English subtitles and commentary, Region Code All, NTSC, filmed in 2003. Bando Tamasaburo V is possibly the most popular onnagata (female role) kabuki actor, while Nakamura Kanzaburo who at the time this was filmed was known as Kankuro, comes from a long line of actors (his great great great grandfathers being Onoe Kikugoro III and Ichimura Uzaemon XI and his father Kanzaburo - 1909-1988) and is one of the most famous current actors known for adding his own brand of surprise into whatever character he is playing. Akoya (The Courtesan Akoya) was originally written for the bunraku puppet theatre, and first staged as kabuki in 1733. It is the twelth century and civil war rages between the Heike and Genji military clans. The Genji forces capture the courtesan Akoya in order to torture them into telling them the whereabouts of her lover the Heike commader Kagekiyo. Her entrance, dressed in magnificent robes, is one of the great kabuki moments. Presiding over the interrogation are the wise govenor Shigetada and the vicious Iwanaga. Iwanaga brings his torture equipment, but Shigetada brings not instruments of torture but of music. He demands Akoya plays the koto, the shamisen and the kokyu. This is another highlight of the play, regarding great skill of the actor. Shigetada knows that Akoya will pour out her true feelings and emotions. The kokyu music becomes increasingly emotional with screeching high notes. In the end, Shigetada is convinced she doesn't know Kagekiyo's whereabouts and she is free to leave.