Japan Arts Council

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Kabuki Performances in March 2022

Introduction to a Masterpiece of Kabuki

Written by Chikamatsu Hanji
Kabuki Performance "Ōmi Genji Senjin Yakata"

Performance Dates : March 3 (Thu.) -27 (Sun.)
*No Performance on 10 (Thu.) and 22 (Tue.)
Venue : National Theatre (Large Theatre)


Running Time : Approximately 2 hours 35 minutes including interval

Nakamura Mantarō
Kabuki Performance "Ōmi Genji Senjin Yakata"
Onoe Kikunosuke
Nakamura Baishi
Nakamura Mantarō
Nakamura Tanenosuke
Nakamura Kangyoku
Onoe Ushinosuke
Ogawa Hiroharu
Arashi Kitsusaburō
Kamimura Kichiya
Kataoka Kamezō
Nakamura Matagorō
and others

Ticket Prices(tax included)
1st Grade = 8,000 yen (Students: 5,600 yen)
2nd Grade = 5,000 yen (Students: 3,500 yen)
3rd Grade = 3,000 yen (Students: 2,100 yen)

Seating Plan

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

Booking Opens
February 13 (Sun.) 10:00AM

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 (Mon.)
(Business hours: 10:00AM – 6:00PM )

in Japanese


Introduction to a Masterpiece of Kabuki
“Moritsuna Jin'ya” for Beginners

    This performance is a wonderful introduction to a genuine masterpiece of Kabuki, accompanied by easy-to-understand guidance!
    We invite you to enjoy this jidaimono (historical drama) masterpiece based on the Osaka no Jin (Seizure of Osaka), which dramatically depicts the tragedy of brothers who were forced to fight on opposite sides of the battlefield, as well as their tense psychological strategies.

    As a joint work written by Jōruri writers including Chikamatsu Hanji, this piece premiered at the Takemoto-za in Osaka in December 1769 as a nine-act Jōruri puppetry performance. It was then adapted into a Kabuki play at the Naka no Shibai in Osaka in May of the next year. Moritsuna and Takatsuna, the Sasaki brothers of the Ōmi-Genji Sasaki family in the story, are modeled on the Sanada brothers Nobuyuki and Nobushige (Yukimura), who fought on opposites sides in the Osaka no Jin ― a series of battles in which the shogunate, headed by Tokugawa Ieyasu, defeated the Toyotomi clan. This story is set in the Kamakura Period and depicts the conflict between Hōjō Tokimasa and Minamoto no Yoriie.

    Today's program, Moritsuna Jin'ya, corresponds to the eighth act of the original play, “Ōmi Genji Senjin Yakata.” With the highest level of perfection throughout the work, thanks to Hanji's elaborate style, it has been repeatedly performed as one of the best scenes of Gidayū Kyōgen.

    In the scene, the war camp of Moritsuna on Tokimasa's side (Kamakuragata) receives the report that Moritsuna's younger brother Takatsuna on Yoriie's side (Kyōgata) has been killed on the battlefield. Soon, a kubioke (box for holding a decapitated head) is carried in. Ordered by Tokimasa to identify the head in the box, Moritsuna opens the box before the regent's eyes. Just then, Takatsuna's son Koshirō, who is in captivity, runs up to it, shouts “Father!” and commits seppuku (suicide by disembowelment). Moritsuna, who has already discovered that the head is a fake, sees through the trick Takatsuna devised in exchange for his own son's life. Impressed by Koshirō’s sacrifice, Moritsuna makes up his mind not to bring his brother’s scheme to naught. What kind of answer will Moritsuna give to Tokimasa about the truth of the head...?

    A series of esteemed actors have delivered great performances as Moritsuna, including Nakamura Kichiemon I, who was especially recognized for his characterization backed up by a detailed psychological portrayal. It was later handed down from Kichiemon I to Kichiemon II. Here, Onoe Kikunosuke, who has recently been shining through in jidaimono, will inhabit the role for the first time. This highly anticipated, impressive cast also includes Nakamura Matagorō as Wada Byōe, the general on Takatsuna’s side.

    The pre-performance presentation, “Moritsuna Jin'ya for Beginners” will offer easy-to-understand explanations about the charms and highlights of the piece. So, we invite everyone – from those less familiar with Kabuki to its longtime devotees – to please enjoy this spring day featuring a masterpiece full of the real pleasure of traditional Kabuki.