Kabuki Theater

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Kabuki Theater *No Works Cited Kabuki Theater was created around the year 1600. It was almost around the same time that the English began to form colonies on the American continent. The history of Kabuki is as long as the history of the United States. Kabuki was created by a shrine maiden named Okuni. Okuni was from Izumo Shrine. Her performances in the rive beds of the ancient capital of Kyoto caused a sensation. Soon their scale increased and a number of competing companies started. Early Kabuki was much different from what is seen today. It was consisted mostly of large group dances performed by women. Most of these women acted as prostitutes off stage. Finally the government banned women from the stage in an effort to protect public 'morals'. This would become just one, in the long history of government restrictions placed on the theater. This ban on women, though, is often seen as a good move. This was because it required the importance of skill over beauty. It also put more stress on drama than dance. This put Kabuki theater on the path to become a style of theater. With the need for female representations in plays, 'onnagatas' were developed. 'Onnagatas' were female role specialists, in lowest terms- men who played women. The last quarter of the 17th century is referred to as the Genroku period and was a time of renaissance in the culture of Japanese0 towns-people. It was a time when both aristocratic and common arts flourished. Since the West and China were cut off from the outside world for over 50 years, many new art forms were introduced during this time. With Kabuki as the main form of theatrical entertainment for commoners, there was an outburst of creativity. During this period the styl... ... middle of paper ... ...i class, and actors where often thought of as gods when they played "aragoto" roles. In Kansai, Sakata Tojuro perfected a style of acting known as "wagoto" or soft style. While the "aragoto" of Danjuro was a hit in Edo, still very much a frontier town with a large military presence, Kyoto and Osaka, collectively known as "kamigata," had histories of over a 1000 years and were dominated by merchant culture. "Wagoto" appealed to the refined tastes of the kamigata audiences. "Wagoto" characters were often the sons of rich merchants that had fallen in love with beautiful courtesans. Having spent mast amounts of money to visit their lovers, they would be disowned by their families and forced to wear kimono made of paper. Despite their sunken state, though, they never lost their own self-perception of living in the lap of luxury, giving the role a comic touch as well.

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