DEVASTATED TO LEARN OF THE DEMOLITION OF THE JAPANESE KABUKI-ZA THEATRE
I’ve only just caught up with the fact the Japanese Kabuki-za Theatre in Ginza, Tokyo, Japan has been demolished. I was quite devastated when I read this fact. It means that one of the most loved and traditional of Japanese shows will no longer be able to be performed in this wonderful Japanese Kabuki theatre.
Then, I realized how lucky we were to see a Japanese Kabuki performance in this theatre on our tour of Japan in 2007. On that night after the initial performance, we had the privilege and excitement of watching the KOJO (Stage Announcement) when the Living National Treasure Jakuemon was on stage to congratulate the new Kinnosuke, Nakamura Shinjiro who is the nephew of the famous Japanese Kabuki actor Nakamura Kinnosuke (1932-1997). We thought this a very auspicious occasion and I loved every minute of the dramatics.
The scheduled demolition of this famous Japanese Kabuki Theatre was in the spring of 2010 (earlier this year), the theater rebuild expected to take three years. Apparently there were serious concerns as to whether the building would survive a serious earthquake, as well as accessibility and fire hazard issues.
Between January and April this year (2010) a series of farewell performances were held, entitled Kabuki-za Sayonara Koen (“Kabuki-za Farewell Performances”). If only? I so wish I could have been there for one of these performances.
It’s not all bad new, if your travel destination is to Tokyo Japan, you will still be able to see a Japanese Kabuki performance in the Shinbashi Theatre, and as well, take in the different plays developed within the kabuki genre and performed at Shinbashi Enbujo. These are plays which include Super Kabuki form, and Hanagata Kabuki, a performance featuring the younger generation of kabuki stars. This would be a very interesting and different performance.
Future Japanese Kabuki theatre performances will take place in the Shinbashi Enbujo (only a couple of blocks away), until the new Japanese Kabuki-za theatre complex is completed in 2013.
Below is the address and subway directions for theShinbashi Enbujo.
The Shinbashi theatre is located in Higashi Ginza Area in Tokyo.
The address is: Ginza 6-18-2, Chuo-ku, Tokyo Japan.
Take the Hibiya Line or Asakusa Line to Higashi Ginza Station. Exit 6
Take the Ōedo Line to Tsukiji Shijō Station. Exit A3
FACTS ABOUT THE JAPANESE KABUKI-ZA THEATRE IN GINZA
- The original Japanese Kabuki-za theatre was a wooden building built-in 1889, on the ground where the Hosokawa clan of Kumamoto, or the Matsudaira clan (a Japanese Samaurai clan) resided in Tokyo.
- It burnt down in 1921 because of an electrical fault.
- Construction of the new Kabuki theatre began in 1922. Designed to be fireproof, whilst incorporating a traditional Japanese architectural style.
- The new Kabuki Theatre had not been completed when the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake struck.
- After the earthquake the new Japanese Kabuki Theatre was built-in a baroque Japanese revivalist style, which combined architectural details of Japanese castles and temples of pre-Edo period.
- Once again, destruction, when the theater was heavily damaged in World War II bombings.
- Finally,a happy ending when restored in 1950, preserving the style of 1924 construction (as I saw it in 2007). It was a very dramatic and beautiful traditional building and the most famous Japanese Kabuki-za Theatre in the world.
- Demolished after April, 2010. Not a very good run!
So very sad to think it has been demolished!
On a brighter note, I’m sure the Japanese will come up with a wonderful and new dramatic Japanese Kabuki-za Theatre in 2013. Who knows, perhaps I can be there for an opening performance!
Reconstruction of a magnificent new Kabuki-za Theatre completed and the theatre re-opened in April 2013. For full details go to their website: