|NAKAMURA KICHIEMON I|
Real name: Namino Tatsujir˘
Line number: SHODAI (I)
Poetry name: Shűzan
Existence: 24 March 1886 ~ 5 September 1954
Grandfather: Nakamura Karoku I
Father: Nakamura Karoku III
Adopted son: Nakamura Kichiemon II
Great-grandson: Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X
September 1898: Kichiemon played at the Asakusaza the role of Motoemon in the drama "Tengajaya-mura".
April 1910: premiere at the Kabukiza of "Yuki no Yűbe Iriya no Azemichi", a few scenes taken from "Kumo ni Magou Ueno no Hatsuhana" focusing on Kataoka Naojir˘ and his lover Michitose and staged independently from the rest of the play; Kichiemon played the role of Kurayami no Ushimatsu [casting].
January 1916: premiere at the Ichimuraza of the ky˘gen "B˘ Shibari", which was adapted to kabuki by Okamura Shik˘; Kichiemon played the role of the daimy˘ Sone Matsubŕ [casting]. He also played the role of Ishikawa Goemon in the drama "Sanmon Gosan no Kiri"; the role of Mashiba Hisayoshi was played by Onoe Kikugor˘ VI.
September 1926: Kichiemon played at the Kabukiza the role of Motoemon in the drama "Tengajaya-mura"; his stage partners were Ichikawa Chűsha VII (T˘ma Sabur˘emon), Sawamura S˘jűr˘ VII (Iori), Band˘ Mitsugor˘ VII (Yasuke, K˘emon) and Nakamura Fukusuke V (Genjir˘).
October 1927: revival at the Hong˘za of Tsuruya Nanboku IV's masterpiece "Sakura Hime Azuma Bunsh˘", produced under the title "Kiyomizudera Azuma Bunsh˘", which has not been staged since 3rd lunar month of 1817; Kichiemon played the role of Seigen [casting].
February 1932: Kichiemon played at the T˘ky˘ Gekij˘ the role of Ob˘ Kichisa in the drama "Sannin Kichisa"; his stage partners were Onoe Kikugor˘ VI (Osh˘ Kichisa) and Ichimura Uzaemon XV (Oj˘ Kichisa).
September 1933: premiere atthe T˘ky˘ Gekij˘ of Kawamura Kary˘'s drama "J˘shű Miyage Hyakury˘ Kubi"; Kichiemon played the role of Buraikan Gajir˘ (later Gajir˘ the follower of Hayabusa no Kanji's underling) [more details].
1943: Kichiemon set up his own troupe, the Kichiemon Gekidan (literally 'Kichiemon's Theatrical Troupe').
1951: Kichiemon published his autobiography entitled "Kichiemon Jiden" (literally 'Kichiemon's Autobiography').
November 1952: Kichiemon plays for the last time the role of Shunkan in the drama "Heike Nyogo no Shima", which was staged at the Kabukiza; his stage partners were Nakamura Utaemon VI (Chidori) and Nakamura Tokiz˘ III (Tanzaemon).
5 September 1954: Kichiemon died.
Nakamura Kichiemon I was one of the best tachiyaku actors of the twentieth century and had a major influence on Kabuki, helping a lot for the transmission of classic roles, which he had the chance in his prime to closely see performed by stage giants like Ichikawa Danjűr˘ IX or Ichikawa Danz˘ VII. He also deviced himself many kata, which were called Kichiemon kata. His troupe, the Kichiemon Gekidan, was the most active one in post-WW2 Japan.
Nakamura Kichiemon I's best roles: Shunkan ("Shunkan"), K˘chiyama S˘shun ("K˘chiyama"), Takebe Genz˘ ("Terakoya"), Ichij˘ ďkura ("Ichij˘ ďkura Monogatari"), Banzui Ch˘bŕ ("Yudono no Ch˘bŕ"), Jir˘zaemon ("Kagotsurube Sato no Eizame"), Takechi Mitsuhide ("Badarai no Mitsuhide"), Matsuura Shizunobu ("Matsuura no Taiko"), Benkei ("Kanjinch˘"), Sasaki Moritsuna ("Moritsuna Jinya"), Kumagai Jir˘ Naozane ("Kumagai Jin'ya"), Yatagor˘ Genshichi ("Kamiyui Shinza"), Daihanji no Kiyosumi ("Imoseyama Onna Teikin"), Kiuchi S˘go ("Sakura Giminden") and ďboshi Yuranosuke ("Kanadehon Chűshingura").
Nakamura Kichiemon I was particularly interested in the warrior Kat˘ Kiyomasa and many new dramas were written especially for him in this role. He gathered them and others dramas in a special collection of six plays called Shűzan Jisshu, which included "Nij˘-j˘ no Kiyomasa", "Urusanj˘ no Kiyomasa", "Kumamotoj˘ no Kiyomasa", "Matsuura no Taiko", "Yasaku no Kamabara" and "Kiyomasa Seichűroku".
"Nakamura Kichiemon, a member of the Kabukiza company, is a meteor-like actor, having risen rapidly and by sheer ability, for he has little ancestral prestige to enhance his reputation. He has no pretensions to boast of as a dancer, but in the loyalty characters of the Kabuki masterpieces, in creating afresh the r˘les left by Chikamatsu Monzaemon, Takeda Izumo, and Chikamatsu Hanji, he is unsurpassed." (written in 1925, when Kichiemon was at the end of his thirties, by ZoŰ Kincaid in "Kabuki, the Popular Stage of Japan")
The Nakamura Kichiemon line of actors
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