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What is Kabuki?

Traditional Japanese Theatre Plays and Dances

 

 

Tamasaburo BandoThe spectacular art of the Kabuki theater has been at the forefront of Japanese popular culture for four hundred years. Still very much alive and well, it now encompasses a great variety of stage plays and dances.

Acting styles vary, and just as there are older, highly stylized works performed with on-stage musical accompaniment, so there are more recent dramas presented in a realistic way with either recorded music, or no music at all.

All the major Kabuki actors are members of distinguished acting families that can trace their lineage back, in some cases, for hundreds of years. All top-ranking actors will have inherited both the performance traditions and the illustrious names of their forefathers, and the idea of maintaining the family art from generation to generation is very important. 

In its essence, though, Ka-bu-ki, now written with the three Japanese characters that mean "song," "dance" and "acting skill," is an art combining very different disciplines that would in most other cases be performed separately.

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of Kabuki Theatre (especially for Westerners) is the continuing traditional use of onnagata; male actors in feminine roles. The skill and challenge of the male onnagata is to express the very essence of femininity without simply imitating female characters or Geisha.

Some of our Kabuki DVDs include:

We also sell a book on Kabuki:

We have been active in helping bring Cinema Kabuki to Canada in 2009:

Cinema Kabuki (Toronto)

Cinema Kabuki returns to the Scotia Theatre in Toronto (Toronto jFILMPOW-WOW)


Tamasaburo Bando in Musume Dojoji

 

For More Information

Contact Marty Gross Film Productions, Inc. 416.536.3355 or
email videos@martygrossfilms.com for more information about purchasing or licensing this film for broadcast.


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