noh / noh-gaku / sarugaku-noh

One of the traditional performing arts of mainland Japan. A song-and-dance drama that developed from the medieval sarugaku, the form was perfected in the Edo period (1615-1868), which marked 250 years of complete isolation from the rest of the world, during which time Japan's unique cultural heritage developed away from outside influences.
The subject matter is classical, and the performers wear masks.

Kamigata-mai  was influenced by shimai  a form of noh theater performed without masks or costumes, with skill expressed through posture and the use of a folding fan

utai

noh-chant, the vocal part of noh drama; it includes the melodic parts as well as the spoken lines; utai has been loved as an independent performing art since the Muromachi Period (1392-1573)

kabuki

One of the traditional performing arts of mainland Japan: a song-and-dance drama that was born during the Edo period as an art form of the masses. Originally played by street formers, from the Meiji period (1868 - 1912) onwards the form became classical and stylized and it is this change from the street to the theater that is called kabuki. Even today new interpretations and original plays are tried out, and performances are staged for the popular audience.

kyogen

In general terms this means any art involving spoken lines, but it usually refers to noh kyogen. Like Noh, it is an old art form whose origins lie in sarugaku: subject matter taken from daily life is treated in comic manner.

bunraku

One of the traditional performing arts of Japan. The term refers to the puppet shows (puppet theatre) of Osaka. Like kabuki this was popular art for the common people, born during the Edo period, and together with Noh these three are known as the sandaikokugeki, or three great national forms of theatre.

shamisen

It is a three string instrument and came to Japan during the Edo period , it was the time of a growing merchant class as well as a samurai (warrior) class that did not have much to do since war was over, except entertain themselves. It quickly became popular as the best instrument for entertainment.

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