May Kabuki Program at Kabukiza Theatre

Daily: May 3rd to 27th

Box Seat: 20,000 / First Class Seat: 18,000 / Second Class: 14,000 / Upper Tier A: 6,000 / Upper Tier B: 4,000
Unit: Japanese Yen (tax included)

This month's program is to commemorate the twenty-third anniversary of Onoe Baiko's death and the seventeenth anniversary of Ichimura Uzaemon's death. They were two of the most talented actors of the 20th century. 'Kajiwara Heizō Homare no Ishikiri', staged in the matinee, and 'Kotobuki Soga no Taimen', staged in the evening show celebrate the name change of Bando Hikosaburo who takes the name Bando Rakuzen I, and his two sons Kamesaburo and Kametoshi who will be succeeding to the names Bando Hikosaburo IX and Bando Kamezo III. 'Kotobuki Soga no Taimen' also commemorates the debut of Bando Kamesaburo VI, the son of the present Kamesaburo.

Matinee (from 11:00 AM):


[The Stone-cutting Feat of Kajiwara]


Kajiwara Heizō : Bando Kamesaburo taking the new name Bando Hikosaburo
Matano Gorō : Bando Kametoshi taking the new name Bando Kamezo
Kenbishi Nomisuke : Onoe Shoroku
Kikuhē, a footman : Onoe Kikunosuke
Kozue, Rokurodayū's daughter : Onoe Ukon
Rokurodayū : Ichikawa Danzo
Ōba Saburō : Bando Hikosaburo taking the new name Bando Rakuzen


 This play is one act from a jidaimono history play set in the 12th century. The Taira general Kajiwara is asked to test the sharpness of a sword by slicing two live human beings in half. The sword is a priceless heirloom belonging to the enemy Genji clan, and he deliberately fails the test in order to keep it from falling into the hands of his Taira clan. A miracle has convinced Kajiwara to change sides. Kajiwara finally demonstrates the true power of the sword by cutting a large stone basin in two.


[Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees - Mt. Yoshino]


Satō Tadanobu, in reality the fox, Genkurō : Ichikawa Ebizo
Shizuka Gozen : Onoe Kikunosuke


 This is a dance depicting a journey through the countryside from the epic play "YOSHITSUNE SENBON ZAKURA" ('Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees'). Now exiled and disgraced, Yoshitsune has left his lover Shizuka in the safekeeping of his trusted retainer Tadanobu. But she is unaware that this Tadanobu is actually a magical fox in disguise. He has transformed into human form to be near the treasured drum that Shizuka carries, a drum made from the skins of his fox parents. The dance is set amidst the cherry blossoms of Yoshino, as Shizuka and Tadanobu long to meet Yoshitsune again and express their feelings of love and loyalty to their lord


[Sōgorō, the Fishmonger]


Sōgorō, a fishmonger : Onoe Kikugoro
Ohama, Sōgorō's wife : Nakamura Tokizo
Isobe Kazuenosuke : Onoe Shoroku
Onagi, a servant of the house of Isobe : Nakamura Baishi
Yōkichi, an apprentice of a saké shop : Terajima Mahoro, first appearance on stage
Sankichi, Sōgorō's servant : Kawarasaki Gonjuro
Omitsu, the daughter of the teahouse maid Kiku : Ichimura Manjiro
Tahē, Sōgorō's father : Ichikawa Danzo
Urato Jūzaemon, the chief retainer of the house of Isobe : Ichikawa Sadanji

 This is a sewamono play, a work portraying in a realistic way the lives of ordinary people in the Edo period.
Sōgorō, a fishmonger, has made a vow to not drink. But when he learns about his sister's unjust murder at the hands of a daimyō lord, a death that they were told was execution for her wrongdoing, he starts to drink again. Becoming drunk, he storms into the lord's mansion to seek an apology. This play by the Meiji playwright Kawatake Mokuami is known for its realistic portrayal of members of the common class during the Edo period, and highlights their fierce pride as well as their frustration at the privileges of the dominant samurai class.

Evening Show (from 4:30 PM):


[The Revenge of the Soga Brothers]


Kudō Suketsune : Onoe Kikugoro
Soga no Gorō : Bando Kamesaburo taking the new name Bando Hikosaburo
Ōmi no Kotōta : Bando Kametoshi taking the new name Bando Kamezo
Yawata no Saburō : Onoe Matsuya
Kewaizaka no Shōshō : Nakamura Baishi
Hatano Shirō : Ichimura Takematsu
Kamemaru, Oniōs retainer : Bando Kamesaburo making his debut
Oniō Shinzaemon : Kawarasaki Gonjuro
Ōiso no Tora : Ichimura Manjiro
Soga no Jūrō : Nakamura Tokizo
Kobayashi no Asahina : Bando Hikosaburo taking the new name Bando Rakuzen

 This piece is one act of a history play based on the legend of the Soga brothers' vendetta.
In the Edo period, plays about the vendetta carried out by the Soga brothers, Gorō and Jūrō, were performed every spring. ‘Soga no Taimen', in which the brothers meet their nemesis, has its roots in the earliest of these plays. This play has ceremonial aspects and features each of the important kabuki character types, including the bombastic 'aragoto' style of Gorō and the soft 'wagoto' style of Jūrō.


[The Troubles in the Daté Clan]


<Goten> [ Masaoka's Chambers] Masaoka, the wet nurse of Tsuruchiyo : Onoe Kikunosuke
Yashio : Nakamura Karoku
Sakae Gozen : Nakamura Kaishun

<Yukashita>[Below the Floor]

Nikki Danjō : Ichikawa Ebizo
Arajishi Otokonosuke : Onoe Shoroku

<Taiketsu・Ninjō>[The Trial and the Stabbing]

Hosokawa Katsumoto : Nakamura Baigyoku
Nikki Danjō : Ichikawa Ebizo

 This is a jidaimono, a history play set in the Muromachi Period (15th century), but it is based on the attempt to take over one of the most famous samurai households in the Edo Period, a scandal that caused a sensation in its day.
After the former lord of the Date House is forced into retirement for his profligate ways, his young son Tsuruchiyo is made heir. He is looked after by Masaoka, the young boy’s wet-nurse. Afraid that he will be assassinated, Masaoka refuses to let any man see him and insists on making all his meals herself. In an attempt to kill Tsuruchiyo, the villains send women with poisoned cakes, and Masaoka only manages to protect the boy by sacrificing her own son. Ironically, her fierce devotion to duty convinces the plotters that she is on their side, and they give their secret list of conspirators to her. Her son's sacrifice has helped to save the young lord, and only when she is alone can she grieve for him. Meanwhile, beneath the floor of the palace room, another faithful retainer called Otokonosuke stands guard. But the arch villain Nikki Danjō appears in the form of a giant rat. Stealing back the list of conspirators, his mastery of the black arts gets the better of Otokonosuke and he slips calmly away.


[The Flowers of March and the Festival at Asakusa]


Takenouchi no Sukune/
A fisherman transformed into the spirit of "evil" /
A country samurai/The spirit of a lion
: Onoe Shoroku
Empress Jingū/
A fisherman transformed into the spirit of "good" /
A man-about-town/The spirit of a lion
: Bando Kametoshi taking a new name Bando Kamezo

 One of the most vigorous dances in the kabuki repertory is "Sanja Matsuri" ('The Sanja Festival') that is performed to Kiyomoto music. It features two fishermen who are transformed into the spirits of "good" and "evil." The work actually comes from a series of four separate dances and this month we are treated to a rare presentation of the full set. All four dances are performed by the same two actors who change rapidly from one role to the next. The first and second dances are based on the dolls on elaborately decorated festival floats. It begins with two figures from ancient Japanese history: Empress Jingū and her elderly retainer Takenouchi no Sukune. She is pregnant, but after delaying the delivery while she leads a military campaign, finally gives birth to the emperor Ōjin. The next dance retells the story of the founding of the temple at Asakusa, in which two fishermen discovered a golden image of the Buddhist deity 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. The spirits possess the two and they perform a lively dance. Then, after a brief comic work featuring a pair of visitors with contrasting personalities who go to the brothel district, the set concludes with a dance portraying mythical "shishi" lions, with the two performers evoking these powerful supernatural spirits.


This performance has English "G-Mark Guide" (captioning) rental service.
The "G-Mark Guide" provides essential translation of dialogue and lyrics, as well as explanations relating to the stories. Comments are carefully timed to coincide with the action on stage.
To use the G-Mark Guide you have to pay the device rent (1000 JPY) and deposit your identity card (you will get deposit receipt, for which you will get your identity card back when you return the device) at the G-Mark Guide counter.