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Traditional Culture & Festivals

Traditional Culture


Kabuki is one of Japan's traditional stage arts along with Noh, Kyôgen and Bunraku. It is said to have originated in the seventeenth century when it was first performed by the female dancer Izumo-no-Okuni and her troupe in Kyotô.
Kabuki is characterized by its stylized acting, its gorgeous costumes and its spectacular scale. However, the features which spring most readily to mind in connection with kabuki are probably the mawari-butai, or revolving stage, the violent makeup of the aragoto actor, and the oyama, or female roles, played by male actors.

The origin of the word Kabuki is "Kabuku" (incline), which has the additional connotation of strange actions, styles, etc. When it originated, kabuki was popular among common people, since kabuki directly and boldly expressed their dreams and emotions.

Kabuki as performed in modern times was refined during the 18th and 19th centuries. Before that period, Kabuki involved simple erotic dances, acrobatic and short plays, but it was raised to the status of serious theatrical art by the writer Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1653-1724) and the actor Ichikawa Danjurô.

Kabuki has its own special movements and acting conventions. The words describing these have extended their meanings and are used as part of everyday conversation.
[Renovation of Kabuki-za Theater]

[Enjoy KABUKI & BUNRAKU with English Earphone-Guide]

[National Theatre of Japan]