Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Kabuki

Today i once again have no photos - but i actually did go somewhere. To Ginza in fact - to see kabuki for the first time. Kabuki is like traditional Japanese theatre - and the stories are mainly (or maybe all) based in the Edo period which is from the early 1600s to the mid 1800s. The other interesting thing about kabuki is all the roles are played by men - in fact there are 'onnagata' who are the men who specialise in playing the female roles.

The costumes and stuff are really traditional Japanese kimono style... As as for the music, it's quite sparse - consisting of like maybe one or two shamisens (these japanese lute things) and a tsuzumi (the japanese drum that goes "pon" in the very japanese sort of way). Which in a way is good - because it lets you hear the actors i suppose.

Ben and I got english headset things which told us what was going on - i'm glad we did because i don't think i would have understood more than ten percent of what was being said. A lot of it is very old japanese or else in a different dialect. The session we attended went from 4.30 till 8.30 so if you don't understand it's gonna be pretty tough to sit there wide awake :) There were intermissions between plays of course (we saw a total of three) but the combination of dim lighting, lack of sound a lot of the time and a lack of understanding will go a long way towards putting most ppl into dreamland i think :)

I don't know if i'd say i really like kabuki after having gone ... but it's worth doing at least once i think. It was quite interesting just seeing what traditional japanese theatre over here is like. It's very much an older-person activity. Other than ourselves, I saw about 3 other people under 40 there i think. In fact, Kyoko (one of Ben's Japanese friends from Keio) who came with us was also there for the first time. Still - if you're into Japanese culture it's one of the most 'Japanese' things to go and see...

2 comments:

liang said...

AGE! OMFG for the last 6mths i thought ur blog was http://whelpy.blogspot.com/
andi was checking it regurly n thinking... wtf?
well shit, i hear u finally comming back and im only starting to read of u adventures....
just finished reading ur september post, and i was laughing at ur badminton experience lol... oh well catch ya soon...

hwangus said...

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