Bettyoko’s Kimono Diary
Go to the Theatre in Kimonos Vol.29
May Kabuki program “Dangiku Festival” at Kabukiza Theatre
In the middle of Golden week holidays period (a series of National holidays from late April to beginning of May), I went to Kabukiza Theatre where the Japanese national flag welcomed the audience. May program is “Dangiku Festival” which is held at this theatre every year. It is performed to praise the achievement of most talented Kabuki actors, Ichikawa Danjuro IX and Onoe Kikugoro V, and it also the memorial performance in honor of Onoe Baiko VII and Ichimura Uzaemon XVII and to celebrate the heritage and transmission of stage names, Bando Rakuzen I, Bando Hikozaburo IX, Bando Kamezo III and Bando Kamezaburo VI this year.
The staff wore the happi (Jacket for kimono) having Bando family’s crest, crane, on the back. The specially made celebration curtain has crane design too, and so they lift the celebration spirit in the theatre.
New Hikozaburo performed ‘Kajiwara Heizo Homare no Ishikiri” (The Stone-cutting feat of Kajiwara) by Uzaemon style (a kind of acting style of Kabuki) in matinee performance. In the evening show “Kotobuki Soga no Taimen” (The Revenge of Soga Brothers) which is filled with the beauty of stylized Kabuki elements was played. Three generations of Bando family Kabuki actors are on the stage where they show gorgeous performances with graceful movements. Especially Hikosaburo attracted the audiences’ attentions with being of graceful carriage and clearly syllabling. New Kamesabro, 4 years old, caused applause among the audience when he stood on the hanamichi runway. The great actors, Onoe Kikugoro and Nakamura Tokizo joined KOJO (the ceremony to nominate new Kabuki actor’s names) which was the highlight of this celebrative performance. The following was impeccable Kabuki dance piece, and so gorgeous performances were continued endlessly.
As seen in the picture is obi (sash for Kimono) of Bando Hikozaburo’s wife. This special obi with the crane design which comes from the Bando family crest, rounded crane, was made to order for the memorial performance. Rakuzen’s wife (her mother in law) ordered to remake the kofukusa (small napkin for a tea ceremony) of KAWASHIMA SELKON to the same obis for her and Kamezo’s wife (her sister in law).
This design of the group of the flying cranes looks like the family’s future! I hope that I will be able to see their much more stages from now on.
The unit of Betty and Yoko
Betty; jewelry journalist, enjoys watching stages of Kabuki, Bunraku, Balllet, and so on.
Yoko; lived in the U.S.A for 10 years. Loves to introduce Japanese culture to abroad.