the Yoshiwara where processions of beautiful courtesans compete with the splendor of cherry blossoms in full bloom. All the top stars in Kabuki appear in a procession of beautiful, exciting and amusing roles. Starring Ichikawa Danjűr˘ and Nakamura Kazutar˘/Nakamura Kotar˘ as Hanakawado Sukeroku and Miuraya Agemaki. Featuring also Ichikawa Omez˘, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Hayato, Nakamura Kotar˘/Nakamura Kazutar˘, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Shikan and Nakamura Kash˘ in the roles of Ikyű, Mank˘, the shirozake seller Shinbŕ, Fukuyama Jukichi, the courtesan Miuraya Shiratama, the passer-by, Kanpera Monbŕ and Asagao Senpei.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 26 December 2023
    Jűnigatsu ďkabuki
    December Grand Kabuki
    1st program

    Tabi no Uwasa Okazaki no Neko

    Hana Kurabe Senbon Zakura [In Japanese]

    2nd program

    Tsume˘

    Tawaraboshi Genba

    3rd program

    Sh˘j˘

    Tenshu Monogatari

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Shid˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Band˘ Minosuke, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Band˘ Kamez˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Band˘ Shingo, Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘, Nakamura Matsue, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Nakamura Toranosuke, Ichikawa Seiko, Nakamura Kichinoj˘, Ichimura Kitsutar˘, Onoe Sakon, Sawamura Kuniya, Nakamura Ch˘shi, Ogawa Haruki, Ogawa Natsuki

    Comments

    The December Grand Kabuki in T˘ky˘ at the Kabukiza with a sanbusei tripartite system for the programs:

  • Okazaki no Neko: Yui Minbunosuke (Nakamura Hashinosuke) and Osode (Band˘ Shingo) have come with their child to the outskirts of Okazaki, a post town on the T˘kaid˘ Highway. As it has grown dark, the pair asks to be lodged at Mury˘ji Temple. The old woman Osan (Band˘ Minosuke) who keeps this temple and Osode's mother who died of illness are as alike as two peas in a pod. The old woman, who claims that she has come back to life, is glad to see her first grandchild, but her true identity is that of a terrifying cat monsterů This is a popular scene revived by Ichikawa Ennosuke III from the play 'Traveling Alone Along the T˘kaid˘ Highway', which was originally written by Tsuruya Nanboku IV.
  • Hana Kurabe Senbon Zakura:
    (Contest of the Cherry Trees Now and Past)
    The first scene is set in the Age of the Gods when the sacred cherry tree 'Senbon Zakura' is in full bloom. As the spirit of the Blue Dragon, which plots to rob the world of its light attacks the tree and scatters its blossoms, the world becomes shrouded in darkness. The white fox that protects the sacred tree and Princess Miku (Hatsune Miku) barely escape this calamity after much sacrifice. Time passes. A butterfly which flutters forlornly around the withered 'Senbon Zakura' is the temporary reincarnation of Princess Miku who lost her memory and fled. Then, Sat˘ Tadanobu (Nakamura Shid˘), the reincarnation of the white fox, appears. Tadanobu who still remembers the Age of the Gods rushes to Princess Miku. This play, inspired by the masterpiece of classic kabuki "Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees", as well as the world of Hatsune Miku's hit tune "One Thousand Cherry Trees", was first performed as Ch˘kabuki (literally Ultra-Kabuki) in 2016. Featuring also Nakamura Shid˘'s two sons: Ogawa Haruki (born the 18th of December 2017) and Ogawa Natsuki (born the 27th of June 2020).
  • 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˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke and Band˘ Hikosabur˘.
  • Tawaraboshi Genba: the play is set on the 13th of December, 1702, at the training hall of the master spearman Tawaraboshi Genba (Onoe Sh˘roku) in Yokoamich˘ in Edo. Jűsuke (Band˘ Kamez˘), the keeper of a buckwheat noodle shop, visits his customer Genba who is resting for a while drinking his favorite sake again. Jusuke has come to bid Genba farewell as he has decided to return to his home province the next day. He is in reality, Sugino Jűheiji, one of the masterless samurai of the Ak˘ Domain. He has been spying on the mansion of their enemy, Kira, having disguised himself as a noodle shop owner, as part of the plan to avenge his lord's death, but he has never revealed his identity. As Genba drinks with Jűsuke, he tells Jűsuke that he has been asked to serve as a guard at Kira's mansion, for it is rumored that the mansion will soon be attacked by the masterless samurai of the Ak˘ Domain. This story was written in collaboration with Kanda Sh˘ri, a Living National Treasure of k˘dan storytelling.
  • Sh˘j˘: the sh˘j˘ is a mythical sake-loving spirit that lives in the sea. In this dance, a sake seller has a mysterious customer that appears daily and drinks enormous amounts with great satisfaction. The sake seller has a dream with instructions to go by the beach with a large tub of sake. As it turns out, the customer has actually been the sh˘j˘ in disguise. The dance shows two sh˘j˘ as they drink and dance joyfully. Starring Onoe Sh˘roku and Nakamura Kankur˘ as the sh˘j˘ and Nakamura Tanenosuke as the sake seller.
  • Tenshu Monogatari: Izumi Ky˘ka's "Tenshu Monogatari" creates the romantic and fantastic atmosphere for which the playwright is famous. Princess Tomi (Nakamura Shichinosuke), a mysterious immortal spirit in Himeji Castle, lives in an elegant feminine world of her own at the top of the castle tower. But an encounter with the handsome young warrior Zushonosuke (Nakamura Toranosuke) brings her into the world of human beings and she is moved to sacrifice all to help him. The guest star is Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ in the role of Princess Kame. Featuring also Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shid˘ and Kataoka Kamez˘.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 5 ~ 25 December 2023
    Shinsaku Kabuki
    Newly-created Kabuki
    Program

    Rupan Sansei

    Casting

    Kataoka Ainosuke, Ichikawa Chűsha, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Onoe Matsuya, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Onoe Ukon, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa Juen, Nakamura Takanosuke

    Comments

    Kabuki adaptation at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ of Monkey Punch's famous manga/anime "Lupin the Third":

  • Rupan Sansei: Based on the original work by the popular manga artist Monkey Punch, the "Lupin III" series boasts numerous fans both domestically and abroad, with manga and TV anime at the forefront. Over the years, several masterpieces have been created through collaborations with other genres, and this month it will be at last be adapted as a brand-new Kabuki production at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ Theatre. The story is newly written for this performance. Set in the Azuchi-Momoyama period (the last third of the 16th century) when Ishikawa Goemon lived, it boldly portrays with the techniques and stage tricks of Kabuki Lupin (Kataoka Ainosuke) and other characters : Inspector Zenigata K˘ichi (Ichikawa Chűsha), Mine Fujiko (Ichikawa Emiya), Jigen Daisuke (Ichikawa Emisabur˘) and Ishikawa Goemon XIII (Onoe Matsuya).
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates ??? ~ ??? February 2023 [NO PERFORMANCE]
    Program

    ???

    Casting

    ???

    Comments

    No December Kabuki at the National Theatre. End of the 1st generation National Theatre (1966~2023).

     
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