Kuromori Kabuki


Kuromori Kabuki

***** Location: Japan.Yamagata
***** Season: Early Spring
***** Category: Observance


Kuromori Kabuki 黒森歌舞伎 (くろもりかぶき )
February 15 and 17.

This is an art form which has been handed down by the farmers in southern Sakata's Kuromori district for over 250 years. The kabuki play is offered to the god at Hie Jinja (Hie Shrine  日枝神社)  every February 15 and 17.

Although none of the performers are professional kabuki actors, the play itself is fairly easy to understand (compared to Noh, for example) and the fact that most of the people watching have someone in their family on stage adds to the festive atmosphere. Although the play begins around noon you should be prepared for winter cold since the stage is outdoors.

People in some Japanese farming communities performed their own version of kabuki plays, imitating the professional theatrical groups that began in the early 16th century. The plays were performed as entertainment, of course, and as part of local festivals. Village kabuki, rural kabuki evolved in different directions, depending on the region. Today, only a few groups are still active.
© www4.ocn.ne.jp

Kuromori Kabuki : more reference

CLICK for more photos CLICK for some more photos


A popular play for village kabuki is the story of the five bandits, Shiranami Gonin Otoko. Usually the villagers mix phrases of their own life into the speaches they have to give to get some laughter from their spectators.
The second photo shows these five, each with a large umbrella.

"Shiranami gonin otoko 白波五人男" is one of the most important works by Kawatake Mokuami, who specialized in writing Shiranamimono [works with thieves as heros of the stories]. It describes the fates of 5 thieves:
Nippon Daemon, Bentenkozo Kikunosuke, Nango Rikimaru, Akaboshi Juzaburo, and Tadanobu Rihei.

CLICk for more photos "Shiranami gonin otoko" performances center around 2 scenes: 'Hamamatsuya misesaki' scene in which Bentenkozo disguised as a samurai family's daughter carries out extortion, and 'Inasegawa seizoroi' scene in which the 5 thieves meet together. In many cases only these 2 scenes are perfomed, and the title "Benten musume meo no shiranami" is used.
Since Onoe Kikugoro 5th, 19 years old at the time, achieved great success when he first performed the role of Bentenkozo in 1862, each generation of Onoe Kikugoro has played this role successfully.
Read more HERE
© Japan Arts Council

. nusutto 盗人 / ぬすっと robbers / villains of Edo .
日本左衛門 Nihon Zaemon (Nippon Saemon) / 日本駄右衛門 Nippon Daemon . . .

Nooson Kabuki : 農村歌舞伎, mura kabuki 村歌舞伎 village Kabuki

Reference: Village Kabuki

Reference: Rural Kabuki

Worldwide use

Things found on the way


Kuromori Kabuki ...
fivehundred freezing visitors
five freezing actors

Gabi Greve, February 2004

In Nagi, Okayama prefecture, close to my home in Japan, there is also an annual Village Kabuki Performance. The daughter of my neighbour married to Nagi, and they always invite us to enjoy the performance!
They are all very proud of it and love to shed tears at the moving stories of parents and children suffering in solitude ... and so forth.

Yokosen Kabuki in Nagi 横仙歌舞伎
Yokosen Kabuki in Nagi

Yokosen is a district of Nagi town. This special kabuki follows the tradition of Osaka kabuki. It is performed once in each season at a special hall built for this purpose in Nagi.

Related words

***** WKD . Kabuki and Kyogen

***** Gokoku hojo .. 五穀豊穣 (gokoku hoojoo)
Prayers for a Bountiful Harvest of the Five Grains


- #kuromorikabuki -

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