Resources and Links

Japanese Performing Arts in the Bay Area, Online, and Beyond

JETAANC Kabuki Club

An educational non-profit organization devoted to the study of Kabuki theatre and other Japanese performing arts. The group offers classes in the San Francisco Bay Area centered on classic performances and hosts an active online community. Anyone may join; no previous knowledge is necessary. Sponsored by JETAANC, the Oakland Asian Cultural Center and the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California. Go to www.jetaanc.org/kabuki or contact communications@jetaanc.org for more information.

San Mateo Kabuki Club

San Mateo has a well-established Kabuki Club that holds classes the first Sunday of every month focusing on classic performances. It’s a great group of people, led by Mika and Yoko, who are both very passionate and very knowledgeable about Kabuki (Mika used to work in the costume department of the Kabukiza in Tokyo).

Date: first Sunday of every month
Time: 1:30pm
Location: San Mateo Japanese American Community Center, 415 S. Claremont St., San Mateo, CA 94401 (near San Mateo Caltrain station)
Contact: communications@jetaanc.org

Other Groups in the San Francisco Bay Area and Beyond

Theatre of Yugen: An experimental theatre ensemble in San Francisco that explores dramatic and literary classics and the crafting of new works of world theater. Draws heavily on Japanese theatrical aesthetics – primarily the classical forms of Noh drama and Kyogen comedy. Classes in drama, movement, and music are also offered. http://www.theatreofyugen.org/index.html

San Francisco Fujii Miyabi-kai offers lessons in utai (Noh singing) and shimai (Noh dance) by Noh Master Masayuki Fujii. Contact Yu Asahina, 415-846-1684, yuuasahina@hotmail.com (San Francisco); or Makoto Suzuki, 650-515-9553, suzuki-usa@comcast.net (South San Francisco)

NPO Infusion sponsors traditional Japanese performing arts lectures and performances in the Bay Area: http://www.npoinfusion.org/

The Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (San Francisco) offers classes in traditional Japanese dance and other arts: http://www.jcccnc.org/programs/music.htm

Visit JETAANC’s Resources and Links page for more Japanese-related groups and things in Northern California: http://www.jetaanc.org/resources/

Classes in Nihon Buyo dance, Nagauta music, shamisen (via Skype as well!), makeup, and kimono in the Seattle area by teacher Mary Mariko Ohno: http://www.kabukiacademy.org/intro.html

Kabuki Online

An excellent, comprehensive site about Kabuki: http://www.kabuki21.com/

A great, new website created by the Shochiku Co. Includes upcoming performance listings and tickets: http://www.kabuki-bito.jp/eng/top.html (English); http://www.kabuki-bito.jp/index.html (Japanese)

A good introductory site by the Japan Arts Council: http://www2.ntj.jac.go.jp/unesco/kabuki/en/

An introduction to Kabuki and Noh, including a short video by the theatre director Shozo Sato: http://www.teachersdomain.org/resource/jacult.arts.drama.kabuki/

An introduction to Kabuki for students: http://www.creative-arts.net/kabuki/index.htm

Intro to Kabuki, with many play synopses: http://www.aichi-gakuin.ac.jp/~jeffreyb/kabuki.html

Overview of Kabuki with selected synopses: http://web-japan.org/museum/kabuki/kabuki.html

National Theater – upcoming performances and tickets: https://ticket1.ntj.jac.go.jp/Portal

English Earphone Guide website, including schedule of upcoming performances with synopses: http://www.eg-gm.jp/e_guide/eng_service.html

Schedule of Kabuki, Noh, and Bunraku events, mainly in Kansai and Western Japan: http://www.arc.ritsumei.ac.jp/lib/english/dentogeino/

Kabuki Jiten (Kabuki Encyclopedia), the main Japanese source of Kabuki information. Online version: http://www2.ntj.jac.go.jp/dglib/edc_dic/dictionary/

Kabuki on the Web (includes Japanese Kabuki on TV schedule): http://www.kabuki.ne.jp/ (Japanese)

Kabuki cell phone app: http://www.kabukimobile.jp/ (Japanese)

Zenshinza troupe’s website (Japanese): http://www.zenshinza.com/

Official website of Ichikawa Danjuro and Ichikawa Ebizo: http://www.naritaya.jp/english/

Official website of Bando Tamasaburo, the leading onnagata female role specialist of our time: http://www.tamasaburo.co.jp/

About Tamasaburo – The best information in English is found here (Wikipedia), here (Ritchie), here (Kominz), and here  (Kamimura)

About Ichikawa Utaemon, one of the leading post-war onnagata – The best information in English is found here (Wikipedia), here (NYT obituary) here (Ritchie), and here  (Kamimura)

Official website of the Nakamura family: http://www.mypixel.co.jp/kabuki/nakamura/index.html

Official website of the Kikugoro family: http://otowaya.ne.jp/en/

Onoe Shoroku’s website: http://shouroku-4th.com/index.html

Ichimura Manjiro II’s Kabuki website: http://park.org/Japan/Kabuki/kabuki.html

Ichiyama family homepage: http://ichiyama.com/main/

The Organization for the Protection of Kabuki: http://www.kabuki.or.jp/english/index.html

Kabuki Academy – website of Mary Mariko Ohno, a teacher of Buyo dance and Nagauta music, featuring much information on Kabuki (including shamisen lessons via Skype!): http://www.kabukiacademy.org/intro.html

Kyo no Kai, an organization in Los Angeles founded and headed by Kabuki actor Nakamura Gankyo (aka Bando Hiroshichiro). The mission of Kyo no Kai is to teach and promote various aspects of traditional Japanese culture, with an emphasis on Kabuki, to people all over the world: http://kyonokai.com/

A guide to Kabuki family crests (“mon”): http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120225a7.html

Ogano Kids Kabuki – children learn and perform Kabuki in the small “Kabuki town” of Ogano, Saitama: http://web-japan.org/kidsweb/meet/kabuki/kabuki01.html

A fascinating blog by a graduate student in Art History at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. The blog includes a whole series of posts chronicling his journey in deciding to audition and become a Kabuki actor in the college’s Kabuki production in Spring 2011. They staged “Ise Ondo Koi no Netaba,” which JETAANC Kabuki Club studied in summer of 2010. The posts also include a valuable report on the Kabuki Symposium hosted by the college in November 2010 (see below). The University of Hawai’i at Mānoa has a long history of Kabuki scholarship (professors have included Edward Seidensticker, Earle Ernst, and James Brandon) and a tradition of staging full Kabuki plays with student and community member actors: http://chaari.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/a-semester-of-kabuki/

Blog by Sekidobashi Sakura, who despite having Multiple Sclerosis, has blogged in English about the many Kabuki performances she has seen: http://homepage1.nifty.com/aby/kabuki.htm

Narukami (The Thunder God) – website for University of Wisconsin’s 2010 production: http://sites.google.com/site/utnarukami/

The Sumidagawa Project – The tragic story of Sumidagawa has haunted Japanese and Western artists for hundreds of years. In Fall 2011, JETAANC Kabuki Club explored three very different versions of the story on film: Noh theatre (Sumidagawa), Kabuki theatre (Sumidagawa), and chamber opera (Britten’s Curlew River). Explore the story yourself on The Sumidagawa Project website, which includes videos, commentary, synopses, translations, primary sources, and performance reviews: http://www.jetaanc.org/sumidagawa

The Black Mound Project – In Spring 2012, JETAANC Kabuki Club hosted a special class focusing on three powerful versions of the haunting Japanese folk story, The Black Mound (Kurozuka or Adachigahara): A live Butoh dance created especially for the occasion by Judith Kajiwara; a medieval Noh dance drama, one of the three great “female demon” plays; and a modern Kabuki version, a masterpiece of 20th Century dance: http://www.jetaanc.org/BlackMound

The 47 Ronin Project – Made into more than 90 film versions, the epic revenge tale of The 47 Ronin (Chushingura) is one of the most popular Japanese stories of all time. In 2012, the JETAANC and San Mateo Kabuki Clubs teamed up to study the original Kabuki and Bunraku versions of the complete epic. Explore on your own this masterpiece of Japanese culture: http://www.jetaanc.org/47Ronin

Kabuki Actors’ Health Study, by Marc Brodsky, M.D.: http://www.cewm.med.ucla.edu/sources/Kabuki.pdf

Robot Kabuki lion dance: http://www.metatube.com/en/videos/71983/Robot-Performs-Graceful-Kabuki-Dance/

Extensive list of Kabuki-related links: http://kabuki21.com/liens.php

Noh Online

An amazing website devoted to Noh Theatre: http://www.the-noh.com/index.html

Japan Arts Council introduction to Noh: http://www2.ntj.jac.go.jp/unesco/noh/en/

National Theater – upcoming performances and tickets: https://ticket1.ntj.jac.go.jp/Portal

Schedule of Kabuki, Noh, and Bunraku events, mainly in Kansai and Western Japan: http://www.arc.ritsumei.ac.jp/lib/english/dentogeino/

Introduction to Noh and Kyogen: http://www.nohkyogen.jp/english/index.html

An introduction to Kabuki and Noh, including a short video by the theatre director Shozo Sato: http://www.teachersdomain.org/resource/jacult.arts.drama.kabuki/

Overview of Noh and Kyogen: http://web-japan.org/museum/noh/about_no.html

Nohgakuland, a Japanese website devoted to Noh: http://www.nohgakuland.com/index.htm

Ohtsuki Noh Theatre webpage, including a concise intro to Noh and many English synopses of plays: http://www.noh-kyogen.com/english/index.html

Selected Noh plays in Japanese and translation: http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/japanese/noh/

A list of all 253 Noh plays in the repertoire of the five schools, together with some plays that are no longer performed (bangai yōkyoku), some newer compositions, and other plays of interest. Encompasses translations, e-texts (Japanese), authorship, and status of plays in the repertory of schools: http://www.meijigakuin.ac.jp/~pmjs/biblio/noh-trans.html

E-texts of Noh plays in original Japanese (the Japanese e-texts on the site above often appears as gibberish in current browsers): http://www.nohgakuland.com/know/kyoku/#

Oshima Family (Kita School) Noh website: http://noh-oshima.com/noh-oshima-index.htmlBlog of Noh actor Shibata Minoru: http://aobanokai.exblog.jp/

The Sumidagawa Project – The tragic story of Sumidagawa has haunted Japanese and Western artists for hundreds of years. In Fall 2011, JETAANC explored three very different versions of the story on film: Noh theatre (Sumidagawa), Kabuki theatre (Sumidagawa), and chamber opera (Britten’s Curlew River). Explore the story yourself on The Sumidagawa Project website, which includes videos, commentary, synopses, translations, primary sources, and performance reviews: http://www.jetaanc.org/sumidagawa

Noh Theatre Troupes and Training

Theatre of Yugen: An experimental theatre ensemble in San Francisco that explores dramatic and literary classics and the crafting of new works of world theater. Draws heavily on Japanese theatrical aesthetics – primarily the classical forms of Noh drama and Kyogen comedy. Classes in drama, movement, and music are also offered. http://www.theatreofyugen.org/index.html

Theatre Nohgaku: A theatre group dedicated to creating and performing English-language plays in the Noh style. They have a great website, including a good links page: http://www.theatrenohgaku.org/

The Noh Training Project – a summer three-week intensive, performance-based training in the dance, chant, music and performance history of Japanese classical noh drama: http://www.bte.org/index.php?page=noh-training-project

Kyoto Art Center Traditional Theatre Training (T.T.T.) is a workshop in Kyoto that introduces Japanese traditional forms Noh, Kyogen, and Nihonbuyo. The program follows three stages: three days of orientation workshops, including lecture-demonstrations, followed by three weeks of training, culminating in a recital: http://en.kac.or.jp/category/46
A first-hand account of the training: http://www.hyogoajet.net/hyogotimes/2012/06/02/the-kyoto-ttt-program/

Japanese Performing Arts Online

Japanese Performing Arts Resource Center: http://www.glopad.org/jparc/

Stanford University links: http://jguide.stanford.edu/site/traditional_theater_339.html

Bunraku puppet theatre, a good introductory site: http://bunraku.or.jp/ebunraku/index.html

Bunraku introduction by the Japan Arts Council: http://www2.ntj.jac.go.jp/unesco/bunraku/en/

Bunraku overview: http://web-japan.org/museum/bunraku/about_bu.html

Bunraku introduction (at end of program from U.S. Bunraku tour, 2007): http://www.calperfs.berkeley.edu/learn/program_notes/2007/pn_bunraku.pdf

Bunraku student study guide (good introduction for adults, too): http://www.calperfs.berkeley.edu/learn/k-12/pdf/2007/Bunraku0708.pdf

National Theater – upcoming performances and tickets: https://ticket1.ntj.jac.go.jp/Portal

Schedule of Kabuki, Noh, and Bunraku events, mainly in Kansai and Western Japan: http://www.arc.ritsumei.ac.jp/lib/english/dentogeino/

Japanese Centre of International Theatre Institute: http://www.green.dti.ne.jp/~iti/ititop_j.html

Japanese Traditional Dance

Nihon Buyo – Japanese Dance Association: http://www.nihonbuyou.or.jp/english/nihonbuyo.htm

Nishikawa School, one of the three traditional schools of classical Japanese dance: http://homepage3.nifty.com/NAHKI/senwaka-kai/eng/

Ichiyama family homepage: http://ichiyama.com/main/

Japanese dance overview: http://web-japan.org/museum/dance/about_da.html

San Francisco Fujii Miyabi-kai offers lessons in utai (Noh singing) and shimai (Noh dance) by Noh Master Masayuki Fujii. Contact Yu Asahina, 415-846-1684, yuuasahina@hotmail.com (San Francisco); or Makoto Suzuki, 650-515-9553, suzuki-usa@comcast.net (South San Francisco)

NPO Infusion sponsors traditional Japanese performing arts lectures and performances in the Bay Area  http://www.npoinfusion.org/

The Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (San Francisco) offers classes in traditional Japanese dance and other arts. http://www.jcccnc.org/programs/music.htm

Nihon Buyo dance classes in the Seattle area: http://www.kabukiacademy.org/intro.html

Visual Media

Masterpieces of Kabuki, NHK’s DVD series of performances at the Kabuki-za with commentary in English and Japanese.

Kabuki-za Sayanora Performances, lavish DVD box sets of the final performances at the old Kabuki-za before it was demolished in 2010. The performances took place for 16 months between January 2009 and April 2010. These will be released bi-monthly as DVD/book box sets until October 2011. All performances feature an English commentary option. Description in English by a vendor.

Kabukiza: Final Curtain (Waga Kokoro no Kabukiza) – A documentary navigated by 11 celebrated leading Kabuki actors sharing their personal memories and the history of the legendary theater, and the 16 months of special performances presented up until the final closing on April 30, 2010. A rare glimpse behind the scenes including rehearsals, backstage, and dressing rooms, and the process of making kabuki productions with designers, musicians, costumes, wigs, and props. Also including famous scenes from thirty-five different productions.

Cinema Kabuki – Shochiku has hired the best directors from the Japanese film industry to film live productions in High Definition for theatrical screening with high-quality digital projectors and 6-channel sound. Overviews in English and JapaneseList of Cinema Kabuki films in English. Critical review of Rakuda and Renjishi.

Hello Kabuki – A documentary about a visit from a professional Kabuki gidayu reciter to the “Children’s Kabuki” troupe of Minakami town in Gunma prefecture.

Video of the Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan meeting Utaemon and Hakuo in their dressing rooms at the Kabukiza Theater in Tokyo, 1959.

Books

Many of these are links to Google Books (free online reading):

A Guide to the Japanese Stage, Ronald Cavaye, et. al. – An excellent introduction to Kabuki, as well as all styles of traditional, modern, and contemporary Japanese theatre

Kabuki Today: The Art and Tradition, Shunji Ōkura, Iwao Kamimura – a recent, beautiful coffee table book introduction with beautiful photos

Kabuki, Masakatsu Gunji – an older, but just as beautiful coffee table book introduction with many beautiful color and B&W photos. Features an introduction by Donald Keene

Kabuki: A Pocket Guide, Ronald Cavaye – short introduction, now out of print but available used

New Kabuki Encyclopedia, Samuel Leiter – an English adaptation of Kabuki Jiten, a comprehensive encyclopedia in one volume covering every aspect of Kabuki. This a revision of Leiter’s original Kabuki Encyclopedia published in 1979, which can be purchased for as little as $1 used and is still a valuable source of information.

The Kabuki Theatre, Earle Ernst: an excellent standard introduction from the 1950s (2nd edition, 1974) by a chief theatre censor for the Occupation forces who later became a Kabuki scholar; the vast majority of the information is still valid

Japanese Theatre, Faubion Bowers – a well-written and entertaining introduction to kabuki, written in the 1950s by Gen. MacArthur’s interpreter; Bowers intervention played a role in preserving Kabuki during the Occupation (see “The Man Who Saved Kabuki” entry below); the book covers all traditional Japanese theatre, but focuses mainly on Kabuki

The Kabuki Theatre of Japan, A. C. Scott – written in the 1950s, still remains a good introduction

The Japanese Theatre, Benito Ortolani – the standard introduction to Japanese theatre, including Kabuki

Kabuki Backstage, Onstage, Nakamura Matazô – a highly entertaining and informative behind-the-scenes look at Kabuki, written by a Kabuki actor

Historical Dictionary of Japanese Traditional Theatre, Samuel Leiter – the title says it all

A Kabuki Reader: History and Performance, edited by Samuel Leiter

Frozen Moments: Writings on Kabuki, 1966-2001, Samuel Leiter

Beautiful Boys/Outlaw Bodies: Devising Kabuki Female-Likeness, Katherine Mezur

Transvestism and the Onnagata Traditions in Shakespeare and Kabuki

Kabuki Costume, Ruth Shaver

The Stars Who Created Kabuki: Their Lives, Loves, and Legacy, Laurence Kominz

Masterpieces of Kabuki: Eighteen Plays on Stage, James Brandon

The Art of Kabuki: Five Famous Plays, Samuel Leiter – translated for English-language performance, contains valuable introductory material for each play that details the special kata within each play, often illustrated by observations from contemporary Kabuki actors Leiter interviewed.

Kabuki Plays on Stage: Volume 1 – Brilliance & Beyond, 1697-1766, edited by James Brandon and Samuel Leiter

Kabuki Plays on Stage: Volume 2 – Villainy and Vengeance, 1773-1799, edited by James Brandon and Samuel Leiter

Kabuki Plays on Stage: Volume 3 – Darkness and Desire, 1804-1864, edited by James Brandon and Samuel Leiter

Kabuki Plays on Stage: Volume 4 – Restoration and Reform, 1872-1905, edited by James Brandon and Samuel Leiter

Kabuki’s Forgotten War: 1931-1945, James Brandon

The Man Who Saved Kabuki: Faubion Bowers and Theatre Censorship in Occupied Japan, Okamoto Shiro – Faubion Bowers (1917-1999), who served as personal aide and interpreter to MacArthur during the Occupation, used his position in the Occupation administration and his knowledge of Japanese theatre to help preserve Kabuki. The book offers details about Occupation censorship politics and Kabuki performance.

But see also:

Myth and Reality: A Story of Kabuki during American Censorship, 1945-1949, James Brandon – A recent article in the Asian Theatre Journal that calls into question Faubion Bowers’s central role in saving Kabuki during the Occupation. This long article has much fascinating information about the situation of Kabuki during the Occupation.

Rising from the Flames: The Rebirth of Theater in Occupied Japan, 1945-1952, edited by Samuel Leiter

Japanese Theatre and the International Stage, edited by Stanca Scholz-Cionca and Samuel Leiter

Japanese Theatre in the World, J. Thomas Rimer

The Noh Plays of Japan, Arthur Waley – a collection of Noh plays translated by a legendary pioneer in Japanese translation.

“Noh,” of Accomplishment: A Study of the Classical Stage of Japan, Ernest Fenollosa and Ezra Pound – a classic, containing translations and commentary

An Invitation to Kagura, David Petersen – introduction to Kagura dance, a Shinto dance form predating Noh and still performed in many places.

Nomai Dance Drama: A Surviving Spirit of Medieval Japan, Susan Miyo Asai – A performing tradition that provides an identity to agriculturally based villages. It has retained features characteristic of the music, drama, and sacred practices of medieval Japan.

The Ballad-Drama of Medieval Japan, James Araki – a medieval dance drama preserved in Oe Village, Fukuoka

 

Conferences and Symposia

“Kabuki: Negotiating Historical, Geographical and Cultural Borders.” University of Hawaii Manoa Center for Japanese Studies and Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. A full-day kabuki symposium. November 13, 2010. Focuses on how the traditional art form has moved within Japan borders and has been received and performed overseas.

Abstracts: http://www.hawaii.edu/cjs/wp-content/uploads/Kabuki_abstracts.pdf
Schedule of speakers and events: http://www.hawaii.edu/cjs/wp-content/uploads/Kabuki_program.rev_.pdf

A thorough report about the symposium can be found in a series of posts starting here: http://chaari.wordpress.com/2010/11/15/kabuki-symposium/

Kabuki in American Culture

An interesting audio clip and discussion from NPR on the recent use of the term “kabuki” in the U.S. media (especially as a derogatory term in political discussions): http://www.onthemedia.org/episodes/2010/04/16/segments/153604
The Slate article the clip is based on, “It’s Time To Retire Kabuki“: http://www.slate.com/id/2250081/

Kabuki Lego people: http://www.comicartiststeve.com/index.php?/new-work/lego-mans/

Please send any additions or corrections to communications@jetaanc.org

-Name

-Email address

-Phone number

-# of tickets (max 4 tickets/person)