2 shows in Ky˘to (Minamiza), 3 shows in T˘ky˘ (Kabukiza, National Theatre, Heisei Nakamuraza), 1 in Fukuoka (Hakataza), 1 in Yamaga (Yachiyoza) and 1 tour (Classics Tour)!

  • Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Matsumoto Haku˘, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Kataoka Takatar˘, Kataoka Ainosuke, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Ichikawa Komaz˘ and ďtani Tomoemon perform at the Minamiza!
  • Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon, Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Ichikawa Ennosuke, Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Ichikawa Danz˘ and Ichikawa Monnosuke perform at the Kabukiza !
  • Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Band˘ Rakuzen and Ichikawa Udanji perform at the National Theatre!
  • Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Shikan and Nakamura Senjaku perform at the Heisei Nakamuraza!
  • Nakamura Shid˘, Onoe Matsuya, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Ichimura Manjir˘ and Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘ perform at the Hakataza!
  • Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ performs at the Yachiyoza!
  • Ichikawa Ebiz˘ is on tour (Classics Tour)!
  • Minamiza (Ky˘to)
    Dates 1 ~ 25 November 2015
    Kichirei Kaomise K˘gy˘
    Annual Festive Face-Showing Performances



    Koi Bikyaku Yamato ďrai (Fűin Giri)

    Gozonji Suzu-ga-Mori


    Kotobuki Soga no Taimen



    Kari no Tayori


    Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon, Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘, Matsumoto Haku˘, Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Ichikawa Somegor˘, Nakamura Ganjir˘, Kataoka Takatar˘, Kataoka Ainosuke, Kataoka Hidetar˘, Ichikawa Sadanji, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Ichikawa Komaz˘, ďtani Tomoemon, Nakamura Kikaku, Kataoka Shinnosuke, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Kamimura Kichiya, Sawamura S˘nosuke, Matsumoto Kingo, ďtani Hirotar˘, Ichikawa Otora, Kataoka Matsunosuke, Nakamura Jűjir˘


    The Minamiza reopens in a newly-refurbished structure! The opening program is a kaomise with Matsumoto Haku˘ II, his son Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X and his grandson Ichikawa Somegor˘ VIII celebrating their shűmei in this prestigious theater.

  • Kenuki: in this play, which retains the light, festive atmosphere of early-period Kabuki, a princess has a mysterious ailment that makes her hair stand on end, an ailment that prevents her from carrying out her long-awaited marriage. Kumedera Danj˘ comes from the groom's household to investigate and finds a plot to take over the household when his tweezers float in mid-air. Ichikawa Sadanji stars in a play that features the bombastic aragoto style of acting that is a specialty of his family. Featuring also Kataoka Takatar˘, Nakamura Kazutar˘, Kataoka Ichiz˘, Ichikawa Komaz˘ and ďtani Tomoemon.
  • Renjishi: 2 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 cub to undergo harsh training in order to grow up strong. This theme is often associated with the training a parent actor gives his son. This performance features Matsumoto K˘shir˘ in the role of the parent shishi and his son Ichikawa Somegor˘ in the role of the cub. Featuring also Nakamura Ganjir˘ and Kataoka Ainosuke.
  • 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 Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon as Chűbŕ, Kataoka Takatar˘ as Umegawa, Nakamura Ganjir˘ as Chűbŕ's treacherous friend Tanbaya Hachiemon, Kataoka Hidetar˘ as Oen, the proprietress of the teahouse, and Ichikawa Sadanji as Tsuchiya Jiemon.
  • Suzu-ga-Mori: The young samurai Shirai Gonpachi (Kataoka Ainosuke) is ambushed near the execution grounds of Edo on a dark night, but he manages to escape after a gruesome but humorous fight scene. He is watched by Banzuiin Ch˘bŕ (Matsumoto Haku˘), an Edo boss, who is impressed with his fighting skills and agrees to give him shelter in the city. This meeting between the handsome young Gonpachi and the heroic Ch˘bŕ is one of the most famous meetings in Kabuki.
  • Soga no Taimen: this is one of the oldest and most classical of all Kabuki plays. In the Edo period, every January, plays appeared about the vendetta carried out by the Soga brothers Jűr˘ and Gor˘ after eighteen years of hardship. In "Soga no Taimen" the brothers confront Kud˘ Suketsune, the man responsible for their father's death. More ceremony than play, it features each of the important Kabuki character types, including the bombastic aragoto style of Gor˘ and the soft wagoto style of Jűr˘. This month features a cast headed by Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon as Kud˘ and some of the most popular young stars in Kabuki with Kataoka Ainosuke as Gor˘ and Kataoka Takatar˘ as Jűr˘. Featuring also Kataoka Hidetar˘ as Maizuru.
  • 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, all the stars of the cast assemble to celebrate the shűmei of Matsumoto Haku˘ II, Matsumoto K˘shir˘ X and Ichikawa Somegor˘ VIII. Living National Treasure Sakata T˘jűr˘ appears only in this k˘j˘.
  • 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 Matsumoto K˘shir˘ in the role of Benkei, with Ichikawa Somegor˘ and Matsumoto Haku˘ as Yoshitsune and the barrier keeper Togashi.
  • Kari no Tayori: an unusual play in the ďsaka acting style originally written in the 19th century by Nakamura Utaemon III. A barber (Nakamura Ganjir˘) finds his feelings twisted one way and another by the events in the neighboring samurai mansion where the lord is trying to force Tsukasa (Nakamura Kazutar˘), a beautiful woman, to become his mistress. The play shows the barber's changing reactions to two letters from the beautiful woman declaring her love for him. One letter is sincere, the other is a forgery but both turn out to be dangerous traps. Featuring also Matsumoto K˘shir˘, Band˘ Takesabur˘, Kataoka Hidetar˘ and Kataoka Ichiz˘.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Kabukiza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 2 ~ 26 November 2018
    Kichirei Kaomise ďkabuki
    Annual Festive Face-Showing Grand Kabuki

    Oedo Miyage

    Su˘ Otoshi

    Sato Moy˘ Azami no Ironui (Izayoi Seishin)


    Sanmon Gosan no Kiri (Sanmon)

    Fumi Uri

    Sumidagawa Gonichi no Omokage (H˘kaib˘)


    Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘, Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon, Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘, Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Tokiz˘, Ichikawa Ennosuke, Onoe Sh˘roku, Nakamura Karoku, Nakamura Matagor˘, Ichikawa Danz˘, Ichikawa Monnosuke, Band˘ Kamez˘, Ichikawa Emisabur˘, Ichikawa Emiya, Ichikawa Juen, Band˘ Minosuke, Nakamura Baishi, Nakamura Kichinoj˘, Nakamura Kash˘, Nakamura Hayato, Nakamura Tanenosuke, Onoe Ukon


    The traditional November kaomise programs at the Kabukiza.

  • Oedo Miyage:
    (A Souvenir of Edo)
    This modern play is a light comedy with a fanciful episode from the life of commoners in the Edo period. Two women, Otsuji (Nakamura Tokiz˘) and Oyű (Nakamura Matagor˘), who travel annually to Edo to sell the cloth that they weave encounter a young couple. Moved by the spirit of romance, Otsuji spends all the money that she has made for a once in a lifetime meeting with a fabulously handsome Kabuki actor (Nakamura Baishi). Featuring also Living National Treasure Nakamura T˘z˘ in the role of Mojitatsu.
  • 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 (Onoe Sh˘roku) 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. Featuring also Ichikawa Danz˘ and Band˘ Minosuke.
  • Izayoi Seishin: love suicides are common in Kabuki, but usually as the conclusion of a play, a tragic end to a love that cannot be. The playwright Kawatake Mokuami gave this play an ironic turn by putting the love suicide at the very beginning of the play. The priest Seishin (Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘) and the courtesan Izayoi (Nakamura Tokiz˘) are ostracized for having an affair. Seishin decides to forget her and concentrate on his religious training. Before he can leave, though, Izayoi convinces him to die with her. They throw themselves into a river, but both survive. Unaware that Izayoi is still alive and given the chance to start again, Seishin gives up his religious vows and turns to a life of crime. With Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon as the poet Hakuren, in reality the thief ďdera Sh˘bŕ.
  • Sanmon: though short, this play is one of the most visually spectacular in Kabuki. The famous villain Ishikawa Goemon (Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon) enjoys a sea of cherry blossoms while sitting on top the large gate of Nanzenji Temple. His enjoyment of the scene is cut short, though, by the appearance below of his arch-nemesis, the general Mashiba Hisayoshi (Living National Treasure Onoe Kikugor˘).
  • Fumi Uri:
    (Love Letter Seller)
    This is one of a series of four transformation dances that is now performed independently. A woman (Nakamura Jakuemon) appears carrying a branch of plum blossom to which many love letters are tied. She enacts how two courtesans Odamaki and Katsumi compete for a man. Having finished talking, she departs.
  • H˘kaib˘: H˘kaib˘ (Ichikawa Ennosuke), an evil begging priest, is in love with the beautiful, young Okumi (Onoe Ukon) who is herself in love with Y˘suke (Nakamura Hayato), a servant at her father's store. Y˘suke is actually an aristocrat searching for the lost treasure of his family. He regains possession only to have the scroll stolen by H˘kaib˘. Y˘suke accepts Okumi's love, but is also pursued by Princess Nowake (Nakamura Tanenosuke), his true fiancee. In a grim but humorous scene at a graveyard, everyone tries to get Okumi and the scroll. But H˘kaib˘ ends up killing Princess Nowake and is killed himself before he can enjoy the fruits of his villainy. The last scene, "Futa Omote Mizu ni Terutsuki", is one of the great classics of dance and is often performed separately. Y˘suke and Okumi try to run off together only to find a strange figure that looks exactly like Okumi. Y˘suke tries to find out which is the real Okumi. In fact, in a virtuoso turn for the star actor who plays this double role, the mysterious figure is made up of the combined spirits of H˘kaib˘ and Princess Nowake, each questing for love even after death. Featuring also Ichikawa Danz˘ as ďsakaya Gen'emon, Nakamura Karoku as Jinzabur˘ and Nakamura Jakuemon as the boatman Oshizu.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    National Theatre (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 3 ~ 26 November 2018

    Na mo Takashi ďoka Sabaki


    Nakamura Baigyoku, Nakamura Kaishun, Band˘ Yajűr˘, Band˘ Rakuzen, Ichikawa Udanji, Band˘ Hikosabur˘, Ichikawa Sai'nyű, Ichimura Kakitsu, Band˘ Shűch˘, Ichikawa Omez˘, Nakamura Matsue, ďtani Keiz˘, Arashi Kitsusabur˘, Nakamura Kamenoj˘, Ichikawa Ukon


    Revival at the National Theatre of Kawatake Mokuami's drama "Ten'ichib˘":

  • Na mo Takashi ďoka Sabaki: tales of wise magistrates are common in Asia and if China has Judge Dee, Japan has ďoka Tadasuke, Lord of Echizen. They became popular as k˘dan storytelling and have long been a staple of television. In the late 19th century, the success of these stories as k˘dan inspired Kabuki versions, including this one, written by Kawatake Mokuami (the original title was "ďgi By˘shi ďoka Seidan"). In remote Wakayama prefecture, there is an old wet nurse. Her daughter fell in love with the Sh˘gun Yoshimune and bore his child. The mother and child soon died, but the old wet nurse has a sword and document signed by the Sh˘gun. An evil priest (Ichikawa Udanji) learns her secret, kills her and takes the sword and document. He goes to Edo and poses as the son of Yoshimune under the name Ten'ichib˘. He gathers an army of out of work samurai and collects money from supporters, all eager for advantage when Ten'ichib˘ becomes Sh˘gun. Finally, the wise magistrate ďoka (Nakamura Baigyoku) meets him and stops his plot which seemed unstoppable.
  • Source: National Theatre

    Heisei Nakamuraza (T˘ky˘)
    Dates 1 ~ 26 November 2018

    Genpei Nunobiki no Taki
    (Sanemori Monogatari)

    ďmi no Okane

    Korikori Banashi


    Iya Sakae Shibai no Nigiwai

    Bukaku Goj˘bashi

    Kanadehon Chűshingura
    (Gion Ichiriki Jaya)


    Nakamura Kankur˘, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Senjaku, Kataoka Kamez˘, Nakamura Kotar˘, Band˘ Shingo, Nakamura Baika, Ichikawa Fukutar˘, Nakamura Toranosuke, Nakamura Tsurumatsu, Nakamura Kantar˘, Nakamura Ch˘zabur˘

  • Sanemori Monogatari: a play about the early days of the rivalry between the Genji and Heike warrior clans. The warrior Sait˘ Bett˘ Sanemori (Nakamura Kankur˘) has been charged by the leaders of the dominant Heike clan with finding Aoi Gozen (Band˘ Shingo), the pregnant wife of the leader of the enemy Genji clan. He is to kill her child if it is a son who can succeed to head of the clan, but old loyalties to the Genji lead him to protect the boy. Sanemori tells the story of how Koman (Nakamura Kotar˘), the daughter of the old couple who is protecting Aoi Gozen, bravely fought to protect the sacred standard of the Genji from the Heike. Koman mysteriously comes back to life when her severed arm is rejoined to it. Featuring also Kataoka Kamez˘ as Senoo Jűr˘.
  • 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 Shichinosuke as Okane.
  • Korikori Banashi:
    (Bewitching Foxes and Badgers)
    In Japan, foxes and tanuki badgers are said to have the power to take the shape of humans, and in that form, they play mischievously, sometimes causing great harm. In this play by the contemporary playwrite H˘j˘ Hideji (1902~1996), foxes and badgers do not appear, but the scheming of human beings is no less crafty than that of those magical creatures. The play features Nakamura Shikan, Nakamura Shichinosuke, Nakamura Senjaku and Kataoka Kamez˘.
  • Iya Sakae Shibai no Nigiwai: this play is what is called Shibai-mae. The stage is made to resemble the area in front of the Nakamuraza theatre in the Edo period and the principal actors of the troupe gather here to share their memories of Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVIII.
  • Bukaku Goj˘bashi: this is a dance play originally written for the actor Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVII. Hearing the rumor that Ushiwakamaru (Nakamura Kantar˘) is slaying many people every night at Goj˘ Bridge, his mother Tokiwa Gozen (Nakamura Senjaku) tells him to stop killing or she will disown him. However, she forgives him when he tells her that he is striving to excel at the military arts in order to restore of the Genji clan. One night, he encounters Benkei (Nakamura Kankur˘) on Goj˘ Bridge, and Ushiwakamaru knocks him down with his sword. Impressed by his strength and skill, Benkei finally swears allegiance to Ushiwakamaru.
  • Gion Ichiriki Jaya: "Chűshingura" is one of the most popular plays in the theatre and shows a true event when forty-seven masterless samurai avenged the death of their lord by killing his enemy. The seventh act is one of the most popular and shows the leader of the vendetta Yuranosuke as he is hiding his intention to avenge his lordĺs death by pretending to be only interested in pleasure, but also encountering key figures on his side and the side of the enemy. Yuranosuke (Nakamura Shikan) spends his days and nights in the pleasure quarters of Ky˘to in an effort to make their lordĺs enemy, Moron˘, believe he is not planning a vendetta. His acting is so good that even men in his own group believe he has given his life up to pleasure. Moron˘ is not so easily convinced, though, and has sent spies, including a former retainer of their late lord, En'ya Hangan, to find Yuranosuke's true intentions. Okaru (Nakamura Shichinosuke), the wife of one of the retainers is now a courtesan at the Ichiriki Teahouse, unaware that her husband is dead. Okaru's brother Heiemon (Nakamura Kankur˘), a servant in the Hangan household, has also come to the teahouse and the interaction of these characters becomes a matter of life and death and ends with Yuranosuke preparing to lead the vendetta.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website


    The Heisei Nakamuraza is back in T˘ky˘ in Asakusa. These two programs commemorate the 6th anniversary (7th memorial services) of the passing away of the Heisei star Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVIII.

    Hakataza (Fukuoka)
    Dates 3 ~ 27 November 2018
    Jűichigatsu Hanagata Kabuki
    November Young Actors Kabuki

    Arashi no Yoru ni


    Nakamura Shid˘, Onoe Matsuya, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Ichimura Manjir˘, Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘, Nakamura Mantar˘, Nakamura Yonekichi, Ichimura Takematsu, Ichimura Kitsutar˘


    The newly-created Kabuki drama "Arashi no Yoru ni", which was based on Kimura Yűichi's famous series of illustrated child books "Arashi no Yoru ni" (in English "One Stormy Night") and which was premiered in September 2015 in Ky˘to at the Minamiza [more details], is staged for the first time in Fukuoka at the Hakataza with almost the same casting.

  • Arashi no Yoru ni: it is a series of picture books written by Kimura Yűichi. The first edition was published in 1994. As many people wanted to read a sequel to the story, it lasted to the seventh volume and became a best seller. More than 3,000,000 books have been sold. It became so popular that it has been turned into a game and made into plays. In 2005, it was made into an animated movie (the voice for the main character Gabu was supplied by Nakamura Shid˘) by Sugii Gisabur˘, an esteemed movie producer in the animation industry. The main character Gabu is played by Nakamura Shid˘ but also in various genres. On the night of a storm, a wolf Gabu (Nakamura Shid˘) and a goat Mei (Onoe Matsuya) encounters in a mountain hut in pitch darkness by chance. They talk through night not knowing their identity and become friends. They determine their password as 'On the night of a storm' and promise to meet again. They are shocked when they meet again, but they nurture friendship keeping it secret to their each group. But their friendship is at last known to both groups and meets with violent opposition. The two are pushed to the edge ...
  • Source: Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Yachiyoza (Yamaga)
    Dates 30 October ~ 04 November 2018
    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Eiz˘ x Buy˘ K˘en
    Band˘ Tamasabur˘ Image and Dance Performances


    Shunky˘ Kagami Jishi

    Fuji Musume


    Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘


    A special Buy˘ program starring the amazing Living National Treasure onnagata Band˘ Tamasabur˘ in Yamaga at the Yachiyoza, a traditional wooden-built theater. 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.

  • K˘j˘: the close relationship between the actors and the audience is shown by stage announcements, usually lavish ceremonies to commemorate various important events. This month at the Yachiyoza, it is a stage speech delivered by Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘.
  • 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 Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘ as both Yayoi and the spirit of the lion.
  • 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 Living National Treasure Band˘ Tamasabur˘.
  • Sources: Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

    Classics Tour
    Dates 5 ~ 30 November 2018 (Koten he no Izanai)
    Invitation to the Classics




    Sanja Matsuri



    Ichikawa Ebiz˘, Ichikawa Kudanji, ďtani Hiromatsu, Ichikawa Fukutar˘


    The second leg (November) of the Fall Tour of Ichikawa Ebiz˘ with performances in 14 cities. The first number in the program is not a Kabuki dance-drama but a performance of taiko drum. The second item is a greetings stage talk ("Goaisatsu") done by Ichikawa Ebiz˘.

  • Komori: a young girl (Ichikawa Fukutar˘) 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.
  • Sanja Matsuri: a vigorous dance starring Ichikawa Kudanji and ďtani Hiromatsu. It is based on dolls at the Sanja festival showing the founding of the temple at Asakusa when two fishermen found a golden image of the Kannon in their nets. In this case, the holy spirits that they encounter are two spheres with the characters for "good" and "evil" on them, and the spirits possess the two and animate them into a lively dance.
  • Jayanagi: an extremely rare play from the original Kabuki Jűhachiban. High on holy Mt. K˘ya, there is a willow tree that attracts the vengeful spirits of jealous women which possesses a passing traveler. Starring Ichikawa Ebiz˘ in the roles of Suketar˘ of Tanba Province (in reality the spirit of the willow tree) and the powerful warrior Kong˘maru in the oshimodoshi grand finale.
  • Sources: Earphone Guide Website or Sh˘chiku Kabuki Official Website

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