Japanese folk kabuki theatre: history of appearance, features

History of the appearance of

Kabuki Theater is created in the early 17th century by a group of women led by the dancer Izumo-no Okuni. Its name translates to “deviate”. Kabuki was indeed strikingly different from other theatres. His choreography is a combination of folk and ritual dances. They alternate with instructive scenes from everyday life and represent a parody of performances of theatre but also variations on themes of popular songs.

The new art form quickly became popular in Japan’s big cities and soon became famous throughout the country. Unlike the theatre but, intended for an aristocratic and refined public, kabuki was originally a folk theatre, partly similar to a European music-hall. He received the confession of velmoges and samurai later.

In 1629, Japanese authorities, who considered kabuki performances immoral, banned women from performing on stage. So they were replaced by men. Even now, with the rare exception, they perform all female roles.

In the mid-18th century, kabuki theatre increasingly began to borrow the repertoire of Japanese Jōruri puppet theatre. The actors even tried to mimic playing puppets.

Stage features The

facilities of the kabuki theatres have a very complex construction. The scene is not decorated, but it has many technical features. Unlike the theatre but, the kabuki are characteristic: the passage connecting the hall to the stage, as well as the hatches from which mystical creatures suddenly appear. The surface of the underbridges is covered with special material that emphasizes the sound of the steps during the dance and allows the actors to move better.


All roles are played by men. They come to the stage in a very complex makeup, which deliberately emphasizes the temperament of the hero, and bright costumes. Sometimes one actor plays multiple roles in one production at once. Aces of their business can combine more than ten roles. To do this, they learn the art of fast dressing.


In kabuki stage classical performances that tell the life of Japanese nobility. Also in the theater love “family dramas”, where at the center of the story is a man of the people. An integral part of kabuki performances is dance, which has nothing to do with classical Western ballet. The kabuki actors’ dances at times resemble the convulsions of a man lying

Along with dance, stage music is of great importance. It plays the role of sound scenery, reproducing on the stage the noise of waves, wind, rain, etc. The performances involve a range of instruments: flute, different types of drums, gong, bell and others.

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