JANUARY 2024

6 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, New National Theatre, Asakusa K˘kaid˘, Shinbashi Enbuj˘), 4 in ďsaka (Sh˘chikuza, ďsaka Club) and 1 in Ky˘to (Ky˘to Gekij˘)!

  • Living National Treasure Nakamura Baigyoku, Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘, Matsumoto Haku˘, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Fukusuke, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Ichikawa Chűsha, Nakamura Matagor˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘ and Nakamura Kazutar˘ perform at the Kabukiza!
  • Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Nakamura Baishi and Kataoka Kamez˘ perform at the New National Theatre
  • Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ performs at the Sh˘chikuza!
  • Lots of young talented actors at the Asakusa K˘kaid˘!
  • Ichikawa Danjűr˘ performs at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘!
  • The Zenshinza troupe perform at the Ky˘to Gekij˘!
  • Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 27 January 2024
    Kotobuki Hatsuharu ďkabuki
    Congratulation Early Spring Grand Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Ataru Tatsudoshi Kabuki no Nigiwai

  • Gonin Sanbas˘
  • Hanabusa Jishi
  • Arakawa Jűdayű

    Korikori Banashi

    Evening

    Tsuru Kame

    Kotobuki Soga no Taimen

    Musuko

    Ky˘ganoko Musume D˘j˘ji

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Nakamura Baigyoku, Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘, Matsumoto Haku˘, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Fukusuke, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Ichikawa Chűsha, Nakamura Matagor˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Onoe Ukon, Band˘ Kamez˘, Matsumoto Kingo, Ichikawa En'ya, Ichikawa Seiko, Nakamura Matsue, Nakamura Kikaku, Sawamura S˘nosuke, ďtani Keiz˘ Nakamura Takanosuke, Nakamura Toranosuke, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Nakamura Fukunosuke, Nakamura Utanosuke, Nakamura Tamatar˘, Onoe Sakon, Nakamura Kichinoj˘, Nakamura Baika

    Comments

    The two programs for the New Year Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza.

  • Gonin Sanbas˘: this dance is a special five-actor auspicious dance based on the ritual play 'Okina' in the classical Theatre. Five sanbas˘ dance energetically praying for national tranquility and a bountiful harvest of grain. Featuring Nakamura Takanosuke, Nakamura Toranosuke, Nakamura Fukunosuke, Nakamura Utanosuke and Nakamura Tamatar˘.
  • Hanabusa Jishi: A geisha and chiefs of fire brigades dance gorgeously. A chic and lively dance is performed celebrating the beginning of the New Year. Starring Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Ganjir˘ and Nakamura Matagor˘.
  • Arakawa Jűdayű: the street in front of the Sengakuji Temple is bustling with people who come to celebrate the 7th anniversary of the death of the loyal retainers of Ak˘ Domain. Arakawa Jűdayű (Onoe Sh˘roku), a foot guard of the Matsudaira clan in Iyo Province, comes to visit the grave in fine attire which is unsuitable for a warrior of lower rank. Sugita Gozaemon (Nakamura Kichinoj˘), an inspector of the same clan who happens to be present, rebukes him for assuming a false rank which is a serious crime for a warrior. Later at court, as his lord Matsudaira Oki-no-Kami Sadanao (Band˘ Kamez˘) interrogates him about the reason why he assumed a false rank, he begins to talk about the day when he acted as second for Horibe Yasubŕ (Ichikawa Chűsha), one of the loyal retainers of Ak˘ Domain, as he committed seppuku ritual disembowelment
  • and ...

  • Korikori Banashi:
    (Bewitching Foxes and Badgers)
    In Japan, foxes and tanuki badgers are said to have the power to take the shape of humans, and in that form, they play mischievously, sometimes causing great harm. In this play by the contemporary playwrite H˘j˘ Hideji (1902~1996), foxes and badgers do not appear, but the scheming of human beings is no less crafty than that of those magical creatures. The play features Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Onoe Ukon and Ichikawa Somegor˘.
  • Tsuru Kame: the crane (tsuru) is said to live for a thousand years, the tortoise (kame) is said to live for ten thousand years. Together, they are a traditional symbol of longevity. There is no particular plot to this play, but simply shows a visit by the empress to the Moon Pavilion where two courtiers dance as the spirits of the crane and tortoise. Starring Nakamura Fukusuke as the empress, Matsumoto K˘shir˘ as the spirit of the crane and Onoe Sh˘roku as the spirit of the tortoise.
  • Soga no Taimen: this is one of the oldest and most classical of all Kabuki plays. In the Edo period, every January, plays appeared about the vendetta carried out by the Soga brothers Jűr˘ and Gor˘ after eighteen years of hardship. In "Soga no Taimen" the brothers confront Kud˘ Suketsune, the man responsible for their father's death. More ceremony than play, it features each of the important Kabuki character types, including the bombastic aragoto style of Gor˘ and the soft wagoto style of Jűr˘. This month features a cast headed by Living National Treasure Nakamura Baigyoku as Kud˘ and some of the most popular young stars in Kabuki with Nakamura Shikan as Gor˘ and Nakamura Senjaku as Jűr˘. Featuring Band˘ Yajűr˘, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Nakamura Kaishun and Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘ as Kobayashi no Asahina, the courtesan Kewaizaka no Sh˘sh˘ (Gor˘'s lover), the courtesan ďiso no Tora (Jűr˘'s lover) and Oni˘ Shinzaemon (Jűr˘'s retainer).
  • Musuko: A modern play that shows a thief on the run who takes refuge in the shack of the guardman of a fire watchhouse. The thief is the same age as the old man's son and gradually he realizes that this is his father. But he conceals his identity because the old man is fondly convinced that his son has become a success somewhere. A 3-generation K˘raiya casting: Matsumoto Haku˘ as the old man, Matsumoto Haku˘'s son Matsumoto K˘shir˘ as the thief and Matsumoto Haku˘'s grandson Ichikawa Somegor˘ as the policeman.
  • 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. The role of the shiraby˘shi is played by Nakamura Kazutar˘ from the 2nd to the 14th of December and Onoe Ukon from the 15th to the 27th of December.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    New National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 5 ~ 27 January 2024
    Program

    Kajiwara Heiz˘ Homare no Ishikiri
    (Ishikiri Kajiwara)

    Ashiya D˘man ďuchi Kagami (Kuzu-no-Ha)

    Kioi Jishi Kadode no Hatsubutai

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Nakamura Baishi, Kataoka Kamez˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘, Nakamura Mantar˘, Ichimura Takematsu, Onoe Ushinosuke, Onoe Maholo, Ichimura Hikaru, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Arashi Kitsusabur˘, Ogawa Hiroharu

  • Ishikiri Kajiwara: the Heike general Kajiwara (Onoe Kikunosuke) is asked to test the sharpness of a sword by slicing two live human beings in half. He deliberately makes the sword fail the test to keep the sword, a priceless heirloom belonging to the enemy Genji clan, from falling into the hands of his Taira clan. A miracle has convinced Kajiwara to change sides. Kajiwara finally demonstrates the true power of the sword by cutting a large stone basin in two. Featuring also Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Nakamura Baishi and Kataoka Kamez˘.
  • Kuzu-no-Ha: Abe no Yasuna, a court astrologer in disgrace, has married a beautiful woman named Kuzu-no-Ha, not knowing that she is actually a fox that has taken human form to repay his kindness in saving his life. The couple has a child and lives happily together until the real woman whose form the fox borrowed appears. Knowing that she can no longer stay, Kuzu-no-Ha writes a tearful farewell poem on the paper screen and returns to the wilderness. Starring Nakamura Baishi as Kuzu-no-Ha and his father Nakamura Tokiz˘ as Yasuna.
  • Kioi Jishi: this dance shows an Edo festival with its lively lion dance and other entertainments. The festival is full of handsome firemen and attractive geisha who do a series of graceful dances. One of the highlights of this dance is the story of the Soga brothers avenging the death of their father by attacking their enemy during a hunting party for the Sh˘gun at the foot of Mt. Fuji. Featuring Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘ and all the troupe of actors celebrating the opening of Kabuki performances at the New National Theatre.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Comments

    No performance at the National Theatre, which will be destroyed and rebuilt, in 2024 but there will be a subsitute theater: the New National Theatre! For the very first in the history of this theater dedicated to opera, ballet or modern dances/dramas, there are Kabuki performances in its playhouse!

    Sh˘chikuza (ďsaka)
    Dates 3 ~ 14 January 2024
    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Hatsuharu Otoshidama K˘en
    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Early Spring New Year's Gift Performances
    Program

    Omemie K˘j˘

    Kurokami

    Yukari no Tsuki

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘

    Comments

    A special Buy˘ program in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza starring the amazing Living National Treasure onnagata Band˘ Tamasabur˘.

  • K˘j˘: the close relationship between the actors and the audience is shown by stage announcements, usually lavish ceremonies to commemorate various important events. This month at the Sh˘chikuza, it is a stage speech done by Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘.
  • Kurokami:
    (Black hair)
    A woman's heart lamenting the painfulness and loneliness of sleeping alone is expressed with deep feeling. It is impressive that a woman's feeling of love and jealousy is skillfully expressed from the contrast of black hair, the symbol for the beauty of Japanese women, and white snow, as the words say.
  • Yukari no Tsuki:
    (The moon of Karma)
    A dance about a courtesan's sad mental state. While watching the moon, she is lamenting that she has to separate from her lover and to marry another man because of her poverty.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Dates 18 ~ 20 January 2024
    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Haru no Hitotoki
    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Spring Time
    Program

    Koshiji Fubuki Monogatari

    Shibahama

    Yuki

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘

    Comments

    A special program starring Living National Treasure onnagata Band˘ Tamasabur˘ in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza with the rakugo storyteller Shunpűtei Koasa.

  • Koshiji Fubuki Monogatari: a conversation on stage with Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and Shunpűtei Koasa.
  • Shibahama: A rakugo told by Shunpűtei Koasa.
  • Yuki: Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ appears as an ďsaka courtesan named Soseki, expressing her feelings of loneliness after having been jilted by her lover and who has decided to become a nun. This jiuta dance is performed in a restrained chamber style.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Dates 22 ~ 28 January 2024
    Night KABUKI in Osaka Dotonbori
    Program

    Kabuki no Mikata

    Ayatsuri Sanbas˘

    Casting

    Kataoka Senju, Kataoka Senjir˘, Kataoka Aizabur˘

    Comments

    A special program entitled in English and starring Kataoka clan's disciples.

  • Kabuki no Mikata: a speech on stage about the art of Kabuki with Kataoka Senju.
  • Ayatsuri Sanbas˘:
    (The Puppet Sanbas˘)
    The Sanbas˘ is part of the ritual play "Okina", a prayer for prosperity and in Kabuki the vigorous Sanbas˘ dance is often performed separately. To make the dance especially auspicious, the old man Okina and attendant Senzai appear as well. In Kabuki, the Sanbas˘ dance appears in all kinds of versions. In this particular version, the Sanbas˘ is actually a giant marionette (Kataoka Senjir˘), dancing lightly until his antics tangle his strings, creating problems for his puppeteer (Kataoka Aizabur˘).
  • Sources: Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Asakusa K˘kaid˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 January 2024
    Shinshun Asakusa Kabuki
    New Year Asakusa Kabuki
    MatinÚe

    Otoshidama (Nenshi Goaisatsu)

    Honch˘ Nijűshik˘ (Jusshuk˘)

    Yowa Nasake Ukina no Yokogushi (Genjidana)

    Kagura Uta Kumoi no Kyokumari (Dontsuku)

    Evening

    Otoshidama (Nenshi Goaisatsu)

    Ichi-no-Tani Futaba Gunki (Kumagai Jin'ya)

    Ryűsei

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

    Casting

    Living National Treasure Nakamura Karoku, Band˘ Minosuke, Nakamura Hayato, Onoe Matsuya, Nakamura Yonekichi, Band˘ Shingo, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Nakamura Kangyoku, Ichimura Kitsutar˘, Nakamura Kamenoj˘, Nakamura Kichinoj˘

    Comments

    The yearly show for young promising actors at the Asakusa K˘kaid˘ in Asakusa, a lively and colorful neighboorhood that keeps the scent of old Edo.

  • Otoshidama: a special k˘j˘ for new year greetings (nenshi goaisatsu in Japanese).
  • Jusshuk˘: Princess Yaegaki is mourning the death of his fiance Katsuyori, but as she burns incense in his memory, she notices the resemblance between the new gardener and her fiance's portrait. The gardener is in fact Katsuyori, who has entered the household of Yaegaki's father to regain the possession of a stolen family treasure, a famous helmet, with the help of Nureginu, a woman who also mourns for the man that died in the place of the real Katsuyori. Unfortunately, Yaegaki's father has also seen through the disguise and plans to kill Katsuyori. The role of Princess Yaegaki, one of the most important onnagata roles, is played by Nakamura Yonekichi, supported by Nakamura Hashinosuke, Band˘ Shingo and Nakamura Kash˘ in the roles of Katsuyori, Nureginu and Nagao Kenshin.
  • Genjidana: Yosabur˘ (Nakamura Hayato) fell in love with Otomi (Nakamura Yonekichi) the moment he first saw her on the beach. Otomi was the mistress of a powerful gangster and, when their relationship was discovered, Yosabur˘ was cut from head to toe and the two were dumped into the sea. Otomi lived and was taken in by a rich merchant. Yosabur˘, who is now covered with scars, turns into a petty thief and extortionist but one day, finds that the woman he is about to blackmail is none other than Otomi, alive and well.
  • Dontsuku:
    (Juggling to Entertain the Gods)
    This lively dance features a crowd of pleasure seekers, male and female, of all kinds of social stations. But the center attraction is a performer of daikagura who does juggling acts and tops off the act with a basketwork cylinder on a pole, which he uses to deftly throw and catch several balls. Featuring Nakamura Hayato, Band˘ Minosuke, Onoe Matsuya, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Band˘ Shingo, Nakamura Tanenosuke and Nakamura Kangyoku.
  • Otoshidama: a special k˘j˘ for new year greetings (nenshi goaisatsu in Japanese).
  • Kumagai Jin'ya: this play is a dramatization of the clash between the Genji general Kumagai Jir˘ Naozane and the Heike warrior Taira no Atsumori at the battle of Ichi-no-Tani, one of the most famous passages of the epic "Tales of the Heike". In the Kabuki version, on the cryptic orders of the Genji leader Yoshitsune, Kumagai hides the enemy warrior Atsumori and has his own son take the warrior's place. On the battlefield, Kumagai has to kill his own son in Atsumori's place. Things become worse when his wife Sagami and Atsumori's mother Fuji-no-Kata arrive at his camp. In the highlight of the play, he tells them the story of his mortal battle with Atsumori, keeping Atsumori's well-being and his own sacrifice a secret. He then shows the head of Atsumori for inspection by his leader to see if he has interpreted his orders correctly. This performance stars Nakamura Kash˘ as Kumagai, with Band˘ Shingo as Kumagai's wife Sagami, Nakamura Kangyoku as Fuji-no-Kata and Band˘ Minosuke as Yoshitsune.
  • Ryűsei:
    (A Falling Star)
    In myth, the heavenly shepherd boy and celestial weaver maid only can meet once a year. They no longer are united than a falling star, or ryűsei appears with an urgent report, which actually turns out to be the story of marital discord in the family of the thunder god living in a poor tenement in heaven. The highlight of this dance is this story with the dancer changing instantly from role to role playing the thunder god, his angry wife, his little son and the elderly thunder goddess from next door who tries to break up the fight. Starring Nakamura Tanenosuke as a falling star.
  • Sakanaya S˘gor˘: S˘gor˘ (Onoe Matsuya), 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 Hayato, Band˘ Minosuke, Nakamura Yonekichi, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Hashinosuke, Band˘ Shingo, Nakamura Tanenosuke and Nakamura Kangyoku.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 6 ~ 25 January 2024
    Hatsuharu Kabuki K˘en
    Early Spring Kabuki Performances
    Program

    Heike Nyogo no Shima
    Oyako no Kizuna Naka-mo Genpei
    SANEMORI PARTII

    Casting

    Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Ichikawa Udanji, Kataoka Takatar˘, Nakamura Kotar˘, ďtani Tomoemon, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichimura Kakitsu, Ichikawa Omez˘, Ichikawa Kudanji, Ichikawa Shinnosuke, ďtani Hiromatsu, Ichikawa Otora, Ichikawa Botan

    Comments

    The traditional New Year Kabuki at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ with a troupe led by Ichikawa Danjűr˘.

    Ky˘to (Ky˘to Gekij˘)
    Dates 6~ 14 January 2024
    Zenshinza Tokubetsu K˘en
    Zenshinza Special Performances
    Program

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

    Shichifukujin Takara no Irifune

    Casting

    Kawarasaki Kunitar˘, Fujikawa Yanosuke

    Comments

    The traditional Zenshinza New Year performances in Ky˘to. Not at the Minamiza, as it used to be, but at the Ky˘to Gekij˘.

    ďsaka Club (ďsaka)
    Dates 29 January 2024
    Kamimura Kichitar˘ Kabuki no Miryoku
    Kamimura Kichitar˘ and the Enchantment of Kabuki
    Program

    Matsu no Sanbas˘
    Suodori

    T˘ku & RekuchÔ Kamimura Kichitar˘ Kabuki no Miryoku

    Casting

    Kamimura Kichitar˘

    Comments

    A special Buy˘ gala program in ďsaka at the ďsaka Club starring the young Kamigata actor Kamimura Kichitar˘. The first item is a sanbas˘mono perforemed in suodori. The second item is a talk & lecture about the Enchantment of Kabuki.

     
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