JUNE 2009

4 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre, Shinbashi Enbuj˘), 2 in Fukuoka (Hakataza), 3 in ďsaka (Sh˘chikuza, Wahha Kamigata Engei Hall, Sh˘chikuza) and 1 tour (Kansai)!

  • Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Kichiemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun and Nakamura Fukusuke perform at the Kabukiza!
  • Onoe Kikugor˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Kanjaku, Ichikawa Danshir˘, Ichikawa Kamejir˘ and Ichikawa Danz˘ perform at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘!
  • Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Ainosuke, Nakamura Kantar˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke perform at the Hakataza!
  • The Omodakaya guild performs at the National Theatre!
  • Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 27 June 2009 (Rokugatsu ďkabuki)
    Kabukiza Sayonara K˘en

    Sh˘fudatsuki Kongen Kusazuri

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

    Keisei Yamato Z˘shi (Ch˘ no Michiyuki)

    Onna Goroshi Abura no Jigoku


    Kadonde I˘ Kotobuki Renjishi

    Kiwametsuki Banzui Ch˘bŕ

    Tsuyu Kosode Mukashi Hachij˘ (Kamiyui Shinza)


    Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Kichiemon, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Shibajaku, Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Nakamura Fukusuke, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Kataoka Takatar˘, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Nakamura Karoku, Onoe Sh˘roku, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Nakamura T˘z˘, ďtani Tomoemon, Ichikawa Komaz˘, Matsumoto Kintar˘


    6th of the 16 Kabukiza Sayonara K˘en, the Kabukiza Farewell Performances, which will be held up to April 2010. Two important events in this program: the isse ichidai performance of Kataoka Nizaemon in the role of Yohei ("Abura no Jigoku") and the hatsubutai of Matsumoto K˘shir˘'s grandson Matsumoto Kintar˘ IV:

  • Kusazuri:
    (the Tug-of-War Over the Armor)
    A short dance in the oldest style of Kabuki, leisurely and full of humor, combining the charm of an onnagata female role specialist with the larger-than-life heroism of the bombastic aragoto style of acting. The strong woman Maizuru stops the powerful, but rash, warrior Soga no Gor˘ from rushing to a fight by pulling on the set of armor he is carrying. Starring Nakamura Kaishun and Onoe Sh˘roku as Maizuru and Gor˘.
  • 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 Shibajaku), 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 actors Matsumoto K˘shir˘ as Ch˘gor˘ and his brother Nakamura Kichiemon as Ch˘kichi.
  • Ch˘ no Michiyuki:
    (The Love Suicide of the Butterflies)
    When people die, it is said that their spirits become butterflies. Having committed double suicide, the butterfly spirits of Kond˘ Sukekuni (Nakamura Baigyoku) and Komaki (Nakamura Fukusuke) dance in human form remembering the time they first met and their love for each other. But their happiness is brief as they are again tormented by hell.
  • Abura no Jigoku: this play has become phenomenally popular in modern times for its hard-boiled sensibility and sensuous killing scene with the protagonists slipping and struggling through puddles of spilled oil, but was virtually ignored at the time it was written. It shows Yohŕ, the wastrel son of a well-to-do merchant, who constantly tries to borrow money from Okichi, the wife of a neighboring oil merchant. Pressed for funds, he tries to blackmail her, but ends up killing her in the long, dream-like scene that gives this plays its title, "the woman killer and the hell of oil". Starring Kataoka Nizaemon and his son Kataoka Takatar˘ in the roles of Yohŕ and Okichi. This is the isse ichidai performance of Yohei for Kataoka Nizaemon! Do not miss it!
  • Renjishi:
    (Father and Son Lion Dance, celebrating debut of Matsumoto Kintar˘ IV as an actor)
    3 entertainers dance a tale of the legendary shishi or lion-like spirits that live at the foot of a holy Buddhist mountain. There is a comic interlude with 2 Buddhist pilgrims. Then, the shishi themselves appear and perform their dance with wild shaking of their long manes. The dance shows a parent shishi forcing his cubs to undergo harsh training in order to grow up strong. This theme is often associated with the training a parent actor gives his son and grandson. This performance is a special version celebrating debut of Matsumoto Kintar˘ IV (the "grandson" cub), Ichikawa Somegor˘ĺs son and namely Matsumoto K˘shir˘ĺs grandson, as an actor. Matsumoto K˘shir˘ and Ichikawa Somegor˘ perform the roles of the parent shishi and the "son" cub.
  • Banzui Ch˘bŕ: in the early Edo period, gallant men like Banzuiin Ch˘bŕ led the commoners. But this incurred the wrath of members of the samurai class, who were theoretically in control. This play begins with a recreation of Kabuki in its earliest days, then a fight breaks out which is settled by Ch˘bŕ (Nakamura Kichiemon). But this frustrates the ambitions of the samurai Mizuno (Kataoka Nizaemon) who invites Ch˘bŕ to visit. All of Ch˘bŕ's men tell him not to go because it is a trap, but Ch˘bŕ decides to meet his end and bids farewell to his wife (Nakamura Shikan) and son. Finally, Ch˘bŕ is killed when he is defenseless in the bath.
  • Kamiyui Shinza: Shinza is a barber that goes from door to door, but at the same time, he is a villain that kidnaps Okuma, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy household, and even resists the efforts of Yatagor˘ Genshichi, the most prestigious strongman in town, to get her release. Starring Matsumoto K˘shir˘ as Shinza, Ichikawa Komaz˘ as Okuma, Nakamura Fukusuke as Chűshichi and Nakamura Karoku as Yatagor˘ Genshichi.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website

    Hakataza (Fukuoka)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 June 2009 (Rokugatsu ďkabuki)

    Gion Sairei Shink˘ki (Kinkakuji)

    ďmi no Okane


    Koi Bikyaku Yamato ďrai (Fűin Giri)


    Konoshita Kage Masago no Shiranami

    Fuji Musume


    Nakamura Hashinosuke, Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Ainosuke, Nakamura Kantar˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke


  • 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 (Kataoka Ainosuke) 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 Kantar˘), pretends to come under Daizen's employ to try to sabotage his plans from within. Princess Yuki (Nakamura Shichinosuke) 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. Featuring also Nakamura Senjaku in the role of Kan˘ Naonobu.
  • ďmi no Okane: Okane was a famous strong woman living on the shores of Lake Biwa and is known for stopping a runaway horse with her bare hands. This has become a Kabuki dance that combines strength and charming femininity. This production stars Nakamura Kantar˘ as Okane.
  • Omatsuri: Nakamura Hashinosuke as a gallant fireman boss at a festival telling a rueful tale of failure in love and showing the vigorous work songs of firefighters.
  • Fűin Giri:
    (Breaking the Seals)
    In the pleasure quarters, the most important possessions were money and reputation. In danger of losing his lover, the courtesan Umegawa, the money courier Kameya Chűbŕ breaks the seals on a package of money entrusted to him after being taunted by a rival, even though the use of such money is punishable by death. Starring Nakamura Senjaku as Chűbŕ, Nakamura Shichinosuke as Umegawa and Kataoka Ainosuke as Chűbŕ's treacherous friend Tanbaya Hachiemon.
  • Masago no Shiranami: this play is very similar to Wakatake Fuemi and Namiki Senryű II 1789 drama "Konoshita Kage Hazama Kassen", from which it takes several scenes focusing on the larger-than-life vilain Ishikawa Goemon and his fight against his arch enemy Mashiba Hisayoshi. This spectacular drama, full of actions and stage tricks, include two famous scenes, the "Sanmon" scene and the flying basket scene which ends "Ishikawa Goemon". Starring Nakamura Hashinosuke, Kataoka Ainosuke, Nakamura Kantar˘ and Nakamura Senjaku in the roles of Ishikawa Goemon, Mashiba Hisayoshi, Nikki Tar˘ and Omine/Kofuyu.
  • 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.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website, except "Masago no Shiranami"

    Shinbashi Enbuj˘ (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 7 ~ 28 June 2009 (Rokugatsu ďkabuki)

    Ninagawa Jűniya


    Onoe Kikugor˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Kanjaku, Ichikawa Danshir˘, Ichikawa Kamejir˘, Ichikawa Danz˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Ichikawa Sadanji, Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘, Band˘ Shűch˘, Band˘ Kamesabur˘, Onoe Matsuya


    "If music be the food of love, play on!". The trouble caused by love is the theme of Shakespeareĺs play, a comedy with great depth. June at Shinbashi Enbuj˘ features an encore performance of a bold experiment. Ninagawa Yukio, known throughout the world for productions of Shakespeare and his blending of traditional and modern theatrical techniques will direct Kabuki actors in an adaptation of Shakespeareĺs "Twelfth Night".

    After being shipwrecked and being separated (presumably forever) from her twin brother Shiba Shuzennosuke (Sebastian), Princess Biwa (Viola) dresses as a young man, calls herself Shishimaru (Cesario) and takes service with ďshino Sadaijin (Orsino), who is in love with the fabulously wealthy Princess Oribue (Olivia). In the guise of Shishimaru, Princess Biwa becomes ďshino Sadaijin messenger to Princess Oribue, but she does not love him. Instead, she falls in love with Shishimaru and in turn, Princess Biwa falls in love with ďshino Sadaijin. But while these characters suffer for love, others lust after Princess Oribueĺs wealth. Her uncle T˘in Kanemichi (Sir Toby Belch) cannot stand to see the money leave the family and tries to get her married to the obnoxious And˘ Enchiku (Sir Andrew Aguecheek). Meanwhile, Princess Oribueĺs steward Maruo B˘dayű (Malvolio) is also in love with her, but he is so stuck-up and out of date that the people around him plot to make him think that Princess Oribue returns his love, only making him seem more ridiculous than ever.

    Ninagawa Yukio is famous throughout the world for his direction of new plays and the classics, using modern theatrical techniques and traditional aesthetics with a bold visual touch. For example, his production of "Macbeth" brought the play into the world of Japan and transformed the stage into a giant Buddhist altar, with mysterious old women praying throughout the play, as though the story of Macbeth took place within the altar as a message from the land of the dead. His production of "King Lear" brought together a famous English actor as Lear and a popular Japanese actor as the fool and was performed in England, while his production of "Oedipus Rex" combined an actress from the Japanese modern theater with an actor from Ky˘gen, the traditional comic style, and the production even went to Greece.

    This new production of "Ninagawa Jűniya", which was in fact premiered for the very first time in July 2005 at the Kabukiza, was staged in March 2009 in London at the Barbican Theater. The casting is the same as the March premiere, starring Onoe Kikunosuke as Princess Biwa and her twin brother Shuzennosuke, while Onoe Kikugor˘ plays Maruo B˘dayű and the jester Sutesuke. Also featuring Nakamura Tokiz˘ (Princess Oribue), Nakamura Kinnosuke (ďshino Sadaijin), Ichikawa Sadanji (T˘in Kanemichi), Ichikawa Danshir˘ (Isoemon) and Nakamura Kanjaku (And˘ Enchiku)!

    Source: Earphone Guide website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 1 ~ 24 June 2009 (Rokugatsu Kabuki Kansh˘ Ky˘shitsu)

    Kabuki no Mikata

    Kaka Saiyuki


    Ichikawa Ukon, Ichikawa Danjir˘, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa Shun'en, Ichikawa En'ya


    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 on stage of Kabuki or some aspects of the art like music, stage tricks or fighting scenes, followed by the spectacular drama "Kaka Saiyuki".

  • Kaka Saiyuki:
    (Journey to the West)
    One of the most popular Chinese classics is the story of the Journey to the West, about a Buddhist priest that traveled along the Silk Road from China to India to collect Buddhist scriptures. He is accompanied by a magical monkey spirit and some other creatures who protect him as they encounter all sorts of hazards on their journey. This play shows the group as they meet a beautiful princess, who is actually the spirit of spider. This play was originally written for Ichikawa Ennosukeĺs great grandfather and was a sensation with all kinds of stage tricks. This month, it is directed by Ichikawa Ennosuke himself, featuring the younger actors of his company.
  • Educational Kabuki tour in Kansai
    Date 4 ~ 22 June 2009

    Kabuki-he no Goannai

    Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura (Sushiya)


    Kataoka Gat˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Kataoka Shinnosuke


    34th edition of an educational Kabuki tour in Kansai. The first item is a speech about Kabuki and the second the drama "Sushiya":

  • Sushiya: this is one act of an epic originally written for the Bunraku puppet theatre. The full-length play shows the fate of various Taira generals in hiding after the victory of their enemy, the Genji. In this act, Koremori, the heir to the Taira clan is hiding in a sushi shop disguised as a humble apprentice, and Osato, the daughter of the house, falls in love with him. However, Gonta (Kataoka Gat˘), the evil son of the house plots to gain a reward by turning in Koremori to the top Genji general Kajiwara (Kataoka Shinnosuke), but in the end, he has a surprising change of heart in one of the most heart-rending scenes in Kabuki.
  • Sh˘chikuza (ďsaka)
    Dates 3 ~ 10 June 2009 (Ichikawa Ebiz˘ Tokubetsu Buy˘ K˘en)


    Kaminari Send˘


    Nanatsu Men


    Ichikawa Ebiz˘


    A special Buy˘ program, starring Ichikawa Ebiz˘:

  • 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 Ichikawa Ebiz˘ in the role of Yasuna.
  • Kaminari Send˘: handsome boatmen crossing the Sumida River were the popular idols of the Edo period, but the only thing they feared was lightning. This humorous dance shows a boatman and the thunder god carrying his drums and dressed in an animal skin loincloth. Starring Ichikawa Ebiz˘ as the boatman.
  • 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, this k˘j˘ was not initially planned but was recently added because of number of swine flu cases in Kansai. Ichikawa Ebiz˘ performs a traditional nirami no mie. It is said that if you can catch the actor eyes, you won't be infected with the new H1N1 virus.
  • Nanatsu Men: this dance is about the mask-maker Gagoze Akaemon (Ichikawa Ebiz˘), in reality Awazu Rokur˘ Saemon, who removes seven masks from their boxes, dancing their parts.
  • Source: Earphone Guide website, except "Nanatsu Men"

    Sh˘chikuza (ďsaka)
    Dates 13 ~ 14 June 2009 (Kiju Kinen Band˘ Takesabur˘ no Sekai)

    Meibutsu Kenka Jaya (Otane to Sentar˘)

    Arima no Neko

    D˘tonbori Kabuki no Nigiwai


    Band˘ Takesabur˘, Band˘ Shinsha, Nakamura Jűjir˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘


    The actor Band˘ Takesabur˘ will celebrates his 77th birthday the 4th of August 2009. This program is Band˘ Takesabur˘'s kiju kinen performance.

    Wahha Kamigata Engei Hall (ďsaka)
    Dates 25 June 2009 (Tokiwakai)

    Ayatsuri Sanbas˘

    Fuji Musume



    Tabi Yakko


    Yamanba (Yama Meguri)

    Tanuki to Tanishi no Ise Mairi



    Kamimura Kichiya


    6th edition of the program of the association Tokiwakai, which stars the disciples of Kataoka Gat˘ and Kamimura Kichiya.

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