May Grand Kabuki, Matinee
YOSHITSUNE SENBON ZAKURA (Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees)
Tokaiya, Daimotsu Ura (Tokaiya Inn and Daimotsu Bay)
These are two scenes from one of the greatest classics of the puppet theatre, which has also become a classic of kabuki featuring the popular young star Ebizo in his first appearance as Tomomori. After the wars between the Genji and Heike clans, the Genji are victorious and their leader Yoritomo is now shogun. But there is a falling out between Yoritomo and his brother Yoshitsune, the brilliant general responsible for the victory. Now Yoshitsune is fleeing through the country and this play fancifully has him encounter several famous warriors from the Heike clan, who are not dead, as history has it.
Yoshitsune (Tomoemon) books passage on a boat to Kyushu, but the captain is actually Taira no Tomomori (Ebizo), a general of the Heike clan that Yoshitsune helped to defeat. Tomomori was supposedly killed by Yoshitsune in the final battle of the war, but in this play, Tomomori is shown as surviving, living in disguise with the child emperor Antoku and his nursemaid (Kaishun). At one moment the captain is a gallant commoner, but in the next, he is Tomomori, a high ranking general close to the emperor. His wife as well is a cheerful commoner who shows her true identity as a high-ranking lady-in-waiting in the magnificent robes of the imperial court. Tomomori uses the opportunity to try to get his revenge on Yoshitsune but is defeated again. Finally Tomomori holds a giant anchor and plunges into the sea.
Kisen is part of a series of dances showing the six poetic geniuses of ancient Japan. The five male poets are all shown as being in love with the sixth, Ono-no-Komachi, one of the most famous beauties of Japan. The other dances are set in ancient Japan, but this dance suddenly jumps to the Edo period where the poet-priest Kisen wanders intoxicated by the beauties of the cherry blossoms and of Okaji, a tea stand waitress. Starring Mitsugoro as Kisen and Tokizo as Okaji.
KIWAMETSUKI BANZUI CHOBEI
In the early Edo period, gallant men like Banzuiin Chobei led the commoners. But this incurred the wrath of members of the samurai class, who were theoretically in control. This play begins with a recreation of kabuki in its earliest days, then a fight breaks out which is settled by Chobei (Danjuro). But this frustrates the ambitions of the samurai Mizuno (Kikugoro)
- Tokaiya or Ikari-Tomomori by Shoroku at the National Thetre(2011.07.23)