"For, By Viewing the Flowers, We May Forget Out Own Despair"・ Hanabusa Shūjaku Jishi (1754)

TOKYO, Jan 23 (Kabuki In-Depth) - In this video, we cover the old shishi dance Hanabusa Shūjaku Jishi (英執着獅子), first performed by the onnagata Nakamura Tomijūrō I (1719 – 1786).

This is, of course, just a quick introduction to the fascinating genre of shakkyōmono dances, which includes examples such as Aioi Jishi (1734), Makura Jishi (1742), Shakkyō (1820), Renjishi (1872) and (1893).

Originally I wanted to include footage from Nakamura Jakuemon IV's famous 2001 performance of the dance, as he contributed greatly to the popularization of this piece since the mid-XX century. But the one seen here by Nakamura Fukusuke IX, recorded in October 2008 at the Kabuki-za, is, in my opinion, simply sublime, showing him at the height of his Utaemon-worthy powers as a dancers. The two productions, by actors at completely different stages of their careers, did not match up well at all, so I decided to go with Fukusuke's, although it is lacking in video quality. I'll share some more footage of the akahime version and Jakuemon's in the Patreon later today, for comparison. ...continue reading

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