Kabuki is the one of the best know form traditional
Japanese theater. Kabuki was created during the early 17th century by
Okuni. The people allowed to perform kabuki has changed a few times threwout
history. Within Kabuki there are a few different types of shows. Kabuki is
often known for its magnificent costumes and scenery. Music is also a large
part of Kabuki Theater.

Kabuki was first performed in 1603 in Kyoto by Okuni.
When kabuki was being performed in the early years of the genre it was
performed by companies of women. Kabuki came from the origin of dance, “It is
said that Kanuki began in the early Edoperiod (1603-1868), when a women named
Izumo Okuni began to dance something called ‘Okuni kabuki’ in the ancient
capital of Kyoto. She danced on the dry riverbed of the Kyoto river the main
river running through Kyoto, at the spot where Shijo Bridge crosses it.”
(Kabuki backstage on stage). Kabuki is a form of traditional Japanese
drama with highly stylized song, mime, and dance, “The Three Chinese characters
now used to write the word ‘kabuki’ are ka(?)
meaning ‘song’, bu (?) meaning ‘dance’, and ki
(?) mening ‘skill’. But these are later
invention” ( Kabuki backstage on stage). In contrast to Noh, Ky?gen, Bunraku today
kabuki continues to be very popular.

Threw out the history of kabuki who was allowed to be a
performer changed a few times. When Okuni started kabuki all of the performers
were females. The female Kabuki performers weren’t just performers they were
also prostitutes. After women had been banned from performing in 1629 boys took
their place and performed the same as the women performing both female and male
roles. The boys were also still being bought for sexual services, because the
prostitution it lead to the “…banning women from the public stage in 1629 and
boys in 1652, leaving only adult men with the privilege of professional stage
performance…” (Beautifal boys). Before the men were permitted to continue
performing kabuki the government required that the actors avoid sensual displays
and follow the more realistic conventions of the Kyogen Theater.

Within the genre of kabuki there are three different types
of plays ” By the Beginning of the Genroku period, in the late seventeenth
century, tree major divisions of kabuki were recognized: Sewamono, or plays
about the lives of contemporary commoners; history plays, known as jidaimono;
and dance pieces, called shosagoto (keigoto in Kyoto and Osaka). ” (Bradon 5). Kabuki
theater is similar to Shakespeare in the way that plays would be written about
contemporary incidents but would be set in a different time period to avoid
making those in power angry. Kabuki plays were sometimes originally written for
Puppet Theater an example of this is Kanadehon
Chushingura ” The most celebrated of all plays of the doll theatre origin
is Chushingura, or given it its full
title, Kanadehon Chushingura, the
story of the forty seven loyal retainers.”(scott).

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