What is Kabuki ?

What is Kabuki ?

Kabuki is a traditional form of Japanese theatre that began in the 17th century, as a form of popular culture for the masses. Known for its dramatic poses and plots, as well as lavish costumes and make-up, it has been inscribed in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. While actors are usually men, Komatsu’s Children’s Kabuki are unique in being performed by young girls instead, although boys have recently been accepted.

Otabi Festival

The best way to learn about Komatsu’s rich kabuki culture is to attend one of our kabuki festivals in May. But if you can’t, MIYOSSA is the next best place: a gallery that conveys scenes of the kabuki festivals through videos and rotating exhibits. The highlight are the majestically-displayed hikiyama floats! Iconic of the Otabi Festival where they are used as stages for the children’s kabuki plays, they are usually only brought out of storage during the festival season. But two of them are specially exhibited year-round in Miyossa!
A rare chance to admire the superior and sophisticated workmanship and exquisite forms up close.

Accompanying that are a variety of kabuki-related experiential activities, where you can try your hand at kabuki makeup, traditional instruments and many more.

  • Kanjincho Museum

    Kanjincho Museum

    Given a fresh new look in July 2020, a museum about Kanjincho, a legendary historical episode which took place in the adjacent Ataka-no-seki Barrier Ruins and was turned into one of Japan’s “18 Best Kabuki Plays”. Now, you can not only read about both the history of the play and Komatsu’s vibrant kabuki tradition, but also admire the actual costumes, attend a virtual theater, and have fun at the interactive corner “trying” on costumes, make-up and your own kabuki poses!

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  • URARA Theater

    URARA Theater

    The main kabuki theater in Komatsu, where both citizens and big-name kabuki stars like Ichikawa Danjuro regularly perform. The venue for the Japan Children’s Kabuki Festival in May.