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Kabuki
Kabuki is a form of traditional Japanese theater known for its highly melodramatic performances mostly about historical events, by actors in extravagant makeup and costumes. This art form originated from the Edo period as the popular culture of the masses in contrast to noh, an older art form which was targeted towards higher social classes.

Though the beginnings of kabuki originate from a new style of dance drama performed by a female shrine attendant, since the Tokugawa shogunate forbade the appearance of women in these performances, the restriction is still present with the all-male cast where there are actors that specialize in onnagata (female roles).

Kabuki is truly a theatrical spectacle, but the traditional language that is spoken by actors is difficult to comprehend even for native Japanese speakers since most plays were written during the 17th to 18th century. The actors perform accompanied by traditional Japanese instruments like the shamisen (three-stringed instrument) on a technologically sophisticated mawari-butai (revolving stage) equipped with seri (trapped doors) and other innovations. The most distinct characteristic of the kabuki stage is the hanamichi, a walkway that extends into the audience where actors make dramatic entrances and exits.

The most optimal place for sampling kabuki is the Kabukiza Theater in Tokyo, with affordable tickets where you can enjoy a single part of the performance. There are also English programs and earphone guides available that provides explanations for the plot, music, actors, and various features of kabuki. Make sure to observe the audience shout out the names of actors during short pauses. The timing needs to be exact so beware if planning to join in.
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