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Traditional Theatre

We introduce representative traditional theater in Japan as follows.


This highly stylized drama is characterized by mask-like makeup, gorgeous costumes and elaborate plots that feature sword-fighting, dancing, and acrobatics. Although the founder, Izumo-no-Okuni, was a woman, the present-day kabuki cast is all male--something you would never guess from the perfectly feminine gestures of the accomplished *onnagata.


Founded in the 14th century by Kan'ami and his son Zeami, Noh is a synthetic art incorporating drama, poetry, dance, music, textile design and woodcarving. The latter is used for creating the mysterious masks which take on so many expressions when worn by a skillful *shite, principal actor. The movements are extremely slow, but speed up as the play goes on, often culminating in a dance. *She has a face like a Noh mask.


In this puppet tradition, developed in the Edo period (1600-1868), each of the main puppets needs three people to work it: one for the head and right hand, one for the left hand, and another for the legs. The main puppeteer, who manipulates the head, wears nothing over his face, but the other two wear black clothes and head covers to appear invisible. A narrator is given the difficult job of reciting the lines of all the characters, young and old, male and female, to the accompaniment of the shamisen.

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