Onoue Iemoto Onoue KikunojoOnoue Iemoto Onoue Kikunojo



Onoue 4th generation iemoto, 3rd generation Onoue Kikunojo Leap to the future


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

Onoue is a school of Japanese dance. Kikunojo Onoue, the third generation of the fourth head of the school, was involved in traditional work...rehearsing within the school, choreographing for Kabuki works, going out to red-light districts to rehearse...and jumping beyond his previous territory to create a new Kabuki production called Touken Ranbu. He has collaborated with other genres, directed and choreographed figure skating ice shows, and more. In order to uncover the reasons that drive Onoue Kikunojo, we followed his footsteps from his upbringing to the present and attempted to interview him.

As a boy, I grew up in the streets of Edo, feeling the traditions first hand.


Shinbashi geisha originated from Konparu geisha in the late Edo period. The Shinbashi Enbujo is where Shinbashi's geisha perform the ``Higashiodori'' dance once a year. This theater area, from Shinbashi to Tsukiji, is a historic red-light district with a traditional Japanese restaurant culture, even though there are fewer of them than in the past.


Kikunojo Onoue was born and raised in this town as the eldest son of the third head of the Japanese dance school Onoe.


``When I was a child, there were still many Japanese houses with sand walls surrounded by black walls.Ours was a two-story Japanese house, and there was a rehearsal hall on the second floor.Due to the location, there were a lot of geishas. People come and go, and even Kabuki actors come to practice.Ever since I can remember, the atmosphere of red-light districts and theater has been part of my life.''

Kikunosuke Onoe Kikunosuke Onoe

When she was a child, she practiced dancing with Kikunosuke Onoue, who was of the same generation as her. It's not just about dancing. As a child born into a family of traditional performing artists, he studied under various teachers in shamisen, ohayashi, and joruri, but he was never a serious student.



``When I left the house, I never came back.I was like a bullet ball.There were times when I would go to stamp rallies at subway stations after school instead of going to lessons.Imafuji, a living national treasure, plays the shamisen. I used to go to Seitaro Sensei's school, and sometimes I would fall asleep in the middle of the lessons.He was also very generous and encouraged me to have coffee,'' he says with a laugh.



Kikunojo's father, Sumiyuki Onoe, also watched his son grow up patiently, and he remembers one stage performance.


"My father and I once stood on stage. As soon as the curtain came down, my father suddenly hit me on the head with a fan. I didn't know what he meant and was really surprised, but now... Looking back, I think he was really worried about me remembering the pretense.I think he was so relieved when the curtain came down that he let it go.




Kikunosuke Onoe Kikunosuke Onoe

When I was 7 years old, I played Ushiwakamaru in ``Gojobashi'' at the Onoue-kai. He is a picture of my childhood, where both grace and cuteness coexist.

Inspired by the achievements of people of the same generation and develops a desire for performing arts


Mr. Kikunojo had a quiet childhood, not being absorbed in lessons and probably making the adults around him nervous. However, through lessons, I started to make more friends from the same generation as me, and started going out to eat and hang out with "adult older brothers" who were different from my school friends, including Kabuki actor Koshiro Matsumoto, who was three years my senior. become.


``Until then, even when I went to the Kabuki-za theater, I would just watch it so absentmindedly that I couldn't remember the names of the actors, but I always get interested when my friends are performing. I started to think that if we don't have a proper relationship, we can't have an equal relationship.Unlike them, I don't perform in plays, so it's no good if I'm inferior to them in dancing.'' Looking back, he says that it was an opportunity for him to develop a sense of self.

Then, something happened between the third year of middle school and entering high school.


``Around the same time, I performed at a shamisen summer review event with Koshiro and other practice friends, but I was embarrassed because I couldn't do anything on stage.I was really embarrassed. I thought to myself, ``If that's the case,'' I thought, and started playing the shamisen every day.I practiced so hard that I could even play it while watching TV at home, and now I can play it. I've come to think of singing as one of my weapons."


It's only when you grow up and become someone else's parent that you understand how your parents felt at that time. ``I was never forced to practice, but I guess I was guided well.My father and many other masters spent a long time watching over me and nurturing me. Thank you very much"


What if your son behaved the way you did back then?


"I wonder if I'll be able to watch over you like my father. I'm not sure. Having had a child myself, I realize that my father had courage."

Born into a family in Onoue
Taking on the challenge of directing and choreographing new dances


I would like to explain about Onoue here.


The first head of Onoe was the sixth generation Kikugoro Onoe. It is common knowledge among those who still enjoy Kabuki and Japanese dance that ``Rokudaime'' refers to Kikugoro Onoe, the 6th generation. He was active from the Meiji period to the Showa period, and his ability and popularity were tremendous. Renowned as a master dancer, his majestic form can still be seen today in a short film by film director Yasujiro Ozu that includes the sixth generation's performance of ``Shunko Kagami Shishi''.


Novelist Junichiro Tanizaki is a big fan of Rokudaime, and the scenes in his novel ``Sasoyuki'' where he goes to see Kabuki are usually set as Rokudaime going to see him. Seishi Yokomizo also loved the sixth generation, and in his book ``The Inugami Family,'' he listed ``the axe, the koto, and the chrysanthemum'' as heirlooms of the Inugami family, which is exactly the yukata of the Kikugoro family. A pattern used for clothing. He was an unparalleled actor who was deified as the god of theater and was so influential that he became the motif of a novel.



I think Onoue's characteristics are not only elegant and dignified, but also the fusion of physicality that incorporates the essence of the times, giving a sense of flow, and drama that appeals to the theme and motif of the dance. This can be summed up in the words of the sixth generation owner: valuing "dignity, freshness, and unexpectedness."


Kikunosuke Onoe Kikunosuke Onoe

It was in 2011 that Mr. Kikunojo inherited the fourth generation head of Onoe and the third generation Onoue Kikunojo from his father.


For several years before he took over as the third generation Onoe Kikunojo, he accompanied his father, the head of the family and dance master, in all his work. This can be said to be Kikunojo-san's training period.


``In addition to regular lessons, my father took on a wide range of work, including ``Higashi Odori'', ``Kamogawa Odori'' in Kyoto's Pontocho, and directing and choreographing for Kabuki and the Takarazuka Revue Company. I followed all the tasks as if it were my job. Gradually, more and more tasks were assigned to me, such as, ``You should practice,'' and ``You should go in my place.''


As those gentle childhood days faded away, my desire to pursue the arts grew. After seeing him continue to study hard and take on the challenge of directing and choreographing not only classical dance, but also new dances, he was approached by the Onoue Kikugoro Theater Company. The Onoue Kikugoro Theater Company is a performance that is presided over by Kikugoro Onoue, who has been the director of the company. Many actors from the Kikugoro family, which is connected to the Otowaya family, appear in the productions, and many of the works are colorful, have a foreign feel, and are fun.


``It was decided in 2005 that a new Kabuki play, ``NINAGAWA Twelfth Night,'' based on Shakespeare, which premiered in 2007 and was very well received, would be re-performed in XNUMX. Mr. Kikugoro, the head of Onoue, offered me the chance. He must have thought, ``Maybe I should try doing something with him.'' ``NINAGAWA Twelfth Night'' was the first time I had ever met him. I ended up choreographing this work.Since then, I have choreographed many new works by Otowaya.



He began to be in charge of new stage productions by Koshiro Matsumoto, the person who helped him develop his determination for the arts.


“Koshiro-san is more than a brother to me. Because of him, I have been able to do my best. The Las Vegas performances of ``Koi-Tsuka'', ``Shishio'', Kabuki NEXT's ``Ani Ryume''... We talked about our dreams together. , I'm very happy to be able to be involved in something starring him, who I've been following for a long time."


He is also directing a new Kabuki play based on the game ``Touken Ranbu ONLINE'' that will be performed in July 2023, and is currently in the middle of rehearsals for the opening day. In the second part, he talks about the dissemination of information using new media, which he has been actively engaged in in recent years, and the deep feelings he has for Japanese dance behind this.



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.

New Kabuki “Touken Ranbu Tsuki no Tsurugie Nishino Kirinoha”

The popular game ``Touken Ranbu ONLINE'', in which you grow a swordsman and fight to protect history in order to defeat a time-traversing army that plans to change history, sparked a sword boom that became the model for the swordsman. . It has been featured in various genres such as stage plays, anime, and movies, and has now become one of the popular contents that Japan is proud of. Now, "Touken Ranbu" will finally be performed as a new Kabuki play. The six sword men that appear in the main enclosure of Kabuki are Mikazuki Munechika, Kogitsunemaru, Dotanuki Masakuni, Higekiri, Hizamaru, and Kokarasumaru. The theme is the Eiroku Incident, in which the 13th Shogun Yoshiteru Ashikaga was killed, and this historical event is boldly dramatized using ideas unique to Kabuki. This is a new kabuki play that brings together stars such as Matsuya Onoe and Ukon Onoe.

◆New Kabuki “Touken Ranbu Tsuki no Tsurugie Nishino Kirinoha”

July 2023nd (Sunday) – July 7th (Thursday), 2

[Closed] 10th (Monday), 18th (Tuesday)

Afternoon session 12:XNUMX~
Evening session 16:30~
*Performance time is scheduled to be approximately 3 hours including intermission.
Theater: Shinbashi Enbujo

Ticket Web Shochiku

Text by Junko Morita
Photography by Natsuko Okada (Studio Mug)

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

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