Japan Arts Council

Discover KABUKI 2024

Discover KABUKI 2024
Thursday, June 20 2:30 pm - 4:40 pm
6:30 pm - 8:40 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 over 400 years.“Discover KABUKI” consists of two parts to guide you to the world of Kabuki.

1KABUKI Guidance“How to Appreciate KABUKI”

 A Kabuki actor will guide you “How to Appreciate Kabuki”.
 Easy-to-understand useful information to help you further enjoy this performance is provided through the Guidance: “How to Appreciate Kabuki” program. In it, you’ll learn more about the conventions unique to Kabuki, as well as the answers to questions such as, “What kind of job is hikyaku?” “How much is 300-ryō today?” and “What is fūin?”

2Experience the live performance of Kabuki
“Koibikyaku Yamato Ōrai: Fūinkiri”

 Centering around NAKAMURA Ganjirō, known for his graceful acting style representing Kamigata(Osaka and Kyoto)wagoto, a star-studded cast, including ICHIKAWA Komazō, will be on the stage.

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


  • Kameya Chūbē…… NAKAMURA Ganjirō
  • Tsuchiya Jiemon…… BANDŌ Hikosaburō
  • Kimoiri Yoshibē…… NAKAMURA Jūjirō
  • Izutsuya Oen…… NAKAMURA Gansei
  • Tanbaya Hachiemon…… NAKAMURA Kikaku
  • Courtesan Umegawa…… ICHIKAWA Komazō



Story of
Koibikyaku Yamato Ōrai:

 Chūbē, the adopted son of a hikyaku don'ya (a courier merchant) in Osaka, and courtesan Umegawa have been involved with each other. In the hope of being together with Umegawa, Chūbē tries to redeem Umegawa by paying a ransom, but unfortunately, he cannot raise the money for this.

 Meanwhile, Chūbē’s friend Hachiemon says he also wants to redeem Umegawa. However, Umegawa’s employer Jiemon rejects Hachiemon’s offer, as he expects Chūbē to do so. Then, Hachiemon calls Chūbē all kinds of names, making fun of his lack of money.

 No longer able to stand Hachiemon’s abusive language, Chūbē impulsively takes the envelope containing 300 ryō (gold coins) – which is supposed to be delivered to the kurayashiki (daimyo’s treasury storehouse) – out of his inside pocket, and then breaks the seal on it. Trust is everything for a courier; if he breaks the seal on an envelope entrusted by a customer, he cannot escape capital punishment.

 Embattled Chūbē and Umegawa – what will be the outcome for this couple?

 In Kabuki, the role or acting style of a gentle-mannered, handsome man is called “wagoto.” Chūbē, the main character of this piece, is a representative role of wagoto. Though gallant, Chūbē has a wishy-washy, childish side to his character in some ways.

 The story of Chūbē, a sensitive and nice young man, committing the grave crime of fūinkiri (breaking the seals) has a ring of truth that holds even today. We invite you to immerse yourself in this realistic performance expressing the emotional turmoil of Chūbē, who rushes toward ruin because of his single-hearted love for Umegawa and his pride as a man.


Online &
Telephone Booking
from Monday May 13, 2024 10:00 am

If tickets are still available on the day of the event, you may purchase them in person at the Box Office (on-site) for this performance. Box Office (on-site): Open from 10:00 AM until curtain time (June 5,6,20: Open from 1:30 PM until curtain time)

All Seats1,800 yen
1st Grade6,000 yen 2nd Grade4,000 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


Sunpearl Arakawa (Tokyo)

1-1-1 Arakawa, Arakawa-ku, Tokyo 116-0002