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September Grand Kabuki, Matinee

RYOMA GA YUKU (Sakamoto Ryoma)
This is a dramatization of the middle section of the tremendously popular historical novel by Shiba Ryotaro (1923 - 1996) about Sakamoto Ryoma (1836 - 1867), a visionary revolutionary at the end of the Tokugawa Period who brought various rival factions together to battle the shogunate and would have led Japan boldly, if he had not been assassinated in a bloody battle. Starring Somegoro as Ryoma with Kamejiro, Shoroku and Kinnosuke.
HIRAGANA SEISUIKI - Sakaro (The Rise and Fall of the Heike Clan - Reverse Rowing)
A period play taken from the Bunraku puppet theater which combines a historical tale with the daily life of commoners. Matsuemon (Kichiemon) has married into the family of a country boatman. Having learned the special rowing skills of his father-in-law, he is invited to transport the Genji general Yoshitsune. But Matsuemon is actually the warrior Higuchi Kanemitsu, a leading retainer of a general killed by Yoshitsune and he sees this as a perfect opportunity to take his revenge. Before he can put his plan into action, though, his identity is discovered and he is captured in a spectacular battle on sea and land. Featuring Living National Treasure Tomijuro.
NIHON FURISODE HAJIME (The Serpent of Izumo)
This dance is a rare example of a story from ancient Japanese mythology in a puppet play by Chikamatsu Monzaemon adapted for the kabuki theater. As part of an annual ritual, Princess Inada has been chosen to be sacrificed to a fierce serpent that lives in the mountains of Izumo. The serpent arrives in the guise of a beautiful princess, but before it can attack it is attracted to eight jars full of sake. The jars are a trap planted by the god Susa-no-o, who confronts the beast in its true form as an eight-headed serpent, to save the princess. Starring Tamasaburo as the serpent, with Somegoro and Fukusuke.

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