Enrich Your Knowledge of Traditional Japanese Theater

When you take a closer look, Japan is one of the world's greatest nations of performing arts. 

In this article, we will introduce 8 types of traditional theater in Japan.  Each of these forms of theater performance is very distinct and unique from the another. Just take it easy and enjoy!


* 本日大晦日に成田山新勝寺で、 口上、にらみをさせていただきます。 江戸時代より成田屋のにらみを受けると 邪気が払われ無病息災に過ごせると 言われております。 みなさまが 健康で災いなく新しい一年を過ごしていただけるよう、 精一杯勤めさせていただきます。 夜の新勝寺は雪になるかもしれないそうです。 寒い中ですので、 いらっしゃる方は暖かくしてお越しください。 #市川海老蔵 #海老蔵 #成田屋 #歌舞伎 #歌舞伎座 #初春歌舞伎公演 #新橋演舞場 #大晦日 #成田山新勝寺 #口上 #にらみ #ABKAI #ABMORI #ebizoichikawa #ebizo #kabuki #thunderparty #theater #theaterarts #Tokyo #olympic #actor #japan #classic #instagram

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Kabuki(歌舞伎) is a traditional stage drama performed exclusively by men to the accompaniment of songs and music. It is characterized by a combination of rhythmical words, dancing, elaborate costumes, and stage sets. 

You can find more informations about Kabuki on this article.


Noh(能) is a classical stage art performed mostly by men to the accompaniment of recitative chants called yokyoku and an orchestra consisting of a flute and three types of drums. It is characterized by symbolic, highly stylized acting, and elaborate masks. 


Kyogen(狂言) is a traditional comic or mime drama which reflects everyday conditions of life. In addition to being performed between the works of a Noh program as an interlude, it is also performed in its own right. 


Joruri(浄瑠璃) is a traditional narrative ballad originally accompanied by biwa and later by shamisen. Today the term usually refers to the music of the bunraku puppet theater. 


2月の文楽は3部制✨ 第1部は近松門左衛門最後の世話物、「心中宵庚申(しんじゅうよいごうしん)」⭐️ 実際にあった心中事件をもとにした作品だよ。 “心中”っていうと若いカップルのイメージがあるけど、心中したのはなんと夫婦だったんだ! 庚申待ちの前夜、大坂・生玉社の大仏勧進所で心中したお千代(ちよ)と半兵衛(はんべえ)。 どうして二人は心中しなければならなかったのかな? その理由は国立劇場2月文楽公演で! #国立劇場 #くろごちゃん #心中宵庚申 #生國魂神社 #生玉さん #庚申待ち #近松門左衛門 #文楽 #文楽みたよ #伝統芸能 #bunraku #nationaltheatre #tokyo #japan #cooljapan

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Bunraku(文楽) is a classical puppet play performed to the accompaniment of narrative ballads known as joruri. Its charm lies in the harmony of skilled puppeteers and the voices of the joruri singer. 


Gagaku(雅楽) is a genre of the ancient ceremonial dances and music of the Imperial Court. The term bugaku refers to the dances, while kangen refers to the music performed by an ensemble of wind, string, and percussion instruments. 


Rakugo(落語) is a funny story usually told by a professional storyteller at a variety hall or on TV. Themes are usually humorous incidents from daily life in the Edo period(1603-1868).


Enka(演歌) is a type of music characterized by sentimental ballads of love, broken hearts, parting, and home. Like country music in the U.S., enka has a distinctive melodic and singing style. Enka is especially popular among older age groups. 

You can find more informations about Enka on this article.

Explore the rich cultural history and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Japan through there traditional theater! 

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Koki Miyashita

Author & Editor