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Kabuki performance "Toki wa Ima Kikyo no Hataage"

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    Kabuki Performances in March 2021

    An Introduction to a Masterpiece of Kabuki

    Introduction: ‘Akechi Mitsuhide’ in Kabuki Plays

    Written by Tsuruya Nanboku IV
    Supervised by Nakamura Kichiemon

    Kabuki Performance "Toki wa Ima Kikyo no Hataage"

    Performance Dates : March 4 (Thu.) -27 (Sat.)
    *No Performance on 10 (Wed.), 11 (Thu.) and 19 (Fri.)
    Venue : National Theatre (Large Theatre)

    Running Time : Approximately 2 hours 30 minutes including interval

    Introduction: ‘Akechi Mitsuhide’ in Kabuki Plays
    Kataoka Kamezo
    Kabuki Performance "Toki wa Ima Kikyo no Hataage"
    Onoe Kikunosuke
    Bando Hikosaburo
    Nakamura Baishi
    Nakamura Mantaro
    Bando Shingo
    Nakamura Takanosuke
    Nakamura Kichinojo
    Kataoka Kamezo
    Kawarasaki Gonjuro
    Nakamura Matagoro
    and others

    Ticket Prices(tax included)
    1st Grade = 7,000 yen (Students: 4,900 yen)
    2nd Grade = 4,000 yen (Students: 2,800 yen)
    3rd Grade = 2,000 yen (Students: 1,400 yen)

    Seating Plan

    *Audio guide: Available for rent in Japanese. Click here for details.
    *Subtitles: No subtitles available.
    *English synopsis is available. It is included in the paid Japanese program.

    Booking Opens
    February 13 (Sat.), 2021

    Box Office
    0570-07-9900 (From overseas: +81-3-3230-3000) in Japanese and English
    (10:00AM - 6:00PM)
    Online Booking : https://ticket.ntj.jac.go.jp/top_e.htm

    Counter Sales at the Theatre 
    available from February 14 (Sun.), 2021
    (Business hours: 10:00AM – 6:00PM )

    in Japanese


    Tsuruya Nanboku IV’s jidai-mono masterpiece depicts the events leading up to the “rebellion” by Akechi Mitsuhide, the warrior now in the limelight of popular culture! Please enjoy the thrills and pleasures of this performance, which will feature an introduction by a cast member!

      This is a piece written by Tsuruya Nanboku IV, and it depicts the Honnōji Incident, in which Oda Nobunaga was killed by his trusted retainer Akechi Mitsuhide at the Honnōji Temple, and the days leading up to this historic event.
      In the story, Takechi Mitsuhide (Akechi Mitsuhide) receives an unreasonable reprimand from his master Oda Harunaga (Oda Nobunaga), who gives him a cut on the forehead with a tessen (an iron-ribbed fan). Furthermore, Mitsuhide is forced to drink sake from a badarai (tub used for washing horses) in public. It is then exposed that his wife’s hair was once sold so that they could make a living and survive the hardships of life.
      Unable to stand the humiliation any longer, Mitsuhide finally plots a rebellion against his cruel master. The desperate determination of the warrior is portrayed through realistic psychological descriptions and stylistic rendering techniques. After composing a poem “Toki wa ima / Ame ga shita shiru / Satsuki kana” (meaning “the time is now, this is May when the rain falls;” or metaphonically meaning “Now the clan Toki (referring to Mitsuhide himself) shall rule over the country,”) Mitsuhide slashes the envoys of Harunaga to death and then tramples a sanbō (small wooden stand) to pieces while laughing loudly, expressing his pent-up rage. You are sure to be amazed at this jidai-mono (historical drama) masterpiece that still holds true in modern-day society.
      The Edo Ichimura-za theater first performed this Kabuki play in July 1808. Tsuruya Nanboku IV, a master-hand at sewa-kyogen (domestic drama depicting common peoples’ lives), demonstrated his skill in jidai-mono, as well. The premiere performance by Matsumoto Kōshirō V won popularity, and since the Meiji period actors such as Ichikawa Danjūrō IX and Nakamura Kichiemon I have put their own stamp on the piece, commonly known as “Badarai,” through their sublime performances. Typically, only the scenes of “Badarai” and “Atagoyama Renga” (the Linked Verse Session at Mount Atago) are now performed. Today’s performance, however, highlights the origin of the Incident by starting with the scene “Kyōō” (the Banquet).
      A series of scenes portrays Harunaga’s arrogance and the process by which the intelligent Mitsuhide changes himself into a ruthless rebel by turning his anger inward on himself. Mitsuhide’s disguise in the scene of “Badarai” ― a combination of an ende (a style of wig which shape resembles a swallow’s wings) and bluish purple costume ― serves to make him look even more dreadful.
      Under the supervision of Nakamura Kichiemon II, who has gained high regard in the role of Mitsuhide, Onoe Kikunosuke, who also has drawn attention for his tremendous prowess, plays the role for the first time. Prior to this performance, please enjoy the commentary, Introduction: ‘Akechi Mitsuhide’ in Kabuki Plays, which highlights the charm of this masterpiece. Whether you are a Kabuki novice or longtime devotee, you are sure to enjoy this wonderful opportunity to savor the real pleasure of such a masterpiece through staging appropriate for the arrival of spring, presented by both fresh and veteran performers.