For beginners and tourists, it would be a great experience to watch a REAL Kabuki. But PLEASE BE AWARE. Kabuki have various patterns of play, for example, old(traditional) type, new type (SHIN-KABUKI), latest type (SHINSAKU-KABUKI), and dancing type. Some new type is too difficult to understand for tourists (sometimes too difficult even for Japanese!). I often saw that tourists were deeply disappointed when they watched over the new type of Kabuki. I guess they were looking forward to seeing the old and typical type but it wasn’t.
So when you are going to watch Kabuki, you SHOULD CAREFULLY SELECT the type of Kabuki. If you could not understand the type of the play, do not hesitate to ask the clerk in front of the Kabuki theatre. Don’t’ worry, most of them can speak English fluently. And if you could not understand the traditional play of Kabuki, I strongly recommend to watch the DANCING PLAY.
Most of all Kabuki dancing is easy to understand because there are no speech (serif):-) and you can enjoy the Edo era’s atmosphere.
You can see the detail of this month’s Kabuki play.
But from this information, it is difficult to judge the play is suitable for tourists or not. Here, I would like to rank the play with the star-mark like Michelin Guide. The black star means “recommend”, and the white star means “better to avoid for beginners”. It would be my great pleasure to see the following refering before you will go to Kabuki watching!
Matinee[Hiru No Bu](from 11:00 AM):
(1)SHOGUN EDO WO SARU
[Tokugawa Yoshinobu Leaves Edo]
(Difficult to understand. Speech is a lot and the actor’s movement is few)
[Dance of Otsu-e Characters]
(Very funny play and very acrobatic dancing! One actor plays seven roles!)
(3)IGAGOE DOCHU SUGOROKU -Numazu
[The Vendetta at Iga Province -Numazu Post]
(Hard to understand. It displays Japanese delicate thinking.)
Evening Show[Yoru No Bu] (from 4:30 PM):
[Ii Naosuke’s Last Day]
(Hard to understand. Too long)
(5)GOSEI NAKAMURA TOMIJURO SHICHIKAIKI TSUIZEN KYOGEN
1. ECHIGO JISHI
[Program commemorating the 7th anniversary of the death of Nakamura Tomijuro V]
[An itinerant Entertainer from Echigo Province]
(Strongly recommend! The boy’s traditional dance is amazing! Tamasaburo is the Japanese most famous actor who plays women’s roles. You should check him(her:-))!)
(6)MATSUURA NO TAIKO
[Lord Matsuura and the Drum of Chushingura]
(Hard to understand. if you are familiar with Japanese CHUSHINGURA-Great revenge story, you will enjoy a little, I hope.)