I have just added some stuff to my earlier post about Japan.
While in Japan we decided we would like to experience Japanese theater the easiest to understand is Kabuki: it is dramatic, colourful and the plots are easy to comprehend if you don’t speak the language. Going to a Kabuki theater is an experience in itself, the performances can last 3 or 4 hours and the audience take lunch into the theater with them and often give voice to shouts of appreciation during the performance. It is possible to buy cheap tickets (in the gods) for a single act which is what we did and while the story escapes me now, I do remember the acting and costumes.
Kabuki is a popular theater form in Japan and developed in the early 1600’s as risque dances performed by all female troops. The Shogun then banned women from performing because of Kabuki’s association with prostitutes but the young men who replaced them were no better and eventually Kabuki actors were mainly older men, which is what they are today, with some specializing in female roles (“onnagata“).
It became a more serious form of theater in the late 1700’s when Kabuki was cultivated by the merchant class, it gave a theatrical interpretation of city life and the tensions between samurai, merchants and peasants. Today it gives you a view of this life. You may have seen posters of some of the actors in Kabuki, if you look at the photograph you will see a poster of a Kabuki actor displayed on the left. We very much enjoyed our experience.