Sakata T˘jűr˘ celebrates his shűmei in T˘ky˘,
playing the roles of Fujiya Izaemon, Tenmaya Ohatsu and Masaoka in the dramas "Yűgiri Nagori no Sh˘gatsu", "Sonezaki Shinjű" and "Meiboku Sendai Hagi".
Kakuju Senzai: an elegant dance to celebrate the New Year,
with Nakamura Baigyoku as the male crane and Nakamura Tokiz˘ as the female crane.
Yűgiri Nagori no Sh˘gatsu: the roots of this play go back to the
earliest days of Kabuki. The young lover Izaemon has been disowned by his
family for loving a courtesan and now has nothing but a paper kimono.
This role is a classic example of wagoto, the gentle style of acting that
was popular in the Kansai region. Sakata T˘jűr˘ stars as Izaemon, a role
that is a specialty of his family's Kansai acting style. His lover Yűgiri,
the fabulous courtesan who falls ill pining away with love for him
is played by Nakamura Jakuemon.
This particular version of the play was originally written by Chikamatsu Monzaemon
and shows Izaemon with the ghost of Yűgiri. But since the original script
has long been lost, this month features a newly written version of the story.
Sakata T˘jűr˘ will also wear a real paper kimono, the trademark of Sakata T˘jűr˘ I.
Sodehagi Saimon: a larger-than-life history play originally
written for the puppet theater, this is an epic of the intrigues in the
T˘hoku region of Japan. It shows the larger political movements of the
region as the individual tragedies of various people that are caught in
this turmoil. In the most famous section, this play tells the tragic
story of Sodehagi (Nakamura Fukusuke), a woman disowned by her family after falling in
love with a man that they did not accept. Now she is alone and blind
from weeping. She wanders with her child, supporting them as a
musician and comes to her family's house. They do not let her in and
sitting outside in the snow, she sings her tragic tale.
Meanwhile, her husband (Nakamura Kichiemon)
is inside the house, in a story of political intrigue.
Manzai: Manzai are performers with hand drums that would go from
door to door at the New Year to perform auspicious songs and dances. This
dance shows the lively songs of the Manzai, here performed by Nakamura Shikan.
Sonezaki Shinjű: a young merchant named Tokubŕ has long been in
love with the courtesan Ohatsu and is diligently trying to buy out her contract.
But he is swindled out of his money by someone he considered a friend.
Then he is beaten and humiliated in the precincts of the Ikutama shrine.
He sneaks into the teahouse where Ohatsu is and she hides him under the veranda.
At this point, Tokubŕ's "friend" comes and calls him a criminal.
Ohatsu fiercely defends Tokubŕ and asks whether he is prepared to defend his
honor by committing love suicide. Silently, from under the veranda,
he holds her bare foot and draws it across his neck. The journey to the forest
where they commit love suicide is like a dream, half-way between this world
and the next and has some of the most famous lines in Japanese theatre:
"Farewell to this world and to this night, farewell. To what should we who go
to our deaths be likened? We are like the frost on the road leading to the
graveyard, vanishing with each step".
Starring Nakamura Kanjaku and Sakata T˘jűr˘
in the roles of Tokubŕ and Ohatsu.
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 the new Sakata T˘jűr˘'s son
Nakamura Senjaku as T˘jűr˘ and Nakamura Tokiz˘ as Okaji.
Meiboku Sendai Hagi: this play is about the attempt to take over one of
the most famous samurai households in the Edo period, the Date clan
ruling Sendai, a scandal that caused a sensation in its day.
After the death of the lord of the clan, his young heir is the target of
villains. Masaoka (Sakata T˘jűr˘), the boy's nurse is desperately afraid that he
will be poisoned. She refuses to let anyone see him who might try to
assassinate him and attempts to keep him safe in the women's quarters
where men are forbidden. She even fixes his meal in her quarters using
her delicate tea ceremony implements to cook rice. The plotting faction does
not give up, though, and sends poison in the form of candy as a present
from the Sh˘gun. Masaoka's son Senmatsu sacrifices his life for the young
lord by eating the poisoned candy, and when he is killed,
Masaoka thinks only of protecting her lord. Her fierce devotion to duty convinces the
plotters that she is on their side. Masaoka's actions help save the young lord,
and only when she is alone can she grieve for her son.
As another faithful retainer Otokonosuke (Nakamura Kichiemon), stands guard underneath
the room, the evil Nikki Danj˘ (Matsumoto K˘shir˘) appears as a giant rat, but then
slips away, walking calmly through the clouds.
Shima no Senzai: this elegant dance shows the original
shiraby˘shi, or court dancer,
attractive women who wore male court costume to dance. Starring Nakamura Fukusuke.
Sekisan Yakko: there are many dances featuring yakko,
the boisterous footmen to samurai lords who accompanied their masters to
the pleasure quarters or formed part of his ceremonial parade carrying
ornamental spears decorated with white fringe. This particular dance is
named after Seki Sanjűr˘ II, the actor who created it and features a vigorous
dance with these ceremonial spears. Starring Nakamura Hashinosuke and Ichikawa Somegor˘.
Source: Earphone Guide website