Cinema Kabuki: Triple Lion Dance & The Courtesan Akoya
January 11 @ 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm| Free
Join the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles for an unforgettable experience of Cinema Kabuki. Live Kabuki filmed with the highest resolution cameras for screening in theatres on digital projection systems.
Saturday, January 11
@2:00pm (Triple Lion Dance)
@4:00pm (The Courtesan Akoya)
Free admission but registration is required at the ticket link below.
Triple Lion Dance (Renjishi / 連獅子)
Featuring Nakamura Kanzaburo, Nakamura Kankuro, Nakamura Shichinosuke
Recorded live at Shimbashi Enbujo Theatre, Tokyo, 2007
55mins / Subtitled in English
Written by Mokuami Kawatake, “Renjishi” is considered one of the most popular kabuki pieces. One of the biggest Japanese directors Yoji Yamada created Cinema Kabuki based on a show at Shimbashi Enbujo in October 2007. Nakamura Kanzaburo played the father lion, while his actual sons Kankuro and Shichinosuke played the child lions.
The father lion pushes his sons into a bottomless pit and only raises the one that is able to climb up. This ritual adds another layer of emotions by having the actor and his sons play their respective roles. You can’t miss the climactic scene of the dramatic but well-coordinated majestic shaking of their furs (father lion’s fur is white while the sons’ furs are red).
The Courtesan Akoya (Akoya / 阿古屋)
Featuring Bando Tamasaburo
Recorded live at Kabuki-za Theatre, Tokyo, 2015
93mins / Subtitled in English
As “Akoya” requires extreme technique, expressions, and beauty, there’s not many who can perform this act. “Akoya” is also called “Kotozeme” in reference to the fact that the performance features the Koto, Shamisen, and Kokyu. This is an important onnagata role that requires the ability to perform these three separate instruments, showing off the elegance and sensuality as a courtesan, and expressing her emotional turbulence and love for Kagekiyo.
After the Heike went into extinction, Heike’s military commander Kagekiyo was searched for by Kamakura’s Minamoto clans, and his lover Akoya was used to lure him. Akoya insists that she doesn’t know where Kagekiyo is located. The magistrate Shigetada insists that if she were to be lying, the sounds would reflect her wavering heart. In order to prove this is the case, she is forced to perform a piece that requires her to play the Koto, Shamisen, and Kokyu. Akoya is miraculously able to maintain composure and commit to a wonderful performance, allowing her to be released.