May Kabuki Program at Osaka Shochiku-za Theatre

Daily: May 2nd through 26th.

First Class Seat: 16,000 / Second Class: 8,000 / Third Class: 5,000
Unit: Japanese Yen (tax included)

A performance featuring Ichikawa Ennosuke, Nakamura Kankurō, and Nakamura Shichinosuke, three of the most talented young stars in kabuki today. They are all meeting the challenge to keep kabuki's culture going and to pass it on to the next generation. In this month's run, the three will be performing classical pieces along with plays that use flying scenes and quick costume changes.

Matinee (from 11:00 AM):


[The Returning Palanquin]


Naniwa no Jirosaku : Nakamura Kankurō
Tayori, a kamuro child apprentice in the pleasure quarters : Nakamura Kotarō
Azuma no Yoshirō : Nakamura Kashō


 This classic is a popular dance filled with many highlights and a charming old-world atmosphere.
Two palanquin bearers named Naniwa no Jirosaku and Azuma no Yoshirō return from the Shimabara pleasure quarters carrying a kamuro, a child apprentice to a courtesan. They stop to rest in Murasakino in Kyoto where a field of yellow rapeseed and cherry blossoms are in full bloom. They begin to boast to each other of their respective home towns in Osaka and Edo (present day Tokyo). Then they call out the kamuro apprentice from the palanquin and talk about pleasure quarters in Kyoto, Osaka and Edo. Finally, however, the men retrieve objects concealed in each other's breast pocket, revealing their true identities. The objects are a precious incense burner, and a scroll of names of those who are plotting against the government. Only now do they realise that they are sworn enemies!

Futa Omote Dōjōji

['The Old Imperial Palace', with the Dance Finale 'Double Ghosts']


Kiyohime : Ichikawa Ennosuke
Fujiwara no Tadafumi
Hanako, a shirabyōshi court dancer, in reality, Kiyohime's ghost
Anchin, a priest from Kita-Shirakawa, in reality Monjumaru Raikō : Nakamura Kankurō
Nanaayahime : Nakamura Shichinosuke
Tawara no Tōta : Nakamura Kashō
Oyoshi, in reality Sakuragi, a lady-in-waiting : Ichikawa Emisaburō
Jakumaku Hōin : Ichikawa Enya
Nyogetsu, a nun : Ichikawa Monnosuke


 The actor Ichikawa Ennosuke III (now En'ō II) directed a series of revivals of neglected kabuki plays that allowed him to display his distinctive theatrical style, full of lightning-fast costume changes and acrobatic stunts. He first revived this play in 1969.
"KINNOZAI SARUSHIMA DAIRI" combines the story of two plotters for the Imperial throne with that of the famous Dōjōji legend in which passion turns a young woman into a jealous serpent. The treacherous pirate Fujiwara no Sumitomo brings the proud Taira no Masakado back from the dead to continue their plot to take over Japan. A forlorn court noble spurned in love and a beautiful young girl turned into a jealous spirit through rejection find their spirits combined in the form of an evil serpent. All the plots are brought together in a beautiful and spectacular dance finale that combines some of kabuki's greatest dances.

Evening Show (from 4:00 PM):


[Nozaki Village]


Omitsu : Nakamura Shichinosuke
Hisamatsu : Nakamura Kashō
Osome : Nakamura Kotarō
Otsune, the widow of the wealthy oil merchant : Bando Takesaburō
Kyūsaku : Bando Yajūrō

 This is a sewamono play, a work portraying in a realistic way the lives of ordinary people in the Edo period.
Osome, the daughter of a wealthy merchant, falls in love with Hisamatsu, an apprentice at her father's shop. Hisamatsu has been sent away to his home in the country where Omitsu, a simple country girl to whom he is betrothed, has been happily awaiting the day when she and Hisamatsu can become husband and wife. But on the day they are due to marry, Osome comes to see Hisamatsu. Seeing the strength of the love between the two, Omitsu sacrifices her own happiness and becomes a nun in order that Osome and Hisamatsu can be united.


[The Ghost and the Milk-Giving Tree]


Hishikawa Shigenobu : Nakamura Kankurō
Shōsuke, Shigenobu's servant
Uwabami Sanji
Oseki, Shigenobu's wife : Nakamura Shichinosuke
Unkai, the head priest : Ichikawa Juen
Matsui Saburō : Ichikawa Enya
Isogai Namie : Ichikawa Ennosuke

 Based on a Rakugo story by Sanyūtei Enchō, this is a showpiece for the star actor who plays three roles, culminating in a thrilling fight scene beneath a waterfall. An artist named Hishikawa Shigenobu lives with his wife Oseki and their infant son, but the handsome samurai Isogai steals his wife. Isogai plots to kill Shigenobu with the help of his honest but simple-minded servant Shōsuke, and with the cooperation of the tattooed villain Uwabami Sanji. After Isogai and Oseki become husband and wife, Isogai orders Shōsuke to throw the baby into a waterfall. There is a spectacular fight in the waterfall that takes place on a huge set using real water, with the actor changing instantly between his three characters. Finally, the baby is rescued by the ghost of Shigenobu, who orders Shōsuke to take care of the child. Shōsuke raises the child with the help of the miraculous dew from a tree, and finally the boy avenges the death of his father by killing Isogai.


*This performance has no English Earphone-Guide rental service.