Published on February 25, 2014
Kabuki of Japan By : Group 1
Kabuki • A form of traditional Japanese drama with highly stylized song, mime, and dance, now performed only by male actors. • “act dissolutely” – “Ka” – song, “bu” – dance, “ki” – art/skill
• “ the art of singing and dancing” • Derived from Kabuku – “to lean”, “to be out of ordinary” • Kabukimono - referred originally to those who were bizarrely dressed and paraded on a street. • Kabuki theater – known for the stylization of its drama and for the elaborate makeup worn by some of its performers.
The Kabuki Stage Features
Hanamichi • A flower path, a walkway which extends to the audience via which dramatic entrances and exits are made. – Okuni also performs on a hanamichi stage with her entourage.
Kogakudo • Kabuki theaters that have stages both in front of the audience and along the sides. • Help create a bond between the actors and viewers.
Mawaro butal • The interior of the theater contains a revolving stage.
Suppon • A platform that rises from below the stage.
Hanamicho • A walkway that cuts through the audience seating area to connect the stage with the back of the theater • Magicians and supernatural beings often make their entrances from trap doors in the hanamichi. • Some stages have 17 trapdoors.
The Three Main Categories of the Kabuki Play
Jidaimono • Historical or pre-Sengoku period stories. • Were set within the context of major events in Japanese history. • Strict censorship laws during the Edo period prohibited the representation of contemporary events and particularly prohibited criticising the shogunate or casting it in a bad light, although enforcement varied greatly over the years.
Sewamono • Domestic or postSengoku stories. • Focused primarily upon commoners. Generally related to themes of family drama and romance.
Shosagoto • Dance pieces
Elements of Kabuki
Mie • The actor holds a picturesque pose to establish his character & his house name yago, is sometimes heard in loud shout (kakegoe) from an expert audience member, serving both to express and enhance the audience’s appreciation of the actor’s achievement. An even greater compliment can be paid by shouting the name of the actor’s father Kesho.
2 Main Categories of Actors Onna-goto • female roles Aragoto • male roles
• One of the most iconic parts of kabuki. Actors apply their own make-up by painting their faces and necks white, then adding stylized lines in red, black or blue. • Aragoto - red and blue • Onna-gata (young women) - have very little paint
• Rice powder is used to create the white oshiroi base for the characteristic stage makeup. • Kumadori enhances or exaggerates facial lines to produce dramatic animal or supernatural character. – Red ~ passion, heroism, righteousness, other positive traits – Pink ~ youthful joy – Light Blue ~ an even temper – Pale Green ~ peacefulness – Blue/Black ~ villainy, jealousy, other negative traits – Green ~ supernatural – Purple ~ nobility
• Kabuki is performed in full-day programs. Audiences escape from the day-to-day world, devoting a full day to entertainment. Though some individual plays, particularly the historical jidaimono, might last an entire day, most were shorter and sequenced with other plays in order to produce a full-day program.
• The play occupies five acts. – Jo ~ an auspicious and slow opening which introduces the audience to the characters and the plot. – Ha ~ speeding events up, culminating almost in a great moment of drama or tragedy in the third act and possibly a battle in the second and/or fourth acts. – Kyu ~ always short, providing a quick and satisfying conclusion.
Kabuki Props • Are often quite interesting. • Flowing water is usually represented by fluttering tolls of linen; or creatures like insects and foxes. • Fans are used to symbolize wind, a sword, a tobacco pipe, waves, or food.
Costumes • Swung from sticks or manipulated by helpers who come on stage dressed in black hooded; they are invisible to the audience. • The female characters generally wear an elaborate kimono and obi. • Pleated hakuma trousers are worn by characters of sexes. • Actors playing both sexes often have supported midriff because a straight and curveless figure are regarded the essence of beauty.
Costume Changing • Considered as an art. • There are special teams that take care of complete and partial costume changes and are done as part of the performances.
Wigs • Are important accessories, with each costume having its own type. • Specialized craftsmen shape the wigs to the head. • Are made of: – Human hair – Horse hair – Bear fur – Yak-tail hair
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