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What Is Kabuki? Meaning Of The Classical Japanese Dance-Drama

KABUKI – In this topic, we will now know and discuss the meaning of this classical Japanese dance-drama called the Kabuki theatre.

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What is Kabuki?

It is a classical dance-drama in Japan. It is known for its styled drama and the elaborate make-up worn by its performers.

The individual characters that constitute its name ( 歌舞伎 ) means sing, dance and skill, respectively. However, these are ateji characters that do not describe the actual meaning.

The term is derived from the verb “kabuku” which means “to learn” or “to be out of the ordinary”, hence, it can be interpreted as “avant-garde or bizzare.

The Japanese expression kabukimono or 歌舞伎者 refers to the performers who are bizarrely dressed. The term also translates to “strange things” or “the crazy ones”.

The stage of this dance-drama has a projection called “flower path” or hanamichi, which is a walkway that extends into audience. Here is where dramatic entrance and exits are performed. The hanamichi is where important scenses are also played.

The dance-drama is performed in full-day programs. The play would take a usual day to finish rather than 2 to hours like the usual modern Western-style theater.

The dance-drama is declared as an intangible heritage possessing outstanding universal value in UNESCO. Here is an example of the performance by the official UNESCO YouTube channel:

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