Japan Arts Council

Discover KABUKI 2023

Discover KABUKI 2023
Friday, June 23 2:30 pm-4:05 pm
7:00 pm-8:35 pm
*End times are estimates and could vary.
Buy Tickets
0570-07-9900 (Domestic Call Only)
03-3230-3000 (IP phone)


In this performance “Discover KABUKI”, popular Kabuki pieces will be performed by the fine Kabuki actors for much wider audience to casually experience the fascinating world of Kabuki, which has a history of 400 years.“Discover KABUKI” consists of two parts to guide you to the world of KABUKI.

1KABUKI Guidance“How to Appreciate KABUKI in English”

 A Kabuki actor and a TV personality will guide you “how to appreciate Kabuki” both in English and Japanese.

2Experience the live performance of Kabuki
“Nihon Furisode Hajime”
(Yamata no Orochi and Susanoo no Mikoto)

 This piece was specially written by Chikamatsu Monzaemon, a playwright often called the “Shakespeare of Japan.” It is based on legends written in the Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters) and Nihon Shoki (Chronicles of Japan), and it premiered in what is now Osaka in February 1718 as Ningyō Jōruri, a type of puppet play that flourished in the Edo period. It was later adapted as a Kabuki piece.

A free audio guide in English or Japanese is available for this program,
along with subtitles (in English and Japanese) and a free multilingual booklet (in English,
Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Korean, Spanish, French and Japanese)
that includes the highlights and outline of the story.

What's KABUKI?

 Kabuki came into existence around 1603 with the arrival in Kyoto of a troupe of dancing girls led by a certain Izumo-no-Okuni, formerly a shrine maiden. Their dances created a sensation and were labelled "Kabuki" which, at that time, meant "unorthodox" or "eccentric". Such troupes of women were subsequently banned as were those of the dancing boys that took their place. They were succeeded by groups of adult men whose performances developed into Kabuki as it now exists. In the process, the original meaning of the word kabuki changed to become Ka(Song), Bu(Dance), Ki(Technique or Skill).
 Kabuki originally consisted of short dances but the repertoire now is huge and is made up of both plays and dances, most of which date from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Originally the principal entertainment of the urban merchant classes, Kabuki is the traditional, popular theater of Japan and continues to flourish and draw large audiences. Kabuki is also attracting increasing attention abroad and is now regarded as one of the world's great theatrical arts, remarkable for its vigour.

Invitation to KABUKI


  • Nakamura
  • Nakamura
  • Nakamura
  • Princess Iwanaga, actually
    Yamata no Orochi
    …… Nakamura Senjaku
  • Princess Inada…… Nakamura Tsurumatsu
  • Susanoo no Mikoto…… Nakamura Toranosuke


  • Nakamura
  • Kisa

Story of
Nihon Furisode Hajime

(Yamata no Orochi and Susanoo no Mikoto)

What’s the truth about a mysterious
and yet beautiful princess…?
Enjoy this gorgeous and spectacular
Kabuki masterpiece,
Depicting the famous myth of the
defeat of a gigantic serpent!

 The drama is set in the upper reaches of the Hinokawa River that runs through the province of Izumo (now Shimane Prefecture). Deep in the mountains where it is dark even in the daytime settled in Yamata no Orochi, a gigantic eight-headed serpent. For fear of the horrible curse of the monster serpent befalling them, villagers offered a beautiful woman as a sacrifice every year. Now, Princess Inada is sunken in grief at the upper reaches of the river, waiting to be offered as the latest scapegoat. Then comes Princess Iwanaga, who hates beautiful women. In fact, she is an incarnation of Yamata no Orochi. Attempting to attack Princess Inada, Princess Iwanaga suddenly notices the smell of sake (liquor). She empties eight sake jugs one after another, and eventually swallows Princess Inada. Then, Princess Inada’s sweetheart Susanoo no Mikoto rushes to save the princess and get back the totsuka no hōken (a sacred sword) that was once stolen by Yamata no Orochi. What Princess Iwanaga actually consumed was poisoned sake that had been prepared by Susanoo no Mikoto. Drunk on sake, Princess Iwanaga shows her true nature as that of the monster serpent and fights a fierce battle against Susanoo no Mikoto.

 The mysterious and beautiful Princess Iwanaga, who reveals her true colors little by little as she becomes drunk on the poisoned sake; the dynamic fighting scene depicting the battle between the monster serpent and Susanoo no Mikoto – this year’s program is full of the gorgeous, magnificent appeals of Kabuki. Also, and the impressive musical performance livens up the drama all the more.

 Nakamura Senjaku and Nakamura Toranosuke play the roles of Princess Iwanaga, actually Yamata no Orochi, and Susanoo no Mikoto, respectively, for the first time. The costarring of father and son – this is a long-awaited performance by all Kabuki fans! Prior to the main program, an easy-to-understand commentary will be given by Toranosuke through Kabuki no Mikata (How to Appreciate Kabuki).

 No doubt that you will be mesmerized by the world of Kabuki by watching this Nihon Furisode Hajime, a program full of highlights, with the help of the commentary. You can also fully enjoy it without any background knowledge. We are very pleased that you have joined us!


Online &
Telephone Booking
from Saturday May 13, 2023 10:00 am
Box Office Sale
from Sunday May 14, 2023 10:00 am
All Seats1,800 yen
1st Grade4,500 yen 2nd Grade3,000 yen

(including tax)
20% discount for the guests with disabilities

Box Office:
OPEN [10:00 am - 6:00 pm]
(Domestic Call Only)
(IP phone)
Seating Chart


National Theatre (Tokyo)

4-1 Hayabusa-cho, Chiyoda-ku,
Tokyo 102-8656

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