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Evolution

Stock Characters There are a lot of different stock characters that make up the world of Kabuki

We classify characters that appear in Kabuki by their gender, age, and personality; these are called stock characters. Many different people appear on the Kabuki stage, but each stock character is determined to a certain extent by their costume, makeup, wig, and the way that they perform, meaning that the audience can easily discern what kind of person has entered the story.

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Male Roles: Tachiyaku (Male Lead), Katakiyaku (Enemy)

“Kanadehon Chushingura”
Act VII: Gion Ichirikijaya scene
Oboshi Yuranosuke: Nakamura Kichiemon II
Akagaki Genzo: Bando Kamesaburo V (Bando Hikosaburo IX)
Yazama Jutaro: Bando Kametoshi (Bando Kamezo III)
Takemori Kitahachi: Nakamura Hayato
Ono Kudayu: Arashi Kitsusaburo VI

National Theatre
November 2016 Kabuki Performance

“Reigen Kameyamahoko”
Act II, Scene 2: Sunshu Abekawa Kaeriuchi scene, Act II, Scene 4: Sunshu Nakajimamura Yakiba scene
Fujita Mizuemon: Kataoka Nizaemon XV
Yahei (Ishii Gennojo): Nakamura Kinnosuke II
Todoroki Kinroku: Nakamura Kasho IV
Hachirobei (Ombo no Hachirobei): Kataoka Nizaemon XV
Otsuma: Nakamura Jakuemon V

National Theatre
October 2017 Kabuki Performance

“Kanadehon Chushingura”
Act VII: Gion Ichirikijaya scene
Oboshi Yuranosuke: Nakamura Kichiemon II
Akagaki Genzo: Bando Kamesaburo V (Bando Hikosaburo IX)
Yazama Jutaro: Bando Kametoshi (Bando Kamezo III)
Takemori Kitahachi: Nakamura Hayato
Ono Kudayu: Arashi Kitsusaburo VI

National Theatre
November 2016 Kabuki Performance

“Reigen Kameyamahoko”
Act II, Scene 2: Sunshu Abekawa Kaeriuchi scene, Act II, Scene 4: Sunshu Nakajimamura Yakiba scene
Fujita Mizuemon: Kataoka Nizaemon XV
Yahei (Ishii Gennojo): Nakamura Kinnosuke II
Todoroki Kinroku: Nakamura Kasho IV
Hachirobei (Ombo no Hachirobei): Kataoka Nizaemon XV
Otsuma: Nakamura Jakuemon V

National Theatre
October 2017 Kabuki Performance

Female Roles: Musumeyaku (Young Woman)

“Kanadehon Chushingura”
Michiyuki Tabiji no Hanamuko
Okaru: Onoe Kikunosuke V

National Theatre
November 2016 Kabuki Performance

“Kanadehon Chushingura”
Michiyuki Tabiji no Hanamuko
Okaru: Onoe Kikunosuke V

National Theatre
November 2016 Kabuki Performance

Male Roles

Tachiyaku (Male Lead)

This stock character is a good person, and is normally the lead role. The tachiyaku archetype is divided into aragoto (exaggerated style) characters, wild heroes with superhuman strength; wagoto (soft style) characters, romantic leads with an elegant and gentle bearing; and jitsugoto (serious style) characters, discerning and reliable leaders with a variety of different personalities.

Aragoto

“Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami”
Umeomaru: Nakamura Mantaro
National Theatre (Y_E0100289500536)

Wagoto

“Koibikyaku Yamato Orai”
Kameya Chubei: Onoe Kikugoro VII
National Theatre (Y_E0200029001019)

Aragoto

“Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami”
Umeomaru: Nakamura Mantaro
National Theatre (Y_E0100289500536)

Wagoto

“Koibikyaku Yamato Orai”
Kameya Chubei: Onoe Kikugoro VII
National Theatre (Y_E0200029001019)

Katakiyaku (Enemy)

This stock character is a villain whose antagonism towards the tachiyaku moves the story forward. Katakiyaku are further divided into stock characters such as the kugeaku (a wicked nobleman), the kunikuzushi who tries to seize the country, the very villainous jitsuaku who is the main character’s equal, the cruel and handsome iroaku, and the akattsura, a red-faced loveable thug.

“Meiboku Sendai Hagi”
Nikki Danjo: Nakamura Hashinosuke III (Nakamura Shikan VIII)
National Theatre (Y_E0100291500651)

“Meiboku Sendai Hagi”
Nikki Danjo: Nakamura Hashinosuke III (Nakamura Shikan VIII)
National Theatre (Y_E0100291500651)

Oyajigata (Older Man)

A middle-aged or older stock character who has an important role in the story.

“Igagoe Dochu Sugoroku”
Heisaku: Kataoka Gato V
National Theatre (Y_E0100240035014)

“Igagoe Dochu Sugoroku”
Heisaku: Kataoka Gato V
National Theatre (Y_E0100240035014)

Wakashugata (Young Man)

This beautiful adolescent stock character has a boy’s haircut with bangs, and exists to make a scene more colorful.

“Kenuki”
Kumedera Danjo: Nakamura Kinnosuke II
Hata Hidetaro: Nakamura Hayato
National Theatre (Y_E0200091500091)

“Kenuki”
Kumedera Danjo: Nakamura Kinnosuke II
Hata Hidetaro: Nakamura Hayato
National Theatre (Y_E0200091500091)

Dokegata (The Comic)

A stock character that makes the audience laugh with his strange get-ups and behavior. There is also the handogataki, who is humorous despite being a villain.

“Kanadehon Chushingura”
Sagisaka Bannai: Bando Kamesaburo V (Bando Hikosaburo IX)
National Theatre (Y_E0100300500333)

“Kanadehon Chushingura”
Sagisaka Bannai: Bando Kamesaburo V (Bando Hikosaburo IX)
National Theatre (Y_E0100300500333)

Female Roles

Musumeyaku (Young Woman)

This stock character is a young woman, and in most cases she is in love. This archetype is divided into characters such as the akahime, a naïve princess; the machi-musume, a spirited daughter living in the city; and the simple inaka-musume who lives in a farming village.

“Shinrei Yaguchi no Watashi”
Ofune: Nakamura Kazutaro
National Theatre (Y_E0200095500283)

“Shinrei Yaguchi no Watashi”
Ofune: Nakamura Kazutaro
National Theatre (Y_E0200095500283)

Nyoboyaku (Wife)

A middle-aged or older female stock character, divided into characters such as the kata-hazushi, a strong-hearted woman who serves a samurai family, and the sewa-nyobo, who is willing to make sacrifices in the name of virtue.

Kata-hazushi

“Meiboku Sendai Hagi”
Masaoka: Nakamura Utaemon VI
National Theatre (Y_E0100151000085)

Sewa-nyobo

“Keisei Hangonko”
Otoku: Sakata Tojuro IV
Matahei (Tosa no Matahei Mitsuoki): Ichikawa Danjuro XII
National Theatre (Y_E0100265500110)

Kata-hazushi

“Meiboku Sendai Hagi”
Masaoka: Nakamura Utaemon VI
National Theatre (Y_E0100151000085)

Sewa-nyobo

“Keisei Hangonko”
Otoku: Sakata Tojuro IV
Matahei (Tosa no Matahei Mitsuoki): Ichikawa Danjuro XII
National Theatre (Y_E0100265500110)

Keisei (Courtesan)

This stock character is a courtesan who is both educated and dignified. The role condenses the gorgeousness of the onnagata.

“Dannoura Kabuto Gunki”
Akoya: Bando Tamasaburo V
National Theatre (Y_E0100202000146)

“Dannoura Kabuto Gunki”
Akoya: Bando Tamasaburo V
National Theatre (Y_E0100202000146)

Akuba (Evil Woman)

A strong-willed middle-aged female stock character who will commit evil deeds for a purpose. She may display shyness in front of the man she loves.

“Musumegonomi Ukina no Yokogushi”
Otomi: Nakamura Tokizo V
National Theatre (Y_E0100289500490)

“Musumegonomi Ukina no Yokogushi”
Otomi: Nakamura Tokizo V
National Theatre (Y_E0100289500490)

Fukeoyama (Older Woman)

An older female stock character who has an important role in the story.

“Omigenji Senjinyakata”
Mimyo: Nakamura Matagoro II
National Theatre (Y_E0100168000097)

“Omigenji Senjinyakata”
Mimyo: Nakamura Matagoro II
National Theatre (Y_E0100168000097)

Onnabudo (Female Warrior)

This strong female stock character deals with difficult circumstances, fights, and has excellent martial skills.

“Hikosan Gongen Chikai no Sukedachi”
Osono: Nakamura Shibajaku VII (Nakamura Jakuemon V)
National Theatre (Y_E0200069006032)

“Hikosan Gongen Chikai no Sukedachi”
Osono: Nakamura Shibajaku VII (Nakamura Jakuemon V)
National Theatre (Y_E0200069006032)

Kayaku (Additional Role)

This wicked female stock character is the equivalent of the male katakiyaku. Unlike other female stock characters, the kayaku is played by an actor who normally performs male roles.

Other Roles

Koyaku (Child)

A child stock character, played by an actual child, who may appear in key scenes. The koyaku’s actions and way of speaking are stylized and resemble a doll.

Non-human roles

This refers to non-human stock characters such as animals that transform into humans, flower spirits, ghosts, and monsters. The story is made more exciting with ingenious costumes and mechanisms.

“Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura”
Genkuro Gitsune: Nakamura Kanjaku V (Nakamura Ganjiro IV)
National Theatre (Y_E0200079500283)

“Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura”
Genkuro Gitsune: Nakamura Kanjaku V (Nakamura Ganjiro IV)
National Theatre (Y_E0200079500283)

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