Japan Arts Council

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National Theatre Tokyo 55th Anniversary
ACA National Arts Festival Presents

Kabuki Performances in October
Performance Dates : October 2 (Sat.) - 26 (Tue.), 2021
No Performance on 8 (Fri.) and 18 (Mon.)
Venue : National Theatre (Large Theatre)

Performance Time
12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
*End time is an estimate and could vary.

Written by Chikamatsu Tokuzō
"Ise Ondo Koi no Netaba"

Nakamura Baigyoku
Nakamura Matagorō
Bandō Shūchō
Nakamura Baishi
Nakamura Mantarō
Nakamura Kangyoku
Nakamura Kashō
Kataoka Ichizō
Nakamura Senjaku
Nakamura Tokizō
and others

Ticket Prices (including tax)
[1st Grade]  Adluts: 12,000 yen (Students: 8,400 yen)
[2nd Grade] Adluts:   8,000 yen (Students: 5,600 yen)
[3rd Grade]  Adluts:   3,500 yen (Students: 2,500 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 brochure.

Booking Opens
September 13 (Mon.), 2021 

Box Office
 0570-07-9900 (From overseas: +81-3-3230-3000) in Japanese and English (10:00~18:00)

Counter Sales at the Theatre 
available from September 14 (Tue.), 2021

in Japanese


     The Kabuki Performance in October presents Ise Ondo Koi no Netaba to commemorate the National Theatre's 55th Anniversary. The appeal of the sword has been gaining in popularity; in this drama, a treasured sword holds the key to the fate of the people. Included are the scenic spots of Futamigaura, which represent the Oise Mairi (pilgrimage to the Ise Shrine) – which commoners of the Edo Period dreamed of – as well as female entertainers. This performance is so evocative of the time and place you will enjoy traveling the Ise-ji Route from your theatre seat.

     This piece premiered in July 1796 and is based on an actual incident that took place in May of the same year – a case of bloodshed in which local doctor Magofuku Itsuki killed and wounded nine people, including the courtesan Okon, at the pleasure house Aburaya in Furuichi, Ise Province (present-day Mie Prefecture).

     With Fukuoka Mitsugi, an onshi (low-ranking Shintō priest) closely connected with the pilgrimage to the Ise Shrine, as a main character, the story unfolds over the magic sword Aoe Shimosaka.

     In this tale, Imada Manjirō, the son of a chief retainer of the Hachisuka household in Awa Province (present-day Tokushima Prefecture), visited Ise on order of his lord to obtain Aoe Shimosaka, a gift being presented to the Shōgunate. Fortunately, he was able to obtain it at first. However, tricked by Tokushima Iwaji, a rogue in a rebellious party scheming for usurpation of the household, Manjirō pawned the sword. Iwaji also artfully switched the true certificate of authenticity of the sword with a false one. Fukuoka Mitsugi, a retainer of Manjirō and an onshi of the Ise Shrine, was ordered by Fujinami Sazen, an administrator ruling an estate belonging to the Ise Shrine, to search for the missing sword.

     As Mitsugi waited for Manjirō at the Aburaya holding Aoe Shimosaka, which he had obtained, the veteran maid Manno came and told him to leave the sword there in accordance with the custom of the pleasure house. Mitsugi reluctantly followed her order and the blade of the sword was switched with another one by Iwaji's fellow conspirator. Then came Okon, Mitsugi's courtesan lover, who started to say something spiteful to Mitsugi. Manno then began to accuse him, as well. In a rage, Mitsugi left the pleasure house with the sword he had been handed by Kisuke, a cook of the house. It was the genuine Aoe Shimosaka, thanks to the cook's quick wits. After Mitsugi left, Okon pretended to bend to Iwaji's wishes and successfully took back the certificate of authenticity for Mitsugi. Mitsugi came back. Believing he had been given the wrong sword, Mitsugi blamed Manno. In the midst of the argument, the sheath of the sword broke and the blade injured Manno. At the sight of the blood, Mitsugi descended into madness and went on a stabbing spree as if he were manipulated by the magic sword.

     Regaining consciousness, Mitsugi attempted to kill himself out of guilt. Just then, the cook Kisuke appeared, saying that the sword in Mitsugi's hand was the real Aoe Shimosaka. Mitsugi then recognized the sharpness of the fine sword with his own eyes.

     In the opening act, the drama develops in its own lively rhythm, and features a comical exchange of words over a secret letter about the conspiracy as well as a performance of dammari (“in the dark” pantomime in Kabuki). In the second act, the well-thought-out production skillfully depicts the process in which Mitsugi, who was embarrassed in the presence of all, gradually expresses his heightened anger. Meanwhile, even the grisly murder scene is depicted through the sophisticated beauty of the Kabuki style.

     Baigyoku, a veteran actor playing the starring role of Mitsugi, along with a seasoned cast including Tokizō, Matagorō and Senjaku, liven up the stage throughout this consummate performance. The National Theatre invites you to enjoy this masterpiece to the full during this colorful and beautiful season of autumn.