kabuki actors

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In this visit to Japan, as a rumor told with his family, his appearance on yakatabune, tasting sake, sushi and sukiyaki has become a hot topic on Twitter. Two years ago he visited a dressing room of Kabuki actor, Ainosuke Kataoka . His sitting posture with the stretched spine became popular as “beautiful”. Telling about that he says: “Since I was a dancer before becoming an actor my knees are elastic, but it is hard to be stretching sitting next to regulars, my legs get numb … But this is not only for Danish people, isn’t it?”

[news-postseven.com, 27.01.2017]

As a result of their communication being so heavily gesture-based, Fae theatre and performance resembles Japanese kabuki. Actors display emotion and characterization throughout the show by using specific, exaggerated poses and choreography, as well as makeup that enhances their expressions or elaborate yet lightweight costumes that highlight their movements. While Fae actors performing in ‘mixed-race’ production companies are still rare due to their need to learn to vocally emote like most other dragons, those that do pick up the skill often enhance their roles with these sorts of techniques.

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This is a demonstration of traditional Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock printmaking, done by master printer Keizaburo Matsuzaki (who’s been a printer since he was 15!) at the New South Wales Art Gallery in Australia.

Woodblock prints can be high art, but saw plenty of commercial use back in Edo Japan. For example, while today you have idol shops selling posters of all the boy and girl bands, back in Edo you had small shops that did nothing but sell woodblock prints of pretty scenes and the hottest stars of the moment.

Quick and cheap to make compared to hand-painting the same image over and over again for a single run, these prints typically featured handsome, sexy, and beautiful celebrities (kabuki actors, war heroes, characters from famous works, geisha, etc.) and were sold as fast as they could be made to the fanboys and fangirls of the time.

A portrait of Maiko Chiyoha of Osaka, taken in 1910 or 1911.

Chiyoha later moved to Tokyo and there became the famous Geisha Teruha, a very popular postcard-model and Geisha.

She was also known abroad for her unsteady life.

Teruha-san was born as Chishō Takaoka was born on April 22nd of 1896 in Nara, but her birth registration was made in Osaka, where she also grew up.

Her mother died when she was two and as her father was an alcohlic, she was mostly raised by her grandmother.

At 12 years old, Chishō-san’s father tricked her and sold her to an okiya in Osaka.
She became their adopted daughter and debuted under the name of Chiyoha at age 14; her older sister was the famous Geisha Yachiyo I.
She was considered a radiant beauty and soon gained popularity.

A year later, she fell in love with a man named Otomine, who was a successful kimono-seller. They eloped to Beppu, a popular onsen town.

Soon, Otomine discovered a picture of a Kabuki actor in her pocket mirror and became so jealous that he broke up with her.

Desperate, she cut off her little finger and gave it to him in an effort to prove her faithfulness; however, Otomine did not take her back.

Word of this soon spread and it became impossible for her to return to Osaka. A Geisha from the Shinbashi District of Tokyo called Kiyoka took her under her wings and she debuted as a Geisha in Tokyo under the name of Teruha.

She became a very popular postcard-model and an even more successful Geisha.

In 1919, at age 23, she married Suezo Oda, the manager of a Motion Picture Company.

They visited and travelled across the U.S.A. together, but she had an affair. After coming home to Japan, she attemptet suicide two times and her husband filed for divorce because of her affair. She started working as a Geisha again.

In the mid-1920s, she married a doctor and ran a bar in Osaka.

Her second marriage also failed and in 1935, at age 39, she entered the Bhuddist priesthood in Temple Kume and started calling herself her birth name again.

She then moved to the Giōji Temple in Kyoto and stayed their for the rest of her life. Giōji became a refuge for heartbroken women.

She died on October 22nd of 1994, at the high age of 98.

She wrote five autobiographies, starred in the movie “Ai no tobira” in 1923 and even inspired Jakucho Setouchi’s novel “Jotoku”.

She was also known abroad for her tumultuous and tragic life and was soon called “the nine-fingered Geisha”.

Source: Blue Ruin 1 on Flickr

Utagawa Kuniyoshi 歌川国芳 (1797-1861)

The spirit of Oiwa - kabuki actor Ichikawa kodanjuurou 市川小団十郎 play Oiwa お岩 the lantern ghost - Japan - ca.1847

Source Outa Memorial Museum of Art 太田記念美術館蔵

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Meiji Geisha Hikizuri. Mid to late Meiji period (1880-1911), Japan.  The Kimono Gallery.  A rare style of formal Geisha antique dancing kimono featuring yuzen-dyed pictures of geishas dancing and playing music. Occasional touches of embroidery. Five mon. A design of checkerboard-type squares was popular among some Edo-period Kabuki actors, as well as on kimonos seen on several photos of geisha and oiran dating to the 1880’s to about 1905.