Monday, November 22, 2010


A couple of weeks ago, Zack and I were able to see a kabuki play in Ina, a city about an hour away from where we live.  We met up with some people that we met last year in that area and went to the tiny theater.  It wasn't considered "real" kabuki, according to the English-speaking Japanese people that we sat with, because it didn't have the insanely expensive costumes and elaborate sets that the top-end shows in Tokyo have.

I really didn't know what was going on, but I enjoyed myself.  Most Japanese people can't understand kabuki either.  It's sort of like their equivalent of a Shakespearean play: the language is so archaic that it's easy to get confused without some sort of plot synopsis in front of you (unless you're already familiar with the play).  The shows in Tokyo have headphones that tell you about the scenes in modern Japanese.

Kabuki traditionally features an all-male cast, but this troupe had a little girl on stage, too.
Apparently, the little girl and her mother were left outside in the snow near a little house.

There were gods and old people living in the house.

These gods appear to be upset about something...I have no idea what.

The whole cast.

I find traditional theater fascinating. We saw a Legong dance in Bali, and even though I didn't really understand it either, I could still appreciate it. It's one aspect of the artistic part of a culture. One thing that Japan does right is keep its ancient traditions alive, even in the face of modernization and westernization.

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