Guests' comment 2012
Mitch (Brisbane, Australia)
December 24 at Shinbashi-enbujyo theatre
Thank you so much for your tour I had a fantastic time and really learnt a lot. Your tour was very well organized.
The performance was quite interesting. I enjoyed the layout of the theatre and the artistry of the costumes especially.
Sandra (Illinois, USA)
December 11 at National Theatre
The performance was really good, and while the seats were a bit far from the stage to see the actors' facial expressions, I was very impressed by the movement and emotional quality that the actors did. My friend and I purchased the audio guide, and it really helped in following the story! We got a little confused by the end of Act 2 and beginning of Act 3 because there were new characters, but overall I thought the actors did a good job with the action. I also loved the way the actors portrayed female roles, even the servants who sat onstage for long periods of time. I sometimes had to remind myself that they were men! Your lecture and your was also very helpful and My friend agrees with me that it made us appreciate the Kabuki performance as an art form a lot more.
Personally, I had expected kabuki to be more rich in action and movement, like a Broadway musical, but I greatly enjoyed kabuki as a different kind of performance. Even though it was 4 hours of very slow movement, I saw it a slow moving work of art with the colorful costumes and the drama between the characters onstage.
Thanks again for the kabuki tour and the brochures.
Lisa (California, USA)
November 25 at Shinbashi-enbujyo theatre
Thank you again for all of your help and instruction for last Sunday's Kabuki performance. Your lesson and handouts were invaluable and really helped me to understand and appreciate Kabuki.
I also liked that you sent me the summary of the plays ahead of time. As you know, I didn't rent the English head set because I wanted to experience the performance in its true form. Since I read the summaries ahead of time I was able to follow the story lines.
My seat was great! I could see everything, even the singer and shamisen player.
I liked the second play better because it was more light-hearted and not as "heavy" as the first play. I also loved the revolving stage! Thank you for letting me try matcha tea. It was very different and I'm glad I got to try it. I also tried the sweet treat on the 3rd floor of the theater (fish-shaped waffle filled with warm mochi and Azuki beans). It was one of the best things I've ever eaten in my life!
I can't believe my time here in Japan is winding down. I leave Friday morning and I'm going to miss Japan so much. It has been beautiful and its people have been so warm and welcoming. Thank you for the lovely photos. Take care and best wishes in all your future endeavors.
Diana (California, USA)
November 10 at Shinbashi-enbujyo theatre
Thanks so much, it was an unforgettable evening.
We thank you for your excellent introduction, tea, and explanations, they all helped us understand things a little better. The seats were superb. We enjoyed the music, the dance, the costumes, and noticed all the special poses. We also enjoyed watching the audience, especially the many elegant ladies in kimonos.The audio guides were quite helpful, too, and we noticed that many non-Europeans in the audience had them as well.
Thanks for the photos, and we wish you good luck with your work, and if you decide to visit the Los Angeles area again, we would be glad to show you around.
November 7 at Shinbashi-enbujo theatre
Thank you for the photos and for your guide on Kabuki. It was really very helpful to have your explanation and story. It helps to understand the Kabuki performance better.
I watched up to scene 2 of "Bunshichi Mottoi" and managed to catch the 3pm Narita Express. Thank you very much for checking up the train timing for me too. The performance was very nice , but a bit sad I could not watch the complete show. I also tried the Taiyaki you recommended and it does taste better than other place.
The seat was ok, with partial view of the hanamichi. Hopefully my next trip I can watch a traditional historical kabuki with full make up and costume such as "Shibaraku" or "Kanjincho" etc.
Thank you once again and best regards.
Trudy (Hawaii, USA)
October 10 at Shinbashi-enbujo theatre
I was lucky enough to meet Kazui Yabe two years ago, when I first used her services to see my very first live Kabuki performance. At that time, I was so impressed with her services, her knowledge of the kabuki theatre and history, her warm and caring personality. She purchased excellent seats for me for two performances and provided me with a wealth of information (including beautiful and comprehensive written materials). She escorted me to the theatre and assisted me in renting the English audio guide so that I could understand exactly what was going on during the performance. She gave me the history of the main actors and their kabuki lineage. Armed with all of that information beforehand, I was able to truly enjoy the experience of live kabuki. When I knew that I would return to Japan this year for another visit, I contacted Kazui san to request her assistance again. As always, she was prompt, courteous, professional and generous....again, she was able to get me imcomparable seats for a performance of Kanjincho, a kabuki classic. Moreover, I was able to witness the performance of Matsumoto Koshiro, who is a truly magnificent actor. If you have never sat in a kabuki theatre, listened to the live musical accompaniment of vocals and instruments, marvelled over the sheer beauty and elegance of the costuming, the logistics of the moving kabuki stage and, of course, the astounding performances of the actors, you simply MUST contact Kazui and arrange to see kabuki. There is absolutely no need to feel "insecure" about attending a performance in a foreign language....the beauty and emotion of the performances (coupled with Kazui's pre-performance lecture and materials) will permit you to truly "connect" with this centuries old artform. I'd also like to mention that, when Kazui learned that a friend who was meeting me in Tokyo (but arriving too late to catch the live kabuki performances) was interested in seeing kabuki, she suggested that we might want to see a Shochiku movie of the kabuki play, Kagotsurube. We jumped at the chance and she got us wonderful seats. As the movie did not have subtitles, she provided us with a written synopsis well ahead of time and insured that we got to the theatre safely and on time. My friend was thrilled to be able to watch the cinema kabuki performance and I thoroughly enjoyed it, too! I plan to return to Japan again and, when I do, I will again seek out Kazui's help in further exploring the kabuki world and all that it offers. I strongly encourage anyone who is even a bit interested in kabuki to contact Kazui!
Ed (Hawaii, USA)
October 7 at Shinbashi-enbujyo theatre
All of us appreciated your knowledge, insights and love of Kabuki that you shared with us The performance was the highlight of the trip for a member of my group, she couldn't stop telling everyone how much she enjoyed it. Other member liked the first performance, but didn't enjoyed the second as much. Of course I loved it and am so thankful for the insight and bio that you shared with us while we enjoyed the traditional Japanese tea. The seat were great. You were correct in recommending the choice.
The handout were very helpful. I kept referring at them during the performance to make sure I know who was playing which role and looked for the specific gestures and motions you explained during your presentation.
Cynthia (Sydney, Australia)
October 5 at Shinbashi-enbujyo theatre
I have now arrived back into Australia. Yes I did very much enjoy the performance and the lecture and handouts. The handouts were very useful as it helped to provide the background to the storyline and to the Kabuki history and the actors. I loved my seat - it was in the perfect location and I could see everything so clearly plus I'm glad I could listen to the performance in English so I could understand what was going on. I loved the drama and the action of the performance and the costumes were so beautiful.
Suzy (California, USA)
September 25 Matinee at Shinbashi-enbujyo theatre
Thanks so much for the tour! We felt so lucky to be a part of the last show of the season.
Your lecture on the history of kabuki was incredibly helpful for newcomers like ourselves: very clear, passionate, and informative.
In a country where we were so new and curious, your instructions on what to expect were exactly what we needed, such as the shout-outs of the actors' names, and the mie pose. We also appreciated the detailed directions to our meeting place! We also loved the handouts, and the care you put into them. I'm keeping mine, as I hope to return to Japan and see many more kabuki plays in the future.
Thank you again. Your tour and service was absolutely worth the cost, and it was a pleasure to meet you.
Dave (Vancouver, Canada)
September 25 evening show at Shinbashi-enbujyo theatre
I like opera, classical music and theater arts and thought that I would try to see live versions of their Japanese counterparts while I was in Japan. Although I have seen performances on video a recording cannot compare to the impact of a live performance in a good venue. One of the traditional Japanese arts that I particularly wanted to see was Kabuki.
When I was researching Kabuki online before I came to Japan I came across the Tokyo Kabuki Guide website run by Kazui Yabe. She provides a service which includes a pre show lecture about Kabuki in general and about the performance that you will see. She also purchases the tickets for you. I selected the date and the time and Kazui-san did everything else for me. We had exchanged a few e-mails about details and had agreed to meet before the evening show in Ginza.
We met in front of the SMBC Bank and walked from there to a small restaurant where we had matcha and Japanese sweets. Kazui-san had emailed me an English synopsis of the play beforehand so I already somewhat familiar with the play. Besides myself there was a couple from Austrualia attending the performance. While we drank our tea Kazui-san gave us a background lecture about Kabuki. It included handouts listing the cast of the play, which characters they would play, the makeup that they would wear and their family tree. I learned that being a kabuki actor is a heredity position handed down from father to son. All performers are male and some specialize in female roles. The makeup is quite formalized and is indicative of the personality of the character. If you are interested in seeing kabuki in Tokyo I would highly recommend Kazui-san’s service to you.
Kabuki like opera is quite stylized and I would have had a hard time understanding some of what happened without Kazui-san’s explanation. The venue was very good acoustically and although no PA system was used I had no trouble hearing the voices of the actors. The music for the play was quite sparse and was performed by musicians hidden behind part of the backdrop for the play. The staging changed with each scene and was apparently quickly rebuilt by hand while the curtain was down. Even the curtains were opened and closed by hand. I had chosen not to get an English audio guide as I felt that it would detract from the performance. I understood very little of the Japanese that was spoken although the emotional content was quite clear. There are also Japanese audio guides available as the Japanese spoken in the play is quite archaic.
Attilio (Milan, Italy)
September 8 at Shinbashi-enbujyo theatre
I would like to thank you again for taking the time to introduce kabuki to me.
During the show I really appreciated how useful were the information you gave me: they helped a lot in driving my attention to the right places and perfectly integrated what the audio guide was providing.
It was beautiful and very enjoyable: without your tips and background information I would have not appreciated it so much.
I'll surely recommend your tour!
Victor (Seattle, USA)
September 5 at Shinbashi-enbujyo theatre
Thank you very much for your message and the attached pictures. They are excellent! Now we are back in Seattle and recall our impression about Japan. For me and my wife, it was the first time we visited Japan. Our son has been in Japan twice already. This was his third visit. We all are very impressed by what we were able to see during the short time of our stay in Japan. We remained amazed by the top level of organization of public life in Tokyo, by its hard-working people, their kindness and politeness, their willingness to help anybody who needs it, by their attachment to old Japanese traditions, by clean streets, clean cars, excellent working public transportation, beautiful buildings, bridges, and Japanese gardens.
In this long list, the first place belongs to our visit to the Kabuki Theater and the excellent performance we were so lucky to see. We were watching all the four-hour presentation with our eyes and hearts widely open. It was so unusual, so well done, so bright and impressive! Only during the presentation and immediately after it we were able to fully understand and acknowledge your excellent instruction and detailed explanation of what we were watching. It was very well done. Your handouts were very helpful, and we brought them with us to the United States to have them handy and show to our friends when we describe our impressions. Thank you so much! In my meetings and discussions with our friends I keep describing our good impression about Japan. Most important part of my excitement is due to our meeting with you and the visit to the Kabuki Theater.
Heather (Ohio, USA)
August 8 at Shinbashi-enbujyo theatre
I really don't have any complaints about your lecture, I though it was very informative and I appreciated everything you taught us. It definitely helped me to understand what was going on during the performance and what its cultural significance is.
I thought that meeting at the tea salon was very nice and I thoroughly enjoyed the Kabuki performance.
Wim and Tanya ( now living in Tsukuba, originally from Belgium)
July 29 at Shinbashi-enbujyo theatre
Thank you for making this Kabuki experience so easily accessible and convenient to organize. Having traditional Japanese tea with you while discussing Kabuki was a great opportunity to have a deeper look into the world of Kabuki and to see how this piece of culture lives in the heart of a Japanese person.
We liked the Kabuki performance very much. The story was well brought and the actors really lived their roles. Together with all the available techniques and effects, they were able to bring the story right to the level that even us, non-Japanese people, could feel the emotions in the story (even though we don't understand the words). For this last aspect, the audio-guide helped to set the scene with some narrative comments. However, due to your excellent explanation and guiding documents the audio-guide is hardly necessary.
Btw the fish cookies were indeed delicious but we want to recommend you to try the fish cookies in iias in Tsukuba. They are even better ;
Your guide, Kazui’s comment
Wim-san and Tanya-san, thank you for your information on "Taiyaki", fish cookies, in Tsukuba. I feel compelled to taste them soon.
Stephen (Oregon, USA)
July 18 at The National Noh Theatre,
July 19 at The National Theatre,
July 20 at Shinbashi-enbujyo theatre, etc.
I have taught Theatre Arts for 27 years in American High Schools, and have been interested in seeing an authentic Kabuki production in Japan for many years. When the opportunity to do so presented itself recently in the form of a grant, I knew I wanted to see as many plays as possible, and hopefully learn whatever I could from someone more experienced in this style.
When I found Kazui Yabe's guide service on-line, I was grateful to learn that she could provide everything I needed to make my trip as educational (and fun!) as possible. She communicated through e-mails for months as arrangements were made, and she made great suggestions as to which plays to see, and in what order they should be seen. She also obtained tickets that were virtually impossible for any tourist to get on their own, let alone Tokyo natives. She then provided wonderful support materials and lectures at various tea salons that were very informative and entertaining themselves. She then made sure that I knew how to rent the English audio guides available, and provided helpful maps for each Theatre.
I couldn't have seen the plays that I did, or appreciated them as much as I did, without her excellent service. Indeed, Yabe-san provided a service that was indispensable to the success of my trip, and did so in a totally professional and knowledgeable manner. If you want to see Kabuki (or other traditional forms of Japanese plays) in Tokyo, then in my opinion, you will be wise to enlist the services of this premier guide of Tokyo Theatre. Yabe-san simply exceeded all my expectations and made my theatrical experiences unforgettable.
Your guide, Kazui’s comment
I am glad to be of use to you. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to explain the outline of traditional Japanese stage arts including Noh and Kyogen. Thank you.
Taletta (now living in Tokyo, originally from Holland)
July 20 at The National Theatre
We had such a great time last Friday. All 4 of us loved the Kabuki performance! It was amazing.
Your lecture and handouts were indeed useful. We recognized the freezes, audience shouting, footsteps and so on! The audio machine was useful as well. Good thing you did not tell us the ending of the story!
Thanks for your help and information. My parents had a great last night in Tokyo and Pieter and I definitely will visit Japanese theatre again!
Mathew (Sydney, Australia)
July 5 at Shinbashi-enbujyo theatre
I recently saw the Super Kabuki " Yamato Takeru" at the Shinbashi Enbujo Theatre. I have previously seen traditional Kabuki so was looking forward to a new genre. It was a spectacle. There was sound effects, elaborate costumes and set changes, visual effects and even a flying scene! It was indeed impressive. I was even lucky enough to watch a TV and movie celebrity, the son of the fonder of Super Kabuki, in his first Kabuki role. Foreigners might be a little put off by the modernised Super Kabuki, but those who are familiar with traditional Kabuki can understand that any art form should adapt to survive. I would recommend those interested to watch traditional Kabuki before Super Kabuki, but to definitely move to Super Kabuki afterwards.
Thank you again Kazui san. Your lecture beforehand gave me a familiarity to the storyline to ensure I could always keep up and your hospitality is always appreciated. I look forward to the next time I see Kabuki, with your always helpful advice of course.
Patty (Oregon, USA)
May 24 at Shinbashi Enbujyo Theatre
We thoroughly enjoyed the kabuki performances. It was the first time for my sister and she was captivated with the entire production. Your lecture and handouts were very helpful in giving us a background for the performances.The English earphone is always well done and is always essential for me to understand what is going on.
The seats were excellent although it turns out that there was little action on the hanamichi and a great deal of the performance was on stage right which was a bit difficult to see. I think in the future I would choose the same row, but just slightly to the left so as to have a better angle on the stage but still able to see most of the Hanamichi. Still, the seats were excellent and the Shinbashi Embujo, while not the Kabuki-za, was a lovely theater.
We had the taiyaki and loved it!
Thank you so much for all of your assistance in organizing this wonderful outing. It was a high point of our trip.
May 15 at Shinbashi-enbujyo theatre
I had a great time at the Kabuki performance today. Thanks to your guide/tour‚ I am totally in love with the shows. I even bought pictures of the actors. The move to email us your handouts before we got to Japan was fantastic as I got to read them before I arrive. Tea and Japanese sweets are also fantastic. My mom and myself thoroughly enjoyed everything. Pre-performance English lecture was awesome and we got to learn and understand Kabuki so much better. Costumes were elaborate‚ makeup stylized‚ entirely great! In addition‚ the English audio guide was very useful indeed‚ on top of your lecture.
Kazui's recommendation to try the fish-like Japanese sweets during intermission was good advice. We loved it! Red bean with pink and white mochi.
If I ever visit Japan again‚ I would attend another Kabuki performance. Also‚ you should visit Singapore and I'll show you the performances here too. :)
Thank you so much once again. You were a great help!
Jeff and David (Alabama, USA)
April 23 at Shinbashi-enbujyo theatre
Well I can't believe I am back home already and the 2 weeks in Japan is now over. I really really enjoyed being in Japan and think it is a wonderful country and certainly would like to visit again someday. David and I were both sure glad that we booked your Kabuki Tour. It was great and gave us so much valuable information. I was able to make sense of the Loyal Retainers Acts using the English headsets and your handouts.
The only item I would suggest is that it may be beneficial or may help to scan and email them to your clients before they leave for Japan because I could of read them and had a better understanding instead of having to read them during the show. It however was just fine where the show was great and made perfect sense. I hate to think of how I most likely would have been totally confused if I'd just went to the Show without the benefit of your Tour. I think it is a good thing and David and I especially enjoyed the tea and sweet shop.
I think you are worth every cent we paid you and would certainly recommend your tour to everyone. I found that I like Kabuki and would be willing to attend another Show if I ever return to Japan. If there is any place that I can rate you and give you the highest rating and great review then just let me know.
Helen and Gordon (Edinburg, Scotland)
April 10 at Shinbashi-enbujyo teatre
We would like to thank you for your guidance before the Kabuki performance.
Meeting you , the tea ceremony and all the information you armed us with prior the performance greatly enhanced our experience of the Tokyo Kabuki theatre. We were able to watch the Kabuki Acts with a keen awareness as you had provided us with clear and interesting details beforehand. Also the information you gave us has inspired us to read more about the historical background to the dramatisation - this we have done on our return toScotland.
Our morning with you and the Kabuki performance of Kanadehon Chushingura were highlights of our Easter visit to Japan.
Thank you once again.
Patricia (California, USA)
April 7 at Shinbashi-enbujyo theatre
Oh, my God, I loved the Kabuki. The Kabuki and Hoshinoya were the highlights of my trip. The box seat was perfect. I loved the show, the costumes, everything! But if I hadn't met with you before, I would have been totally lost and not understood a thing. The material you provided was excellent.
Thank you so much for making the Kabuki the best experience ever!
Carin (now living in Tokyo, originally from Canada)
April 5 at Shinbashi-enbujyo theatre
Thank you very much for our kabuki day yesterday. We very much enjoyed meeting you, learning about kabuki and seeing the wonderful performance. Thank you for all the handouts and interesting information and for accompanying us to the show.
Dan (Banff, Canada)
April 4 at Shinbashi-enbujyo theatre
We had an excellent visit to Tokyo and Chiba. Introducing Kabuki to my daughter, 9 years old, was a big success – and my wife and I also enjoyed it. We were very happy with our seats and your presentation. Thank you. My daughter and I went to the evening performance a few days afterwards.
Your guide, Kazui’s comment
Dan-san, thank you for wonderful news. I am glad to know that my lecture was good introduction Kabuki world for you three, especially your 9 years old daughter.
Linda (Canberra, Australia)
January 27 at The National Theatre
We all enjoyed the performance very much and the associated lecture on the history of Kabuki and the background to the play we saw. The tea ceremony gave it that extra touch.
Kabuki was a great surprise. Considering the length of the play, we were totally engaged. The headset was essential to our enjoyment of the dialogue.
It was fun meeting one of the Callers and gave the performance for us a very personal touch.
The costumes were exquisite and the sets very versatile. The play itself was on so many different levels and dealt with age old, universal human issues – often very touching – and so complex.
Yourinput, Kazui, was much appreciated. You were very knowledgeable and gave freely of your time and attention. Meeting us at the railway was very reassuring. There were many personal touches to enhance our enjoyment of the day.
January 27 at the National Theatre
My family and I joined one of Kazui's wonderful Kabuki tours on 27 January 2012. Along with 4 friends we made up a group of 8 (ranging in age from 13 - 60) and Kazui organised everything down to the last detail including meeting us right at the exit from the subway!
The whole day was a great experience and the lecture beforehand was invaluable in preparing us for the wonderful performance of 'Three Thieves Named Kichisa'. We really enjoyed the whole experience from the tea beforehand ‚ the ramen for lunch and the amazing performance which we appreciated with the aid of an English audio guide.
Kazui's enthusiasm for this wonderful theatre form is evident and she passes this on to her guests. Thank you for a great day.
Sher (Sydney, Australia)
January 25 at Shinbashi-ennbujyo theatre
Thank you so much for your wonderful talk on Kabuki on Wednesday.
It was an amazing experience for me to see the show and your informative and friendly lecture
before hand made a big difference to the experience of seeing the performance. I was able to enjoy it even more and not to be surprised at things that happened e.g.( the audience calling out as you had warned me before hand. )
By the way, I did try the sweets on the third floor they were great!
I am now back in Australia and will remember the Kabuki for a long time to come.
Peter (London, UK)
January 18 at Shinbashi-ennbujyo theatre
I enjoyed it very much, especially Renjishi. The 12 year old Nakamura was rather wonderful; I think he will be a great one. The music, singing and the costumes were all fascinating; I'd never seen or heard anything quite like it before.
The seat was ideal, very good choice. And I did indeed have the red bean sweet during an interval; very delicious.
Thank you again for your lecture and materials beforehand - they made it all so much more intresting. And it was a pleasure to meet you.