Invitation to Kabuki - Guidance for Kabuki appreciation
Kabuki repertoire
"Narukami"
Introduction of work
This work is one of the Kabuki-juhachiban, specialties of the Ichikawa Danjuro family.
Narukami Shonin (a priest) who holds a grudge against the imperial court, has caged up the dragon god of rain in the basin of a waterfall, causing a long drought. The imperial court has ordered the beautiful princess Kumonotaema-hime to seduce Shonin and release the dragon god. She seduces Narukami Shonin and gets him dead drunk, then releases the dragon god, so that rain starts to fall. After a while, Narukami Shonin awakens, realizes that she deceived him, and furiously chases her.
 
Originally, together with "Kenuki" and "Fudo," also included in Kabuki-juhachiban, this was part of a long work called "Narukami fudo kitayamazakura." Performances of "Narukami" was ceased around the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate, but it has been frequently performed since Ichikawa Sadanji 2nd revived it in 1910.
The highlights in the first half of this play are the Shikatabanashi (speech with gestures) by Kumonotaema-hime, telling of her own love experiences with gestures using her body and hands, and the scene in which Shonin becomes depraved while massaging the princess, who is pretending to be ill. The graceful conversation between the princess with great sex appeal, and the stern Shonin, contrasts greatly with the Aragoto acting in the second half of the play.
 

Narukami Shonin seduced by the allure of Kumonotaema-hime. Narukami Shonin played by Ichikawa Danjuro 12th and Kumonotaema-hime by Nakamura Tokizo 5th, "Narukami fudo kitayamazakura" 'Kitayama iwaya' scene ["Narukami"] January 1996
 
 
 
Distinctive expressions
Expression of Aragoto
Narukami Shonin's anger is expressed by the Aragoto method. The actor playing Narukami Shonin changes his wig to a "Igaguri" (wig with hair ruffled up), and applies Kumadori makeup. His costume is changed by the Bukkaeri (instant flip-back change) technique to one with a flame pattern on a white base. Audience can also enjoy various Aragoto acting techniques including: "Hashira maki no Mie" (pillar-wrapping pose) which Narukami Shonin wraps his arms and one leg around a pillar of the Iwaya hut; "Fudo no Mie" in which Narukami Shonin poses on a rock holding the broken shimenawa (sacred rice-straw rope) in one hand like Fudo myo-o (Acala, the god of fire); Tachimawari (fighting) with his apprentice monks; and Tobiroppo as he angrily runs after the princess at the Makugire (end of act).
 
> Distinctive expressions: Bukkaeri
> Distinctive expressions: Tachimawari
 

Roppo during Makugire. Narukami Shonin played by Ichikawa Danjuro 12th, "Narukami fudo kitayamazakura" 'Kitayama iwaya' scene ["Narukami"] January 1996