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An introduction to one of the oldest music styles in Kabuki: Kato-bushi

Edo Joururi: The Iki of Kato-bushi And The Allure of Sukeroku

Text by Miyama Kojuro

It had been my dream to see Sukeroku from directly in front of the hanamichi. Sukeroku is the name of the main character of Sukeroku Yukari no Edo-zakura, the most popular of the Kabuki Juuhachiban plays that form the repertoire of the Ichikawa Danjuro family. The setting is the Yoshiwara district of Edo, and even last year the play was performed to great acclaim at the name-taking ceremony of Ichikawa Ebizo XI. The roots of Kabuki lie in the Kyoto area, but this play takes place around Edo, and its lively depiction of the character and spirit of the Edokko have made it synonymous with Edo Kabuki as a whole. In order to see Sukeroku from directly in front of the hanamichi, one must be on the actual stage itself. Thus it was that I decided to apprentice myself to a master of Kato-bushi, the style of music which accompanies Sukeroku.

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