400 Years Of Spanish-Japanese Performing Arts: Get To Know About The Kabuki Art
On the commemoration of 400 years of Japanese Arts in Spain, let us look at one of the exciting Japanese art forms, popularly known “Kabuki Art.”
Kabuki is a Japanese dance-drama in a classical form where the performers are more likely to wear glamorous attires tagging along with kumadori make-up. ‘Kabuki,’ which comes up from the term “Kanji,” refers to ‘dance,’ ‘sing’ and ‘skill.’ Also, it is said that the word would refer to as “to be out of ordinary,” “strange things,” “the crazy ones” and “to learn”; this depends on the terms the word is derived from.
Being originated in the early Edo period, during the formation of a female dance crew by Izumu No Okuni in Kyoto, the art was developed later in the 17th century, where only men were supposed to perform, and women were banned from performing, eventually.
Development of Kabuki:
‘The era of ‘Female Kabuki’- from 1603-1629
As mentioned earlier, Kabuki was initially performed by a female troupe of dancers, led by Izumu No Okuni in Kyoto. In the earliest stages, female dancers used to play the role of both men and women regarding ordinary life in their comic playlets. Kabuki became popular in no time, which emerged as an ensemble drama and dance performed by females. But, later, it was revealed that the performers were into prostitution; because of this, the art form- Kabuki was known as “Prostitute Kabuki” during this time.
Kabuki became a typical form of art and entertainment in the red-light areas of Japan, mainly in Yoshiwara. However, people would gather to watch performances irrespective of their social statuses. During the same period, Kabuki introduced new forms of entertainment that featured new styles of music played using the shamisen, popular stories of actors related to present events, and dramatic appearances.
But, to stop the popularity of Kabuki and clamp down the people of low social status, women’s kabuki, also known as ‘onna-kabuki,’ was banned in the year 1629 as it was portrayed too erotic.
Later, men started to continue the art-form, Kabuki and performed it on stages. However, it took a while for people to shift from ‘onna-kabuki’(all-female kabuki) to ‘Yanna kabuki’ (all-men kabuki).
Categories and some of the famous plays in Kabuki:
Jidaimono, Sewamono, and Shosagoto are the three primary categories in Kabuki: pre-Sengoku or historical period stories, post-Sengoku or domestic period stories, and dance pieces, respectively.
Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura, Kanadehon Chushingara, and Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami mean ‘Yoshitsune and the thousand cherry trees,’ ‘Treasury of loyal retainers,’ and ‘Sugawara and the secrets of calligraphy,’ respectively.
Also, the exciting thing about the performers is that they will have a different name when they perform on stage and will not use their original name during the performance!