Language - Speaking - Pronunciation - Vocabulary - Conversation - Culture - Food
Japanese Culture
Kabuki
Kabuki (歌舞伎, kabuki) - A form of traditional Japanese theatre. Kabuki theatre is known for the stylization of its drama and for the elaborate make-up worn by some of its performers. The individual kanji characters, from left to right, mean sing (歌), dance (舞), and skill (伎). Kabuki is therefore sometimes translated as "the art of singing and dancing." These are, however, ateji, characters that do not reflect actual etymology. The word kabuki is believed to derive from the verb kabuku, meaning "to lean" or "to be out of the ordinary", so kabuki can be interpreted to mean "avant-garde" or "bizarre" theatre. The expression kabukimono (歌舞伎者) referred originally to wild urban gangs of young eccentrics who dressed outrageously and had strange hairstyles.

The immediate post-World War II era was a difficult time for kabuki. Besides the devastation caused to major Japanese cities as a result of the war, the popular trend was to reject the styles and thoughts of the past, kabuki among them. Director Tetsuji Takechi's popular and innovative productions of the kabuki classics at this time are credited with bringing about a rebirth of interest in the kabuki in the Kansai region. Of the many popular young stars who performed with the Takechi Kabuki, Nakamura Ganjiro III (b.1931) was the leading figure. He was first known as Nakamura Senjaku, and this period in Osaka kabuki became known as the "Age of Senjaku" in his honor.

Today, kabuki remains relatively popular—it is the most popular of the traditional styles of Japanese drama—and its star actors often appear in television or film roles. For example, the well-known onnagata Bandō Tamasaburō V has appeared in several (non-kabuki) plays and movies—often in a female role. Kabuki is also referenced in works of Japanese popular culture such as anime.

Though there are only a handful of major theatres in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, there are many smaller theatres in Osaka, and throughout the countryside. The Ōshika Kabuki troupe, based in Ōshika"大鹿", Nagano Prefecture"長野県", is one example.

Some kabuki troupes now use female actors in the onnagata roles, and the Ichikawa Kabuki-za (an all-female troupe) was formed after World War II. In 2003, a statue of Okuni was erected near Kyoto's Pontochō district.

Interest in kabuki has also spread in the West. Kabuki troupes regularly tour Europe and America, and there have been several kabuki-themed productions of canonical Western plays such as those of Shakespeare. Western playwrights and novelists have also experimented with kabuki themes, an example of which is Gerald Vizenor's Hiroshima Bugi (2004). Writer Yukio Mishima pioneered and popularized the use of kabuki in modern settings, and revived other traditional arts, such as Noh, adapting them to modern contexts.

In Australia, the Za Kabuki troupe at the Australian National University has been performing a Kabuki drama each year since 1976; the single longest regular Kabuki performance outside of Japan.

Kabuki was enlisted on the UNESCO's 'Third Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity' on 24 November 2005.

Information source: “Kabuki.” wikipedia.org. Article date: 4 Feb. 2008. Retrieved: Wikipedia. 4 Feb. 2008 <Kabuki>.

Video - The following is a video showing Kabuki.
 
 

Howie
Hayman

Learn
English

English
Videos

Home
Education

San Diego
Events

Akikos
Kitchen
PLEASE POST A COMMENT THANKS