Q1. Why do you give a pre-performance presentation?
I think that the information from the English subtitle device and the English earphone guide are helpful but it is not enough to enjoy Kabuki, especially for people who have not seen Kabuki before as it is limited to the performance you see only. Visual pre-performance presentation gives you a much better overview and insight into Kabuki.
I also give you historical information to understand and enjoy Kabuki, and tell you about highlights to look for, remarkable points and features on the individual performances.
You will also get a time schedule of the show, suggestions for what to do during the intermissions and so on. I think this information is necessary to enjoy Kabuki as a whole in true Japanese style and to spend your time and money effectively.
Q2. What time does your tour end?
After the lecture, we arrive at the theater about 20-30 minutes before the show starts.
Q3. Do you think the English device is needed to see Kabuki?
The subtitle device is available only at Kabuki-za theatre and is helpful, as a summary of the action dialogue on stage is given in English. The devices are also available in Japanese, and many Japanese rent them as Kabuki daialogues are sometimes in very old-fashioned Japanese, and some customs shown on stage are different from today's customs.
The rental fee of the English subtitle device is 1,000 yen. (ID is required as deposit)
The National Theatre:
The English audio guide is available only at the National Theatre. The renral fee is 700 yen and returnable deposit is 1,000 yen.)
Q4. How many Kabuki shows have you seen so far?
I have seen almost 500 shows to date. I have been going to the Kabuki-za theatre at least twice a month over the last 10 years. And of course, I also go to other theatres to see Kabuki.
Q5. When did you go to the Kabuki-za theater for the first time?
The first time I went to the Kabuki-za to see Kabuki when I was 5. My grandmother often took me to the theater before I entered elementary school.
We were lucky to usually have box seats because an acquaintance of ours gave us the tickets. I still remember the beautiful Kabuki stage and actors that I saw with my grandmother to this day.
Q6. Did you study Kabuki at school?
I didn't study Kabuki at school. However, I have studied Kabuki in classes given by the instructor of the theatre arts course of Waseda University and other classes. I have read many books on the subject.
Q7. Are a single show, or one act tickets,
A single show tickets are sold only at Kabuki-za theatre. They are very popular. People who wanted these tickets had to stand in line about for one and a half hours. The short Kabuki tour is available for people who want to see only one act. The single show tickets are not available at other theatres.
Q8. How long are the intermissions?
Depending on the show, intermissions usually are about 10 to 30 minutes. At least one intermission is 30 minutes long, enough to have lunch or dinner.
People bring O-bento (boxed meals) or eat at the restaurants in the theater.
(Booking at the restaurants is required before the show begins.)
Q9. Have you seen the programs you talk about in your lectures?
I have seen the program at least once before I give a lecture about it. Fortunately, I have seen many Kabuki dramas and dances over time.
I surely haven't seen every Kabuki play that exists as there simply are too many.
I usually plan the dates of my tours after seeing a new program.
Q10.Are you the National Government Licensed Guided-interpreter? If so, what is it?
Yes, I am. My registration number is EN0245 issued by Governor of Tokyo Metropolis.
According to the Japan Tourism Agency, the National Government Licensed Guide Interpreter is “an individual who escorts foreigners and gives them guiding services concerning travel with the use of a foreign language”. It is a national qualification that is a challenging certification to obtain. One needs to have a very good understanding of Japanese history, culture, geography, current affairs, and be able to explain all of it in a foreign language. According to the Japan National Tourist Organization, 7,651 people took the exam in 2017 but only 753 passed. Until the beginning of 2018, the qualification was a legal requirement for individuals who wanted to provide guided tours. In order to respond to the increasing demand for a variety of travel services in Japan, the Japanese government waived this legal requirement, thereby increasing the pool of people who could work as guides. However, the national qualification still exists and now acts as a seal of quality.
Q11.Why did you start this tour?
Kabuki is a very fascinating performing arts.I have enjoyed Kabuki for many years!
I love all peforming arts such as opera and musicals. I wish to share my many
experiences and knowledge; to show guests a part of the Japan I love as a Japanese person.
I want many people to enjoy Kabuki as I do, but I think pople can enjoy Kabuki
more with some information before you rent the subtilte or audio devices.
Fortunately, I have already had many chances to take both Japanese and foreign friends to the Kabuki-za theatre. Everyone enjoyed Kabuki very much, whether it was their first time or whether they already had seen Kabuki several times.
My profound experience in Kabuki and other stage arts helps other people to enjoy, and that my enthusiasm for this kind of art is infectuous.
Sometimes you hear people say they don't like Kabuki. I believe that with some essential information about the art itself and the plays on performance, Kabuki
becomes understandable and enjoyable. I am very happy to help with that, in finding and conveying the interesting points of Kabuki theater and its programs.
I would like to share the fascinating experience of Kabuki with as many other people as possible.
Q12.When did you start this tour?
I started my tour in March 2010, before the old Kabuki-za theatre was demolished.