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

Characters and ActorsVarious Kabuki Roles

Yaegakihime

Piece this appear in | “Honcho Nijushiko” (The Japanese Twenty-Four Examples of Filial Piety)

Character

Among the onnagata (female roles) are those of the akahime—ladies of high status because they are daughters of feudal lords, nobles or other persons of rank. In this performance, Yaegakihime, a princess, grieves when she learns that her fiancé, who she had only seen in a portrait, has reportedly died. Afterwards, she meets another man who looks just like her beloved fiancé expresses her feeling of love to him.

Costumes

“Honcho Nijushiko” ‘Nagao Kenshin Yakata Jushuko’ scene
National Theatre (Y_E0100244005036)

The typical costumes worn for such princess roles consist of furisode (long-sleeved kimono) and uchikake (long outer robes) embroidered with gold and silver thread with patterns of seasonal flowers, clouds, fans scattered over running waters and other images on red material. In fact, these types of costumes came to be known as akahime, with that word also evolving into the term for princess roles. The color of red is meant to stress the naive and sweet elegance of the princess.

The standard wigs these princess roles wear include ornaments resembling miniature tsuzumi (hand drums) inserted at the back, along with silver flower pins on top to generate even more gorgeous and dazzling sensations.

“Honcho Nijushiko” ‘Nagao Kenshin Yakata Jushuko’ scene
National Theatre (Y_E0100244005036)