Kabuki, a style of drama combined with dance, is a very popular part of the Japanese culture in the world. Kabuki includes types of theater arts, because it uses elements of a story with dance and music. Currently, Kabuki has 43 works with titles of world cultural heritage given by UNESCO since 2005. Kabuki played in a special theater named Kabukiza. Kabuki appeared at the beginning of the 17th century and was started by a woman named Okuni from Izumo temple. Okuni formed a group of singers and dancers to organize artistic performances, in order to raise funds for the Izumo temple. The group traveled from one place to another. At the invitation of the Tokugawa Shogun (the last feudal Japanese military government), they performed on stage for the first time, at the imperial palace in Kyoto. At first all kabuki performers were women, but the development of this art became a place for prostitution, and finally the Shogun Tokugawa prohibit female performers. Now kabuki is performed by men (Yaro Kabuki).
Kabuki has two types of performances, namely kabuki-odori (featuring dances and songs) and kabuki-geki (featuring drama / theater). The story is taken for the performance has two kinds of stories, namely Jidaimono (historical story) and Sewamono (story with background of people’s lives).
In performing kabuki there are various elements that support the play such as dance, music, stage, acting, yakugara (role), storyline, dialog, make-up and costumes. The combination of these various elements determines the success of the performance. Characteristics of kabuki include the make-up and costumes, which were very striking. This was done to reinforce the character of an actor in kabuki performances. Performers in a kabuki always decorate their hair with various beautiful accessories, and usually with a headdress called Nurigasa. Although kabuki was only played by men does not mean that there is no women’s role in kabuki. The role of women in kabuki was played by a man wearing a costume and makeup to look like a women. The division of roles in kabuki is divided into three categories, such as the role of women (onnagata), the role of men (tachiyaku), and the role of the evil (katakiyaku). In the art of kabuki roles, the term mie (pose) is an important thing that should not be overlooked, because the mie draws it to a close with unique poses like statues with bulging eyes.
Musical accompaniment in the staging of kabuki is also divided by direction of the sound source. The music played on the right side of the stage from the audience is called Gidayūbushi. The music played on the left side of the stage from the audience is called Geza ongaku, while the music played onstage is called Debayashi. Some types of music instruments used are taiko, shamisen, and Tsuzumi.
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