Hello from Japan. This is Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter No. 476.
Last Wednesday, (December 5th), Kanzaburo Nakamura, a Kabuki actor passed away. He was quite young(he was 57 years old). The news brought a lot of sadness to everyone - it is supposed to be a joyful and busy month but his death was so regretful. There have been TV programs for his homage, and his kabuki perfomance is shown as a special program.
Actually he was the most well known Kabuki actor - he was known widely because he performed not only on traditional kabuki stage but also created `new' style kabuki, working together with younger script writers and producers.
He was born in a genuine kabuki actors' family. His debut was when he was three years old. He played Momotaro(Peach Boy)on the stage. He is18th generation descendant of Nakamuraya family(guild). He took his father's name `Kanzaburo' in 2005 and has been a most popular and loved kabuki actor until the end of his life.
It seems there are more kabuki fans among elder people and not so many young people go to see kabuki performance. Kanzaburo was so innovative, kept performing at `Cocoon theater' in bunkamura, Shibuya, which is the young people's town. They performed traditional kabuki with new production and took alot of attention of younger audience.
He also built Heisei Nakamura za, a temporary stage, reproducing the original make shift playhouse`Nakamura za' from Edo period. He played `Hokaibou', a story about a wild and amative priest. Like this charming character, Kanzaburo was so loved by many people, from all generation and from different field.
He used to say, he just loves to please people. He was so grateful to audience who bought tickets and came to see his performance. He did not want to have them leave with no satisfaction.
He also made performace in NY by building a temporary stage in NY Lincoln center. He added unique interpretation to convey the spirit-to entertain with vital charms of kabuki.
The performance in NY in 2004 and 2005 was very successful .
On the day he passed away, I received many e-mails from Japanese customers mourning the death of this charming actor. My aunt called and said she just could not do anything all day (she was a big fan of Kanzaburo and went to see the stage many times).
His life was like lighting the both ends of a candle(I hope this expression is corerct). He just ran through with full speed!
His colligue actor, Mitsunosuke was talking about him. `Everyone says he is a genius, and it is true but he was a hardest worker I have ever seen. He just tries million times until he was satisfied. He never stopped thinking about kabuki. '
From his stage and smile, we see him like a young boy always dreaming. His friends were saying, `you just fall in love with him, if you see him once'.
It is hard to tell his charms by my poor vocabulary. I have not seen his stage in person but liked him a lot by his drama(he was in many drama on TV)and the natural way he talks-about his passion of Kabuki.
I like this video - he is in the center of the group-walking to McCafe.
The video of introducing Hokaibo, a play about a wild and charming priest:
His two sons (both kabuki actors) delivered message from stage, expressing their sincere appreciatione for the love and support for his father. The elder son was taking his father's former name `Kankuro` and was having the stage to celebrate the new name on the day his father died-that brought everyone to tears.