Kabuki-za

Coordinates: 35°40′10″N 139°46′05″E / 35.66953°N 139.76800°E / 35.66953; 139.76800

Kabuki-za (歌舞伎座?) in Ginza is the principal theater in Tokyo for the traditional kabuki drama form.

Architecture

The original Kabuki-za was a wooden architecture, built in 1889 on the ground where there was either the Tokyo residence of the Hosokawa clan of Kumamoto, or that of Matsudaira clan of Izu.

The building was destroyed in 1921. Since it burned down from an electrical fire, the second building was designed to "be fireproof, yet carry traditional Japanese architectural styles", and at the same time using Western materials such as lighting equipments.

The reconstruction commenced in 1922, and was uncompleted when the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake struck. It was rebuilt in a baroque Japanese revivalist style, meant to evoke the architectural details of Japanese castles, as well as temples of pre-Edo period. The theater was again heavily damaged in the Allied bombing during World War II. It was restored in 1950 preserving the style of 1924 reconstruction, and was until recently one of Tokyo's more dramatic and traditional buildings.

The structure was demolished in spring 2010, while the rebuilding is expected to take three years. Reasons cited for the reconstruction include concerns over the building's ability to survive earthquakes, as well as accessibility issues. A series of farewell performances, entitled Kabuki-za Sayonara Kōen (歌舞伎座さよなら公演, lit. "Kabuki-za Farewell Performances"?) were held from January through April 2010, after which kabuki performances take place at the nearby Shinbashi Enbujō and elsewhere until the opening of the new theatre complex, currently scheduled for 2013.

History

The Kabuki-za was originally opened by a Meiji era journalist, Fukuchi Gen'ichirō. Fukuchi wrote kabuki dramas in which Ichikawa Danjūrō IX and others starred; upon Danjūrō's death in 1903, Fukuchi retired from the management of the theatre. The theatre was then taken over by the Shochiku Corporation in 1914; the theatre is exclusively run by the company since.

The Kabuki-za Theatrical Corporation (TYO: 9661) was listed in 1924. As a corporation, the company's business mostly depends on the management fee and leasing fee income of the theatre building to Shochiku, and provisioning of catering service on site. The land itself on which the theatre stands is owned by Shochiku.

Performances

Performances are exclusively run by Shochiku. They are held nearly every day at Kabuki-za, and tickets are sold for individual acts as well as for the play in its entirety. As is the case for most kabuki venues, programs are organized monthly; that is to say, each month there is a given set of plays and dances that make up the afternoon performance, and a different set comprising the evening show. These are repeated on a nearly daily schedule for 3-4 weeks, with the new month bringing a new program.

  • Postcard depicting the original structure (1889-1911)

  • Postcard depicting the theatre as rebuilt in 1911 (1911-1921)

  • Postcard depicting the pre-war reconstructed theatre (1924-1945)

  • Photo of the post-war reconstructed theatre (1950-2010)

Building Activity

  • removed a media
    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com