Kabuki and Kyogen

. Legends about Kyogen 狂言 .

Kabuki Theater ... 歌舞伎

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Various, see below
***** Category: Humanity


An Introduction to Kabuki
Ryohei Matsuda

The word "kabuki" is usually written with three Chinese characters:
ka (songs), bu (dance), and ki (skills). But it actually derives from the classical Japanese verb kabuki meaning "to incline." It also carries the meaning of something eccentric or deviating from the norm.

The action in kabuki plays commonly revolves around Buddhist notions such as the law of retributive justice and the impermanence of things. Confucian traditions of duty, obligation, and filial piety are also expressed on stage.

Historically, kabuki performances have been "off-beat," employing flamboyant costumes, elaborate makeup, and exaggerated body movements to create a sense of the spectacular. This may sound strange to those who imagine that Japanese people highly value harmony and conformity in society. It is ironic that many Japanese people take pride in kabuki as being one of Japan's cultural treasures, but similar eccentric behavior in actual life is highly disapproved of.

Read the full story HERE !
© Ryohei Matsuda

. . . . .

Invitation to Kabuki
Guidance for Kabuki Appreciation

source : unesco/kabuki

Ronald Cavaye explains Kabuki
歌舞伎美人 kabukibito
source : www.kabuki-bito.jp

. WKD : Edo Sanza 江戸三座
the three famous Kabuki theaters of Edo .


Actor Arashi Kitsusaburo I (Rikan)
in the dressing room mirror, with wigs and makeup for various roles"
Shunkōsai Hokushū 春好斎北洲 Shunkosai Hokushu (at.1809-1832)


Kyogen, kyoogen 狂言

CLICK for more photos !Kyogen (literally "mad words" or "wild speech") is a form of traditional Japanese theater. It developed alongside noh, was performed along with noh as an intermission of sorts between noh acts, and retains close links to noh in the modern day; therefore, it is sometimes designated noh-kyogen. However, its content is not at all similar to the formal, symbolic, and solemn noh theater; kyogen is a comical form, and its primary goal is to make its audience laugh.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

aikyoogen, ai-kyoogen 間狂言 interlude
between two parts of a Noh play

chaban, chaban kyoogen 茶番狂言 Chaban Kyogen performance
The lower actors had to prepare tea for their elders, and this has been made into a theabar performance.

. Legends about Kyogen 狂言 .


。。。。。 kigo for early spring

hatsu-uma kyoogen 初午狂言(はつうまきょうげん)
Kyogen on the first day of the horse in the new year

. first day of the horse, hatsu uma 初午
and the Inari cult


。。。。。 kigo for late spring

Kyogen in March, yayoi kyoogen
弥生狂言 (やよいきょうげん)

..... sangatsu kyoogen 三月狂言(さんがつきょうげん)
a term used in Edo
..... san no kawari 三の替り(さんのかわり)
a term used in Osaka and Kamigata

The most popular performances in this season were "Sukeroku", "Kagamiyama Kokyô no Nishikie"" and "Sendai Hagi".


. Mibu Kyoogen 壬生狂言(みぶきょうげん)
Amida Buddha Prayer Kyogen at temple Mibudera
One of the three famous prayer kyogen.

. . . . .

CLICK for more photos

Nagahama Hikiyama Kyoogen

Nagahama Kyogen performance on festival floats
Nagahama hikiyama matsuri 長浜曳山祭 (ながはまひきやままつり)
Nagahama float festival
April 14 to 24

Nagahama is an old town on the shores of Lake Biwa.
The festival dates back to the time of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who after many years finally became a proud father of a son. He presented gold dust to the villagers of Nagahama, where he lived at that time. The villagers used the gold dust to decorate their festival floats (hikiyama).
The estival floates have children from 5 to 12 years in bright costumes on board, who perform comic performances (kyoogen). The floats are carried around town and to the shrine Hachimangu.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

. Shagiri Music at Nagahama Hikiyama Festival おしゃぎり

. . . . .

. Saga Dainenbutsu Kyoogen
Amida Buddha Prayer Kyogen

at the Shakado hall of temple Seiryo-Ji,Saga, Kyoto 
One of the three famous prayer kyogen.


kigo for early summer

Enmadoo dainenbutsu 閻魔堂大念仏 (えんまどうだいねんぶつ)
Amida prayer nenbutsu at the temple hall Enmado
Enmadoo kyoogen 閻魔堂狂言(えんまどうきょうげん)
senbon dainenbutsu 千本大念仏(せんぼんだいねんぶつ)
One of the three famous prayer kyogen.
. Emma (Enma ten, Enma Oo) 閻魔天、閻魔王
The King of Hell


kigo for mid-summer

Satsuki kyoogen 五月狂言 (さつききょうげん)
Kyogen in the fifth lunar month

..... 皐月狂言(さつききょうげん)
. ..... Soga matsuri 曽我祭(そがまつり)
festival of the Soga brothers

. Takigi Noo, takiginoo 薪能 Noh-Performance at night
takigi sarugaku 薪猿楽(たきぎさるがく)
.... shiba noo芝能(しばのう)Noh on the lawn
wakamiy noo 若宮能(わかみやのう) Noh at a Wakamiya shrine


kigo for late summer

CLICK for more photos
mizukyoogen, mizu kyoogen 水狂言 (みずきょうげん)
"water kyogen"

..... mizugei 水芸(みずげい) tricks with water, performances
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

natsushibai, natsu shibai 夏芝居 (なつしばい)
summer performance
..... doyoo shibai 土用芝居(どようしばい)performance during the dog days
natsu kyoogen 夏狂言(なつきょうげん) summer kyogen
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

CLICK for more photos

kiraigoo 鬼来迎 (きらいごう) "Welcoming the Demons"
..... Oni Mai 鬼舞(おにまい)"Demon's Dance"
Bon-Kyogen performed on the 16th of July, at the temple Hoozaiji 広済寺 in Chiba.
It is performed by the lay people of the parish.


 kigo for early autumn

bon kyoogen 盆狂言 (ぼんきょうげん )
kyogen during the O-Bon ancestor festival
..... bon shibai 初秋 盆芝居(ぼんしばい)Bon-performance
..... bongaeri, bon-gaeri 盆替り(ぼんがわり)


kigo for mid-autumn

aki kyoogen 秋狂言 (あききょうげん)
autumn kyogen
kugatsu kyoogen 九月狂言(くがつきょうげん)kyogen in september
..... nagori kyoogen 名残狂言(なごりきょうげん)
kugatsu shibai 九月芝居(くがつしばい)performance in september

Onagori Kyogen "Farewell Performances"
a term used in kabuki parlance for performances given by actors during the ninth and tenth months, corresponding to the last part of the theatrical year before some actors were scheduled to go on tour in other cities for the next season.

Related terminology could sometimes be complicated. Actors departing Osaka for Edo were referred to as kudari yakusha ("going-down actors"). When actors took the opposite route for their tours and left Edo for Kamigata (the Osaka-Kyoto region), they were, in Kamigata, referred to as nobori yakusha ("actors going up to the capital") or 'Edo nobori' ("going up to the capital from Edo"), although in Edo they were called agari yakusha ("going-up actors").

Terminology for onagori kyôgen also varied, as in Edo these plays were occasionally called aki kyôgen ("autumn plays") or kikuzuki kyôgen ("chrysanthemum-month plays") because they coincided with the Chrysanthemum Festival (ninth day of the ninth month to the fifteenth day of the tenth month). Typically such performances included episodes from popular roles as well as dances created for the special occasions. Other plays that were commonly found in onagori kyôgen included those involving kowakare or 'child separation' scenes in which a parent was forced to abandon a child, a choice of subject obviously linked to the sadness felt by theater fans who were forced to say farewell to their favorite actor before his journey.

Read more HERE


kigo for late autumn

ji shibai, jishibai 地芝居 (じしばい) local performance
..... mura shibai 村芝居(むらしばい)performance in the village
... mura kabuki 村歌舞伎(むらかぶき)village kabuki
... jikyooten, ji kyoogen 地狂言(じきょうげん) village kyogen
(See the link above for details)


observance kigo for mid-winter

. Kaomise 顔見世 "Showing the Faces" .
Seasonal debut of the Kabuki Theater actors
..... Tsuramise 面見世
..... Ashi zoroe 足揃 actors' lineup

shibai shoogatsu 芝居正月(しばいしょうがつ)New Year Performance
Kabuki shoogatsu 歌舞伎正月(かぶきしょうがつ) Kabuki New Year


 kigo for the New Year
(some are listed for spring)

初芝居 Hatsu Shibai, First Kabuki Theater Performance
..... ni no kae, ni no kawari 二の替
..... First Kyogen, hatsuharu kyoogen 初春狂言, spring performance, haru shibai 春芝居
..... First Soga Performance, hatsu soga 初曽我
(The Revenge Story of the Soga Brothers 曾我物語 and Lady Tora 虎御前)


. Doing Business in Edo - 江戸の商売 .

senjimono uri 煎物売 The Tea Seller
senjimono 煎物  is a medicinal drink and
the name of a Kyogen play "The Tea Seller".
This seller is disturbing the Gion Matsuri festival rehearsals.
He mimics a dance with a little double-headed drum (kakko (羯鼓 or 鞨鼓) .


DANJURO XII in an interview with the Japan Times:

Freedom is fine; but I get the feeling that many modern-day Japanese have forgotten that freedom comes with responsibility. This concept is found in kabuki, so people who come to watch it will be exposed to the responsibility of freedom as well as freedom's limits.

Think of freedom as a dog that feels free to run around a fenced garden. It feels satisfied because it is not stuck in the house, even though it doesn't have the freedom to go outside the garden. Freedom exists inside the garden as well as outside.
But there is a barrier.
Nowadays, there is no such barrier.
I think kabuki expresses the freedom that exists within a barrier.

Read the full interview in our libraty:
Destined to act wild


In 2007, NHK introduces some
Kabuki from Osaka, kamigata kabuki 上方歌舞伎

A word of advise from the first Sakata Tojuro

(Sakata Toojuuroo 坂田藤十郎)

miburi wa kokoro no amari ni shite

posture, gesture must come from the overflowing heart .

In Osaka Kabuki, the main actor wears a robe made of paper, kamiko 紙衣. This does not flow naturally around the body and the actor has to make extra efforts to show a natural pose.


painting of the face, kumadori 隈取
make-up used in the Kabuki theatre.

External LINK with some samples

. Cats and Daruma with Kumadori ! .

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

Kabuki Daruma 歌舞伎だるま !!!!!

. Nomura Mansai 野村萬斎 (1966 - ) .
playing Abe no Seimei 阿倍晴明 (921 - 1005)


kaomise ya otozure hayaki kyoo no yuki

showing of faces -
an early visitor was
the snow in Kyoto
Kubota Mantaroo 久保田万太郎
(Tr. Gabi Greve)


kaomise no uwasa mo tooshi Saga zumai

the rumors of first showing faces,
they are so far away ...
living in Saga
Ooshima Tamiroo 大島民郎
(Tr. Gabi Greve)


Minamiza no kaomise chikashi yasuke zushi

Iwashiro Noriko 岩城のり子


kaomise ya kyoo ni orireba Kyoo kotoba

first show of faces -
getting off the train in Kyoto
they speak Kyoto dialect
Hashimono Takako 橋本多佳子
(Tr. Gabi Greve)


waga sumishi meiji no yo nari hatsu shibai  

the world turned Meiji
where I now live in -
first Kabuki performance

Takahama Kyoshi 高浜虚子
(Tr. Gabi Greve)


chaya e yuku watari no yuki ya hatsu shibai

first Kabuki performance !
the snow has piled up
to the tea house  

Kubota Mantaroo 久保田万太郎
(Tr. Gabi Greve)

The tea house was a place where the visitors would have a cup before going to the theater.


kunimoto no haha ga kite-ite nino kawari     

Tomiyasu Fuusei 富安風生


"ki" no irite hikishimaru hi ya hatsushibai)

Mizuhara Shuoshi (1892 - 1981)水原秋櫻子


Kabuki actor and Haiku poet

Nakamura Tomijuuro 初代中村富十郎 1719 - August 3, 1786
Musume Dojoji 娘道成寺

. Nakamura Kanzaburo 中村 勘三郎 .
1955 – 2012
and the Nakamura-Za in Sakai 堺町, Edo

Related words

***** Ceremonies of Japan

***** Kuromori Kabuki 黒森歌舞伎

***** . Irumagawa 入間川 River Iruma - Kyogen .

***** Paper clothing, paper robes (kamiko)



- #kyogen #kabuki #kyoogen -


anonymous BOOK said...

Costumes du théâtre japonais
Catalogue de l'exposition bilingue français-anglais


Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

Matsuo Basho, 1688 -

hana ayame ichiya ni kareshi Motome kana

this Ayame iris
has withered over night
like actor Motome . . .

about Yoshioka Motome 吉岡求馬

and Yamatoya Jinbei 大和屋甚兵衛


Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Kabuki performance and votive plaque


Futatsu chocho kuruwa nikki - Two butterflies of the licensed quarter

at temple Choomeiji 長命寺 Chomei-Ji , Nerima, Tokyo

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Dondoro Taishi どんどろ大師 Dondoro Daishi - Osaka

"Keisei Awa no Naruto" was a 10-act drama
Meiji Era Kabuki:
Three Shintomiza Tsuji Banzuke

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Tooyama 遠山景元 Toyama Saemon no Jo Kagemoto
(1793 – 1855)
Toyama no Kinsan -

His father had adopted another boy of the family for his heir, so Kinshiro in his youth had no prospects for a good future and spent a lot of time in the pleasure quarters of Edo.
During that time he might have acquired some tatoo like the men of the city used to favor.
Only when the family heir died at an early age Kagemoto became the head of the family and started his career as a governor of Edo.

When his superior Mizuno tried to relocate the three Kabuki theaters to a far-away location, Toyama intervened on behalf of the people, since Kabuki was one of their few leisure activities at that time in Edo.

His real fame came later, when the Kabuki world was paying him back for his benevolence with a play in the Meiji area and the kodan story tellers took up the subject.
And with the advent of TV series and movies, he became a real star in Japan.

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Jitsuroku Sendai Hagi 実録先代萩
Hototogisu Date no Kikigaki 早苗鳥伊達聞書
the story of
Harada Kai Munesuke 原田甲斐 宗輔

(元和5年(1619年) - 寛文11年3月27日(1671年5月6日))
(1619 - 1671)
Date Sōdō 伊達騒動 Date Sodo - Date Disturbance

Gabi Greve said...

因幡堂狂言 Inaba Kyogen
因幡堂 平等寺 Inaba-Do Byodo-Ji - Kyoto
The origin of temple Byoodooji 平等寺 Byodo-Ji is referred to in "Inabado Engi" (Legends of the Inaba-Do)
included in 山城名勝志 Yamashiro Meisho Shi "Annals of Yamashiro's picturesque sites" and 因幡堂縁起絵巻 Inabado engi-emaki "picture scroll of legends of the Inabado" .

728 Inabado-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto

Gabi Greve said...

onnagata 女形 female Kabuki actors

Yoshizawa Ayame I (初代 吉沢 菖蒲)
(1673-15 July 1729)

Yamashita Kinsaku II 山下金作 - Nakamura Handayû

. Bando Tamasaburo 坂東玉三郎 . - (1950 - )

Gabi Greve said...

Kabuki Costume
by Ruth M Shaver (Author)

The attire of the feudal lords and ladies of old Japan, warriors, priest, courtesans, Edo-period dandies geisha, footmen, farmers— in fact, the whole array of Kabuki's colorful characters-is discussed in fascinating detail in this Japanese Kabuki book.

From kimono and armor to undergarments, from wigs to foot gear, from swords to hair garments—no aspect of costume accessories is overlooked. Textiles and textile designs, in all their profusion of weaves, colors, and patterns, are carefully taken note of, and a number of important traditional designs are illustrate. Make-up and headdress varying formats of costume for specific roles, styles of tying the obi—all are expertly described.

Of the numerous books in English dealing with the Kabuki theater of Japan, none so far has devoted itself exclusively to costume. Kabuki is compelling bringing about such art forms, yet it is the costumes that create the intrinsic, eye catching spectacle.
. amazon com. and ro read at - google books

Gabi Greve said...

Kajiwara Heizô Homare no Ishikiri 梶原平三誉石切
石切梶原 ー Kabuki


Gabi Greve said...

Hikosan Gongen Chikai no Sukedachi  彦山権現誓助剣
Kabuki play
Hikosan  英彦山 / 彦山 Hikosan Shrines, Fukuoka and Oita

Gabi Greve said...

naganaga to seppuku no ba ya natsu shibai

the Seppuku scene
is just soooo long . . .
Kabuki summer performance

Ooki Amari 大木あまり Oki Amari (1941 - )
More about Seppuku ritual suicide

Gabi Greve said...

Edo Tsukiji 築地 and Kabuki  

Gabi Greve said...

all about Kabuki . .
by Samuel L. Leiter, on Kabuki Woogie
"The First Kabuki-za"
Chapter 15: 1901 (Meiji 34)

Gabi Greve said...

oni kyoogen 鬼狂言 Oni Kyogen - Demon Kyogen performance
A story about the strong man, Asahina

The Oni eventually have to let him go out of hell and onto 極楽 Gokuraku, the Buddhist Paradise.

Gabi Greve said...

bukitcho na kasumigaseki no kyoogenshi

the Kyogen performer
from Kasumigaseki is just
so awkward

山本敏倖 Yamamoto Binko
- Tr. Gabi Greve
More about Kasumigaseki in Edo

Gabi Greve said...

. kiraigoo 鬼来迎 (きらいごう) "Welcoming the Demons" .
kigo for late summer
..... Oni Mai 鬼舞"Demon's Dance"
Bon-Kyogen performed on the 16th of July, at the temple Hoozaiji 広済寺 in Chiba.

- - - - - 御来迎

御来迎三角点を照らしそむ 岩崎照子
御来迎人々数珠を揉みにけり 野村泊月
御来迎地球卵を生む如し 山中みね子
御来迎天上に音なかりけり 中島月笠
御来迎天界の露降り尽す 大谷碧雲居
御来迎山伏ら身に塩し待つ 西田浩洋
御来迎待つ頂きを分け合へり 岡島礁雨
御来迎御嶽行者ひきもきらず 福田蓼汀 山火
御来迎消え現身に戻りけり 毛笠静風
御来迎涼しきまでに燃ゆるかな 大谷碧雲居
御来迎禰宜の烏帽子を染めにけり 福田蓼汀 山火
御来迎草鞋ばきの禰宜祈る 福田蓼汀 山火
御来迎雲逡巡といろづき来 阿波野青畝
御来迎霧氷一片だに散らず 岡田貞峰

生涯にこの朝あり御来迎 野村泊月
茣蓙を著てすつくと立てり御来迎 田中蛇々子
見つめ待ちをる御来迎遂になく 斎藤 幸一
一夫妻手をにぎりあひ御来光 森田峠

円虹に立ち向ひたる巌かな 野村泊月
円虹の中に吾が影手振れば振る 蓼汀
円虹の中登り来る列のあり 勝俣泰享
円虹の名残ともなほ幽かなる 桑田青虎
円虹や眼下に峯の影のびて 本多 勝彦
円虹や離島への旅弾みたる 桑田青虎

御来光いま金髪をかゞやかす 森田峠 逆瀬川以後
御来光ひとかたまりとなり待てる 森田峠 避暑散歩
御来光わが細き影生まれけり 北さとり
御来光待つ岩蔭も飯噴ける 望月たかし
御来光禰宜の烏帽子を染めにけリ 福田蓼汀

海原の円虹神のはかりごと 桑田青虎
立山にあつまる雲や御来光 河北斜陽
這松に雫ひかりぬ御来光 高尾真琴
雲海の波の穂はしる御来光 水原秋櫻子

ねまる嶺々しんかんとして御来迎 角川源義
はてしなく石落ちゆきぬ御来迎 下村梅子
一ひらの雲既に炎え御来迎 青木よしを
寝袋に覚めて待ちをり御来迎 田中子杏
山酔ひの娘とおろがみぬ御来迎 小原菁々子


Gabi Greve said...

sayaate, saya-ate 鞘当て scabbard-clashing, scabbard-collision, sheath collision
contentions in love-affairs - and a Kabuki play

Gabi Greve said...

kowairo 声色 mimicry of a voice
Mostly done about Kabuki actors.


Gabi Greve said...

Daruma and Kabuki actors
Toyohara Kunichika 豊原国周 (835-1900)