Japan Arts Council

  • Kabuki
  • National Theatre

Kabuki Performance for Beginners

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National Theatre (Large Theatre)
Kabuki Performance for Beginners
PartⅠ Guidance "How to Appreciate KABUKI"
PartⅡ Kabuki Performance "Hikosan Gongen Chikai no Sukedachi"

 In this Kabuki Appreciation Class, popular Kabuki performances are introduced by a fine Kabuki cast for as many people as possible to casually experience the fascinating world of Kabuki with its history of 400 years. The Guidance "How to Appreciate KABUKI" that precedes the performance also enjoys tremendous popularity, where Kabuki actors give clear and detailed explanations of the highlights of the performance. In addition to a free Kabuki handbook and program, subtitles are also provided this time, making it an excellent opportunity for beginners to enjoy and understand Kabuki.

Performance Dates
June 2(Thu.) - June 21(Tue.), 2022
*No performances on 8(Wed.) and 16(Thu.)

Curtain Time
11:00 *except 10(Fri.) and 17(Fri.)
14:30
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〇 : Kabuki Performance for Beginners
★ : Kabuki for Beginners (Evening)


Running Time
Approximately 2 hours 15 minutes including intermission

Cast
▼Guidance

Nakamura Tamatarō
▼"Hikosan Gongen Chikai no Sukedachi"
Nakamura Matagorō
Nakamura Matsue
Nakamura Kashō
Ogawa Sōma
Kamimura Kichiya
Kataoka Takatarō
and others

Tickets(Tax included)
Students:
All seats = 1,800 yen
Adults
1st Grade = 4,500 yen
2nd Grade = 3,000 yen
Seating plan

*Audio guide: Japanese audio guides are available for rent. Click here for details of audio guide.
*Subtitles: Not available
*English synopsis is available. Please ask at the reception desk.

Booking Opens
May 13, 2022

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Box Office
 0570-07-9900 (From overseas: +81-3-3230-3000) in Japanese and English (10:00~18:00)
 http://ticket.ntj.jac.go.jp/top_e.htm
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Counter Sales at the Theatre 
available from May 14, 2022

in Japanese

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June’s Kabuki Performance for Beginners presents a heartwarming Kabuki masterpiece depicting heroes who adhere to filial piety while devoting themselves to martial arts. In the commentary program, “Kabuki no Mikata (How to Appreciate Kabuki),” a Kabuki actor gives an easy-to-understand explanation about the highlights of the drama and the charms of Kabuki.

Hikosan Gongen Chikai no Sukedachi premiered as a Ningyō Jōruri (puppet play) in 1786 in Osaka, and was then adapted for Kabuki the following year. The main character Keyamura Rokusuke, a pure-hearted master of swordplay, is said to be modeled on the great swordsman Miyamoto Musashi. The heroine Osono is beautiful and lovely, and depicted in the role of Onna Budō a strong-minded woman who is also skilled in martial arts. Set in a mountain village in Kyūshū, this piece depicts Rokusuke, along with his fiancée Osono, attempting to seek revenge for his sword master. With the skillful use of props including a mortar and a toy drum, the story unfolds at times in a humorous and bright manner.

The story begins when Rokusuke, who is visiting the grave of his mother, encounters the masterless samurai warrior Mijin Danjō. Rokusuke is set to take on Danjō at a forthcoming fencing match. Completely taken in by Danjō, who pretends to be a devoted son, Rokusuke promises to let him win the match. After parting from him, Rokusuke comes across a wounded traveler who had been attacked by bandits. Just before he dies the traveler asks Rokusuke to take care of the child accompanying him, Yasomatsu. Rokusuke accepts this request and takes Yasomatsu home. (Act I: Sugisaka Hakasho)

Several days later, in the match held at Rokusuke’s home, Rokusuke intentionally loses to Danjō as promised. After the match, Rokusuke’s sword master Yoshioka Ichimisai’s wife, Okō, and daughter Osono, who disguises herself as a komusō (a mendicant itinerant priest), come one after the other. Osono, who has been chasing the killer of her father and sister, sets her eyes on her sister’s son Yasomatsu. She mistakenly perceives Rokusuke as a bandit and immediately tries to slash him with her sword. She soon learns that he is the one who has saved the child’s life. What’s more, it turns out that Rokusuke is the man her father has chosen to be her affianced husband. Osono immediately starts to put on coquettish airs and serve him devotedly. After a while, through a conversation between Osono and Okō, Rokusuke notices that Danjō is none other than Kyōgoku Takumi, the man who killed Ichimisai and his daughter. Rokusuke then sets out to take revenge for his master’s death. (Act II: Rokusuke Sumika)

The impressive cast includes the portrayal of Rokusuke by Matagorō, who is known for his theatrical versatility and excellent delivery, and the role of Osono played by Takatarō, who has built a strong reputation as an onnagata (female-role actor). The National Theatre invites you to enjoy this masterful performance that showcases the wonderful charms of Kabuki!