Kabuki is the most well-known Japanese theatrical art. They say it was started in Kyoto by Okuni, originally a maiden of Izumo Shinto Shrine. But as kabuki became very popular in Kyoto, courtesans in pleasure quarters began to copy Okuni’s kabuki to attract more customers, and the shogunate government, afraid it would corrupt the morals of the people, decided to prohibit women from performing. Since then, kabuki has only been performed by males, who play both the male and female roles. Kabuki is an all-round theatrical art consisting of music, dance and acting.

Kabuki theaters have unique features like revolving stages for quick scene changes, trapdoors in the floor from which actors appear, and extended passages through the audience to make actors’ entrances and exits more impressive. Actors wear uniquely exaggerated make-up calld kummadori which helps to express their characters.

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