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

Characters and ActorsVarious Kabuki Roles

Sato Tadanobu (Genkurogitsune)

Piece this appear in | “Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura” (Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees)


Kabuki features many different supernatural characters, including those of gods, buddhas, animal spirits and other entities. In this play, the character Sato Tadanobu, a loyal retainer, has transformed himself into a young fox longing for its parents whose skin was used for a shoulder drum, and reveals his real identity upon being closely questioned.


July 2005
National Theatre, Large Theatre
“Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura” ‘Kawatsurahogen Yakata’ scene
Sato Tadanobu (Genkurogitsune): Ichikawa Ukon I (Ichikawa Udanji III)

The actor dons a costume known as a kenui (stitched fur) in which white silk thread is twisted and embroidered onto white fabric. He then uses distinctive movement and speech in a portrayal of a fox. To better represent the fox’s tail, similar silk thread embroidery is also used on the long obi (sash) to portray its tail.