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 ...

Revenge is a dish served to chill at Kabukiza

Aug 21, 2002

Revenge is a dish served to chill at Kabukiza

In the heat of summer, Japanese people turn to noryo (activities to enjoy the evening cool) — and kabuki is among the enjoyments on offer. Noryo programs were started at the Kabukiza Theater in August 1990, and have been in the charge of Nakamura ...

Ennosuke still dogged by spirit of 'Hakkenden'

Jul 24, 2002

Ennosuke still dogged by spirit of 'Hakkenden'

July is the month that Ichikawa Ennosuke and his troupe of young actors take over the Kabukiza Theater in Tokyo; this year marks their 32nd season. It also sees Ennosuke, 62, the prolific mastermind behind the new-style “Super Kabuki,” return to a story that ...

Like grandfather, like grandson

Jun 19, 2002

Like grandfather, like grandson

The Kabukiza Theater in Tokyo has been presenting special programs through May and June to celebrate the shumei (succession) of Onoe Tatsunosuke (real name Arashi Fujima), 27, to the stage name of Onoe Shoroku IV. He has inherited the name from his eminent grandfather, ...

Still treading the boards after 1,100 years

May 15, 2002

Still treading the boards after 1,100 years

To commemorate the 1,100th anniversary of the death of Sugawara no Michizane, the celebrated Heian-Period scholar-politician, the National Theater is presenting “Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami (Sugawara Certifies a Disowned Disciple to Perpetuate His Line of Calligraphy).” One of three bunraku masterpieces created in 1746 ...

Celebrate the living legacy of Japan's great onnagata

Apr 17, 2002

Celebrate the living legacy of Japan's great onnagata

The Kabukiza theater in Tokyo is dedicating its April programs to Utaemon Nakamura VI, the 20th century’s most distinguished onnagata (female-role specialist), who died on March 31 last year at age 84. Leading the performances are Utaemon’s two adopted sons, Baigyoku Nakamura, 55, a ...

Zazen and the art of playwriting

Mar 20, 2002

Zazen and the art of playwriting

This month, the Kabukiza Theater in Tokyo is presenting two programs of kabuki plays and dance numbers starring such leading actors as Koshiro Matsumoto, Nizaemon Kataoka, Mitsugoro Bando and Sadanji Ichikawa, as well as the female-role specialists Tamasaburo Bando and Tokizo Nakamura. The afternoon ...

Master of life's joys and sorrows

Feb 20, 2002

Master of life's joys and sorrows

Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1653-1724), Japan’s foremost playwright, was born Sugimori Nobumori, the second son of a samurai of the feudal lord of Yoshie in Echizen (now Fukui Prefecture). Because he could not inherit his father’s samurai status, Nobumori resolved to be a playwright, and took ...

Kabukiza year off at a gallop

Jan 16, 2002

Kabukiza year off at a gallop

The Kabukiza Theater in Tokyo is embarking on the year of the horse with excellent selections of jidaimono (historical plays) and sewamono (realistic plays). Matsumoto Koshiro, born in the year of the horse 60 years ago, performs alongside his 29-year-old son Somegoro in the ...

The tall tale of an unholy trinity

Dec 12, 2001

The tall tale of an unholy trinity

Celebrating the 35th anniversary of its establishment this month, the National Theater of Japan is presenting in its entirety Kawatake Mokuami’s 1860 kabuki masterpiece “Sannin Kichisa (Three Men Named Kichisa).” This sewamono (realistic play) in five acts and 11 scenes, set in mid-19th century ...