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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 24, 2009 | Times Staff and Wire Reports
Matagoro Nakamura, 94, believed to be Japan's oldest kabuki actor, died Saturday of natural causes at his home in Tokyo, according to the Japan Times newspaper. Known for his ability to perform a wide range of supporting roles in the centuries-old traditional art, Nakamura's last main appearance on stage was in April 2006, according to the Mainichi newspaper. The son of a kabuki actor, Nakamura was born Yukio Nakamura in 1913. He debuted in Japan's classical theatrical art at age 8 and earned great acclaim for his graceful acting style that allowed him to look natural in a variety of roles ranging from a young woman to an elderly man. Since the 1970s, the Tokyo native had devoted himself to nurturing young kabuki actors and lecturing on the traditional art overseas.
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NEWS
November 5, 2012 | By Betty Hallock
Noto Suzuki, wearing a peach and light blue silk kimono with its flowing sleeves strapped back by two of his three assistants, held above his head a pair of chopsticks as long as a conductor's baton and a fierce single-edged knife. Kneeling at a low wooden table that already had been ritually cleansed, he readied to perform a Japanese knife ceremony that dates to the 1st century. The zither-heavy music had stopped and a packed auditorium at the Japanese American National Museum on Sunday was silent as the ceremony unfolded -- traditionally a show of hope for an abundant harvest and gratitude for all ingredients that might be sliced by a knife.
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ENTERTAINMENT
May 22, 1994 | MARGARET SCOTT, Margaret Scott is a free-lance journalist based in Tokyo
Tamasaburo Bando's fame comes from his creations of courtesans and spurned women on the Grand Kabuki stage, but this night he's wearing a double-breasted suit and standing before a sold-out audience in Yokohama. He tilts his head and seems to turn his long, lithe torso in on itself as he slips for a minute into a man's idea of a geisha. "In a kimono, I'm a woman. It's like switching languages," says the man who is arguably Japan's premier female impersonator, or onnagata.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 24, 2009 | Times Staff and Wire Reports
Matagoro Nakamura, 94, believed to be Japan's oldest kabuki actor, died Saturday of natural causes at his home in Tokyo, according to the Japan Times newspaper. Known for his ability to perform a wide range of supporting roles in the centuries-old traditional art, Nakamura's last main appearance on stage was in April 2006, according to the Mainichi newspaper. The son of a kabuki actor, Nakamura was born Yukio Nakamura in 1913. He debuted in Japan's classical theatrical art at age 8 and earned great acclaim for his graceful acting style that allowed him to look natural in a variety of roles ranging from a young woman to an elderly man. Since the 1970s, the Tokyo native had devoted himself to nurturing young kabuki actors and lecturing on the traditional art overseas.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 26, 1991 | JEFF KAYE, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Surrounded by his followers, Jesus Christ appears wearing Kabuki whiteface and a vaguely hippie-style net shirt. To the sound of an electric guitar and Asian rhythm instruments, he steps gently across a row of wooden Japanese wagons and makes his way to the center of a stark, angled stage. As the musical story of Jesus' last seven days unfolds, the stage swells with incongruous images and sounds: geishas and apostles, parasols and crosses, gentle Japanese strings and honky-tonk piano.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 15, 1988 | LEWIS SEGAL
A sense of ritual has always shaped Japanese theater, but the notables converging on the Kabukiza playhouse this chilly winter morning in taxicabs, subway cars, limousines and even rickshaws expect something out of the ordinary. On this day a brief ceremony that occurs only once a century has brought the entire Grand Kabuki family together.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 18, 1986 | RAY LOYND
In "Chikamatsu's Forest," playwright Edward Sakamoto and the East West Players have spun a tapestry incorporating Kabuki theater and colloquial speech. The result is not only the most accessible Kabuki you may ever see but an experience that seldom violates the grace and bold style associated with classical Japanese theater.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 28, 1989 | KEVIN THOMAS
Of the major Japanese studios, Nikkatsu has always had the most raffish image. Its films typically have more violence and sex, and, in fact, the company has been producing soft porn in recent years in addition to its regular product. But the firm has always offered fledgling film makers more opportunity and more freedom than other studios. Nikkatsu is Japan's answer to Roger Corman. "Break Town Story" (Little Tokyo Cinema 1) represents Nikkatsu at its quintessential best. Director Masayuki Asao and his co-writer Kazuo Eto are clearly film makers of talent, and they have made an honest trade-off.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 12, 2009 | SCOTT COLLINS
Whatever story twists the writers are planning for ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," they couldn't possibly be as dramatic -- or at least as suspenseful, in the literal sense of something suspended that never seems actually to fall -- as the slow-motion goodbyes of cast members Katherine Heigl and T.R. Knight. This particular bit of off-screen kabuki was heightened with a report from Us on Tuesday that quotes fellow cast member James Pickens as declaring that Heigl and Knight are as good as gone.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 21, 1987
Onoe Kuroemon II, a master of Japanese Kabuki theater, will teach basic Kabuki movements and demonstrate makeup techniques at San Diego State University's Aztec Center today from 1 to 3 p.m. Five of Kuroemon's students will perform. In 1940, the Kabuki artist was given the rank of nadai, meaning leading Kabuki actor. He has studied both Western and traditional Japanese drama and has been named an "Intangible Cultural Asset" by the Japanese government.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 12, 2009 | SCOTT COLLINS
Whatever story twists the writers are planning for ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," they couldn't possibly be as dramatic -- or at least as suspenseful, in the literal sense of something suspended that never seems actually to fall -- as the slow-motion goodbyes of cast members Katherine Heigl and T.R. Knight. This particular bit of off-screen kabuki was heightened with a report from Us on Tuesday that quotes fellow cast member James Pickens as declaring that Heigl and Knight are as good as gone.
NEWS
June 23, 2005 | Lewis Segal, Times Staff Writer
Created by a dancing hooker, Grand Kabuki has always been obsessed with sex for money. Like tango, it was born disreputable but was destined to become the symbol of a national culture. And unlike those Japanese forms of dance theater that teach you that the pleasures of this world are an illusion, Kabuki proclaims that the pleasures of this world are everything. Lose them and you might as well leave.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 21, 2005 | Bruce Wallace, Times Staff Writer
More than 50 years of caking on thick Kabuki makeup has done no apparent damage to Nakamura Ganjiro III's face, which is smooth and tanned, not pasty. It helps to have good skin -- and good makeup -- if you are a 73-year-old man who has to convince an audience you are a 19-year-old woman in love. But believability in the men-only art of Kabuki rests mostly on a male actor's skill in expressing the movements, voice and psychology of a woman.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 23, 2004 | Manohla Dargis, Times Staff Writer
"The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi," the latest entertainment from Japanese filmmaker Takeshi Kitano, isn't your average blind masseur-gambler-swordsman movie. Based on a series of popular genre standards, the film stars the multitalented auteur as an avenger who wanders the 19th century countryside in a platinum blond buzz cut while swinging the kind of lethal cane favored by William S. Burroughs.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 11, 2001 | MARK MAGNIER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Ichimura Uzaemon, a Kabuki icon with encyclopedic knowledge of theater tradition, died Sunday at the age 84 of complications from lung cancer. "He is the last heavyweight in the Kabuki world," said theater critic Katsuyo Ito. "He learned directly from the old, legendary actors. He was such an important person in the community." Like many actors in the close-knit profession, Uzaemon was born into the job, the seventh generation of a family of Kabuki artists.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 5, 2001 | From Associated Press
Utaemon VI, one of the last of the great Kabuki actors, who helped nurture the traditional theater after World War II, has died. He was 84. Utaemon died of chronic respiratory failure at his home in Tokyo on March 31. An official funeral is planned for April 30. "Utaemon was instrumental in passing on the traditional form and style of Kabuki through the postwar years," said Toshio Kawatake, professor emeritus of arts at Tokyo's Waseda University.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 4, 1985 | DAN SULLIVAN
Kabuki is . . . strange. Which was the implication of Kabuki when the first performances were given in the 1600s: a series of perfumed kooch shows, after which male patrons were invited to dally with the girls (and later the boys). Even after the Kabuki theater went legitimate, it was considered a low sort of entertainment, and an emperor didn't view a performance until the late 1800s. Today, we associate Kabuki with everything that is gorgeous, distant and august in Japanese art.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 4, 1985 | DAN SULLIVAN
Danjuro I (1660-1704) was stabbed to death in the middle of a performance by a jealous fellow actor. Danjuro V (1741-1807) ended his years in a Buddhist monastery. Danjuro VII (1791-1859) had 12 children by various "wives" and was banished from Tokyo for living like a potentate. Danjuro VIII (1825-1854), fearing a decline in his powers, committed suicide so as "to save my father from reproach."
ENTERTAINMENT
March 9, 2001 | LYNNE HEFFLEY, TIMES STAFF WRITER
It's a challenging moment for both audiences and actors in "Wondrous Tales of Old Japan," when a character's grief-stricken wail at his father's death is loudly echoed in exaggerated tones by the show's onstage narrator. At that point, in the elementary and middle school auditoriums where the show is playing, "there's some laughter," said writer and director David Furumoto.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 1, 2001 | LYNNE HEFFLEY, TIMES STAFF WRITER
The Mark Taper Forum's P.L.A.Y. company--Performing for Los Angeles Youth--is touring local elementary and middle schools with its newest production, "Wondrous Tales of Old Japan." Lucky schools. And lucky anyone looking for exceptional youth theater: The company has also scheduled several performances (mostly free) for general audiences.
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