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TOKYOMinamiza Theatre

Minamiza Theatre

Minamiza Theatre

<It is currently closed>


East side, Shijō-ōhashi-bridge, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City


City Bus to "Shijo Kawaramachi"
Hankyu Railways : Kawaramachi Station exit 1, 3 min walk
Keihan Railway : Gion -shijō Station exit 6, 1 min walk
JR Kyoto Station : Approx 15 min by Taxi


History of Minamiza Theatre

In the Genna era (1615-1624), the 'Kyōto Shoshidai' (the local governor of Kyoto) gave permission for seven theatres to operate to the east of the Kamo River. Of these seven theatres, the Minamiza Theatre is the sole remaining theatre today to pass on its proud history and tradition.
In 1906, the theatre came under the management of Shochiku General Partnership Company run by Shirai Matsujirō and Ōtani Takejirō. After some restructuring in 1913, the theatre was remodeled in 1929 as a gabled building in the Momoyama style. Various kinds of performances have been staged there ever since, and the 'Kichirei Kaomise performances', a kabuki production held every year even during the war, is now known as an annual event in Kyoto.
The Minamiza Theatre was designated as a Registered Tangible Cultural Property in 1996 and was even registered as a Structure of Historical Design in Kyoto shortly after.

The theatre has been closed since 2016 so that it could be made safe against the threat of earthquakes, but it has now been announced that its reopening will take place in November this year. The first performance will be the 'Kichirei Kaomise Performance'.
While retaining the former theatre's traditional beauty, the new Minamiza Theatre will be fitted with the latest stage technology, enabling a wide variety of spectacular effects to be realized. It will stage a wide range of productions throughout the year, from 'traditional Japanese performing arts' to 'the newest live entertainments'. Please look forward to the rebirth of the Minamiza Theatre.

History of Minamiza Theatre
1603 Izumo no Okuni performs 'kabuki odori' ('kabuki dances') on the dried riverbed of the Kamo River. This is said to be the origins of kabuki. At the same place, troupes of women entertainers perform 'Onna Kabuki' ('Female Kabuki') which becomes popular.

1615-1623 The local governor of Kyoto ('Kyōto shoshidai') gives permission for seven theatres to operate to the east of the Kamo River including the Minamiza Theatre. This is the origin of Minamiza Theatre.
Okuni II holds a performance at Shijō Nakajima.
1673-1680 One theatre of the seven theatres closes.
1724 In the 5th month a fire breaks out in one of the theatres, the Kitaza Theatre, and all the other theatres are also burnt down. However, all the theatres are reconstructed in the 11th month.
1730 All the 6 theatres are burnt down by a fire that breaks out from a nearby teahouse. From then on, tiles are used for the roofs.
1741 A large fire burns down 2 theatres in the 11th month.
1751-1771 Only 3 theatres, those in the South, North East, and West remain.
1794 The 3 theatres are burnt down by a large fire that starts in the Shijō Kawara district.
1804-1829 1 theatre closes and only those to the North and South are left.
1863 The 2 theatres are burnt down by a large fire in Gion.
1870 The 2 theatres are burnt down by a large fire that breaks out in the 6th month at Shijō Kawara, but the 2 theatres are reconstructed in the 10th month.
1887 The 2 theatres in the North and South are reconstructed and work on the theatre in the South is completed in June, while the other is completed in November.
1893 The theatre in the North closes in May.
1906 The Minamiza Theatre (in the South) comes under the management of the Shochiku General Partnership Company

1913 The Minamiza Theatre is completely reconstructed in November.
The 'Kichirei Kaomise Production' is held in December and from this time the practice of having actors perform together from both the east and west of Japan is established.

1929 The Minamiza Theatre is reconstructed.
1990 After the performance in February, the Minamiza Theatre undergoes large-scale reconstruction.
1991 It reopens in October.
1996 The building is designated as a Registered Tangible Cultural Property
2018 The reopening of the Minamiza Theatre takes place in November, 400 years since the opening of the first Minamiza Theatre.