JULY 2011

4 shows in T˘ky˘ (Shinbashi Enbuj˘, National Theatre, Asakusa K˘kaid˘), 1 in Matsumoto (Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre) and 2 in ďsaka (Sh˘chikuza)!

  • Kataoka Nizaemon, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Kataoka Gat˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Kataoka Ainosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘ and Band˘ Takesabur˘ perform at the Sh˘chikuza!
  • Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Nakamura Fukusuke and the actors of the Omodakaya guild perform at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘!
  • Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Kaishun and Ichikawa Danz˘ are at the National Theatre!
  • Nakamura Kanzabur˘ and Nakamura Senjaku perform at the Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre!
  • Sh˘chikuza (ďsaka)
    Dates 3 ~ 27 July 2011 (Kansai Kabuki o Ai Suru Kai Shichigatsu ďkabuki)
    The 20th Kansai Kabuki Lovers Society July Grand Kabuki

    Banshű Sarayashiki

    Su˘ Otoshi

    Edo no Uta Nasake no Hitofushi


    Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami (Kurumabiki)

    Ise Ondo Koi no Netaba

  • Ai no Yama/Yadoya/Okkake/Jiz˘-mae/Futami-ga-Ura
  • Aburaya/Okuniwa
  • Casting

    Kataoka Nizaemon, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Kataoka Gat˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Kataoka Ainosuke, Kataoka Takatar˘, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Kataoka Kamez˘, Band˘ Shűch˘, Kataoka Shinnosuke, Nakamura Baishi, Band˘ Minosuke, Nakamura Mantar˘


  • Banshű Sarayashiki: this is a Kabuki dramatization of a famous ghost story. Okiku, a lady-in-waiting in a samurai mansion breaks one of a set of ten precious plates and is executed for her mistake. Her ghost then appears nightly, counting out the plates, this time desperately hoping that she will find ten plates. Starring Kataoka Takatar˘, Kataoka Ainosuke and Kataoka Kamez˘ in the roles of Okiku and the cruel Asayama Tetsuzan and Tetsuzan's retainer Iwabuchi Chűta.
  • Su˘ Otoshi:
    (The Dropped Coat)
    This play transforms a classical Ky˘gen farce into Kabuki dance. Delivering a message for his lord, the servant Tar˘kaja (Band˘ Mitsugor˘) charms a princess and in reward for a dance showing a famous battle, he receives a formal coat and large amounts of drink. Knowing his lord is a greedy man, he tries to hide the coat on his return, but unfortunately, the sake that helped him feel so good earlier works against him.
  • Edo no Uta Nasake no Hitofushi:
    (The Song of the Shamisen Player)
    This is a rare performance of a play written for the famous Ichimura Uzaemon XV, one of the most popular and most handsome stars of his time. It shows a samurai who goes through all kinds of comic difficulties and finally is forced to make a living as a shamisen player. At the conclusion of the piece, the star actor (Kataoka Nizaemon) plays the shamisen himself on stage. Featuring also Nakamura Tokiz˘, Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Kataoka Ainosuke and Band˘ Takesabur˘.
  • Kurumabiki: this short scene shows the three brothers that dominate the drama "Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami", each with a distinctive personality. Sakuramaru (Kataoka Takatar˘) and Ume˘maru (Kataoka Ainosuke) have been rendered masterless by Kan Sh˘j˘'s exile. The third brother Matsu˘maru (Kataoka Shinnosuke) serves the villain Shihei (Kataoka Gat˘), who is responsible for the downfall of Kan Sh˘j˘. Sakuramaru and Ume˘maru try to destroy Shihei's carriage but are stopped by Matsu˘maru and the magical glare of Shihei. Finally the brothers agree to suspend their disputes until they all meet at their father's seventieth birthday party.
  • Ise Ondo: this play is famous for its classical depiction of a woman who must pretend to reject her lover for his sake and for the beautiful and gruesome dance-like killing scene at the end, done to the music of the Ise pleasure quarters. Fukuoka Mitsugi (Kataoka Nizaemon), a young apprentice at the holy Shrine of Ise tries to help find the stolen treasured sword of his clan out of duty to his former lord. Mitsugi has the sword in his possession, but must now find the certificate of authentication and in order to get it for him, Okon (Nakamura Tokiz˘), a courtesan who is in love with Mitsugi must pretend to forsake Mitsugi. But he believes that she has truly betrayed him and further angered by the humiliating accusations of Manno (Kataoka Hidetar˘), the head maid of the Aburaya brothel, Mitsugi inadvertently draws the sword, said to be cursed, and the rampage begins. Featuring also Band˘ Mitsugor˘, Kataoka Ainosuke and Kataoka Gat˘ in the roles of the cook Kisuke, the yakko Rinpei and Fujinami Sazen.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide website
    Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website for "Banshű Sarayashiki" and "Edo no Uta Nasake no Hitofushi"

    Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 July 2011 (Shichigatsu ďkabuki)
    July Grand Kabuki

    Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura
    (Torii Mae)




    Kichirei Kotobuki Soga (Soga no Ishidan)

    Shunky˘ Kagami Jishi

    Edo no Yűbae


    Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Nakamura Baigyoku, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Nakamura Fukusuke, Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Ichikawa En'ya, ďtani Tomoemon, Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Nakamura Utae, Ichikawa Unosuke, Nakamura Kikaku, Ichimura Kakitsu, Ichikawa Shun'en, Ichikawa Omez˘, Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Matsue, Ichikawa Juen, Nakamura Shinobu


  • Torii Mae:
    (In Front of the Fushimi Inari Shrine)
    This is a short scene showing the troubles of Yoshitsune after his brother Yoritomo, the Sh˘gun, turns against him. Yoshitsune (Ichikawa Monnosuke) is forced to flee from the troops sent by his brother Yoritomo. The trip will be hard and he decides he must leave behind his lover Shizuka Gozen (Ichikawa Emiya), despite her passionate pleas to remain with him. As a reminder of himself, he presents her with a precious hand drum that he had received from the emperor. Yoshitsune's retainer Tadanobu (Ichikawa Ukon) rescues Shizuka from Yoritomo's troops and Yoshitsune decides to have Tadanobu protect her on the road, not knowing that this Tadanobu is actually a magical fox in disguise.
  • Kanjinch˘: probably the most popular Kabuki play today, it includes dance, comedy and the heart-warming pathos of a band of heroes during their last days. Disguised as a band of traveling priests the fugitive general Yoshitsune and his small band of retainers are stopped at a road barrier. They escape only through the quick thinking of the head retainer, a warrior priest named Musashib˘ Benkei, who improvises the text of an elaborate imperial decree. Having escaped danger Benkei and the others describe their days of glory and hardships on the road to escape in a moving dance. This program stars Ichikawa Danjűr˘ in the role of Benkei, with Nakamura Baigyoku and Ichikawa Ebiz˘ as Yoshitsune and the barrier keeper Togashi.
  • Y˘kihi: this is a rare performance of a play by Osaragi Jir˘, the novelist most famous for the Robin Hood-like character Kurama Tengu. The play was originally written for a Shinpa troupe and dramatizes one of the most famous incidents in Chinese history. Yang Guifei (Y˘kihi in Japanese) was a beautiful woman from a humble family who became the mistress of the Tang emperor. His love for her was such that the entire empire nearly crumbled. The play focuses on Y˘kihi's rise and her relationship with the young court official that loves her, first brings her to the emperor and serves her faithfully as a court eunuch. Finally he begs to be the one to kill her when rebellion and a coup d'etat threaten the empire. Starring Nakamura Fukusuke in the role of Y˘kihi. Featuring also Nakamura Baigyoku and Ichikawa Ebiz˘.
  • Soga no Ishidan: In the Edo period, the medieval Soga brothers, who endured eighteen years of hardship before they avenged the death of their father, became popular guardian gods and hundreds of plays about their exploits appeared. This particular rarely performed play shows the brothers confronting the two men who killed their father in a fight scene on a set of stone steps, then the set turns over in a spectacular transition to reveal the next scene which takes place in the pleasure quarters. Starring Nakamura Baigyoku as Kud˘ Suketsune, the man that had the father of the Soga brothers killed, Ichikawa Emiya as the wise and restrained Soga no Jűr˘ and Nakamura Matsue as the impetuous Soga no Gor˘. Featuring Ichikawa Emisabur˘ and Ichikawa Shun'en as the courtesans ďiso no Tora (Jűr˘'s lover) and Kewaizaka no Sh˘sh˘ (Gor˘'s lover). Featuring also Ichikawa Ukon and Ichikawa En'ya in a spectacular fight scene on a stone stairway
  • Kagami Jishi: one of the most important dances for onnagata female role specialists and is an audience favorite. The maidservant Yayoi performs an auspicious lion dance for the Sh˘gun in his opulent palace, but she gradually finds herself under the control of the lion spirit. In the second half of the dance, the lion spirit itself appears and performs its crazed dance among peonies and fluttering butterflies. Starring Ichikawa Ebiz˘ as both Yayoi and the spirit of the lion.
  • Edo no Yűbae: the sunset of the title is the passing of the world of the Edo period with Japan's opening to the west and modernization. This play by novelist Osaragi Jir˘, written in 1952, shows two members of the samurai class and how they dealt with the fall of the Tokugawa Sh˘gunate and their loss of rank in the new world of Meiji Japan. One decides to fight the new order while the other escapes into dissipation and pleasure. Starring Ichikawa Danjűr˘, Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Nakamura Fukusuke and Ichikawa Sadanji.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 24 July 2011 (Shichigatsu Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitsu)

    Kabuki no Mikata

    Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura

  • Tokaiya
  • Funayagura
  • Daimotsu no Ura
  • Casting

    Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Kaishun, Ichikawa Danz˘, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Band˘ Kametoshi, Onoe Matsuya


    Educational program at the National Theatre called Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitu ("Kabuki Appreciation Class"). This is a very interesting formula for the beginners because there is lively presentation of Kabuki (or some aspects of the art like music, stage tricks or fighting scenes) on stage, followed by the second act of "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura":

  • Tokaiya/Daimotsu no Ura: these are two scenes from one of the greatest classics of the puppet theatre, which has also become a classic of Kabuki. After the wars between the Genji and Heike clans, the Genji are victorious and their leader Yoritomo is now Sh˘gun. But there is a falling out between Yoritomo and his brother Yoshitsune, the brilliant general responsible for the victory. Now Yoshitsune is fleeing through the country and this play fancifully has him encounter several famous warriors from the Heike clan, who are not dead, as history has it. Yoshitsune (Onoe Matsuya) books passage on a boat to Kyűshű, but the captain is actually Taira no Tomomori (Onoe Sh˘roku), a general of the Heike clan that Yoshitsune helped to defeat. Tomomori was supposedly killed by Yoshitsune in the final battle of the war, but in this play, Tomomori is shown as surviving, living in disguise with the child emperor Antoku and his nursemaid (Nakamura Kaishun). At one moment the captain is a gallant commoner, but in the next, he is Tomomori, a high ranking general close to the emperor. His wife as well is a cheerful commoner who shows her true identity as a high-ranking lady-in-waiting in the magnificent robes of the imperial court. Tomomori uses the opportunity to try to get his revenge on Yoshitsune but is defeated again. Finally Tomomori holds a giant anchor and plunges into the sea. Featuring Ichikawa Danz˘ in the role of Musashib˘ Benkei.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre (Matsumoto)
    Dates 23 ~ 24 July 2011 (Nakamura Kanzabur˘ Tokubetsu K˘en)
    Nakamura Kanzabur˘ Special Performances


    Fuji Musume

    Migawari Zazen


    Nakamura Kanzabur˘, Nakamura Senjaku, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Kantar˘


    The Heisei star Nakamura Kanzabur˘ is back on stage!

  • Urashima: This dance depicts a Japanese folk tale of a young man named Urashima (Nakamura Kantar˘) who is invited to the Dragon Palace under the sea for saving a turtle's life. When Urashima returns back home, he finds that many year had elapsed during the few days he spent at the Dragon Palace. When he opens up the gift boxes, lovingly thinking of the Princess of the Sea who had given them to him, a puff of smoke appears and Urashima turns into an old man with silvery white hair. This dance utilizes many beautiful melodies and brilliantly expresses Urashima's feeling at the moment of change.
  • Fuji Musume: the spirit of wisteria blossoms dances of love in the form of a beautiful young maiden. One of Kabuki's most famous and colorful dances, it will feature the dancing skills of Nakamura Shichinosuke.
  • Migawari Zazen: a dance play adopted from a classical ky˘gen farce. A man (Nakamura Kanzabur˘) wants nothing more than to visit his lover Hanako, but he has one important problem, his homely and overbearing wife (Nakamura Senjaku). He creates a scheme saying that he will be practicing Zen meditation all night and has his servant take his place while he visits Hanako. He returns, giddy from a night of pleasure and tells his story to his servant in dance, unaware that his wife has discovered his deception and has taken his servant's place.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide website
    Nihon Buy˘ for "Urashima"

    Asakusa K˘kaid˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 12 July 2011 (Onoe Kikunosuke Charitţ Buy˘ K˘en)
    Onoe Kikunosuke Charity Dance Performances


    Ukare B˘zu

    Fuji Musume


    Onoe Kikunosuke, Onoe Ukon


    A special dance program for the victims of the 2011 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake Disaster.

  • Komori: a young girl (Onoe Ukon) runs onto stage chasing after a bird that has stolen the abura-age (deep fried t˘fu) she just bought. The girl is babysitting and begins to daydream as she tries to calm the crying baby strapped to her back. Dancing to a tune based on what was popular at the time, she plays doll shop, sings of love and romance and finally describes what life was like in her hometown.
  • Ukare B˘zu: Onoe Kikunosuke appears in the complex and spectacular dance "Ukare B˘zu" which shows a low-class priest who goes from door to door begging for contributions wearing nothing but a thin robe and carrying a bucket to douse himself with cold water as an austere practice for the salvation of those that give him money.
  • Fuji Musume: the spirit of wisteria blossoms dances of love in the form of a beautiful young maiden. One of Kabuki's most famous and colorful dances, it will feature the dancing skills of Onoe Kikunosuke.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website, except "Komori" (Cultural News)

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