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

To the Theatre

How do I watch?

There are no complicated rules such as a dress code when you watch Kabuki, but there are lots of ways to enjoy the performance even more if you know about them in advance.

Before you go

When it comes to Kabuki, the enjoyment of the audience is the most important thing - Kabuki is a contemporaneous performing art that puts on new works even today. You can enjoy it even without any background knowledge, but on the other hand, this is a traditional performing art with 400 years of history. Just knowing the general summary and setting of the story in advance will make it many times more interesting, especially when you’re watching a classic work.

During the performance

National Theatre (Y_E0200076500403)

As well as following the story being told on stage, audience members can enjoy the acting performances unique to Kabuki, with men playing women’s roles, and exaggerated gestures. Try to observe the costumes, hairstyles, and make-up of the actors, and listen out for the music and sound effects being produced – you'll enjoy it even more!

National Theatre (Y_E0200076500403)

Viewing manners

There is no dress code for the theatre. You should be in your seat before the performance starts, and avoid entering and leaving the theatre during the performance. It is important that you refrain from speaking or making any noise, and do not bother the other members of the audience. Taking photos or audio or video recordings during the performance from your seat is prohibited. Please turn off your cell phones and smartphones beforehand.
You are also not allowed to eat or drink during performances in the National Theatre. The rules about food and drink are different in each theatre, so please check with the theatre you are visiting.