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Kabuki ̕

Kabuki actor

Traditional Japanese form of theater which originated in the Edo period (1600-1867).

Contrarily to the Heian-period Noh theater destined to the educated and refined upper-classes, Kabuki is a popular art, involving love relationships, not unlike the modern-day TV drama. However, Kabuki evolved into a more restrained and mortified form, which survives to this day.

Once performed by men and women alike, Kabuki was restricted to male actors by the Tokugawa authorities to reduce the ongoing prostitution linked to it. This only led to the developement of another, more illicit form of prostitution, as women were replaced by attracive young men. The Shogunate thence decreed that only older men could play female roles. Those actors playing female roles are known as onna-gata (`).

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