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Kabuki – Japanese Drama

Kabuki is a 400 year old traditional Japanese art form.  It is considered classical theater but watching Kabuki is rarely a staid affair.  Originally created by women, since 1629 men have played all of the major roles in a Kabuki drama.  They wear elaborate makeup and costumes and utilize skills taught to them by their fathers and Grandfathers. One of the most recognizable parts of a Kabuki play is the mie, where an actor gyrates his head abruptly, stops completely, and faces the audience, freezing in position for just a moment.  At this point the audience will cheer and you will get caught up in the wonder of Kabuki!

Kabuki can be an all day affair or you can just stop by or one act.  Each act has its own distinct story line and is a play unto itself so it is not necessary to watch each act.  The May program at Kabuki-za Theater includes a fantastical story about two feuding warriors who run into each other by accident, a dance number about five men who are all in love with the same woman, a fight between a commoner and a samurai warrior and a story about five thieves and a cross-dresser.  I think that means there is something for everyone in May at Kabuki-za Theater?

Seeing Kabuki will definitely be one of the highlights of any trip to Tokyo and even the kids will enjoy it!  Programs change throughout the year so check the Kabuki-za Theater website if you are unable to attend the May 2008 performances.

Event Details:

Location: Kabuki-za Theater, near Higashi-Ginza Station on the Hibiya or Toei Asakusa lines (map).
Dates: May Grand Kabuki (May 2 – 26, 2008).
Times: Matinee starts at 11AM and the Evening performance starts at 4:30PM (both shows are different – see program).
Ticket Prices:  From Y2,500 for Makumi (single act – limited to first 150 people) to Y17,000 for a first floor box seat  If you purchase a Makumi ticket and want to stay longer, you may upgrade at the box office. (ticket information & facility map).
Earphones(highly recommended): Rental Cost is Y400 for Makumi or Y650 for other tickets plus a Y1,000 deposit (detail).

 Photo Credit:  Wikipedia, Kabuki-makeup.PNG & Flickr, kabuki theater