Invitation to Kabuki - Guidance for Kabuki appreciation
Expression in Kabuki
Expression of scenes
Kabuki scenes are expressed by the extensive use of Odogu (stage sets), Kodogu (props), the sound effects and music called Geza-ongaku, and stage mechanisms. A general explanation of the key points of various techniques and items used to express the situation is each scene, is given here.
 
To "Expression of various scenes"
 
Stage sets
 
 
Stage set items in Kabuki include Kakiwari on which scenery is drawn, Yatai which are sections of buildings, rock assemblies, and trees.
The distinctions of Kakiwari are that the scenery is drawn as plane figures, and the pictorial beauty of Kakiwari when it is placed on stage is considered more important than reality. The distinction of Yatai is that it is created in several separate parts for smooth scene changing. Also, after one month's performances have ended, the Yatai is disassembled; therefore Yatai are not made any stronger than necessary.
Shibaigokoro is considered essential for the production of stage sets for Kabuki. Shibaigokoro in this case means to correctly understand the content of the scenario, and also to understand the dramatic techniques for all scenes. When the use of colors and the methods of decorating the stage are supported by Shibaigokoro, the stage set harmonizes with the actors' performances and with the Geza-ongaku, and becomes a major element in conveying a realistic feeling of the scene to audiences.
 
Props
The realistic feeling is emphasized by Dedogu, props already in place as part of the stage setting when the curtain rises. Dedogu are divided into Hommono (real things) actually used daily, and Koshiraemono (created things) especially made to show up effectively on stage.
Using Hommono appropriate to the scene expresses "Sono bamen rashisa" (realistic feeling making it look the way that scene should). For instance, Dedogu such as furniture and tableware in scenes set in buke yashiki (samurai residences) and those in scenes set in common people's houses in towns, are not the same. Dedogu suitable for the social status of each type of residence are used.
Koshiraemono also include Shikakemono (mechanism props) such as the Toitagaeshi (flip-over wooden door) used in "Tokaido yotsuya kaidan" and Kowaremono (breakables) such as plates and sambo (small wooden stands) that are broken on stage. These are made with exaggeration, and work more effectively on stage than real things.
 
> Representative repertoire items: "Tokaido yotsuya kaidan"
 
Geza-ongaku
There are said to be more than 800 varieties of Geza-ongaku. The scenes in which each song or type of music is performed are stereotyped to a certain degree. For instance, the Aikata (shamisen music without song) called "Zen no tsutome" is played for places connected with temples and for lonesome scenes, the Aikata called "Sugagaki" is played for scenes set in the Yoshiwara [licensed prostitution area] and "Zaigo-uta" is sung for countryside and farm house scenes.
However, the tempo and stress of musical performance is determined in accordance with the scene on stage.
 
 
 
To "Expression of various scenes"