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Students from Hawaii perform English-language kabuki in Japan

Theater students from the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) will travel to Japan in June to perform a rare English-language kabuki production at a classical theater in Gifu Prefecture, as a homecoming for a kabuki tradition brought to the islands in the Pacific Ocean in the 19th century.

The show, part of UHM’s kabuki project to produce “The Maiden Benten and the Bandits of the White Waves,” better known as “Benten Kozo,” follows performances at the Kennedy Theater on the Honolulu campus in April on the occasion of the centenary. anniversary of the first ever English-language kabuki performance in Hawaii in 1924. “Benten Kozo” is a popular kabuki play that depicts the twists and turns of five thieves who follow their own code of honor.

The project is led by UHM professor Julie Iezzi, a 61-year-old Asian theater specialist, in collaboration with Ichikawa Monnosuke VIII, 64, the eighth generation of a kabuki family lineage dating back to 1713, during Japan’s Edo period (1603-1868 ). ).

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