Explore the mesmerizing world of this over 400-year-old Japanese theater, in which dazzling spectacle mingles with lyrical music, heart-stopping drama, and exquisite dance. Here, brought to life with numerous videos and stills, are the history, conventions, and artistry of Kabuki, with its kimono-clad world of samurai, geisha, topknots, pleasure quarters, fiefdoms, and swordplay.
Immerse yourself in a lecture explaining the conventions and play types of Noh, once the ceremonial performing art of the samurai class. Discover the extraordinary beauties of its museum-quality costumes, exquisitely carved masks, haunting dance and reverberant chant, choral accompaniment, and ritualized theatricality.
From theater acted by “riverbed beggars” to national theater and world renown.
Audience runways (hanamichi), elevator traps (seri), and revolving stages (mawari butai): you ain’t seen nothing yet!
Seduction, loyalty, betrayal, jealousy, sacrifice, and suicide, in plays and dances (buyō) set either in the distant past (jidaimono) or the Edo period itself (sewamono).
Rough, gentle, grandiose, and gritty, including men playing female roles (onnagata). Mie poses, tachimawari fighting, kumadori makeup, aragoto power, wagoto delicacy: it’s all here.
Immerse yourself in a lecture explaining the conventions and play types of Noh, once the ceremonial performing art of the samurai class. Discover the extraordinary beauties of its museum-quality costumes, exquisitely carved masks, haunting dance and reverberant chant, choral accompaniment, and ritualized theatricality.Watch Now3
From the seeds planted in sarugaku by Kan’ami and Zeami in the 14th century to the 21st-century world of nohgaku.
“Dream plays” (mugen noh) and “present time plays” (genzai noh): learn the difference.
Gods, warriors, women, “miscellaneous,” and “closing”: introducing the five chief play groupings.
Hayashi, fue, kotsuzumi, ōtsuzumi, taikō: the building blocks of noh music.
Travel with us on Japanese theatre’s journey from its premodern roots (noh, kyōgen, kabuki) into the modern world. See how the transitional form of shinpa bled into the absorption of all the “isms” of Western drama, in translation, adaptation, and original Japanese work, up to the blossoming of modern and postmodern native iterations. What role did Shakespeare play? How did the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923, World War II, or the Japanese Economic Miracle influence the theatre? What effect did political activism have on playwriting and performance? What is Japan’s modern theatre like today?
Japan opens its doors and the West floods in, transforming the nation from to bottom. Theatrical “reform” a priority.
1923: Tokyo destroyed. 1931-1945: Japan’s 15-year war. Destruction/political repression. What price freedom of speech?
Turbulent times: theater as a site of cultural contestation, political protest, and artistic experimentation. The shōgekijō (“little theater”) movement.
From the Bubble to the Lost Decade: Japanese theater during economic high times and the ensuing crash.