Kikunosuke OnoeKikunosuke Onoe


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About the collaboration “Issei-kai” between Kikunosuke Onoe and Ippei Shigeyama

About “Issei-kai,” a collaboration with Ippei Shigeyama

Hello. This is Kikunosuke Onoe. Christmas is over, and December is finally coming to an end. To report on my current status, it was a busy three months from autumn to the end of the year, as I was involved in a variety of projects one after another.


After "Itozakura", in the second half of October he will be choreographing Pontocho's annual autumn event "Suimeikai", in November he will be choreographing the Kabuki-za's "Gokuzuke Indoden Mahabharata Senki", and "Nihon Buyo Caravan" will be performed in Kochi. I am impressed and at the same time relieved that I made it this far without running out of breath, performing at the Okinawa performance, and most of all, Itsuseikai in December.


Today, I would like to talk about "Isseikai" which is held every December. ``Itsei-kai'' is a group where Mr. Ippei Shigeyama, a Kyogen style Noh performer of the Okura school and the Shigeyama Sengoro family, and I bring together ideas to explore new possibilities for dance and Kyogen. This year, there will be three performances, starting with the Kyoto performance on December 12th, and the Tokyo performance on the 12th, including an additional performance. Thankfully, tickets sold out quickly, so we were happy to be able to hold an additional performance for the first time as Itsuseikai. We are filled with gratitude to all the customers who came to visit us.

The difficulty and fun of collaboration

"Itseikai" rehearsal "Itseikai" rehearsal

A rehearsal scene of “Itsei-kai”. From left: Mr. Ippei Shigeyama, this year's guest Rakugo performer Mr. Kikunojo Kokontei, and myself.

Isseikai is now in its 15th year, and I think it's rare to find a doujinshi that continues to hold as many events as Itsusei, especially among the co-hosted doujinshi. Most of the time we get into trouble (laughs). There are times when we disagree about the arts, so why not? Sometimes something as trivial as this can go wrong.



It costs money to host the event yourself, so you may run into financial problems. Especially when comparing Japanese dance and Kyogen, Japanese dance costs far more in terms of costs such as performers, costumes, and wigs. Depending on the program, Kyogen is often performed by just two or three actors without any music or singing. Even so, Mr. Ippei has always maintained the idea that the two of us should work together as one work and performance. In the past 15 years, there has never been a crisis of disbandment. I think we were able to continue working together because Mr. Ippei was broad-minded, intelligent, passionate about creating work, and yet generous.

Kikunojo Kikunojo

Every year, it is decided that "Isseikai" will take on the challenge of creating a new work. This year, I created a new work called ``Sunflower'' with the motif of the Ukraine issue.

Thoughts behind the new work “Sunflower”



This year's new work ``Sunflower'' is themed on the Ukraine issue. For the past 15 years, I have been creating various works as new works for Itsuseikai, but this is my first attempt at a socially conscious work. I wanted to use the theme of war that is currently happening in reality, so I consulted Kensuke Yokouchi, who I had asked to write the script for.



The setting is a village in Ukraine. An old woman in a village protests against the invasion of Russian soldiers by giving sunflower seeds to a young Russian soldier. Many of you may have seen on the news an old woman furiously protesting, ``Put this sunflower seed in your pocket and die here, and a sunflower will bloom from it.'' Mr. Yokouchi has written a new story based on this true story that was actually reported.


``Himawari'' was completed with the help of many people, including Yokouchi-sensei's script, Mr. Takao Fujisha, who composed the music, Mr. Kikunojo Kokontei, a rakugo storyteller who was asked to appear as a guest this time, and all the musicians. .

Satire is also an important element in the entertainment industry. However, for the Itseikai, it would be boring if it were just a satire. The challenge this time was to express the big theme of war in Isseikai's own way. Mr. Ippei and I went through trial and error to find a way to create a piece that would leave us feeling warm and hopeful without losing its essence. We aim to create a work that, while slightly betraying the expectations of our customers, demonstrates the inclusiveness of classical performing arts, which is capable of absorbing any theme, and at the end leaves customers feeling at ease knowing that this is Isseikai after all. Ta. I guess only the customers who saw it know what the results were. Still, it was a good experience.

"Itseikai" "Itseikai"

Mr. Kokontei Kikunojo is a person with the same name as me. I was thinking that I would like to work with you someday. He loves rakugo, Japanese dance, and kyogen. Three classical Japanese performing arts come together on the Noh stage. I think it was a very unique collaboration.

Kikunojo-san and Yoshito-kun Kikunojo-san and Yoshito-kun

My son Yoshito also appeared in one performance at the Tokyo performance on December 12th.

Kyoto and Tokyo: Differences felt from the stage



"Itseikai" has been performing in two locations, Kyoto and Tokyo, since its first performance in 2009. There are differences between customers in Kyoto and Tokyo. The first performance in Kyoto was amazing. The customer didn't even laugh. In Kyoto, there are many discerning people who are exposed to classical performing arts such as Kyogen on a regular basis, and they look at the show with a raised eyebrow, wondering, ``What kind of thing is this going to be like?'' We were so excited on stage (lol). It took some time to change the atmosphere, especially among customers in Kyoto.



However, after three to four years, customers started smiling naturally. I think that by continuing to watch ``Itseikai,'' they understood that it was okay to enjoy it and got used to enjoying the stage performance. Now, many people are laughing out loud and giving us big applause. The atmosphere is completely different when customers are looking at you at an angle and when they are excitedly waiting for you. This is the moment when I think I'm glad I continued.

Collaboration opens new doors



Collaborating with Ippei opened a new door for me. Although there are boundaries between the genres of Japanese dance and Kyogen, I believe that both of us have come together with a single-minded desire to grow as entertainers. The creation of a new work, which began as a fumbling experience, deepens as he gains experience and seeks new things. Above all, I feel that the sense of security I feel when facing the work with Mr. Ippei on stage comes from mutual trust. No matter what happens, I don't have to worry. This successful experience at Itsuseikai has given me confidence as a stage performer.



However, it is true that I never expected it to last this long. From the first time we met, I had a hunch that I would be able to work with this person, but more than 10 years had passed between the time we met and the time we started Itsuseikai. One day, I thought it was about time to try something, and it all started by accident, without anyone inviting me to do it. I guess that was the timing.


Every year, when the ``Itseikai'' ends, we start thinking about next year's meeting again. The 2024 performance is scheduled for August to commemorate the 15th anniversary. We are planning to hold the Tokyo performance for one week in a row.


There's only one day left this year. I'll be talking about my daily life again next year, including various activities, so please stay tuned. Please have a good year.

From January 2024, 1, I will appear in "Poetic Drama 'Sara no Hikari' ~From the Tale of Genji~" at the Tokyo International Forum. My daughter will be on stage with me, so we're in the middle of rehearsals right now.


◆ J-CULTURE FEST presents Izutsu Sozoku Series
Poetry drama “Sara no Hikari” ~From The Tale of Genji~
Tokyo International Forum Hall D7

Curtain time
Wednesday, January 1rd 3:12/00:15
Thursday, January 1th 4:12
Friday, January 1th 5:12
Saturday, January 1th 6:12/00:15
Sunday, January 1th 7:12/00:15

Admission fee
(All seats reserved, tax included, children under 5 years old not allowed):
SS seat 12,000 yen (with SS seat benefit <not for sale>)
S seat 9,000 yen
U-25 seats 4,000 yen
*U-25 tickets are for people under the age of 25 on the day of the performance.
Please present an ID with your age clearly stated upon arrival.

◎For customers attending the performances on January 1th and 4th, regardless of seat type, we will offer weekday-only benefits (items not for sale).

◆ Appearance
Yuzuru Beni, Sayuri Inoue, Shinichiro Hino/
Bunka Hanayagi Kiei/Kyonosuke Fujima/
Kikunosuke Onoe
Ichiko Hatori
◆Direction/Choreography: Kikunojo Onoe
◆Screenplay: Kazuhisa Tobe
Music director/3 strings: Tomoya Nakai (5rd to 6th)/Nobuhiro Kaneko (7th to XNUMXth)
Gagaku: Akinori Inaba
Japanese instruments: Morigo Yoshii
■Sponsor: Izutsu Planning/Tokyo International Forum
■Sponsored by: Tokyo Metropolitan Government/Chiyoda Ward/Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry
■Planning and production: Izutsu/Izutsu Tokyo

Kikunojo Onoe


Born in March 1976 as the eldest son of Kikunojo Onoe (currently Bokuyuki), the third generation head of Nihon Buyo Onoe and the second generation. He studied under his father from the age of 3, and made his stage debut in ``Pine Green'' at the National Theater in 1981 (at the age of 1990). In 14 (at the age of 2011) he was allowed the name Seikaede Onoe. In August 8 (age 34), he inherited the title of Onoue's fourth iemoto, and at the same time assumed the name Onoue Kikunojo, the third. In addition to presiding over the Onoe-kai and Kikuju-kai dance clubs, he also presides over the "Itsei-kai" (a two-person gathering with Kyogen master Ippei Shigeyama) and his own recitals, creating both classical and new works. He continues to put a lot of effort into releasing various works. He is also actively collaborating with artists of various genres, including Eitetsu Hayashi, one of Japan's leading Japanese drum players.


For inquiries to “Kikunojo FAN CLUB”, please contact:Onoue official website.


◆Please also see the interview with Kikunojo Onoe

Onoue Kikunojo Onoue's prologue to his challenge - to the production of the new Kabuki "Touken Ranbu" (Part 1)

Onoue Kikunojo Onoue's prologue to his challenge - to the production of the new Kabuki "Touken Ranbu" (Part 2)


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