MARCH 2018

4 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre) and 2 tours (Shungy˘ Special Tour, Ichikawa Ebiz˘ Special Tour)!

  • Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Ainosuke, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Kataoka Takatar˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, ďtani Tomoemon, Onoe Matsuya and Nakamura Karoku perform at the Kabukiza!
  • Nakamura Ganjir˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Kataoka Kamez˘, Ichikawa Danz˘ and Nakamura Baishi perform at the National Theatre
  • Nakamura Kankur˘ and Nakamura Shichinosuke are on tour (Shungy˘ Special Tour)!
  • Ichikawa Ebiz˘ is on tour (Ichikawa Ebiz˘ Special Tour)!
  • Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 27 March 2018
    Sangatsu ďkabuki
    March Grand Kabuki

    Kokusen'ya Gassen

    Meoto D˘j˘ji

    Shibahama no Kawazaifu


    Osome Hisamatsu Ukina no Yomiuri
    (Dote no Oroku ~ Kimon no Kihŕ)


    Taki no Shiraito


    Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘, Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Ainosuke, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Onoe Sh˘roku, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Kataoka Takatar˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Nakamura Kinnosuke, ďtani Tomoemon, Onoe Matsuya, Nakamura Karoku


    The two stars of these March Grand Kabuki performances are the goruden konbi Living National Treasures Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and Kataoka Nizaemon, who perform together in two important scenes from Tsuruya Nanboku IV's masterpiece "Osome Hisamatsu Ukina no Yomiuri" and the dance "Omatsuri". The Kabukiza also commemorates the 6th anniversary (7th memorial service) of the passing away of late Nakamura Jakuemon IV with his son Nakamura Jakuemon performing, along with Onoe Sh˘roku, in the dance "Meoto D˘j˘ji".

  • Kokusen'ya Gassen: originally written for the Bunraku puppet theatre, it is oldest period play in the puppet repertory with a continuous performance tradition. This exotic play on a grand scale by Chikamatsu Monzaemon is based on the true story of a warrior from Japan, who fought in China to restore the Ming dynasty after its fall. Wat˘nai (whose name means "neither Chinese nor Japanese") is the son of a Chinese official and a Japanese mother. This performance features the touching drama as Wat˘nai (Kataoka Ainosuke) goes with his parents to try to enlist the aid of his sister Kinsh˘jo (Nakamura Senjaku), now the wife of the powerful Chinese general Kanki (Nakamura Shikan). She eventually agrees, but can only do so by making a terrible sacrifice. This full-length performance also features very rarely performed scenes showing the Chinese Ming dynasty being overtaken by tribes from the north and the call for help, a call that goes to Japan. Featuring also Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘ (R˘ikkan) and Kataoka Hidetar˘ (Wat˘nai's mother Nagisa).
  • Meoto D˘j˘ji: "Musume D˘j˘ji" is based on a legend about a woman transformed into a serpent out of jealousy and who destroys a temple bell keeping her from the object of her love. The original dance shows the spirit of the woman who appears at D˘j˘ji temple as a dancer who wants to celebrate the dedication of a new bell and does a series of dances showing the many faces of femininity. In this version there are two dancers and one is revealed to be a man in disguise and, in the highlight of the dance, transforms the romantic highpoint of the original piece into a comic scene by using masks. Starring Nakamura Jakuemon as the female dancer and Onoe Sh˘roku as the male dancer.
  • Shibahama no Kawazaifu: this is a play adapted from a rakugo story by San'yűtei Ench˘ which was originally performed in vaudeville by a solo performer. This tells the story of a man who is a drunk and good for nothing who picks up a leather purse full of coins while fishing. He takes it home and celebrates with a big drinking party. In the morning he asks his wife for the purse, but she insists that it was all a dream and shows how much money he has wasted with his drunken party. He decides to reform and becomes a hard worker. Three years later, the couple now lives comfortably and the wife says that she must apologize. She lied and hid the purse because she felt that this was the only way to get her husband on the right path. He thanks her and this purse which has given them so much. Starring Nakamura Shikan as the man and Kataoka Takatar˘ as his wife. Featuring also Band˘ Yajűr˘.
  • Dote no Oroku/Kimon no Kihŕ: this is a play written by Tsuruya Nanboku IV, and these scenes in particular reflect the decadence and corruption found in the underbelly of ordinary society at that time. The scenes portray two outwardly charming characters who are filled with wickedness. There are several typical role types that appear in Kabuki, and akuba (wicked lady) is one of them. Oroku is an akuba and although beautiful, she is truly wicked. Trying to extort 100 gold coins, Oroku and her husband Kimon no Kihŕ visit a pawnshop carrying the dead body of Oroku's brother. The two insist that her brother died from an injury he incurred in a quarrel with its apprentice. However, the dead body suddenly becomes conscious and the extortion ends in failure. Although disappointed, the two leave the pawnshop without flinching in the slightest. Starring Living National Treasures Band˘ Tamasabur˘ and Kataoka Nizaemon in the roles of Oroku and Kihŕ.
  • Omatsuri: the gallant commoners of Edo's neighborhoods loved nothing better than a festival, and this performance is a dance based on one of the biggest festivals in Edo. In this dance, a gallant fireman (Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon) and a geisha (Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘) appear on stage and show their Edo-style spirit. In the end, a young man comes out and a beautiful fighting scene unfolds on stage.
  • Taki no Shiraito: This play was adapted from Izumi Ky˘ka's novel "Giketsu Ky˘ketsu" ('The Righteous and the Chivalrous') in 1895. Taki no Shiraito (Nakamura Kazutar˘), a female entertainer who is a member of a troupe, meets Murakoshi Kin'ya (Onoe Matsuya). Though his house has gone to ruin and he is now a groom, he dreams of becoming a lawyer. She promises to supply him with his school-expenses. Three years later, she is robbed of the money she intended to send to him. She becomes distracted and kills a married couple in a nearby house. Appearing in court as a murder suspect, she is shocked to find Kin'ya, who for the first time after he graduated university, is sitting in the seat of a public prosecutor. Featuring also Nakamura Karoku.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 27 March 2018

    Z˘ho Chűshingura (Honz˘ Shimoyashiki)

    Tsuyu Kosode Mukashi Hachij˘ (Kamiyui Shinza)


    Nakamura Ganjir˘, Onoe Kikunosuke, Kataoka Kamez˘, Ichikawa Danz˘, Nakamura Baishi, Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘, Ichimura Manjir˘, Ichimura Kitsutar˘, Nakamura Mantar˘


    The usual March Kabuki performances at the National Theatre:

  • Honz˘ Shimoyashiki: there are few plays more popular than "Chűshingura" or "The Treasury of Loyal Retainers" based on the true story of the revenge of the forty-seven masterless samurai. That original play not only showed the historical events, but the private dramas of the retainers as they prepared for the vendetta. The original play inspired many other plays showing other historical characters associated with the event, or the aspects of the fictional characters not shown in the original. This play features the character Momonoi Wakasanosuke (Nakamura Ganjir˘). Wakasanosuke is reviled as a flatterer after the sword fighting incident caused by Enĺya Hangan on the master of ceremony, K˘ no Moron˘. Wakasanosuke was going to wreak his grudge on Moron˘, but his head retainer Kakogawa Honz˘ (Kataoka Kamez˘) had bribed Moron˘, and he lost the opportunity to do so. Enĺya Hangan was instead teased by Morono and caused the incident. Wakasanosuke visits Honz˘ who incurred his anger and was confined to his house. He raises up his sword to punish Honz˘, but ů Wakasanosukeĺs unexpected behavior, how he thanks Honz˘ for his loyalty and how he regrets his parting Honz˘ Honzo hearing his sister play the Japanese zither are the highlights of this play which is a prolog to the ninth act of the original "Chűshingura" play showing another bond between a lord and his retainer.
  • 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 Onoe Kikunosuke as Shinza, Nakamura Baishi as Chűshichi, Ichikawa Danz˘ as Yatagor˘ Genshichi and Kataoka Kamez˘ as the landlord Ch˘bŕ.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or National Theatre

    Dates 5 ~ 6 March 2018


    Fuji Musume

    Michiyuki Koi no Odamaki


    Ichikawa Ennosuke, Nakamura Shinobu, Ichikawa Emino


    1st edition of the Baish˘kai, a gala program which stars Nakamura Shinobu and Ichikawa Emino.

    Shungy˘ Special Tour
    Dates 17 March ~ 5 April 2018
    Shungy˘ Tokubetsu K˘en
    The Dawn of Spring Special Performances


    Tsuru Kame


    Makura Jishi


    Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Tsurumatsu


    The Spring Tour of the Nakamuraya guild with performances in 12 cities. The first item (geidan) in this program is a talk.

  • 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.
  • Urashima: This dance depicts a Japanese folk tale of a young man named Urashima (Nakamura Kankur˘) 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.
  • Makura Jishi: the keisei Yayoi performs a dance expressing her bitterness toward her dreary life in the gay quarters, 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 Nakamura Shichinosuke as both the courtesan Yayoi and the spirit of the lion.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website
    Nihon Buy˘ for "Urashima"

    Ichikawa Ebiz˘ Special Tour
    Dates 1 March ~ 7 April 2018
    Ichikawa Ebiz˘ Tokubetsu K˘en
    Ichikawa Ebiz˘ Special Performances

    Genji Monogatari


    Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichimura Kakitsu, Ichikawa Kudanji, ďtani Hiromatsu, Katayama Kur˘emon, Kanze Yoshimasa, Miroku Tadashi, Shigeyama Ippei, Ichikawa Botan


    The Spring Tour of Ichikawa Ebiz˘ with performances in 23 cities. A special program mixing Kabuki, and Opera. The heir of the Naritaya guild performs in a special version of "Genji Monogatari", featuring the actors Katayama Kur˘emon X and Kanze Yoshimasa, and the Opera Tenor/Countertenor Miroku Tadashi. The script for this version of "Genji Monogatari" focuses on the story from Oborozukiyo to Suma/Akashi.

  • Genji Monogatari: Japan's oldest love story is reborn from a wondrous collaboration of Kabuki, and Opera. The Tale of Genji was written in the 11th century by Murasaki Shikibu, a lady of the Heian court. The whole story consists of 54 chapters and unfolds in a number of human relationships and romances that Hikaru-no-kimi,,the hero of the tale(acted by Ichikawa Ebiz˘), had in his life while describing to the court about life in the Heian period of Japan. This story is to recreate a new "The Tale of Genji" incorporating the essence of Kabuki, , another form of traditional Japanese theatre culture, and Opera, an art long-cultivated in Western culture. That is sometimes elegant and quiet, yet sometimes dramatic and aggressive. The beautiful four seasons of Japan are recreated on the stage which will remind audiences of profoundness Japanese sensitivity.
  • Source: Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Kanagawa Arts Theatre (Yokohama)
    Dates 24 ~ 27 March 2018
    Wakate Buy˘ K˘en SUGATA
    Young Dancers Performances SUGATA

    Ninin Sanbas˘

    Futago Sumidagawa


    Nakamura Takanosuke, Nakamura Tamatar˘


    A gala program called SUGATA (appearance) for the young actors Nakamura Takanosuke and Nakamura Tamatar˘.

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