Wasabi Stories vol.250: “Do Not Impersonate Someone But Find Your Own Style”

coffee breakToday’s story-teller is kabuki performer Kazutaro Nakamura.

He talks about the words he received from his grandfather.

Nakamura played the major role in “The Love Suicides at Sonezaki” lately.

It was the role which had been performed by his grandfather, Tojuro Sakata. On top of that, it was the very first time that he played a major role.

Surely he was very happy when he was asked to play the major role. However, he felt a lot of pressure.

Well, kabuki performers have only 1 week rehearsal before the performance. But he started studying about his role 3 months before the show while he had to play in other performances.

He could not help thinking, “how can I get closer to my grandfather’s performance?”

As he started rehearsing his play, there was his grandfather. But he didn’t give any instructions but pointing out his mistakes.

He was always asking himself the same question.


And without finding the answer, the rehearsal ended. Then his grandfather told him, “Find your own style.”


He had been practicing kabuki under his instructions since he was a child, but it was the first time that his grandfather gave him advice.

While Tokyo kabuki has a certain style, Osaka kabuki requires performer’s individual characteristics and impromptu performances. So when his grandfather told him to find his own style, he meant that he should play on his own way.

Well, Nakamura is 20 years old and he is a sophomore.

A lot of people tell him that he does not need to finish university since he is a kabuki performer. However, he believes that one should try anything he can.


Finally Nakamura says, “The tradition maintains by getting external influences.” He thinks that he should be more aware of the current trends. So that it leads him to be able to do a performance going along at the time and it becomes his individual characteristic.


The NIKKEI 12/24/20010 by Kazutaro Nakamura (kabuki performer)


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