Japanese Theater


Noh and Kabuki

Alemania, Ainamela
Alomia, Merry Joy
Caparroso, Jhaziel Mae
Dadea, Alexandra
Dedace, Judy Ann
Farinas, Xanee Kaiz
Ramores, Jan Romel
Reyes, Jefferson
Salazar, Mary Grace
BSE English 4-1

Origin of Noh
The word Noh means skill, craft, or the talent particularly in the field of performing arts in this
context. The word Noh may be used alone or with gaku (fun, music) to form the word nōgaku. Noh is a
classical tradition that is highly valued by many today. When used alone, Noh refers to the historical
genre of theatre originated from sarugaku in the mid 14th century and continues to be performed today.
Noh and kyōgen "originated in the 8th century when the sangaku was transmitted from China to
Japan. At the time, the term sangaku referred to various types of performance featuring acrobats, song and
dance as well as comic sketches. Its subsequent adaption to Japanese society led to its assimilation of
other traditional art forms.”
Studies on genealogy of the Noh actors in 14th century indicate they were members of families
specialized in performing arts; they had performed various traditional performance arts for many
generations. Sociological research by Yukio Hattori reveals that the Konparu School, arguably the oldest
school of Noh, is a descendant of Mimashi, the performer who introduced gigaku, now-extinct masked
drama-dance performance, into Japan from Kudara Kingdom in 612.
Another theory by Shinhachiro Matsumoto suggests Noh originated from outcastes struggling to
claim higher social status by catering to those in power, namely the new ruling samurai class of the time.
The transferral of the shogunate from Kamakura to Kyoto at the beginning of Muromachi period marked
the increasing power of the samurai class and strengthened the relationship between the shogunate and the
As Noh became the shogun's favorite art form, Noh was able to become a courtly art form
through this newly formed relationship. In 14th century, with strong support and patronage
from shōgun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, Zeami was able to establish Noh as the most prominent theatre art
form of the time.

The Noh Theater - Principles and Perspectives

Muromachi period 1336-1568
Nohgaku= Noh + Kyogen
= accomplished entertainment
Vocal music = utai
Instrumental music = hayashi (1 flute + 3 drums)
Acting technique = kata (dance poses + action)
Dance elements = mai (dance + utai + hayashi)
Fine arts, crafts = masks, robes, instruments

Salazar, Mary Grace T.

5. not appreciation. There are no Noh stars. Like tea ceremony.universal/multi-purpose Negative space = ma = stillness/emptyness before and after performance Positive space = stage properties and dramatic activities These spaces are connected by time.. score. • • • • • Types of time and space: Condensed time Slippage of time Vanishing time Reversed time Split time • • • • • Shift of space Oscillating space Floating space Expanding and contracting space Space that brings the audienceonstage • • • • Noh = experience. 3.• • • • • • Architecture = Noh stage Time = mode of production Space = unified space (= stage + public) Art of time-space continuum. no curtain. responsibility. rules for performance => conductor superfluous Architectural space concept is .not reproducible."Never forget the beginner‘s mind!“ A Noh program lasts whole day 5 Noh plays + Kyogen are performed There are five Noh principles: Sancticity & magic Stages of beauty Actor and audience Aesthetic of discord Five element theory • • • • 1. 1..modular . unique in lifetime. perfection —> stylization/formalization Comparable to avant-garde music including improvisation and chance Utai-bon= (chant book) contains script. 4. Sancticity & magic Sancticity of space: Space of "sacred dialog with the gods“ . 2.

autosuggestion: Merging self and other mask + mirror ". Five Noh play categories: god.. water ~ 5 breaths. 5.. metal. mystical forces will power. Five element theory (odd number) Elements: wood. woman. against symmetry Center of shape ≠ center of space: Dynamic balance Jo-Ha-Kyu = most important aesthetic principle: Jo = "beginning“ position = spatial element Ha = "break/ruin“ = destruction. disorder Kyu = "rapid“ = speed. etc. hithertoo invisible. madness. time element Production principle for Noh program: Everything is dominated by Jo-Ha-Kyu. 5 tones. active fusion • • • • • 4. earth.) and subject = one of the five elements The waki is a kind of co-subject and mirror person to the shite. the shite.. demon Have two time categories: present time dream time =>10 categories in plays: two time categories x five play categories Every Noh play is one cross section of the life of one person. etc. the true Noh. Actor and audience Self and other.“ • • • 2. fire.Magic in technique (from mimes): Acrobatics..the mind‘s eye is opened and the soul grasped. The shite has an appearance (demon. Why are gestures dominant in Noh? Have three languages of human expression: . comes alive. Aesthetic of discord Odd number important in Japan. 5 organs. warrior. Three stages of beauty Hana = appearant beauty: blossom/flower Yugen = invisible beauty: performed sublimity Rojaku (old quiet) = quiet beauty • 3.

..e. character) Dance = “text" built from kata-units by enchaînment plus syntactical rules mai = performed kata “text" plus music Classification of mai according to elements (music. Interesting performance only in upper half of body. transports characters horizontally through space —> white socks One could understand Noh by observing feet. clothes. i. katachi = form/shape = exterior form of kata + characteristic usage (mask. jump into bell Symbolic. reserved to lyrical evocation. katachi = more than kata: chi = deity. e. This enables much richer communication to audience than by eveyday gestures." “Waki draws reality in straight lines. hold a book in your hand. All movements consist of: units of movement = kata (patterns) chant unit = phrase (12-syllabe line) music unit = melodic + rhythmic units space unit = za (hierarchy of places) • • • • Noh gestures are reduced to unit patterns (kata) and made symbolic. weep = hand to face and back Abstract... All characters are choreographed. Vocal is ambiguous in Japanese." • • • Classification of katas Three types: Realistic. zig-zag = beginning of end of many dances.) Noh = enchaînment of 100 types of shodan segments basically 4 types: spoken/chant/instrumental/silence . bad for expression of will. dance etc. • • • Noh is dance drama. no opera or ballet.g. or extended fan • • • Three categories: Pure dance Descriptive Dramatic • • • Have the gliding walk.g. e. Very important for us: “Shite waves a web of fantasy in curves.• • • Vocal Facial Gestural • • Facial is impossible because of masks. e.g.

) Stage Construction The noh stage is constructed from hinoki (Japanese cypress). is the oldest standing stage of this type of construction and is said to have been built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. In addition the lighting is arranged in such a way as resemble natural lighting. At the end of the hashigakari is the agemaku(curtain) which marks the entrance to the backstage area. noh was played in open fields. The Northern Noh Stage. ato-za(seating section for musicians and stage attendants) and the jiutaiza (seating section for the chorus). various devices are used to help amplify the natural sound. Coming off the left side of the stage is the hashigakari (bridgeway). but the resonance of the drums and flute as well as the voices from the chorus (The National Noh Theatre does not have jars under its stage. is designed complete with details such as a roof. The tree closest to the stage entrance is smaller than the one closest to the stage in order to give a sense of distance. It is thought that this current standard stage construction was established just before the reign of the well known Shōgun Oda Nobunaga (circa 1550). The complete noh stage is comprised of the hon-butai (main playing area). located Nishi Honganji Temple in Kyoto. hashigakari (bridgeway). Merry Joy Noh Stage Mechanism Noh—the Stage The noh stage is an extremely simple space in which there is no curtain between the playing area and the audience. though fashioned indoors. . bridge with a handrail and a pine tree painted on the back wall. In terms of the sound.4m per side. In order to retain the idea of performing outdoors. At the back of the stage is the kagami-ita (back panel. It is said that under many noh stages large empty clay jars are placed to aid in the sound of not just the shite’s stamping.- ALOMIA. In the front of the stage is the kizahashi (decorative staircase). Originally. usually displaying a painted pine tree). The main playing area is 5. the modern noh stage. Another example of the thoughtful design is the change in perspective of the three pine trees that run along the hashigakari (bridgeway).

The shite then can use the hashigakari to better express their mental state.” Kagami-ita The back wall of a noh stage is called the kagami-ita on which a pine tree called the oi-matsu is painted. tsure. waki-bashira. the hashira are a very important tool for the shite to gauge their location on stage. and is also known as the yoko-ita. but also as another playing area for some important scenes. Jiutai-za and Ato-za Off to the right side of the main playing area is the jiutai-za (seating for the chorus). the backdrop does not. the hashigakari is linearly laid out and consequently aids in creating a feeling of depth. The back of the stage is known as the ato-za and is the spot reserved for the hayashi(musicians) and the koken (stage attendants). The Yōgō no matsu (The Yōgō Pine Tree) is said to be the model for which the kagami-ita is based. As opposed to the openness of the main playing area. the agemaku and the kiridoguchi or kirido. in the ato-za the boards are laid horizontally. Hashigakari Running from the ato-za off to the left of the main playing area is the hashigakari(bridgeway). Agemaku and Kiridoguchi There are two entrances to the noh stage. The kiridoguchi is located on the right side of the ato-za and is a small sliding door that is used for entrances and exits of the kōken (stage attendants) for both the shite and the hayashi. In contrast to the main playing area where the boards lie vertically. The agemaku is located at the end of the hashigakari and is the five-colored curtain that is raised and lowered for the entrance and exit of the shite. waki. shite-bashira. wakitsure. and the fue-bashira. and hayashi. This is said to be the eternal backdrop of noh. As the shite wears a mask while performing.kyōgen. While the noh stories may change. . The hashigakari is used not just for entrances and exits. All noh are performed in front of the kagamiita. and can still be found at the Kasuga Shrine in Nara. The sumi-bashira is a particularly important marker and also has the name metsuke-bashira or “eye-fixing column. as well as for the jiutai (chorus).Different Parts of a Noh Stage Hashira This type of Noh stage has a main stage with four hashira or bashira (columns): the sumibashira.

Kensho The audience seating area in a noh theatre is called the kensho. there are many noh performances. Takigi noh (fire light noh) still utilize open fields to perform in. This is also where the hayashi play oshirabe (warm-up music). while almost all large modern noh theatres are made with fixed seats. noh was performed in open fields. 26 school sponsored performances and approx. the noh has begun. It can be said that when the shite and hayashi enter this area. the Hōsho Noh Theatre (monthly performances as well as many other sponsored events) and the Kita Noh Theatre (monthly performances as well as other sponsored events). long ago. the Kanze Noh Theatre (with approx. The seats located in front of the stage are called shōmen. Along with performances. Each shite school has its own noh theatre: in Tokyo. 130 associated performances). public concert halls or temporary stages. the National Noh Theatre also sponsors lectures and exhibits throughout the year. while the seats on the left side of the stage are called the waki shōmen. Audience members sitting in the shōmen section have the best view of the mask effects. while the advantage of sitting in the waki shōmen is the close proximity to the hashigakari. When performed in open fields it was many times in the service of a temple ceremony or a festival. Major Noh Theatres in the present At the National Noh Theatre in Tokyo you can enjoy performances from all five shite schools and both kyōgen schools year round at a reasonable price. Takigi Noh and Noh Theatres in the present As stated before. In between the two are the naka shōmen seats which lie in front of the metsuke bashira. many locations. At the Komparu Noh Theatre in Nara there are currently no performances scheduled. Some noh theatres are also equipped with balconies. they have a substantial library containing books and articles concerning noh. Above all.Kagami-no-ma The kagami-no-ma (mirror room) is located behind the agemaku and is where the shite puts on the mask being used for the noh. Older noh theatres have tatami rather than seats. really any place can be a noh theatre. . while today it can be seen in a wide variety of settings: noh theatres. In Kyoto the Kongō Noh Theatre presents a number of performances a year. In addition.

Takigi noh has as its origin takigi utage. Held on the grounds of temples. A Noh troupe consists of the tachikata (performers who don masks. Jukka O. Dr. a torch lighting ceremony takes place setting the stage for a magical evening. act and dance) and the hayashikata (musicians who are in charge of beating time and intensifying the emotional atmosphere of the play). The musicians sometimes shout and sing when they perform. these performances combine the beauty and feeling of natural surroundings.  Waki (the one who watches). Traditional instruments in the Noh wind and percussion ensemble include the nakan (a vertical flute) and tsuzumi (small hand drums). the precursor to the popular shuni-eceremony. gods or ghosts---or a woman.Takigi Noh The outdoor performances of takigi noh(torch lit noh) have become popular all over Japan. In the early part of evening. which took place at Kofukuji Temple in Nara in the Heian period (794-1185). breathing men. This eventually developed into takigi noh. Even today on May 11 and 12 Okina is performed as a dedication at Kasuga Shrine and Kofuku Temple. Jan Romel Noh Actors Noh features only male actors. Miettinen of the Theater Academy Helsinki wrote: . Big clay pots are placed sin hollow spaced beneath the wooden stage to amplify sound. with the grace and beauty of the performance on stage. shrines or public parks. - RAMORES. They are generally a supernatural being such as ghosts. Some Noh roles are regarded as so special that Noh actors are only allowed to play them once in their lifetimes. demons. There are two main types of Noh actors:  Shite (the one who acts) The main characters are shites who usually wear masks. mainly footsteps and drumming. It was only as recently as 1950 that takigi noh started taking on the implication of relaxing entertainment at the Heian Jingu Shrine in Kyoto. -Waki nether wear a mask or make up because they represent living. A typical Noh performance employs three or four musicians.

1. Traditionally. Theme All Noh plays are divided by their themes into the following five categories. or child roles. 'supernatural' Noh ) involves supernatural worlds.” The actors are categorised as: • 1) Shite or the principal character. ghosts. (e. including flashbacks.  Genzai Noh (現在能. • 2) Waki or the supporting role. who often appears masked. Takasago. • 5) Kokata. not according to the character or character type they are embodying. and is still used today in formal programming choices today. While Genzai Noh utilizes internal and external conflicts to drive storylines and bring out emotions. or phantasms in the shite role. god plays) or waki Noh (脇能) typically feature the shite in the role of a deity to tell the mythic story of a shrine or praise a particular god. • 4) Waki-zure actors represent waki's companions. an actor can appear in any of the role types (except kokata).g. but according to the role or importance of the character in the structure of the play. • 3) Shite-zure actors perform the roles of shite's companions. are performed by boy actors. 'present' Noh) features human characters and events unfold according to a linear timeline within the play. is a hybrid of the above with the first act being Genzai Noh and the second act Mugen Noh.  Ryōkake Noh (両掛能. Xanee Kaiz - Subject All Noh plays can be classified into three broad categories.“The actors of a certain play are categorised. Many of them structured in two acts. who is always an unmasked human being. 'mixed' Noh). In fact. though somewhat uncommon. featuring gods. which forms an integral element of a noh performance - FARINAS. Kami mono (神物. Chikubushima) . Mugen Noh focuses on utilizing flashbacks of the past and the deceased to invoke emotions. he can also sing in the chorus.This system does not mean that an actor specialises in one of the above categories. a formal 5-play program is composed of a selection from each of the groups.  Mugen Noh (夢幻能. This classification is considered the most practical. the deity takes a human form in disguise in the first act and reveals the real self in the second act. Time is often depicted as passing in a non-linear fashion. and action may switch between two or more timeframes from moment to moment. Besides that. spirits.

According to Dr. (e. Kinuta) 5. vengeful ghost plays).is a famous Noh story about a monk that happens on a mysterious stone with no plants or living things around. Matsukaze) 4. reflecting the smooth and flowing movements representing female characters. Sesshoseki (“The Life-Killing Stone”) . Okina (or Kamiuta) is frequently performed at the very beginning of the program. There are about 94 "miscellaneous" plays traditionally performed in the fourth place in a fiveplay program.g. demon plays) usually feature the shite in the role of monsters. In addition to the above five.g. After being enlightened about the foolish ways of humans he reluctantly hands the robe over and is rewarded with a dance by the angel. as well as others. one of the classics of Noh theater. Kiri Noh (切り能. Basho. The protagonist appearing as a ghost of a famous samurai pleads to a monk for salvation and the drama culminates in a glorious re-enactment of the scene of his death in a full war costume. onryō mono (怨霊物. goblins. Miettinen of the Theater Academy Helsinki: The actor and playwright Kan’ami (1333–1384) and his son Zeami (1363–1443) are regarded as the inventors of Noh.2. or demons. Aya no tsuzumi. Kiri Noh is performed the last in a five-play program. warrior plays) or ashura Noh (阿修羅能) takes its name from the Buddhist underworld. the fishermen refuses to turn it over. it is considered the oldest type of Noh play. and are often selected for their bright colors and fast-paced. The slaying of the spider is seen as Raiku's victory over the indigenous people. Katsura mono (鬘物. Raiko. NOH PLAYS Tsuchigumo (“The Ground Spider”) . Tamura. Hagoromo. Shura mono (修羅物.000 years ago. madness plays). Okina . wig plays) or onna mono (女物. When an angel comes to claim it. The main character.the oldest play in the Noh repertoire. is based on a historical figure from about 1. is about a fisherman that finds a beautiful robe hanging from a pine tree. final plays) or oni mono (鬼物. genzai mono (現在物. (e. The spider image is said to have originated from a disparaging term for indigenous people and is thus seen as a commentary on the way that Raiku may have treated indigenous people and the way the indigenous people rebelled. . woman plays) depict the shite in a female role and feature some of the most refined songs and dances in all of Noh. most of which are shorter than the plays in the other categories. Atsumori) 3. Jukka O.is a classic tale of brave warriors confronting a terrifying spider monster. tense finale movements. present plays). Combining dance with Shinto ritual. In the most dramatic seen four warriors attack the spider who responds by emitting threads that look like white washi paper fireworks. The woman then revealed herself to be the spirit of the stone and asks the monk to pray for her so she can stop killing.g. is rarely performed. These plays include subcategories kyōran mono (狂乱物. (e. A woman suddenly appears and tells the monk the stone contains the spirit of a woman who became an emperor's concubine in a bid to overthrow the ruling dynasty and was killed and driven into the stone by a priest. There are roughly 30 plays in this category.

He and his father. He is credited with about 90 (and most of the greatest) of the approximately 230 plays in the present repertoire. which in 1629 banned women from performing. The term kabuki originally suggested the unorthodox and shocking character of this art form. Kabuki had become an established art form that was capable of the serious. as the people’s theatre. dance. when a female dancer named Okuni (who had been an attendant at the Grand Shrine of Izumo).Chūshingura (1748). These actors have carried the traditions of Kabuki from one generation to the next with only slight alterations. Kabuki. Interior of a Kabuki theatre. Many of them trace their ancestry and performing styles to the earliest Kabuki actors and add a “generation number” after their names to indicate their place in the long line of actors. it has been a major theatrical form in Japanfor almost four centuries. achieved popularity with parodies of Buddhist prayers. dramatic presentation of genuinely moving situations. signifying “song”. for example. but this type of Kabuki was suppressed in 1652. and ki. by the early 18th century. Jhaziel Mae L. A rich blend of music. c. HISTORY OF THE FORM The Kabuki form dates from the early 17th century. and his son Motomasa succeeded him. She assembled around her a troupe of wandering female performers who danced and acted. also called Kanze Motokiyo The greatest playwright and theorist of the Japanese Noh theatre. and it is this form of all-male entertainment that has endured to the present day. Kan’ami (1333–84). In 1422 he became a Zen monk.” Kabuki’s highly lyrical plays are regarded.Zeami (1363-1443) - Also spelled Seami. As merchants and other commoners in Japan began to rise on the social and economic scale. provided a vivid commentary on contemporary society. were the creators of the Noh drama in its present form. and spectacular staging and costuming. 1800. The sensuous character of the dances (and the prostitution of the actors) proved to be too disruptive for the government. Kabuki plays grew in sophistication. older men took over the roles. . again because of concern for morals. traditional Japanese popular drama with singing and dancing performed in a highly stylized manner. Eventually. Okuni’s Kabuki was the first dramatic entertainment of any importance that was designed for the tastes of the common people in Japan. “skill. and the acting became more subtle. “The Transmission of the Flower of Acting Style. “flower” representing the freshness and appropriateness of fine acting. Actual historical events were transferred to the stage. KABUKI Kabuki.” also known as the Kaden sho). mime. In his treatises—of which the most important is the collection Fūshi kaden (1400–18. Finally. with notable exceptions. Performs brilliantly but also wrote and revised plays prolifically. bu. “dance”.CAPARROSO. less as literature than as vehicles for actors to demonstrate their enormous range of skills in visual and vocal performance. was an essentially faithful dramatization of the famous incident . Young boys dressed as women then performed the programs. coloured woodcut triptych by Utagawa Toyokuni. In modern Japanese. the word is written with three characters: ka.

The acting in Kabuki can be so stylized that it becomes virtually indistinguishable from dancing. the plays often present conflicts involving such religious ideas as the transitory nature of the world (from Buddhism). and the latter responded with appropriate praise or clapped their hands according to a prescribed formula. Kabuki became the theatre of the townspeople and the farmers. a constant interplay between the actors and the spectators took place in the Kabuki theatre. Structurally. wreaked their revenge upon the man who had forced the suicide of their lord. SUBJECT. Despite the ease with which it can assimilate new forms. and its beauty is gaudy and extravagant. It ends with a lively dance finale (ōgiri shosagoto) with a large cast. Kabuki dance is probably the best-known feature of Kabuki. Bugaku and Noh have a fragile elegance and an extreme subtlety of movement. . separated by one or two dance plays featuring ghosts. elevated passageways from the main stage to the back of the auditorium. Kabuki plays include a variety of intermingled episodes which develop toward a final dramatic climax. Tragedy occurs when morality conflicts with human passions. but they lack the strong unifying element for which Western drama strives. The strongest ties of Kabuki are to the Noh and to jōruri.emerged to play the female roles. the audience was fenced in by three stages. Rarely is an opportunity missed to insert dancing. an ideal represented by the notion of kanzenchōaku (“reward the virtuous and punish the wicked”). Thus. Although the basic purposes of Kabuki are to entertain and to allow the actors to demonstrate their skills. the dance ceremony of the imperial court. The actors frequently interrupted the play to address the crowd. Kabuki is a very formalized theatre. there is a didactic element. PURPOSE. and. courtesans. the puppet theatre that developed during the 17th century. it reestablished itself by adapting and parodying kyōgen(sketches that provide comic interludes during Noh performances). AND CONVENTIONS Kabuki subject matter creates distinctions between the historical play (jidaimono) and the domestic play (sewamono). were used. flowing movement of the onnagata or the exaggerated posturings of the male characters. were long the exclusive domain of the nobility and the warrior class known as samurai. During this period a special group of actors. both of great antiquity. the plays are typically composed of two or more themes in a complex suji (plot). Similarly. Bugaku. these actors often became the most popular of their day. They also could call out the names of their favourite actors in the course of the performance constantly intruded on the audience. after having waited patiently for almost two years. nearly all the “lovers’ double suicide” (shinjū) plays of the playwright Chikamatsu Monzaemon were based on actual suicide pacts made between ill-fated lovers. A Kabuki program generally presents them in that order. and the Noh theatre. Kabuki is somewhat coarse and unrestrained. called onnagata. It retains numerous conventions adapted from earlier forms of theatre that were performed in shrines and temples. as well as more general moral sentiments.of 1701–03 in which a band of 47 rōnin (masterless samurai). and other exotic creatures. and the importance of duty (from Confucianism). whether the restrained. Kabuki derived much of its material from the Noh. THE AUDIENCE Traditionally. When two hanamichi. when Kabuki was banned in 1652.

Following onna-kabuki. The theatre stresses the importance of the play itself. and Okuni was asked to perform before the Imperial Court. and good company.At present. Kabuki theaters were a place to see and be seen as they featured the latest fashion trends and current events. began performing a new style of dance drama in the dry riverbeds of Kyoto. enforced by Tokugawa Ieyasu. in the mid-1600s. trying to maintain the historical tradition and to preserve Kabuki as a classical form. took over. wakashū(adolescent male) roles. initiated pop culture in Japan. An office tower—which would include the theatre—was scheduled to be built on the site. this appeal was further augmented by the fact that the performers were often also available for prostitution Kabuki became a common form of entertainment in the ukiyo. and kabuki was born as ensemble dance and drama performed by women—a form very different from its modern incarnation. Although kabuki was performed all over ukiyo and other portions for the country. cross-dressed male actors. The style was immediately popular. was banned in 1629 for being too erotic. something that happened nowhere else in the city. At the National Theatre the length of an average program is about four hours. rival troupes quickly formed. which closed in 2010. clothing. It originated in the 17th century. known as onnagata ("femalerole") or oyama. sometimes over . but their memberships often overlap. the Nakamura-za. with an opening date of 2013. refreshments. Ichimura-za and Kawarazaki-za theatres became the top theatres in ukiyo. After women were banned from performing. The shogunate was never partial to kabuki and all the mischief it brought. The area around the theatres was lush with shops selling kabuki souvenirs. In addition. suggestive themes featured by many troupes. 1629–1673: Transition to yarō-kabuki The modern all-male kabuki. regular performances are held at theNational Theatre in Tokyo. There are several such companies. Kabuki switched to adult male actors. Much of its appeal in this era was due to the ribald. young boys performed in wakashū-kabuki. Troupes of Kabuki actors also perform outside Tokyo. or Yoshiwara. called yaro-kabuki. The teahousessurrounding or connected to the theatre provided meals. Performances were equally ribald. possibly a miko of Izumo-taisha. was established during these decades. and the male actors too were available for prostitution (to both female andmale customers). The name of the Edo period derives from the relocation of the Tokugawa regime from its former home in Kyoto to the city of Edo. and were often presented in an erotic context. called onna-kabuki. became common. present-day Tokyo. Female performers played both men and women in comic playlets about ordinary life. particularly the variety of the social classes which mixed at kabuki performances. Other theatres have occasional performances. Kabuki. The stage provided good entertainment with exciting new music. A diverse crowd gathered under one roof. Women’s kabuki. Young (adolescent) men were preferred for women's roles due to their less masculine appearance and the higher pitch of their voices compared to adult men. Performances went from morning until sunset. the shogun government soon banned wakashū-kabuki as well. Male actors played both female and male characters. Audiences frequently became rowdy. The city was also home to theKabuki Theatre (Kabuki-za). and brawls occasionally broke out. patterns. where some of the most successful kabuki performances were and still are held. and remained a focus of urban lifestyle until modern times. the registered red-light district in Edo. History of kabuki 1603–1629: Female kabuki The history of kabuki began in 1603 when Izumo no Okuni. played by young men often selected for attractiveness. Along with the change in the performer's gender came a change in the emphasis of the performance: increased stress was placed on drama rather than dance. and famous actors. known as yarō-kabuki (young man kabuki).Japan was under the control of the Tokugawa shogunate. but since they too were eligible for prostitution. The theatre remained popular. In the wake of such success. in a sense.

This Western interest prompted Japanese artists to increase their depictions of daily life including theatres. Claude Monet) were inspired by Japanese wood block prints. produced several influential works. Ichimura-za and Kawarazaki-za theatres. it was adapted for kabuki. saying that it was against fire code. a northern suburb of Edo.[3] His kabuki performances became quite popular once the Saruwaka-machi period ended and theatre returned to Edo.the favors of a particularly handsome young actor. 1842–1868: Saruwaka-chō kabuki Male actors played both female and male characters. or dancing. forcing their relocation within the ukiyo. and story line. pushed much of kabuki "underground" in Edo. became closely associated with each other. were constantly burning down. Those in areas and lifestyles centered around the theatres also migrated. though the piece usually acknowledged as his most significant. In the 1840s. . the shogun refused to allow the theatre to rebuild. was originally written for bunraku. When the area that housed the Nakamura-za was completely destroyed in 1841. in dramas written by KawatakeMokuami. Deemed unattractive. and Kawarazaki-za out of the city limits and into Asakusa.[3] KawatakeMokuami commonly wrote plays that depicted the common lives of the people of Edo. leading the shogunate to ban first onnagata and then wakashū roles. The last thirty years of the Tokugawa shogunate's rule is often referred to as the Saruwaka-machi period. Ichimura-za. The famous playwright ChikamatsuMonzaemon. the elaborate form of puppet theater that later came to be known asbunraku. The theatres' new location was called Saruwaka-chō. or Saruwaka-machi. He introduced shichigo-cho (seven-and-five syllable meter) dialogue and music such as kiyomoto.[3] European artists began noticing Japanese theatrical performances and artwork. who also wrote during the Meiji period to follow. one of the first professional kabuki playwrights. with performances changing locations to avoid the authorities. Ichikawa Danjūrō I also lived during this time. who initiated Edo kabuki in the Nakamura Theatre in 1624. The district was located on the main street of Asakusa. artists. Actors. make-up. traditionally made of wood. kabuki thrived. One artist in particular.[3] The relocation diminished the tradition's most abundant inspiration for costuming. main streets and so on. SonezakiShinjū (The Love Suicides at Sonezaki). The street was renamed after SaruwakaKanzaburo. and many artists (for example. fires started terrorizing Edo due to repeated drought. Both bans were rescinded by 1652. The shogunate took advantage of the fire crisis in 1842 to force the Nakamura-za. and it spawned many imitators—in fact. 1673–1841: Golden age During the Genroku era. Kabuki theatres. did a series of prints based on Saruwaka from the Saruwaka-machi period in Asakusa. but the inconvenience of the new location reduced attendance. Ichikawa Kodanji IV was one of the most active and successful actors during the Saruwaka-machi period. and each has since influenced the other's development. and prostitutes. brothels.[3]These factors. and others associated with the performances were forced out as well. The structure of a kabuki play was formalized during this period. which ran through the middle of the small city. Kabuki theater and ningyōjōruri. as were many elements of style. along with strict regulations. Conventional character types were established. The shogunate did not welcome the mixing and trading that occurred between town merchants and actors. he is credited with the development of mie poses and mask-like kumadori make-up. This period produced some of the gaudiest kabuki in Japanese history.[3] The Saruwaka-machi became the new theatre district for the Nakamura-za. Utagawa Hiroshige. it and similar plays reportedly caused so many real-life "copycat" suicides that the government banned shinju mono(plays about lovers' double suicides) in 1723. he mainly performed buyō. many of his works are still performed. stagehands. Like many bunraku plays.

by 1947 the ban had been rescinded. He was first known as Nakamura Senjaku. the last remaining kabuki theater in Kyot. the occupying forces briefly banned kabuki. kabuki among them. In addition to the handful of major theatres in Tokyo and Kyoto. actors strove to increase the reputation of kabuki among the upper classes and to adapt the traditional styles to modern tastes. such as Noh. Kabuki troupes regularly tour Asia. Emperor Meiji was restored to power and moved from Kyoto to the new capital of Edo. The introduction of earphone guides in 1975. and modern styles emerged. many rejected the styles and thoughts of the past. the well-known onnagata BandōTamasaburō V has appeared in several (non-kabuki) plays and movies.[15] Of the many popular young stars who performed with the Takechi Kabuki.[12] however. Kabuki became more radical in the Meiji period. As the culture struggled to adapt to the influx of foreign ideas and influence. it stands at the east end of a bridge (ShijōŌhashi)crossing the Kamo River in Kyoto. in Australia. often in a female role.[16]For example. in 1991 the Kabuki-za. THEATER . Nakamura Ganjiro III (b. is one example. There have even been kabuki troupes established in countries outside Japan. They ultimately proved successful in this regard—on 21 April 1887. began year-round performances and. The Ichikawa Shōjo Kabuki Gekidan. and this period in Osaka kabuki became known as the "Age of Senjaku" in his honor. Western playwrights and novelists have experimented with kabuki themes. and the opening of Japan to the West. the longest regular kabuki performance outside Japan.including an English version in 1982. in 2005. Kabuki was inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists in 2005. Kabuki after the Meiji period Beginning in 1868 enormous cultural changes. Today. helped broaden the art's appeal. the Tokugawa shogunate fell apart. began marketing kabuki cinema films. an all-female troupe. one of Tokyo's most well-known kabuki theaters. adapting them to modern contexts. or Tokyo. [14] Director TetsujiTakechi's popular and innovative productions of kabuki classics at this time are credited with bringing about a rebirth of interest in kabuki in the Kansai region. [6] Kabuki returned to the ukiyo of Edo. As a result.[18] based in Ōshika. helped to spark kabuki's re-emergence. 1931) was the leading figure. the Za Kabuki troupe at the Australian National University has performed a kabuki drama each year since 1976. Besides the war's physical devastation. In November 2002 a statue was erected in honor of kabuki's founder Okuni and to commemorate 400 years of kabuki's existence. For instance. the elimination of the samurai class. the Meiji Emperorsponsored a performance. there are many smaller theatres in Osaka and throughout the countryside. beginning the Meiji period.[17] The Ōshika Kabuki troupe.[11] After World War II.Diagonally across from the Minami-za. New playwrights created new genres and twists on traditional stories. Kabuki appears in works of Japanese popular culture such as anime.[19] Some local kabuki troupes today use female actors in onnagata roles. such as the fall of the Tokugawa shogunate. Nagano Prefecture. debuted in 1953 to significant acclaim but failed to start a new trend. Europe and America. an example of which is Gerald Vizenor's Hiroshima Bugi (2004).[13] Kabuki today The immediate post–World War II era was a difficult time for kabuki.In 1868. kabuki is the most popular of the traditional styles of Japanese drama—and its star actors often appear in television or film roles. which had strongly supported Japan's war since 1931. Writer Yukio Mishima pioneered and popularized the use of kabuki in modern settings and revived other traditional arts. and there have been several kabuki-themed productions ofcanonical Western plays such as those of Shakespeare.

The biggest distinction is that the structure of the Kabuki stage imitated that of the Noh stage.STAGE MECHANISM Various stage mechanisms installed in Kabuki theaters and shown in the following diagram are explained here. As shown here. which is constituted of a Hombutai (main stage) projecting into the audience seating area and a Hashigakari (passageway) extended from this structure to the Shimote side. The entire theatre has become much brighter with the use of electric lamps rather than lighting using candles or gas lamps. the right-hand side of the stage as seen from audience seats is called Kamite. The audience area had Sajikiseki (box seating) on both wings of the stage in the second floor section. The roof was constructed only over the Sajikiseki and stage. Permission was granted by the Tokugawa Shogunate. the interior finishing was Japanese-style. and enjoying a play. but the external appearance of the theater was that of a 3-story brick building. and lamps are installed above the Sajikiseki (box seats) on both sides. Kabuki was not performed on rainy days. We can understand that in its early days Kabuki was strongly influenced by the preexisting forms of entertainment. Because the whole theater was not roofed.In the theater. although permanent Hanamichi are assumed to have been in use by the beginning of the 18th century. Gas lamps were already in use in the Shintomi-za. Scene changes can be done smoothly by rotating the circular section of the stage on which sets for 2 or 3 scenes have been erected. Middle years of meiji period The picture shows the interior of the Kabukiza in 1893. and a theater covered by a tiled roof was completed in 1724. This change of lighting fixtures eventually affected all dramatic techniques including stage sets and the acting itself. Noh and Kyogen (Noh farces). Exactly when and how the Hanamichi was established is not clearly known. This byobu depicts audience members. The Kabukiza was built as part of the westernization of Japanese theaters. KABUKI. influenced by the "Engekikairyo undo" (theatrical performance improvement movement).EDO PERIOD The illustration shows part of a byobu (folding screen) on which a theater of the early Genroku period [around 1690] is depicted. which had opened in 1878 [Meiji 11]. The second change is that all audience seats are covered by roofing. and non-reserved seating in the Doma (earthen-floored pit) area around the stage. . A large chandelier is visible hanging from the ceiling above the audience seats. seated wherever they please on straw matting called hanjo. The Mawaributai stage mechanism turns the part of the floor of the stage center that is cut out in a large-diameter circle. LATTER HALF OF EDO PERIOD The first change is that a Hanamichi passing through the audience seating area has been installed. and the left-hand side of the stage as seen from audience seats is called Shimote. but the Kabukiza was the first to install electric lamps. Another big difference is lighting.

These pillars are painted matte black like the boards covering the Kuromisu and Yuka and are sometimes not visible. being hidden by stage sets on which scenery is painted. The area of the stage between the 2 Daijin-bashira is called Hombutai (the stage proper). Daijin-bashira Daijin-bashira means the pillar at the left of Yuka (place where Takemoto is recited) on the Kamite side of the stage. At present. Suppon Suppon is a small Seri located near the section where the Hanamichi joins the stage. inspired by a spinning top. a Kyogen-sakusha. Reciting of Takemoto with the misu rolled up is called Degatari. Seri Seri is the trap-door lift stage mechanism for raising and lowering cut-out portions of the stage floor. A misu (bamboo curtain) is hung in front of the Yuka. The area of the stage between the 2 Daijin-bashira is called Hombutai (the stage proper). but in the olden days. and musical instruments including large drums and hand drums. Kuromisu In the Kuromisu. are played to provide sound effects. These pillars are painted matte black like the boards covering the Kuromisu and Yuka and are sometimes not visible. Nagauta is sung to enhance stage effects by matching the timing of acting.The Suppon is now moved up . and reciting with the misu rolled down is called Misu-uchi. Ozeri The first Ozeri in Kabuki was said to have been contrived and used in 1753 by NamikiShoza. At present. Mawaributai were moved manually by the power of people in the Naraku. Mawaributai are moved by electric power. and effectively gives the impression that those characters have suddenly appeared. The music performed here is sometimes itself called Kuromisu. and is rolled up or down depending on the scene. Daijin-bashira Daijin-bashira means the pillar at the left of Yuka (place where Takemoto is recited) on the Kamite side of the stage. a Kyogen-sakusha. apparitions. Yuka Yuka is the place on the Kamite of the stage where Takemoto is performed.The Mawaributai was invented in Osaka in 1758 by NamikiShoza. and the other pillar at the right of the Kuromisu (place where Geza music is played) on the Shimote side of the stage. The Suppon is used for unreal roles such as ghosts. spirits of animals or sorcerers. and the other pillar at the right of the Kuromisu (place where Geza music is played) on the Shimote side of the stage. being hidden by stage sets on which scenery is painted. the Ozeri is moved by electric power. but in the Edo period Ozeri were moved by human power.

This sound and the speed of opening/closing the Agemaku vary according to the scene and the character entering or exiting on the Hanamichi. At present. sea or river bank according to the scenes being performed on the Hombutai. is also called Agemaku. it is used mainly for actors' entrances and exits. One of the most difficult props to make are decapitated heads. Joshiki-maku A stage curtain permanently installed in a theater where Kabuki is performed. The kirikubi are divided into . various systems are installed to move the Seri and Mawaributai."Joshiki" means "pre-determined form." or because it functions as a roadway for actors who are dressed as beautifully as flowers. was ondotori (shantyman) for a Tokugawa Shogunate government ship. Because audience members are close to the Hanamichi it gives them a sense of intimacy. corridor. swords. for a stage curtain. founder of the Nakamura-za. The name Hanamichi (flower path) may have been used because it was where audience members presented actors with gratuities called "hana. and the 5-color curtain hung on the Shimote side in the "Matsubame" stage set used for Kabuki developed from Noh plays and Kyogen farces. Flowing water is represented with fluttering rolls of linen and creatures such as insects and foxes are dangled from sticks or manipulated by helpers dressed in black hooded robes. Naraku Naraku means the area under the Hombutai and Hanamichi. making them “invisible” to the audience.and down by electricity. This is supposedly the origin of the Kabuki Joshiki-maku." The striped Kabuki Joshiki-maku is made by sewing together fabric of 3 colors: black. As shown in the picture. and no clear reason has been found for this name the Hashigakari. The curtain on the Kamite side under the Yuka where Takemoto is recited. which means hell. but in the Edo period it was moved by human power as shown in the picture below. Agemaku The Agemaku is the curtain hung at the end of the Hanamichi (passageway to/from stage) and is visible from the stage. it was a very dark. There are various theories. moegi (dark green) and kaki-iro (yellowish brown). passing through the audience seating area to the Agemaku. The Hanamichi becomes various places such as a road. Hanamichi Hanamichi is the passage that extends at right angle to the Hombutai from its Shimote side. known as kirikubi. Fans are used to symbolise wind. PROPS The props used are very unique to this style of theatre. Usually. so it was called Naraku. and is said to have used the pattern of the canvas he was awarded for leading the singing. stagehands relied on the light of candles when doing the work of moving the stage systems. but in the period when they were moved by human power. SaruwakaKanzaburo. waves or even food. is called Kamiteagemaku. tobacco pipes. the crest of the theater is dyed on the curtain. damp place reminding people of hell.

But by emphasizing and stylizing feminine movements and gestures. Jokubi are more realistic and well made. This can be carved from oak or pauliwnia wood or papiermache over a wooden base. This was no small feat when we remember that many onnagata had been playing the role for many years. one of the earliest kabuki actors took the name Ichikawa Danjuro. Ichikawa Danjuro the Twelfth is still acting in the same manner as his forefathers. Acting in the Kabuki theatre was largely a family tradition and subsequent generations were virtually raised in the theatre. fans and armour) DedOgu = Set props ( furniture.“low class” heads or Dakubi. . set dressing and other items left on the stage throughout the performance) Kiemono = Props used up after each performance. and over three centuries later. although many of them had androgynous features. all of the roles are played by men. Onnagata speak in falsetto and they stand with the knees and back slightly bent so as to look smaller.Dakubi are usually cotton forms stuffed with wood shavings. they are able to create a largerthan-life femininity. Judy Ann Kabuki Acting: Traditions & Techniques Generations of Kabuki actors Many spectators came and still come to the kabuki theatre in order to see their favorite actors. Their construction is usually reserved for master carvers. Becoming an onnagata involves a long training period and was often a way of life that continued outside of the theatre. Fathers trained their sons. The script is generally seen simply as a vehicle for the actor to showcase his talents. or “high class” heads known as Jokubi. such as food and consumables Norimono = Vehicles and portable shrines Shikake/ Shikake Mono = Rigged and trick props Nuigurumi = Animal costumes Hakimono = Footwear - DEDACE. Here are some key prop related words: KodOgu = Props MochidOgu = Hand props (These include accessories. They take tiny steps with their knees pressed together and their toes pointed inward. and this could lead to some major quarrels. Onnagata is the term used to describe a male actor who plays a female role: in traditional kabuki. and if they had no biological sons. they would often adopt a son into the family. Fingers are kept together and movements are elegant and tightly controlled. so it wasn't uncommon to have an onnagata in his sixties convincing the audience that he was a beautiful young maiden. swords. Some families have an acting tradition that covers many centuries. Onnagata. For example. sometimes covered in Japanese paper with crudely painted features and hair. often couldn't rely on their physical beauty. Often the onnagata were so good at their roles that male audience members fell in love with them. of course. who attempt to capture an exact likeness of the actor.

Costuming in kabuki is called”Isho” 2. 3. In the old days some wigs were made by painstakingly sewing on one hair. This acting style was popular in Osaka and Kyoto. The color RED is excellent and means passion and super human power. bear fur or yaktail hair imported from Tibet. Ainamela Kabuki Costumes & Make Up Kabuki is a form of traditional Japanese drama that emerged at the beginning of the Edo period (1603-1868). The acting style is close to that of the onnagata roles. Actors playing the aragoto role wear heavily padded costumes and brightly colored face makeup.Wagoto is a term used to describe male characters played with a feminine acting style such as romantic leads. BLUE is considered to be a bad color and gives a negative feeling that articulates jealousy and fearfulness. 9. 7. Most wigs are made of human hair but some are made of horse hair or. The wagoto characters have a more narrow stance than the aragoto characters and their movement is more fluid in comparison. Kabuki refers to a style of theatre once considered avant-garde. and a particular repertoire. exaggerated gestures to express emotions. - ALEMANIA. Based on popular legends and characterized by striking costumes. stylized acting and the use of both male and female roles by male actors. Aragotocharacters are performed with a broad and bombastic style which was popularized in Tokyo. Some craftsmen specialize in wigs for a certain kind of character. Kabuki is theatrical entertainment in which the fantastical combines with the artistry of the actor. Facts about Kabuki Costumes 1. Kabuki costumes are made with bold colors and patterns. 8. 4. including historical plays. The Japanese dance-drama is distinguished from other dramatic genres by specific characteristics. notably kesho (an elaborate make-up worn by its performers). The female characters generally wear an elaborate kimono and obi. . 5. 10. domestic dramas and dance segments. Costume changing is regarded as an art unto itself. 6. Kabuki costumes are usually discarded after one 25-day theater run because the brilliant colors fade in the bright lights and they smell bad from all the sweat. Kabuki costumes use big wigs and many different types of mask styles to match the character they portray. such as the character Narukami. Aragoto translates as "rough stuff or business" and refers to the super heroes and villains in kabuki plays. Spectacle-Makeup There are about a hundred of these masklike styles in which the colors and designs used symbolize aspects of the character.

2. A method for actors to reveal invisible qualities about themselves. These dramatic climaxes are anticipated by wooden clappers and by rhythmic shouts of encouragement (kakegoe) of the semi-professional kabuki fans in the auditorium. Ki clappers. Two types of wooden clappers are used for different purposes: 1. The mie poses and their caricature-like facial expression. anticipate and accompany dramatic climaxes. singers and musicians playing the shamisen. which ends up in an expressive pose culminating in a highly stylised facial expression with crossed eyes. A way of defining the actions of the character. 3. always applauded by the audience.Kabuki actors do not wear masks like Noh performers They cover the faces. They are the highlights of a play just as the highest notes of arias are in Western opera. a dramatic movement sequence. Kabuki Music By far the most important instrument used in kabuki is the three-stringed shamisen. necks and hands with white paint and have red painted around their eyes and their lips. These highlights are also accompanied by the loud. 2. flute. A special type of sound effect found in kabuki is the dramatic crack of two wooden blocks “HYOSHIGI” struck together or against a wooden board. announce the beginning of the play. although less stylised and without crossed eyes. well-timed kakegoe shouts of encouragement and appreciation from the semi-professional kabuki fans. of the onnagata female impersonators are called kimari. with their intensive crescendo. such as the dramatic Mie Poses. The exotic make-up is regarded as: 1. A means of elevating a character to mythic status. . while similar poses. They provide various types of background music and sound effects. Mie is performed by male actors. and a variety of percussion instruments are also located offstage. In addition to the onstage music. Tsure clappers. struck against a board. The standard Nagauta Ensemble includes several shamisen players as well as singers plus drums and flute players. Special Techniques in Kabuki Mie Pose One of the most important special techniques of kabuki is mie.

Japanese often bring food to kabuki performances and social with their friends during the intervals or even during the play. During some performances shouts come from the audience at specific times. . retributive justice. in kabuki they are even more stylised than in the fast and highly acrobatic battles of Chinese opera. Most people who attend kabuki performance are elderly Japanese or foreign tourists. Critical moments of a kabuki play are often marked by long pauses known as kakegoe in which Japanese fans shout praise and encouragement and think about what has happened in the play. The shouts---also known as kakegoe---are carefully timed to coincide with moments of high drama. love. Tachimawari The fighting scenes in kabuki are called tachimawari. The shouters often sit in the cheap seats and are known as omuko-san (“great distance ones”) but are generally very knowledgeable about the plays and know exactly when to shout. which is often seen in the aragoto and jidaimono plays. Many kabuki masterpieces are adaption of bunraku puppet pieces. - REYES. Kabuki Audiences Kakegoe Critical moments of a kabuki play are often marked by long pauses known as “Kakegoe” in which Japanese fans shout praise and encouragement and think about what has happened in the play. Common kabuki themes include loyalty. They have been repeated in the old wooden block prints as well as in the modern kabuki posters. honor and revenge and consummating love with suicide.are like “logos” of the plays. a stylised. The roppo. so too in kabuki the battle scenes clearly reflect the techniques of the martial arts. is mainly executed on the hanamichi pathway to signify the exit of an important character. Roppo Another special technique is roppo (six directions). However. exaggerated way of walking typical of the vigorous male characters. As in the Peking opera of China. Jefferson THEMES Kabuki subject matter creates distinctions between the:  historical play (jidaimono)  domestic play (sewamono). with its powerful arm movements and high steps.

- His most important works are the Shiranamimono. called Kizewa. there is a didactic element. Although the basic purposes of Kabuki are to entertain and to allow the actors to demonstrate their skills. and "Kumo ni magou ueno no hatsuhana" which Mokuami wrote after the Meiji period started to preserve the public morals of the Edo period. and a Buyogeki "Tsuchigumo. Some of them are:  chuushin gishi (loyal and dutiful samurai)  kanzen-choaku (reward the virtuous and punish the wicked) PLAYWRIGHTS Three Eminent Playwrights: Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1653-1724) - who mainly wrote for bunraku puppetry. Kawatake Mokuami (1816-1893 ) - The distinctive feature of Mokuami's literary style is its superiority from the musical viewpoint." FAMOUS PLAYS Some of the popular plays are: 1. - "Tokaido yotsuya kaidan" is particularly famous as his most important work. - produced several influential works. made him famous. and his striking Shuko (plot plans) in which ghosts had active roles.Example: The main story usually revolves around a high born young man who falls in love with a desirable courtesan and lower class friends who protect them. He wrote about 100 bunraku and kabuki plays is sometimes called Japan's Shakespeare. Kanadehon Chūshingura (Treasury of Loyal Retainers) . - He spent at least 20 years as a low-ranking writer before the performance of his work "Tenjiku tokube ikokubanashi. "Aotozoshi hana no nishikie“. He effectively interwove Kiyomoto music with poetic speech in shichigo-cho (7-and-5 syllable meter) while realistically depicting the lives of common people in the Edo period. Sonezaki Shinjū (The Love Suicides at Sonezaki) Tsuruya Namboku IV (1755 . though the piece usually acknowledged as his most significant." a great hit in 1804.1829) - The distinctive features of his literary style were his realistic depictions of the common people of the time.

3. The Love Suicide at Sonezaki .This sewa-mono (domestic play) is popularly known as Benten Kozo ( Benten the Thief). as their deaths ensure a complete end to the war and the arrival of peace. kami (divine spirit) of scholarship.is based on the life of famed scholarSugawara no Michizane (845–903). as does a kitsune named Genkurō.JALAGAT. Three Taira clangenerals supposed killed in the Genpei War figure prominently. Joseph . Benten Kozo (Benten the Thief) . who is exiled from Kyoto. 2.. it was written by Kawatake Mokuami (1816-1893).is the famous story of the Forty-seven Ronin. 4. . the top playwright of the late Edo period.a low-caste Romeo and Juliet drama based on a true story involving the love between a prostitute and a clerk at a soy sauce company 5. led by Oishi Kuranosuke. He is then deified. as Tenjin. who track down their enemy and exact revenge upon him before committing seppuku as required by their code of honor upon the death of their lord. and upon his death causes a number of calamities in the capital. and worshipped in order to propitiate his angry spirit. Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami (Sugawara and the Secrets of Calligraphy) .follows Minamoto no Yoshitsune as he flees from agents of his brother Yoritomo. Lord Takuminokami of the Asano clan. The play portrays the exploits of the rogue Benten Kozo Kikunosuke and the gang of five thieves of which he is a member. Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura (Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees) .