September 22, 2015/ 4:15 PM - 6:15 PM

USC Radisson Hotel Victory Room

From the Dressing Room to Center Stage

Glimpses behind the Kabuki Curtain

With Kabuki Actor and UCLA Phd Student Nakamura Gankyō

(Image: Illustration of the Great Prosperity of the Theaters, Utagawa Toyokuni III, 1859)

Kabuki is one of Japan’s three great traditional theatrical forms.Knowledge and tradition relating to kabuki have been passed down over four centuries, from one generation of actors to the next. For the most part, these traditions—above all, the special skills actors need to transform themselves into the characters they play—remain inaccessible to the general public. In this unique event, kabuki actor Nakamura Gankyō will give us a glimpse into the hidden world of kabuki. He will perform highlights from the kabuki dance “Echigo Jishi” (Echigo Lion Dance), share his knowledge about kabuki, demonstrate the techniques female-role actors use to make themselves up, and talk about his experiences as an actor. He will be joined by Kineya Yasoy and Katada Kikusa, masters in Nagauta-style singing and drumming.

Nakamura Gankyō was born and raised in Southern California. An apprentice under Living National Treasure Sakata Tōjūrō, he is the first non-Japanese citizen to become a professional kabuki actor. Gankyō has conducting workshops, lectures, and demonstrations to introduce various aspects of the kabuki theater to audiences around the world. He is currently a PhD Candidate in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles, and has recently returned from Tokyo, where he spent an extended period doing research at Waseda University and Tokyo University