Invitation to Kabuki - Guidance for Kabuki appreciation
History of Kabuki
Birth of kabuki - Izumo no Okuni
A description saying, "Recently, dancing called Kabuki-odori was performed. Kuni, a woman calling herself a shrine maiden from Izumo Taisha, came up to Kyo (Kyoto), dressed up in a strange-looking man's costume, and danced," remains in the historical material called Toudaiki from the year 1603. When speaking of the history of Kabuki, this woman called Kuni is generally called "Izumo no Okuni" (Okuni from Izumo).
Depiction of Okuni performing as kabukimono who enjoy chaya asobi [enjoying themselves at a house of assignation] ("Okuni kabuki zu byobu" Kyoto National Museum collection)
"Strange-looking men" in the historical material means people called "kabukimono" who did not conform to the order of society at that time. "Kabuki" is a word derived from the verb "kabuku," meaning to be eccentric or outstep the bounds of common sense.
Okuni appearing as a man by imitating the dress and makeup of kabukimono as shown in the picture, danced to depict aspects of the activities in a house of assignation. This was called "Kabuki-odori (dancing)" and became popular.

The history of Kabuki is considered to have begun with Okuni's "Kabuki-odori."