Celebrating a Kabuki Icon: Nakamura Kichiemon II in Photos
As Matsuomaru in Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami (Sugawara and the Secrets of Calligraphy). September 2012, Shinbashi Enbujo Theater. © Naruyasu Nabeshima
Nakamura Kichiemon II is one of the best-known faces of contemporary kabuki, and familiar to wider audiences as well through TV shows such as Onihei Hankacho. His assured movements and rich line readings have been seen in kabuki genres ranging from historical drama and gidayu-kyogen to “new kabuki” and comedy. To commemorate his 70th year as a performer, this commemorative photo exhibition gathers together a wealth of rare on-stage and backstage shots.
“Kabuki Actor Nakamura Kichiemon II” contains around 30 pieces, all taken by Naruyasu Nabeshima as he documented every kabuki performance by the actor starting in 2006. The exhibition can be seen at Mikimoto Hall in Mikimoto’s Ginza main store until December 9. All photographs are printed on handmade Ise washi (Japanese paper) for added impact.
Preparing to go on-stage as Matsuomaru in Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami (Sugawara and the Secrets of Calligraphy). September 2012, Shinbashi Enbujo Theater. © Naruyasu Nabeshima
Also on display is a special folding screen incorporating Nabeshima’s photography entitled “Nakamura Kichiemon I and II: Three Roles.” The work is an homage to painter Kiyotada Torii’s folding screen which depicted the first Nakamura Kichiemon—Nakamura Kichiemon II’s grandfather—on-stage. The work encapsulates the traditional culture of kabuki that Nakamura Kichiemon II inherited along with his name.
Seventy years since he first stepped onto the stage, Nakamura’s presence has only grown more magnetic. These candid shots offer a rare view into the appeal and depth of the culture he has worked to uphold and preserve over that career. Whether you’re a long-time kabuki fan or a complete beginner, you’re sure to see something new in these photographs.
◆ Nakamura Kichiemon II Photo Exhibition
Exhibition period: November 7 to December 9, 2018
Venue: Mikimoto Hall, 7th floor, Mikimoto Ginza Main Store
4-5-5 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo
Hours: 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (Last entry 6:45 p.m.)
Entry fee: None
Website: https://www.mikimoto.com/jp/news/181023/01.htm (in Japanese)