Stars come out in plays of love and loyalty

Jan 12, 2005

Stars come out in plays of love and loyalty

Kabuki is flourishing in Tokyo at the beginning of the year of the cock as the four of the city’s major theaters vie with one another to present the best kabuki performances. At the Tokyo National Theater in Hanzomon, there is a three-hour production ...

Servants of too many masters

Dec 15, 2004

Servants of too many masters

The Tokyo National Theater is currently showing a three-hour bunraku performance drawn from the play “Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami” (literally translated as: “Sugawara Certifies a Disowned Disciple to Perpetuate His Line of Calligraphy”), written by Takeda Izumo and collaborators in 1746. “Sugawara Denju Tenarai ...

Koshiro IX does this family's tradition proud

Oct 20, 2004

Koshiro IX does this family's tradition proud

The Kabukiza is currently presenting two plays from its October program as tsuizen (memorial) performances for Matsumoto Koshiro VIII, who died in 1982. Koshiro VIII, also known by the stage name of Matsumoto Hakuo, considered these plays very important to the repertoire he performed, ...

Tale of a wrestler, his mother, stepbrother and also his wife

Sep 15, 2004

Tale of a wrestler, his mother, stepbrother and also his wife

Audiences at the Tokyo National Theater are being treated to two full-length Bunraku masterpieces being staged in its smaller auditorium this month. The first play, at 11 a.m., is “Futatsu Chocho Kuruwa Nikki (Chogoro and Chokichi and Their Diary of the Pleasure Quarters).” A ...

Chilling tales to cool the heat off summertime in Ginza

Aug 18, 2004

Chilling tales to cool the heat off summertime in Ginza

The Kabukiza in Ginza is currently presenting three shows, all of which feature 49-year-old Nakamura Kankuro, performing alongside members of his family — his sons Kantaro and Shichinosuke, as well as brothers-in-law, Fukusuke and Hashinosuke. Also sharing the stage are his regular co-performers Bando ...

Epic drama of love, reincarnation and revenge

Jul 14, 2004

Epic drama of love, reincarnation and revenge

Although Ichikawa Ennosuke, 64, the founder of “Super Kabuki,” may be absent from the stage due to illness, his company of 25 are delighting audiences with their production of Tsuruya Namboku’s classic masterpiece, “Sakurahime Azuma Bunsho (The Story of Sakurahime)” at the Kabukiza Theater ...

An Ebizo XI is born

Jun 9, 2004

An Ebizo XI is born

The Kabukiza in Ginza has been drawing crowds of Kabuki lovers to its special performances in May and June to celebrate the birth of Ichikawa Ebizo XI. The “newborn” is, in fact, 26 years old — the tall, handsome tachiyaku (male lead) Ichikawa Shinnosuke, ...

Harmony of the artistic spheres

May 19, 2004

Harmony of the artistic spheres

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Bunrakuza Theater in Osaka, the Tokyo National Theater this month presents in its entirety “Imoseyama Onna Teikin (Admonitions to Women on Their Relationships with Men),” Chikamatsu Hanji’s 1771 bunraku masterpiece. “Imoseyama Onna Teikin” centers on ...

In search of the perfect swindle

Apr 14, 2004

In search of the perfect swindle

Cherry trees bloom on the Kabukiza stage all year round, but this month, as befits hanami season, they’re particularly spectacular. That’s not surprising, because “Shiranami Gonin Otoko (The Five Shiranami Men)” by Kawatake Mokuami (1816-93), was inspired by ukiyo-e prints by the renowned Utagawa ...

Three's a (talented) crowd

Mar 17, 2004

Three's a (talented) crowd

The Kabukiza in Ginza celebrates the arrival of spring with two excellent programs this month, including a striking dance number titled “Dattan” inspired by the fiery Buddhist rite of the same name held every March at Todaiji Temple in Nara. Even more likely to ...