Japan Arts Council

  • Kabuki
  • National Theatre

Kabuki Performance for Beginners

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National Theatre (Large Theatre)
Kabuki Performance for Beginners
Part 1: Guidance "How to Appreciate KABUKI"
Part 2: Experience the live performance of Kabuki "Momijigari"

 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
July 3(Sun.) - July 27(Wed.), 2022
*No performances on 7(Thu.) and 18(Mon.)

〇 : Kabuki Performance for Beginners
★ : Kabuki for Beginners (Evening)
◆ : Kabuki for Beginners(Adults and Accompanying Children)
D : Discover KABUKI

Running Time
Approximately 1 hours 45 minutes including interval

Nakamura Mantarō
▼Kabuki Performance "Momijigari"
Onoe Shōroku
Bandō Kamezō
Nakamura Mantarō
Onoe Sakon
Nakamura Tamatarō
Nakamura Baishi
Ichikawa Komazō
and others

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

*Audio guide: Available for rent only in Japanese. Click here for details of audio guide.
*Subtitles: Available only in Japanese. Displayed on screen beside the stage.
*English synopsis is available. Please ask at the reception desk.

Booking Opens
June 13, 2022

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 June 14, 2022

in Japanese


In July, the Kabuki Performance for Beginners will present a magnificent dance drama. In the accompanying commentary program, How to Appreciate Kabuki, a seasoned Kabuki actor will provide clear and easy-to-understand explanations of the highlights of the drama.

Momijigari (Maple Viewing) premiered in October 1887 at the Shintomi-za theater in Tokyo. It is modeled on the Noh play, “Momijigari,” which is based on the legend of the Heian period warrior, Taira no Koremochi, who is said to have defeated a demon of Mount Togakushi in Shinshū (now Nagano Prefecture). The original idea for the choreography was created by Ichikawa Danjūrō IX, who played the role of Princess Sarashina, actually the Demon of Mount Togakushi, at the premiere. This piece was later selected as one of the Shin-Kabuki Jūhachiban (18 new repertoires of Kabuki plays of the Ichikawa family).

In the play, Taira no Koremochi, accompanied by attendants, visits Mount Togakushi for autumn-leaf viewing. He is waylaid by Princess Sarashina and her waiting maids, who invites them to join her drinking party. While being served high-quality sake, Koremochi and his attendants enjoy the beautiful dances performed by the princess and her waiting maids. Soon, they get drunk and fall asleep while the princess and her waiting maids disappear. Just then, a mountain god appears, warning Koremochi, who is still asleep, about the terror of the demon living on this mountain and he then leaves. Suddenly, a demon who has disguised herself as Princess Sarashina reveals her natural shape and pounces upon Koremochi. Koremochi fights back with his legendary sword Kogarasumaru, whose virtue and power eventually drives the demon away.

Unlike a traditional Noh stage that features a back panel with a painting of a pine tree, the stage for this drama employs realistic scenery against a backdrop of mountain ranges with the beautiful colors of autumn leaves, with a huge pine tree in the center. Regarding the music, it features a large-scale performance called sanpō-kakeai, in which Tokiwazu, Gidayū (Takemoto) and Nagauta are played in concert.

The highlight of the first half of the drama is the elegant dance performed by Princess Sarashina. Especially, the dance technique of using two folding fans called Nimaiōgi requires both dignity and excellent dancing skills. In the latter half, the beautiful princess transforms into the horrible demon and engages in a fierce sword battle with Koremochi. The traditional directorial techniques of Kabuki, such as kumadori makeup and bukkaeri (quick onstage costume changes), enhance the theatrical effects of the drama. Please pay particular attention to the performance by Koremochi, who displays elegance in appreciating the maples as well as bravery in defeating the demon.

Moreover, dramatic presentations liven up the performance at various points, such as the dance by the waiting maids and attendants, and the eccentric postures and light cadence of the dances of the mountain god.

Onoe Shōroku plays the role of the brave, masculine Koremochi, while Nakamura Baishi plays for the first time the role of Princess Sarashina, actually the Demon of Mount Togakushi. We invite you to relax and enjoy the appeal of Kabuki dance, which is brilliantly showcased in this energetic, fresh performance.