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May Grand Kabuki, Evening Show

AOTO ZOSHI HANA NO NISHIKI-E
Shiranami Gonin Otoko (The Five Thieves)
Written by Kawatake Mokuami in 1862, this play focuses on the thief Benten Kozo and was inspired by a woodblock print of a sexy young man with tattoos covering his body with a woman's hairstyle and kimono. Benten Kozo is a swindler and thief who makes use of his beauty, both as a handsome young man and disguised as a beautiful woman. The sections about Benten Kozo are played frequently, but this marks a rare full-length performance that shows the stories of all five thieves in the gang who are tied together by bonds of fate and obligation.
In the opening at a magnificent temple surrounded by cherry blossoms, Benten Kozo poses as a samurai youth and seduces a princess setting off events that will eventually destroy Benten and all around him.
A beautiful young woman comes to a clothing store with her servant, but is discovered shoplifting and beaten. When she proves that she was not stealing, her servant demands compensation. However, a samurai who happens to be in the store reveals that the young woman is actually a man, and he proudly announces his name as Benten, the thief. The servant is his fellow gang member Nango Rikimaru (Sadanji) and the samurai is actually the head of the gang Nippon Daemon. However, they learn that the man they have defrauded is actually Benten Kozo’s father and the five thieves realize they cannot escape and decide to wear magnificent matching kimonos as they meet their fate. The act ends with a kind of spectacle showing the five members of the gang in their finest kimonos under the cherry blossoms in full bloom. In elaborate speeches, they each announce their name in the poetic diction for which the playwright Mokuami is famous.
Finally Benten fights off his pursuers in a spectacular fight on the roof of a temple.
Starring Kikugoro as Benten Kozo, Danjuro as Nippon Daemon, Sadanji as Nango Rikimaru, Tokizo as Akaboshi Juzaburo and Mitsugoro as Tadanobu Rihei. Also featuring Living National Treasure Tomijuro as the magistrate Aoto Saemon.
SHIKAKU BASHIRA SARU NO KUSEMAI
A new dance featuring young Onoe Shoroku who is also the head of the Fujima school of classical Japanese dance.

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