Hello, this is TORA.

Do you know about Kabuki’s charms and the hundreds of years of history behind it?
Kabuki theaters nowadays have English subtitles guide, so that foreigners can enjoy the performance, too.
As a result, more and more foreigners are becoming obsessed with it.

What is Kabuki?

It is one of Japan’s unique form of performing arts that has over 400 years of history.
The name, Kabuki, comes from ”Kabu (to tilt or slant)-ku ”.
”Kabuki-odori (dance)” originated from dances imitating a ”Kabuki-mono (person)”,
a person who insists on adopting the latest, even bizarre fashion, while being completely ignorant of their surroundings.

Okuni of Izumo

”Kabuki-odori (dance)” is known to have originally come from the ”Nenbutsu-odori (Buddhist incantation using chanting, drum beating, and dancing)” performed by a priestess named ”Okuni”in Izumo Shrine, around 1603.
It is presumed to be around this time that people started using the name, ”kabuki odori” for their dance performances.

Three elements of kabuki

The elements of Kabuki are: Ka = music, bu = dance, and ki = acting / direction.

    • Music
    • Kabuki music developed together with Shamisen music.


    • It can be roughly divided into ”songs” and ”storytelling”.


    • One of the most famous forms for the former is ”Naga-uta”, and the latter is ”Gidayuu ballad drama”.


    • Dance
    • Kabuki dance has a wide range of moves for each performance.


    • Every dance is based on gracefully carrying one’s body.


    • Acting
    • In the most basic sense, the acting involves using techniques to exaggerate the character’s emotions.


    • Both directing and acting pursue a sense of ”beauty”.


Kabuki has pursued to entertain its viewers with these three elements, which have all been refined and culminated in a single form of art.
With a covetous desire as well as hard work to entertain its viewership, kabuki has been completed as a form of composite art.


So how did you like it? I hope you learned something new about kabuki.
In recent years, Japanese kabuki has been expanding outside Japan with overseas performances.
There is no doubt that Kabuki is becoming one of the world’s most prominent classic performing arts.

Also, many old theaters are being rebuilt, with headphone interfaces so that newcomers can enjoy the performance with their earphones.
Some people even come just to see their favorite actors, even if they are unfamiliar with the scenario of the show.
I think kabuki will only become more popular from this point.
I hope this article helps you to better enjoy kabuki.

That’s all for today.

Otsukaresama deshita.