Shochiku has announced that famed Japanese director Yoji Yamada will shoot a feature film version of a live kabuki performance next month, which is intended for theatrical release

Two different performances of classic stories Renshishi and Ninjo-banashi Bunshichimottoi will be filmed at the Shimbashi Enbujo theatre, starring Japan 's most famous kabuki performer, Kanzaburo Nakamura XVIII (born Noriaki Namino). Yamada will also direct the stage performance of Ninjo-banashi Bunshichimottoi himself.

Shochiku, originally formed as a kabuki production company in the late 19th century, is heavily involved in the industry to this day. Previous performances have been filmed by the company, but without a film director at the helm.

Yamada is contracted to Shochiku, the industry's last director to be so. The film will be released as part of the Cinema Kabuki series established by Shochiku in 2005.

Yamada has previously had an unsuccessful attempt at adapting Ninjo-banashi Bunshichimottoi into a film, and decided the stage play would work as a film if he made changes to the script and props.

The family drama focuses on a daughter who tries to earn money by prostituting herself to help her gambling-addicted father.

Yamada is considered one of Japan 's most respected directors and is best known for the Tora-san series and his recent samurai trilogy, which includes the Oscar-nominated The Twilight Samurai and final entry Love And Honor, which grossed $34.5m and earned twelve Japan Academy Awards nominations and three wins.

Veteran producer Arthur Cohn's remake of Yamada's The Yellow Handkerchief starring William Hurt is currently in post-production and set for a 2008 release.