A new Kanjuro takes the bunraku stage

May 14, 2003

A new Kanjuro takes the bunraku stage

Yoshida Minotaro (real name: Miyanaga Toyomi) is rare among today’s bunraku practitioners as he comes from the family of the prominent puppeteer Kiritake Kanjuro II, who died in 1986 at age 66, four years after he was designated a living national treasure. Minotaro was ...

Lessons in warfare, lessons in duty

Apr 16, 2003

Lessons in warfare, lessons in duty

This month the Kabukiza in Ginza offers a jidaimono (history play) on a grand scale — “Kokusen’ya Kassen (Kokusen’ya’s Battle).” The play is adapted from Chikamatsu Monzaemon’s bunraku masterpiece, which enjoyed a record 17-month run when it was first presented in Osaka in 1715. ...

Double the beauty and pain

Mar 19, 2003

Double the beauty and pain

The Kabukiza Theater celebrates the advent of spring by offering an attractive selection of kabuki plays and dance numbers with excellent casts, including the two renowned onnagata, Nakamura Shikan and Bando Tamasaburo. The afternoon program opens with “Ayatsuri Sanbaso,” created in 1853 as a ...

Celebrating kabuki's 400th birthday in style

Feb 19, 2003

Celebrating kabuki's 400th birthday in style

Celebrating the 400th anniversary of the birth of kabuki, this month the Kabukiza in Ginza offers “Yoshitsune Senbonzakura (Yoshitsune and 1,000 Cherry Trees)” in its entirety. Performed by an excellent cast, the program runs for eight hours. A masterpiece of classical kabuki, adapted from ...

On with the old and in with the new

Jan 15, 2003

On with the old and in with the new

The kabuki year has kicked off with three striking programs at the Kokaido (Public Hall) in Asakusa, the Kabukiza in Ginza and the Tokyo National Theater in Hanzomon. For a taster, first try the Kokaido, situated in an interesting traditional downtown area. The practice ...

Ennosuke masters Mishima's extravagant vision

Dec 25, 2002

Ennosuke masters Mishima's extravagant vision

The Kabukiza Theater in Ginza concludes the year in style, with outstanding performances by the versatile Ichikawa Ennosuke, 63, and members of his troupe. The afternoon program begins with “Chobei from Ogurusu,” a one-act satire written in 1920 by Okamoto Kido for Ennosuke’s grandfather ...

Dishonor avenged, love avowed

Nov 13, 2002

Dishonor avenged, love avowed

This month, following the lead of the Kabukiza, the National Theater in Tokyo also presents “Kanadehon Chushingura (The 47 Loyal Retainers)” to mark the upcoming 300th anniversary of the famous act of revenge carried out by the 47 ronin (masterless samurai) on the night ...

A musical that rewrites history

Oct 23, 2002

A musical that rewrites history

“Pacific Overtures” isn’t one of Stephen Sondheim’s most famous musicals, but the story it tells — of the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry’s Black Ships in July 1853 and the opening of Japan to the West — has been updated and given a new ...

Tale of honor that'll run and run

Oct 16, 2002

Tale of honor that'll run and run

This October, the Kabukiza is anticipating the 300th anniversary of the famous act of revenge accomplished by 47 ronin (masterless samurai) on Dec. 14, 1702 by staging one of kabuki’s most celebrated dramas, “Kanadehon Chushingura (The Forty-seven Loyal Retainers).” Selections from this epic work ...

As fresh as a girl -- age 82, and male

Sep 11, 2002

As fresh as a girl -- age 82, and male

This month the Kabukiza is staging two masterworks by Shinshichi Kawatake III (1842-1901), a disciple of the renowned 19th-century kabuki playwright Kawatake Mokuami. Not only are these two fine dramas treats in themselves, but one offers the chance to see the legendary onnagata (female ...