Kanu (kabuki) (関羽 (歌舞伎))

"Kanu" is one of the eighteen best plays of kabuki by the Ichikawa family. Its official title is "Uruuzuki Ninin Kagekiyo." (The leap month and the virtue of kagekiyo). It was first performed by Danjuro ICHIKAWA (the second) at Kawarazaki Kabuki Theater in 1737.

It is a story about TAIRA no Kagekiyo sneeking into the Mikawa no Kami (Governor of Mikawa Province), Noriyori's castle disguised as Cho Hi in order to murder him since he was going after the throne, and meets Shigetada HATAKEYAMA disguised as Kanu from Setsu, and shows aragoto. It has long been unperformed, so the detailed storyline is unknown, but it was said to have been a peculiar aragoto which shows the actors riding on horses, being full beard, and in Tang dynasty Chinese costume, with using "Seiryuto" (machete).

Its detail has not been handed down, but there was a "mie" (a pose) of Kanu by stroking his beard, and this 'Kanu-mie' (a pose of Kanu) has come down up to now (such as in "{Heike nyogo no shima}" (The Heike and the Island of Women).

Sadanji ICHIKAWA (the second) in Taisho period, and Shoroku ONOE (the second) in 1965, both revived the performances respectively.

[Original Japanese]