All MALE Actors?! What is KABUKI? Brief History of Kabuki





Have you ever seen Kabuki? Kabuki is traditional Japanese play. Even if you don’t understand Japanese, you can enjoy its unique dance and music.

I’m going to show you basic information about Kabuki in this post.



What is Kabuki?

Do you know Takarazuka musical? Takarazuka theatre only has female performers → Why Fans are Addicted to Takarazuka Musical?



Kabuki is traditional Japanese play. What makes it very unique is that all casts are male. There is NO female cast in Kabuki. All male casts play male characters as well as female characters.

Kabuki casts wear special makeup and their face is covered by white powder.


Examples of Kabuki Makeup






History of Kabuki


Kabuki has over 400 years of history. It’s said that the first Kabuki was originated in 1603. Although all current casts are male, the first Kabuki performer was a woman named “Izumo no Okuni.

She developed new style of dance-drama in Kyoto and played male and female character. It became popular and other young women played Kabuki as well.


However, Kabuki was banned due to frequent fights and argument among audiences. Female performers stopped playing Kabuki.

In 1629, male performers started to play Kabuki. Young men played female roles and those actors were chosen based on their attractiveness.


During 1700, more and more people enjoyed Kabuki. In 1872, Japanese government requested Kabuki performers to play “sophisticated play that can be shown to foreigners.” 

Since then, Kabuki has changed its style so that even foreigners can enjoy.

Kabuki was recognized as Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 2009.



Where to See Kabuki?





There are few Kabuki theatres in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Fukuoka. If you live near Tokyo, it’s best to go theatres in Tokyo because Kabuki plays all year round. The theatre is located near Higashi Ginza station.


If you live near Osaka, the theatre is located near Nanba station.

Another theatre is just a minute from Sijo station in Kyoto. It takes within 5 minutes from Kawara-cho station or Sanjo station.



How to Get Kabuki Tickets?


You can either purchase tickets online, via phone or pick up at the door.

If you want to purchase online, go to ticket Web Shochiku at

This website is only available in Japanese.


Call 0570-000-489 if you prefer to purchase via phone. Talk to one of the representatives and you will need to pick up tickets later.



Kabuki Rules

It’s common sense but don’t use cell phone while Kabuki play is on. Turn the phone off.

Also don’t talk to others and no picture or recording is allowed.

You can bring your children with you, but you will be asked to stay in the lobby if they cry or make noise.




Kabuki was started by female performers but all performers are male in current Kabuki.

To play female role is difficult and the actors practice a lot.

It’s interesting to see how they dress, dance, move as well as their special makeup.



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