INVITATION TO KABUKI Guide to Japanese Traditional Performing Arts KabukiINVITATION TO KABUKI Guide to Japanese Traditional Performing Arts Kabuki

Characters and ActorsVarious Kabuki Roles

Kamiyui Shinza

Piece this appear in | “Tsuyu Kosode Mukashi Hachijo” (Shinza, the Barber)

Character

Among the katakiyaku (villain character) in Kabuki plays, some characters who are scoundrels or cheats are also cast as playboys or other similar types, making it difficult to truly detest them. In this story, a kamiyui (barber) named Shinza sets out to deceive a male acquaintance and get his girl and money. As things turn out, however, Shinza himself ends up being the victim of an even more devious swindler.

Costumes

“Tsuyu Kosode Mukashi Hachijo” ‘Shirokoya Misesaki’ scene
National Theatre (Y_E0100203000034)

Since Shinza is a character in a sewa-mono (contemporary, domestic play) which portrays the common people’s lives during the Edo Period faithfully, his costume is not grand or exaggerated. For example, a cord used to keep the sleeves of his kimono out of the way is made from a paper cord normally used for tying up hair. This element reflects the clothing style of barbers of that era.

The props that Shinza wields are impressively accurate reproductions of implements actually used by Edo Period barbers. On stage, therefore, the scenes of dressing customers’ hair are portrayed in highly realistic actions.

“Tsuyu Kosode Mukashi Hachijo” ‘Shirokoya Misesaki’ scene
National Theatre (Y_E0100203000034)