Arts & Entertainment

Kabuki theater offers streaming of 2 new plays outside Japan

Tokyo, Feb 25 (EFE).- The works “Shunkan” and “Sonezaki Shinju”, two classics of the Kabuki theater, will be available on the video streaming platform for foreign viewers, Kabuki on Demand, from Mar.1.

“Shunkan”, first released in 1720, tells the story of three men who are exiled to an island for attempting to overthrow Kiyomori Taira, responsible for establishing the first samurai-dominated government administration in Japanese history.

On the other hand, “Sonezaki Shinju,” which was first performed in 1703, tells the tragic true story of the relationship between a courtesan and a soy sauce merchant, which ends in tragedy when both decide to commit suicide because they cannot be together.

Kabuki on Demand is available in several countries such as Spain, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy.

The streaming platform allows the online viewing of some of the most popular works of this genre in Japanese with subtitles or dubbed in English.

“The merit of Kabuki on Demand is that the work is not lost. I also think it could change the way we see kabuki from now on,” renowned actor Ganjiro Nakamura IV told EFE.

The streaming platform allows users to rent Kabuki theater works for some 1,320-1,650 yen ($9.7-$12).

The collection also boasts of other classics such as “Sagi Musume” (Heron Maiden), performed by Tamasaburo Bando – among the most celebrated Kabuki actors -, and “Benten Musume Meo no Shiranami” (The Five Thieves) in its collection.

The videos, which will be available online until October 2023, have been recorded with multiple cameras during live kabuki shows.

“I think they know what it’s like to enjoy a live performance. If not, no one would go to a concert. The advantage of Kabuki on Demand is that it comes with a translation,” said Nakamura, adding that experience in the theater “is very different.”

For Nakamura, going to the theater means “living in the moment,” as he expressed hope that Kabuki fans can enjoy a live concert when they visit Japan. EFE


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