The shamisen is a major Japanese musical instrument essential to traditional performing arts, such as kabuki and ningyo joruri (traditional puppet theater). It is used as an accompaniment to songs or narratives in folk music to art music. Its music differs according to what the music is used for.
Focusing on the diversity of shamisen, this performance presents a nagauta (epic song) from Edo in the Edo period), Gidayu-bushi (musical narrative from joruri) from Osaka, and jiuta (local songs) from Kyoto — each of which features its own sounds from the shamisen — to American audiences and introduce traditional Japanese music to them.
This is the first performance in North America by Komanosuke Takemoto, a female tayu (narrator) and living national treasure. It also features leading performers including Hirokazu Fujii, a jiuta shamisen player who received this year’s Award for Fine Arts from the Agency for Cultural Affairs and the Award of the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in the music category.
Komanosuke Takemoto (tayu),
Yumi Tsuruzawa (a.k.a. Yumiko Tanaka), Tsugahana Tsuruzawa (Gidayu shamisen)
Hirokazu Fujii (Jiuta shamisen)
Chotatsuro Imafuji (1st Nagauta shamisen), Katsujuro Kineya (2nd Nagauta shamisen), Mitsuya Kineya (1st vocal part)
Japanese dance: Hanayagi Genkuro
Kaibunsha was established in 1985 as an organization that plans and produces theatrical performing arts. From 1992 to 1997, it was commissioned to produce independent projects by the Shonandai Civic Public Theater in Kanagawa Prefecture, and worked on dance performances by Akira Kasai, plays featuring Dumb Type and Shogo Ota in overseas locations, and many other productions. The organization also served as the executive director of the Conference for Asian Women and Theater and of the Korea-Japan Friendship in Dance – Butoh Festival, and as a committee member of the JADE International Dance Festival, contributing to international communication in the world of dance. In addition it hosted performances as the executive office of “Shomyo no Kai – Voices of a Thousand Years” for fifteen years. In October 2006, Kaibunsha was certified as a specified non-profit organization (NPO), and has continued its activities.
5F Kodama Bldg., 1-9-9, Muromachi, Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 103-0022
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Japan Society Lila Acheson Wallace Auditorium (New York, NY)
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Clark Museum (Williamstown, Massachusetts)