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An English translation of ‘Meiji Gekidan: Ranpu No Moto Ni Te’ (Talks On Meiji Era Theatre: Under The Lamp) By Okamoto Kidō

Translation was undertaken for Kabuki fans who are unable to read Japanese!

Okamoto KidoBorn October 15th 1872 to Okamoto Keinosuke (a samurai retainer of the Tokugawa Shōgunate who, after the Meiji Restoration, went to work for the British Legation as an interpreter) Okamoto Kidō is best known outside of Japan for his mystery novel ‘The Curious Casebook of Inspector Hanshichi’. His family were avid Kabuki fans and well-connected in the theatre world. Though Kidō announced his intention at an early age to become a Kabuki playwright as a consequence of his father’s bankruptcy he had to skip University and Read more…

Four Hundredth Anniversary Of The Death Of Tokugawa Ieyasu & Japan400 Anniversary Event An Answering Visit Of Emissaries From Sumpu-Shizuoka, Four Centuries Later

November 25, 2013 Leave a comment

Four Hundredth Anniversary of the Death of Tokugawa Ieyasu & Japan400 Anniversary Event An Answering Visit of Emissaries from Sumpu-Shizuoka, Four Centuries LaterDate: Saturday, December 7th, 2013
Venue: SOAS (University of London)

Event Information

Part I: Japan400 Ceremony and Presentations

Read more…

The Nakasendo Road Part Three: Day 7 – 10

October 29, 2013 Leave a comment

Third and final part: Japanophile Trevor Skingle ‘walks Japan’ to raise funds for the humanitarian charity RedR UK!

Nakasedno Road Part Three Day 7 - 10Day Seven: O-tsumago to Kiso-Fukushima – Reports came in that 800mm of rain had fallen on Kyōto as a result of the typhoon Man Yi, that the level of the Kamogawa River at Sanjo Obashi Bridge where the group had walked a few nights before was phenomenally high and there had been Read more…

The Nakasendo Road Part Two: Day 4 -6

October 16, 2013 Leave a comment

Part Two of Three: Japanophile Trevor Skingle ‘walks Japan’ to raise funds for the humanitarian charity RedR UK!

Nakasendo Road Part Two Day 4 - 6Day Four: Hosokute to Okute – For those who had suffered from the unseasonal heat the day’s walk was limited to hiking from Hosokute to Okute, whilst the remainder of the group went on to complete the second part of the hike across Jūsan Toge (Thirteen Passes) into Ena. After an early morning stretch outside the Read more…

The Nakasendō Road Part One: Day 1 – 3

October 8, 2013 2 comments

Part One of Three: Japanophile Trevor Skingle ‘walks Japan’ to raise funds for the humanitarian charity RedR UK!

Statue of Ii Naomasa outside Hikone Station, Hikone Castle Stretching 533km from Edo (modern day Tōkyo) to Kyōtō the Nakasendō Road, though extant since the seventh century, was administratively established as one of the five official roads of the Edo Era (the others being the Tōkaidō, Kōshū Kaidō, Ōshū Kaidō, and Nikkō Kaidō) by Tokugawa Ieyasu shortly after his victory at Read more…

Shinsengumi in, Kyōto: Part Two – Around Kiyamachi Street (Kiyamachi Dōri)

September 30, 2013 4 comments

Concluding story of Shinsengumi: Japan’s “Special military police force”!

Furutaka Shuntaro    Hijikata ToshizōIntroduction

In the lead up to the Meiji Restoration supporters of the Meiji Court, the National Patriots, Ishin Shishi, were formed mainly from the Tozama Daimyo, the Oustide Lords, those who had submitted to the Tokugawa only after their defeat at the battle of Sekigahara and who were predominantly made up of Read more…

Shinsengumi In Kyoto Part One: The Lair Of The Mibu Wolves

August 13, 2013 4 comments

Shinsengumi: Japan’s “Special military police force” during the Bakumatsu years!

Shinsengumi in KyotoIn 1853 Commodore Perry’s Black Ships arrived in Yokohama Bay triggering a series of momentous events that between 1853 and 1867 shook the very foundations of Japanese society, ending Japan’s enforced isolation under the Read more…

Netsuke Exhibitions In London And Budapest

July 5, 2013 4 comments

All great art should evoke reaction and the netsuke in these collections certainly are evocative!

Sennin with snake cat 11

Invented in 17th century Japan netsuke are miniature sculptures carved in a variety of mediums such as ivory, wood and bone that were used to secure the cords attached to small boxes, sagemono (the most popular of which were called inrō) which were hung from the sash, or obi, of a kimono and in which were Read more…

Exhibition: The Great East Japan Earthquake Press Photo Exhibition London

“Photography is the art of visually carving out a primary moment and making it eternal!” His Excellency Mr Keiichi Hayashi, Ambassador of Japan to the UK

The Great East Japan Earthquake Press Photo ExhibitionMarch 2013 marks the second anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that devastated eastern Japan. To celebrate the nation’s courage and international support the Asahi Shimbun, widely regarded as one of Japan’s most respected daily newspapers, and Mitsubishi Corporation have come together to host the Great East Japan Earthquake Press photo Exhibition which Read more…

2nd Installment From Okamoto Kido’s Talks On Meiji Era Theatre – Under The Lamp

March 2, 2013 1 comment

Part 14:  The scene at the opening of the new Kabukiza!

Danjurio IX as Komon Mitsukuni 1895 OK part 14Kabuza Gossip – ‘Heart Warming Historical Tales of Kōmon’ (Zokusetsu Bidan Kōmon Ki) — Scholar, Amateur Kabuki Dramatist and Journalist Fukuchi Ōchi — The Appearance of Kabukiza Banzuke advertising posters – ‘The Fire Brigade Fight’ (Megumi no Kenka).

After the Great Earthquake disaster (of 1923) the appearance of the Kabukiza theatre building was once again anticipated. Also a large part of the Read more…

1st Installment From Okamoto Kido’s Talks On Meiji Era Theatre – Under The Lamp

February 11, 2013 2 comments

Part 14 The Scene at the opening of the new Kabukiza!

Zokusetsu Bidan Komon ki OK part 14Kabuza Gossip – ‘Heart Warming Historical Tales of Kōmon’ (Zokusetsu Bidan Kōmon Ki) — Scholar, Amateur Kabuki Dramatist and Journalist Fukuchi Ōchi — The Appearance of Kabukiza Banzuke advertising posters – ‘The Fire Brigade Fight’ (Megumi no Kenka) Read more…

Theatre Review: Anjin: The Shogun And The English Samurai

February 9, 2013 6 comments

A lavish three-hour stage production of the relationship between William Adams and Shogun to be Tokugawa Ieyasu!

Anjin - The Shogun and the English SamuraiOn the 12th April 1600, some six months before the battle of Sekigahara took place on 20th October that same year, the first Englishman to step foot in Japan, William Adams (Stephen Boxer), arrived off the coast of the Japanese province of Bungo in the Dutch ship the Liefde. It was a combination of these events which, that year, brought together and changed the fortunes of two men; William Adams, a maritime pilot from Gillingham, and the Shōgun to be Tokugawa Ieyasu (Masachika Ichimura), a descendant of the Minamoto and the wealthiest Daimyō (Lord) in Japan at Read more…

Interview: Producer Thelma Holt – Anjin: The Shogun and the English Samurai

January 30, 2013 3 comments

“The influence of Japanese theatre has been and is tremendous!”  Thelma Holt

Thelma Holt profile photoThelma Holt CBE began a long and distinguished theatre career as an actress. She then founded the Open Space Theatre in Tottenham and has worked for the Roundhouse, the National Theatre and the Peter Hall Company. She went on to found her own theatre production company, Thelma Holt Limited. She works with the distinguished Japanese Director Yukio Ninagawa to bring Anglo-Japanese theatre to the Read more…

Interview: Actor Stephen Boxer – Anjin: The Shogun and the Samurai

January 23, 2013 3 comments

“What I love is how their friendship [Anjin and Tokugawa] crossed boundaries and superseded all that and became mates!”  Steve Boxer

Stephen Boxer  as AnjinStephen Boxer is an Olivier nominated stage, film and television actor. A veteran of the RSC he has performed widely at, amongst others, the National Theatre, the Barbican, the Duchess Theatre, and the Hammersmith Lyric. He won a London Fringe Award for Best Actor in his role as the Governor in ‘The Clearing’ at the Bush Theatre and his performance with the RSC as Read more…

Anjin: The Shogun & The English Samurai At Sadler’s Wells London

January 15, 2013 7 comments

A magnificent 3-hour stage production set in 17th Century Japan!

Anjin - The Shogun and the English SamuraiGregory Doran’s production of ANJIN: THE SHOGUN & THE ENGLISH SAMURAI, written by Mike Poulton with Sho Kawai, will play eleven performances at Sadler’s Wells Theatre from 31 January to 9 February 2013, with the press night on Thursday 31 January.

William Adams, the “blue-eyed samurai” known in Japanese as Anjin, was an English maritime pilot. Washed ashore on a strange and exotic land, Anjin soon found himself as the trusted adviser to a powerful Read more…

Book Review: Strong in the Rain By Lucy Birmingham and David McNeill

December 5, 2012 2 comments

Living through the historic earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown!

Japan earthquake and tsunami 3/11No one could have thought that in March of 2011, the northeast coast of Japan would be hit by an earthquake 9.0 magnitude, one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded, sending a tsunami crashing through the towns, destroying all in its wake. Even though the country has regular earthquake evacuation drills, and sea walls as high as forty feet, nothing could’ve prepared it for a disaster of such scale. The catastrophe continued with a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant that would rival Chernobyl. After the disaster, Japan faced being in the news, and sympathy from around the globe grew, as did the Read more…

Tokyo Kabukiza Monthly Kabuki Review 15th April – 1st May 1930 Part Two

November 30, 2012 2 comments

Final part of a two-part series by kabuki collector Trevor Skingle!

A Past Story Under the Lamp  pg 64 65歌舞伎座劇評集 No. 64 – 昭和5年 4月15日 – 昭和5年 5月1日 (Shōwa 5 nen, 15th April – 1st May 1930)

Sugi Nishi Monogatari (aka Ranpu no Moto nite) A Past Story (Under the Lamp) Series Part 12, Okamoto Kidō. page 60

The entire series was published as “Meiji Gekidan Ranpu no Motonite” (On the Theatre of the Meiji Period – Under the Lamp) published by Read more…

Kabukiza Monthly Kabuki Review Number 12 Part One

November 21, 2012 3 comments

First in a two-part series by kabuki collector Trevor Skingle!

歌舞伎座劇評集 No. 64 – 昭和5年 4月15日 – 昭和5年 5月1日 (Shōwa 5 nen, 15th April – 1st May 1930)

Sugi ni shi Monogatari (Rampu no moto ni te) A Past Story (Under the Lamp) Series Part 12, Okamoto Kidō. page 60

The entire series was published as “Meiji Gekidan Ranpu no moto ni te” (On the Theatre of the Meiji Period – Under the Lamp) published by Read more…

East Meets West – The Marriage Of German Ballerina Hedi Wekel and Japanese Cellist Yukichi Koh

November 5, 2012 1 comment

Hedi Koh (born Hedwig Wekel) (1909 – 2012)

Hedi Koh who had died aged 103 was born on the 20th February 1909 as Hedwig Wekel in Leipzig. She was a highly talented ballerina, nearly 19 years old, at the Leipzig opera when she met Yukichi Koh. He was the first Japanese man she had ever seen and she was surprised at this good looking, beautiful man. Till then she had only known Japanese faces from Japanese Ukiyo e, woodcut prints and had formed some strange perceptions about the appearance of Japanese people, expecting them to be yellow skinned and Read more…

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