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Kabuki is a traditional form of Japanese theater. It was founded early in the 17th century by Okuni, a shrine maiden who brought her unique and lively dance style to the dry river beds of the ancient capital of Kyoto, and over the next 300 years developed into a sophisticated, highly stylized form of theater.

Though Kabuki was created by a woman, since early on all roles have been taken by men. Men who play the roles of women are referred to as "onnagata" female role specialists. Ichimura Manjiro , an actor who actively participates in this page, is an "onnagata".

Kabuki plays and dances may be about grand historical events or the everyday life of people in the Edo period (1600-1868). For each play, though, the sets, music, costumes and other factors combine to create the fantastic world of Kabuki. We hope you enjoy exploring this page.


ONLINE THEATER connects you to the exciting world of Kabuki. This page will be frequently updated with video of recent plays and illustrations.
KABUKI SOUNDS Listen to the instruments used in Kabuki or to the voice of an enthusiastic fan.
MAKE UP Watch how an "Onnagata" transforms himself into a beautiful woman.
ALL ABOUT KABUKI Articles on Kabuki's history, summaries and explanations of major plays, an index of Kabuki related books & movies, and so on.

For more information, please send mail to Kabuki Master
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All English text copyright Matthew Johnson, 1995