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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 program includes two “new kabuki” plays, “Dogen no Tsuki (The Zen Master Dogen and the Moon)” by Wahei Tatematsu and Shin Hasegawa’s 1931 “Ippongatana Dohyo-iri (The Man Who Wanted to Become a Sumo Wrestler).” The selection closes with “Ninin Wankyu (Wankyu in a Dream),” a masterpiece of classical kabuki dance set to nagauta music. In this, Nizaemon Kataoka plays Wankyu, a rich Osaka merchant who went insane and finally died after spending his fortune on a courtesan named Matsuyama. The courtesan’s role is performed by Tamasaburo Bando, who wears a splendid, sheer robe decorated with matsu (pine trees).

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