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Monday, December 3, 2012

Kichirei Kaomise Kogyo 2012

Kichirei Kaomise Kogyo(吉例顔見世興行, December Kabuki Program) is being held from November 30th to December 26th at Kyoto Minamiza Theatre. It's an annual kabuki program with an all-star cast of east(Tokyo) and west(Osaka, Kyoto). Forty-eight actors including Sakata Tojuro IV(四代目 坂田藤十郎), Kataoka Gato V(五代目 片岡 我當), Ichikawa Danjuro XII(市川團十郎),Kataoka Nizaemon XV(十五代目 片岡仁左衛門), Nakamura Kanjaku V(五代目 中村翫雀) are performing this year.

まねき maneki
まねき maneki by 湖畔老 /flickr
Maneki were put up above the theatre's entrance on November 26.  Maneki are hinoki cypress signboards on which actors' names and their family crests are written in a Japanese lettering style, Kanteiryu(勘亭流). The style leaves less blank space in hopes of being filled to the rafters. Nakamura Kankuro VI and his brother Shichinosuke Ⅱ made the opening speech on this day. This program includes the performance announcing the succession of Nakamura Kankuro VI.
In this program, Kankuro made a statement of his succession to the name. His father Nakamura Kanzaburo XVIII had an operation for early esophageal cancer in July and is in the hospital with lung disease.

Maiko wear a different hair ornament(花簪,hanakanzashi) every month.

hanakanzashi for maiko: (Japanese version only)

made by MAYA
(Kanzashi are available on this site.)

In Kyoto, the preparations for New Year's festivities(正月事始め, Shogatsu Kotohajime) are started on December 13th when maiko in Kyoto receive a new fan for Japanese dance from her master. So hanakanzashi in December is decorated with maneki and good luck charms for New Year's festivities such as hagoita battledore, mochibana(branches with colored rice balls), manekineko(beckoning cat), dice, koban(oval gold coin), and so on.

Kagai Souken(花街総見) or Kaomise Souken(顔見世総見) is an anual event that all of maiko and geiko in the five entertainment areas in Kyoto go to see kabuki for improvement in the performing arts at the theatre in early December. Maiko and geiko of each area go there on a different day.
Each maiko gets the autograph of her favorite kabuki actor on their hair ornament's maneki in his dressing room. Male-role players write their autographs in black and female-role players do in red.

maiko wearing hanakanzashi in December:

Kichirei Kaomise Kogyo[December Kabuki Program]

Matinee (from 10:30 AM) includes the following performances.

1.Sasaki Takatsuna(佐々木高綱) performed by Gato and others.
2.Kajiwara Heizo Homare No Ishikiri (梶原平三誉石切, Stone-cutting Kajiwara) performed by Danjuro and others.
3.Kotobuki Soga No Taimen(寿曽我対面, The Encounter of the Soga Brothers and their Father's Killer) performed by Kankuro, Nizaemon and others.
4.Kuruwa Bunsho (廓文章, A Letter from the Pleasure Quarters) performed by Tojuro and others.

Evening Show (from 4:15 PM) includes the following performances.

1.Kanadehon Chushingura Act 5 and 6 (仮名手本忠臣蔵, The Treasury of Loyal Retainers) performed by Nizaemon and others.
2.Kojo (Stage Announcement) by Nakamura Kankuro VI and top actors.
3.Funa Benkei(船弁慶, Benkei in the Boat) performed by Kankuro, Danjuro, Tojuro and others.
4.Sekitori Senryo Nobori (関取千両幟, The Sumo Wrestler's Banner) performed by Kanjaku and others.

You can see more information about Kichirei Kaomise Kogyo on the "Kabuki Web" site from SHOCHIKU's web site.


  1. Kanzaburo: May he rest in peace

    Nakamura Kanzaburo XVIII passed away at 2:33 a.m. on December 5th after developing ARDS as a result of pneumonia. He was 57 years old. His sons, Nakamura Kankuro VI and Shichinosuke Ⅱ were present at their father's deathbed in a hospital in Tokyo. After that they left for Kyoto and performed kabuki plays at the theater. They will perform there until the closing day.

  2. May he rest in peace, 57 years old is too young!

    Thank you for sharing this post with information about the kabuki theatre. Thank you for sharing the pictures and links you gave about the kanzashi, maiko wear in December.
    Greetings, Ilona

    1. In Kabuki, one thing led to another this year. Kabuki actors' skills are passed down from one generation to the next. Kanzaburo's sons are a poor replacement for their father.

      With luck, visitors can see many geiko and maiko around the theater. Kyoto doesn't have many tourists in winter.

  3. Thanks for answering Ichinen. I wish I could go to Japan in every season........I think it will stay a dream for me. Enjoy for living in Japan with all the traditions and usage form long ago.
    Greetings, Ilona