|NEWS FROM THE KABUKI WORLD|
What about a Kabuki on-demand service for international Kabuki fans? The project has started with survey on online kabuki streaming! Answering the survey will help a lot.
After 5 months without any Grand Kabuki in Japan, from March 2020 to July 2020, due to the worldwide COVID-19 crisis, it was a relief to hear that the performances at the Kabukiza, with 4 short programs, went smoothly in August 2020 with only one minor incident: the 3rd program, "Yoshinoyama", was cancelled the 5th of August because a member of the theater staff had a slight fever but he was fortunately tested negative for the coronavirus.
A thematic exhibition "Four Seasons of Kabuki" is now being held at the Traditional Performing Arts Information Centre at the National Theatre. It has been filmed and it will be available for free on the National Theatreĺs official YouTube channel until the 23rd of September 2020:
The National Theatre has produced a series of documentaries for beginning Kabuki fans, which will be streamed online. It uses the streaming service e+ Streaming+, which is limited to Japan only. The first documentary will be about stage and big stage props. The hosts will be Matsumoto K˘shir˘ and the non-Kabuki actor Yashima Norito:
Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon will perform the 29th of August 2020 in Ginza at the Kanze N˘gakud˘ in a newly-created dance-drama entitled "Suma no Ura". Nakamura Kichiemon, under the pen name of Matsu Kanshi II, has written this dance-drama which is about the sad story of Kumagai Kojir˘, the son of the warrior Kumagai Jir˘ Naozane (the hero of the classic "Ichi-no-Tani Futaba Gunki"). This performance will be streamed online through the streaming service e+ Streaming+:
There will be Kabuki performances in September 2020 in T˘ky˘ at the Kabukiza. There won't be the usual two programs but FOUR programs! Each program will be limited to one drama or one dance-drama just like in August 2020 [more details]. The September performances at the Kabukiza used to be the Shűzan Matsuri Kugatsu ďkabuki, Shűzan's Festival September Grand Kabuki, a special program called "Shűzan Matsuri" (the festival of Shűzan) which was staged to commemorate the great actor Nakamura Kichiemon I, whose's haimy˘ was Shűzan. In 2020, "Hikimado" will be staged in the spirit of the Shűzan's Festival.
Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ was expected to perform in October 2020 and in November 2020 in Yamaga at the Yachiyoza [more details]. The shows have been postponed one more time due to the COVID-19 crisis!
One more report in English for the 3rd, 4th and 5th Zűmu Kabuki ("Zoom Kabuki") performances has been published online:
The Duty of Remembrance:
Important: No Kabuki performances at all in Japan in July 2020 due to the worldwide COVID-19 crisis. Most of the performances have been canceled. Only the performances at the Kabukiza have been postponed. Fifth consecutive month without any Grand Kabuki at all in Japan!
The COVID-19-related rules to be respected during the August 2020 performances at the Kabukiza have been published: mask, social distancing, no contact with the actors, vacant seats, thermography at the entrance, hand sanitizers, seats sterilization, ... and no kakegoe allowed!
A special Kabuki program in ďsaka, which will be part of the 2020 edition of the ďsaka Culture and Arts Festival (ďsaka Bunka Geijutsu Fesu), will be staged at the Cool Japan Park ďsaka TT Hall from the 11th to the 13th of September 2020. The stars will be Nakamura Ganjir˘, Kataoka Ainosuke, Ichikawa Udanji, Nakamura Kazutar˘ and Onoe Ukon [more details].
6th edition of the gala of the Sora no Kai (literally "the Sky Association"), which stars Kataoka Matsujűr˘, Kataoka Senjir˘, Kataoka Senju and others. They will perform from the 20th to the 23rd of August 2020 in ďsaka at the Kintetsu Art Kan [more details]. These performances are entitled Abeno Kabuki (Abeno is the name of a famous district in ďsaka). A newly-created drama entitled "Ukiyo Banashi Hitoyo no Adauchi" will be staged. It is a Kabuki adaptation of a famous Kamigata rakugo entitled "Yadoya Gataki". This is the story of a samurai staying in an inn in Nipponbashi (ďsaka). The guests next door are so noisy that the samurai cannot sleep at all. He registers a strong complaint to the manager of the inn, who asks the noisy guests to lower their voice. They try to do so once, but they restart their noisy chatter again. And they speak about their experiences. One of them tells the others that he has killed one samurai and boasts heavily about it. After hearing the story from his room, the samurai tells to the manager that he is the brother of that person who was killed, so he decide to take his revenge next morning. The manager tells the guests about it and they feel shocked and become all silent. Next morning, the samurai is going to leave the inn without any action, so the manager asks him when he plans to kill the murderer of his brother. The samurai answers that it is a lie, which has been the perfect solution to be able to rest and sleep. "Ukiyo Banashi Hitoyo no Adauchi" will be staged under the guidance of Living National Treasure Kataoka Hidetar˘ and the furitsuke Yamamura Tomogor˘ III.
The world of Kabuki and the world of otaku will collide one more time, not in a theater but online! Ch˘kabuki (literally Ultra-Kabuki) will be broadcasted online the 16th of August 2020. Nakamura Shid˘ will once again share a virtual stage with the 3D creature Hatsune Miku [more details in Japanese].
The 1st edition of the gala of the Miyoshiya Guild, Kamimura Kichiya and his disciples, will happen the 20th of September 2020, in ďsaka at the ďtsuki N˘ Theatre [more details]. The ďtsuki N˘ Theatre is located near ďsaka Castle. It was established in 1935 and it is one of the few N˘ theaters in Kansai which has survived WWII.
The program for the 26th edition of the common program for 2 associations, the Chigyokai (the Young Fishes Association) and the Kabukikai (the Kabuki Association), which stars stars' disciples in the leading roles at the National Theatre in August 2020, has been published [more details].
The 22nd edition of the summer program of the association Ne no Kai (the Sound Association) will happen the 10th and the 11th of August 2020 [more details].
A special program at the Minamiza in Ky˘to to explain stage mechanisms, from the tachimawari to the hanamichi. An interesting program to experience some of the unique stagecraft tricks used in Japanese Kabuki theatre. Tours will be organized from the 1st to the 31st of August 2020 [more details in Japanese].
We know now what will be the contents of the next 30 DVD, from number 31 (21 october 2020) to number 60, of the 100-DVD collection published by Hachette Collections Japan and the Sh˘chiku Company once every two weeks since 2019 [more details in Japanese/official website].
Opening of the Sh˘chiku Kabuki Flyers Database! All Kabuki flyers from 2006 are available online.
Reports in English for the first two Zűmu Kabuki ("Zoom Kabuki") performances have been published online:
The Duty of Remembrance:
Important: No Kabuki performances at all in Japan in June 2020 due to the worldwide COVID-19 crisis. Most of the performances have been canceled. Only the performances at the Kabukiza have been postponed. Fourth consecutive month without any Grand Kabuki at all in Japan!
A very good piece of news for Kabuki fans: there will be Kabuki performances in August in T˘ky˘ at the Kabukiza. There won't be the usual two programs but FOUR programs! Each program will be limited to one drama or one dance-drama [more details].
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, there won't be any Grand Kabuki Tour in the central provinces [more details].
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the 30th edition of the Kamigata Kabukikai (the Kamigata Kabuki Association), a summer program in ďsaka at the National Bunraku Theatre in August 2020, won't happen [more details].
The drama "GOEMON-Ishikawa Goemon" (), which was initially staged in November 2011 at the ďtsuka Museum of Art and premiered in its current production in October 2014 in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza [more details], will be staged once more in October 2020 in the same theater, starring Kataoka Ainosuke in the role of Ishikawa Goemon [more details]. This drama is advertised by the Sh˘chiku Company as being ôa novel Kabuki dance which has taken in Flamencoö.
The first ever online Kabuki program was streamed in Japan the 27th of June 2020. This new kind of Kabuki was called Zűmu Kabuki ("Zoom Kabuki") and it starred Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘ and Ichikawa En'ya [more details]. The performance mixed recorded video and live online and gave the illusion that all the actors were performing "on stage" together. The first Zoom drama was based on the first 3 acts of the classic "Kanadehon Chűshingura". The streaming service e+ Streaming+ was limited to Japan only. There will be 4 others streaming sessions, all based on the others acts of "Kanadehon Chűshingura":
Important: No Kabuki performances at all in Japan in May 2020 due to the worldwide COVID-19 crisis. Most of the performances have been canceled. Only the performances at the Kabukiza have been postponed. Third consecutive month without any Grand Kabuki at all in Japan!
The program for the 30th edition of the Kamigata Kabukikai (the Kamigata Kabuki Association), a summer program in ďsaka at the National Bunraku Theatre in August 2020 which stars Kamigata Kabuki stars' disciples in the leading roles with the guidance of Kataoka Nizaemon, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘ and Kataoka Gat˘, has been published [more details].
Since the 25th of May 2020, the Kabukiza has been illuminated with blue lights to show gratitude to and support for medical staff and front-line workers fighting the coronavirus [pictures and more details in Japanese].
Important: No Kabuki performances at all in Japan in April 2020 due to the worldwide COVID-19 crisis. Most of the performances have been canceled. Only the 2nd edition of the Yű no Kai, a gala which stars ďtani Keiz˘ and his son ďtani Ryűsei, in Midori at the Nagame Yoky˘j˘ (Nagame Entertainment Theater), has been postponed.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the performances of Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ in May 2020, from the 12th to the 17 of May, in Atami at the MOA Museum of Art [more details] have been rescheduled from the 18th to the 22nd of November 2020.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the performances of the Zenshinza troupe in May 2020 at the National Theatre have been canceled [more details]. The same program will be staged in May 2021 in the same venue to celebrate its 90th anniversary.
The two programs for the July Grand Kabuki in ďsaka at the Sh˘chikuza in July 2020 have been published [more details]. The troupe will be led by Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon. Will these two programs be staged or canceled? Time will tell.
Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ will perform in Ky˘to at the Minamiza in August 2020 [more details]. There will be a mix of video projection (with video sequences coming from the high-quality Shinema Kabuki, "Cinema Kabuki") and real dancing on stage. It will be divided into 2 programs, Program A from the 1st to the 13th of August and Program B from the 15th to the 26th of August.
A collateral victim of the COVID-19 crisis: Benmatsu, whose most famous shop is located directly across the street from the Kabukiza, and which has been putting together its bent˘ for 152 years (the first shop was opened in 1868) for members of the audience or actors/staff of the theater, went bankrupt the 20th of April 2020.
The American TV network CBS has put online an interesting documentary about Ichikawa Ebiz˘: Kabuki: Inside the Japanese artform with its biggest star, Ebiz˘.
Important: No Kabuki performances at all in Japan in March 2020 due to the worldwide COVID-19 crisis. Moreover, the April 2020 performances will be either fully cancelled or stopped for several days in Japan. So far, it has been reported that there will be no performance at all at the Misonoza and at the Kanamaruza. The Grand Kabuki Tour in the western provinces will be stopped as well. Idem for the Grand Kabuki Tour in the eastern provinces in May 2020. There won't be any performance at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ from the 3rd to the 14th of April 2020. Performances are hypothetically scheduled to begin again from the 16th of April. The event mixing Opera and Kabuki, which was expected to happen the 18th of April 2020 and has been entitled KABUKI x OPERA "Luminous, The Lord", will have to wait for another year before happening. Now, the big question is this one: will the 3-month shűmei of Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XIII be postponed as well?
Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ was expected to perform in May 2020 in Ky˘tango at the Tango Bunka Kaikan (Tango Culture Center) [more details], in Atami at the MOA Museum of Art [more details] and in Yamaga at the Yachiyoza [more details]. The first and the third shows have been postponed. It will be rescheduled at the Yachiyoza from the 30th of October to the 8th of November 2020. No date for the Tango Bunka Kaikan show. No postponement announcement for the show at the MOA Museum of Art.
The two programs for the May Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza in May 2020 have been published. This will be the first month of a 3-month shűmei for the new Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XIII [more details]. The highlights of these programs will be:
The two programs for the June Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza in June 2020 have been published. This will be the second month of a 3-month shűmei for the new Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XIII and the first month of hatsubutai for his son Ichikawa Shinnosuke VIII [more details]. The highlights of these programs will be:
The two programs for the July Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza in July 2020 have been published. This will be the third month of a 3-month shűmei for the new Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XIII and the second month of hatsubutai for his son Ichikawa Shinnosuke VIII [more details]. The highlights of these programs will be:
The Buy˘ dancer Ichikawa Botan IV, the daughter of the future Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XIII, will perform at the Kabukiza in July 2020 in the dance "Danjűr˘ Musume" (commonly called "ďmi no Okane"). She will play the leading role of Okane in this dance with a title which could be translated "Danjűr˘'s Daughter" in English [more details].
The world of Kabuki and the world of otaku will collide for the 7th time in Kabuki history and for the second time in a major Kabuki theater! Ch˘kabuki (literally Ultra-Kabuki) will be staged in Ky˘to at the Minamiza in June 2020. Nakamura Shid˘ will once again share the stage with the virtual 3D creature Hatsune Miku [more details].
Matsumoto K˘shir˘ is one of the 5 artists who will receive the 2019 Nihon Geijutsuin Sh˘, the Japan Art Academy Prize. The ceremony will happen the 15th of June 2020 in Ueno at the Nihon Geijutsuin Kaikan (Japan Art Academy Hall).
The 2nd edition of the Yű no Kai, a gala which stars ďtani Keiz˘ and his son ďtani Ryűsei, was expected to happen the 12th of April 2020 at the Nagame Yoky˘j˘ (Nagame Entertainment Theater), a traditional wooden-built theater (1937) in the city of Midori in Gunma Prefecture. It has been postponsed [more details].
Kiba Katsumi and Yamaguchi Makiya, two non-Kabuki actors, will perform, along with Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke and Nakamura Shid˘, in May 2020 at the TBS Akasaka Act Theater in the Akasaka Grand Kabuki [more details].
Important: No Kabuki performances for several days in March! The performances will be cancelled to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Japan. No performance at the National Theatre up to the 15th of March [more details].. They are expected to restart the 16th of March. Same decision of cancellation of performances for the theaters managed by the Sh˘chiku Company: the Kabukiza, the Meijiza and the Minamiza, from the 28th of February to the 10th of March [more details]. Performances are scheduled to begin again from the 11th of March. Moreover, the performances of Ichikawa Ebiz˘ at the Hakataza from the 27th of February to the 1st of March were canceled.
Ichikawa Ebiz˘ XI will take the prestigious name of Ichikawa Danjűr˘ XIII in T˘ky˘ at the Kabukiza in May, June and July 2020. His son Horikoshi Kangen will receive the name of Ichikawa Shinnosuke VIII and make his hatsubutai in June and July 2020. The roles, which will be played by the new Danjűr˘ and the new Shinnosuke, have been decided:
The two programs for the June Grand Kabuki in Fukuoka at the Hakataza in June 2020 have been published [more details]. The troupe will be led by Nakamura Tokiz˘, Nakamura Baigyoku and Onoe Kikunosuke. Nakamura Kangyoku will celebrate his shűmei in Fukuoka, playing the roles of Okiyo, Shűrinosuke and Tar˘kaja in "Ohama Goten", "Domo Mata" and "Takatsuki".
The Zenshinza troupe will perform in May 2020 at the National Theatre [more details]. The highlight of this program will be the classic "Shunkan" with Fujikawa Yanosuke in the eponymous role. There will also be the production of a newly-created Kabuki drama entitled "Tagaya no Kinta", with a story based on 3 famous rakugo: "Tagaya", "Nagaya no Hanami" and "Hanami no Adauchi".
The world of Kabuki and the world of otaku will collide for the 6th time in Kabuki history in April 2020! Ch˘kabuki (literally Ultra-Kabuki) will be back! Nakamura Shid˘ will once again share the stage with the virtual 3D creature Hatsune Miku. They will perform together in a Ch˘kabuki dance-drama which will be entitled "Otogi Z˘shi Koi no Sugatae". It will be staged at the Makuhari Messe the 18th and the 19th of April 2020, as part of the Niconico Ch˘kaigi 2020 event, an important yearly event for the otaku tribes [more details]. An article has been published in the Japan Times on this topic:
Nakamura Baishi was the award-winners of the "New Face" Award (Engeki Shinjin Sh˘) of the 41st Matsuo Artistic Awards (Matsuo Gein˘ Sh˘). He will receive this award the 27th of March 2020 in T˘ky˘ at the Imperial Hotel.
Onoe Matsuya will perform outside Kabuki in April, May and June 2020 in Michael Kunze's musical "Elisabeth". This musical was about the life of Empress Elisabeth of Austria and the music was made by Sylvester Levay. Onoe Matsuya will perform in T˘ky˘ at the Imperial Theater from the 9th of April to the 4th of May 2020 and in ďsaka at the Umeda Arts Theater from the 11th of May to the 2nd of May 2020.
Opening in February 2020 of a Twitter account for the Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website:
There were mamemaki ceremonies for setsubun the 3rd of February 2020 at the Kabukiza [pictures and more details in Japanese] and the 4th of February 2020 at the Hakataza [pictures and more details in Japanese].
A special video starring Sawamura Kuniya was released by NTT Docomo the 20th of February 2020. It described through a Kabuki dance a method to relieve body fatigue due to heavy use of smartphone [more details in Japanese].
As the Kabukiza will be closed for maintenance and building repairs in April 2020, the April Grand Kabuki performances will be staged at the nearby Shinbashi Enbuj˘ and the two programs have been published. The troupe will be led by Living National Treasures Onoe Kikugor˘ and Nakamura Kichiemon [more details].
Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke and Nakamura Shid˘ will perform in May 2020 at the TBS Akasaka Act Theater in a special Kabuki program which will be entitled Akasaka Grand Kabuki. They will perform in a revised version supevised by Minamoto Takashi of the famous kaidanmono "Botan D˘r˘" [more details].
The classic "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura" will be staged in March 2020 at the National Theatre, with young star Onoe Kikunosuke playing the 3 important roles of Taira no Tomomori, Igami no Gonta and the fox Tadanobu [more details]. There will be 3 programs which will be staged with the following schedule:
Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon went to the Dazaifu Tenmangű the 15th of January 2020 to pray for the success of the coming performances of "Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami" in February 2020 at the Kabukiza. Kataoka Nizaemon will play the role of Kan Sh˘j˘, whose real name was Sugawara no Michizane, and the grave of Sugawara no Michizane is located in the precincts of the Dazaifu Tenmangű Shrine [pictures and more details in Japanese].
The Kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebiz˘ and the opera star Placido Domingo were expected to team up for the cultural festival accompanying the opening of the 2020 T˘ky˘ Olympic and Paralympic Games. Following the 2019 sexual harassment multiple accusations against Placido Domingo, the star was replaced by the Italian Soprano singer Anna Pirozzi and the Uruguayan baritone Erwin Schrott, who will perform along with Ichikawa Ebiz˘ in the opening act of the TďKYď 2020 NIPPON FESTIVAL the 18th of April 2020, to kick off celebrations for the coming T˘ky˘ Olympic and Paralympic Games. This event mixing Opera and Kabuki will be entitled KABUKI x OPERA "Luminous, The Lord". The T˘ky˘ Philharmonic Orchestra will be conducted by Jordi BernÓcer, the venue will be the T˘ky˘ Metropolitan Gymnasium and the furitsuke will be Fujima Kanjűr˘ VIII [more details].
Nakamura Ganjir˘ and Nakamura Toranosuke took part in a parade in ďsaka the 10th of January 2020, which was part of the T˘ka Ebisu Festival at the Imamiya Ebisu Shrine, which is located in the Naniwa Ward of ďsaka and is commonly (and affectiously) called Ebessan by the people of ďsaka. The T˘ka Ebisu Festival was held from the 9th to the 11th of January 2020. T˘ka meaning the 10th day in Japanese, this festival is usually held around the 10th of January and it is extremely popular in ďsaka. During this festival sacred bamboo branches are sold to business people. The branches, known as fukusasa, are decorated with lucky symbols. The two actors were paraded through shopping and entertainment districts on a special palanquin called hoe kago, surrounded by people singing a simple catchy folk song [more details in Japanese and pictures].
The 14th of January 2020 at the Asakusa K˘kaid˘, seven geisha came and saw the New Year Asakusa Kabuki. They arrived at the Asakusa Public Hall riding in rickshaws and then stood near the entrance to greet the arriving customers. This kind of visit by a group of geisha is called S˘ken (literally "global viewing") [pictures and more details in Japanese].
There is an exhibition dedicated to Nakamura Utaemon VI at the Setagaya Literary Museum in Setagaya Ward in winter and spring 2020. It started the 18th of January 2020 and it will end the 5th of April 2020. Why Setagaya? Nakamura Utaemon VI's last home was located in the district of Okamoto in Setagaya Ward.
The 120th edition of the Hanamichikai Kabuki SeminÔ (the Kabuki Seminar of the Hanamichi Association) will happen the 9th of February 2020 at 14:30 on the 3rd floor of the Kabukiza in the Hanakago Restaurant. The guest of this talk will be Ichikawa Danz˘ and the long-time NHK announcer Kasai Seiji will lead the discussions.
3 actors, who have successfully passed the 2019 nadai exam, received their diploma during a special ceremony [pictures and more details in Japanese]. It happened at the Kabukiza the 16th of January 2020 for the tachiyaku actors Ichikawa Usaji, a disciple of Ichikawa Udanji, and Nakamura Kichijir˘, a disciple of Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon. It happened at the Sh˘chikuza the 21st of January 2020 for the onnagata actor Kataoka Rikiya, a disciple of Living National Treasure Kataoka Hidetar˘.
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