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2013年4月 5日 (金)

新・歌舞伎座 花形役者が拓く新たな時代

[The Yomiuri Shimbun] April 4, 2013
New Kabukiza provides great stage for rising generation of kabuki stars
新・歌舞伎座 花形役者が拓く新たな時代(4月3日付・読売社説)

The opening of the new Kabukiza theater has raised the curtain on a new era for the performing art. We look forward to watching traditional and creative performances at the new theater.

The Kabukiza, a center of traditional entertainment, reopened Tuesday in Tokyo's Ginza district after three years of construction.

On the first day, living national treasure Sakata Tojuro and other well-known kabuki actors performed celebratory dances. Many fans had been eagerly counting down the days until this moment.

The current Kabukiza is the fifth incarnation of the building first constructed on the same site in the Meiji era (1868-1912). The new theater has inherited much of its former exterior and interior designed in the Momoyama style.

The new Kabukiza offers unobstructed views of the hanamichi platform, which runs from the back of the theater to the stage, even from lower-priced seats on the third floor. The audience has small personal monitors that provide information such as lines of the plays.

It is typical of the Kabukiza to absorb sophisticated ideas while protecting its traditional style.

A Japanese-style garden on the theater's roof is open to the public for free. The adjacent Kabukiza tower affords a view of both the theater's splendid roof tiles and the garden. It is indeed "zekkei kana" (what a superb view!)--a famous line from a kabuki drama.

A new landmark

The Kabukiza likely will become a new landmark that will be fondly visited not only by elderly kabuki fans but also young people and foreign tourists.

Last December, Nakamura Kanzaburo XVIII, a popular kabuki actor who led the Heisei Nakamura-za troupe, died. Ichikawa Danjuro XII, another kabuki icon, died suddenly in February.

The deaths of these leading stars were great losses to the kabuki world. But the younger stars, including Kanzaburo's sons, Nakamura Kankuro and Shichinosuke, and Danjuro's son Ichikawa Ebizo, who have inherited performing styles and techniques from their fathers, have improved their performing skills.

Ahead of the theater's reopening, a parade of kabuki actors was held on Ginza's main street. Many spectators cheered for the young kabuki stars, on whose shoulders the future of kabuki rests. These scenes hinted at the generation change coming to the kabuki world.

We hope both eminent and young kabuki actors will cherish the wishes of Danjuro and Kanzaburo and improve their skills by learning from each other to enthrall spectators at the refurbished Kabukiza.

Seeking new in old form

Kabuki originated in the Edo period (1603-1867) as entertainment for commoners. The term kabuki is believed to have derived from the old word "kabuku," which refers to showy outfits and bold and rambunctious acts.

"Super Kabuki" plays initiated by then Ichikawa Ennosuke III, who has since been renamed Eno, successfully incorporated many innovative features. These plays, such as "Yamato Takeru," fit snugly with the idea of "kabuku."

Now all eyes are the kabuki actors in the current Heisei era as they grace a new stage.

Kabuki has been designated as an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO. In recent years, kabuki has been acclaimed internationally after successful performances in Europe and the United States.

We hope the performing art will evolve further from its base in the Kabukiza.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 3, 2013)
(2013年4月3日01時19分  読売新聞)


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