Kuromori Kabuki - Kabuki teatteri

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 In a rural village called Kuromori which is located in northern Japan a special stage for kabuki is prepared every year. It is amazing that so a little village could maintain such a detailed kabuki project for more than 200 years. It is a outside theater performed in February, mid winter. Despite the coldness hundreds of people visited the village for the kabuki. A group of girls wearing happi welcomed us warm-heartedly. The ground is covered with a styrox, 10cm thickness, effectively protecting us from the coldness.

This folklore art that enacts a 260-year-old tradition is called winter kabuki and performed on the grounds of Hie shrine. It is well programmed yet has wild aspect – viewing the performance for half a day by sitting on the snow packed shrine garden. The snow drifts on the head and shoulders of the spectators, melts in the cup of sake but people do not mind at all. They sigh with satisfaction at each performance, encourage actors and exchange comments. Decades ago the stage too had no roof but now at least the actors are kept from snow.

People in some Japanese farming communities performed their own version of kabuki plays, imitating the professional theatrical groups that began in the early 16th century. The plays were performed as entertainment, of course, and as part of local festivals. Rural kabuki evolved in different directions, depending on the region. Today, only a few groups are still active.

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Copyright (C) 2002-2006: Kari Gröhn. All rights reserved.


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