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Ri primeraki


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RI Example for HL Kabuki

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Ri primeraki

  1. 1. Anatolia CollegeMay 2010Research Investigation HLWord count: 2092 (excluding textual references)How would the Kabuki actor look when performing the role of Sukerokufrom Sukeroku: Flower of Edo by Ichikawa?Ourania PrimerakiD-001005-051
  2. 2. Ourania Primeraki D-001005-051ContentsTitle Page....................................................................................................................01Contents......................................................................................................................02Introduction................................................................................................................03Costumes....................................................................................................................05Wigs and Make-up....................................................................................................12Significant Props........................................................................................................15Conclusion..................................................................................................................17Critique of Sources....................................................................................................182
  3. 3. Ourania Primeraki D-001005-051IntroductionKabuki is a type of Japanese theatre, very well known for its stylizedacting and the elaborate costumes and make-up. It firstly appeared during theEdo period, early 17thcentury, and was developed by Izumo no Okuni1as anew style of dance. It was known as “Onna Kabuki” or women’s kabuki andit was popular among all classes2. However, women were prohibited on stagein 1629 due to moral issues and were replaced by young boys, who wereeventually replaced by men. Yaro Kabuki required men only and did not relyon “physical charm”3as in the past. It is said that the term “kabuki” comesfrom the word “kabucu”, meaning “to be unusual or out of the ordinary”4andit is also a combination of the syllables “ka”, song, “bu”, dance, and “ki”which means art or skill5. The dialogues consist of rhythmical meters thatcreate a highly stylized intonation while the same stylization also exists in theactors’ movements, as there are specific positions for different moments in theplay, such as the strong position of mie. Other important elements are theorchestra, that is on stage and is a part of the general stage design and thestage itself, and also the hanamichi which is an extension from the left of thestage, creating a bond between the actors and the audience.Kabuki plays are divided in three categories: the jidaimono plays thatare about historical stories, the shosagoto that are dance pieces and thesewamono plays that are about the domestic life of people and the humannature. Sukeroku: Flower of Edo or simply Sukeroku is a sewamono play as itrefers to the efforts of Sukeroku to find his father’s killer. It consists of twoscenes and takes place in Edos licensed red light distinct. Sukeroku, a youngman in love with the courtesan Agemaki, is searching for the killer of his1Bowers, Faubion. Japanese Theatre. New York: Hermitage House, 1952, p. 432Ernst, Earle. The Kabuki theatre. New York: Oxford UP, 1956, p. 103Scott, A. C. The Kabuki theatre of Japan. London: George Allen & Unwin, p.364Ernst, p. 105Cavaye, Ronald. Kabuki: a Pocket Guide. Rutland, Vt.: C.E. Tuttle, 1993, p. 203
  4. 4. Ourania Primeraki D-001005-051father. He knows that the killer has his father’s sword so he provokessamurais to fight him in order to see their swords. When his brother andmother scold him for not taking revenge, he explains his plan to them. Ikyo,who, like Sukeroku, is attracted to Agemaki, is the only samurai whose swordSukeroku has not seen. When Ikyo produces his sword, that is actually theone Sukeroku’s father used to have, Sukeroku kills him.Sukeroku is the main character of the play and he is the brave younghero, an Edokko. He is a young fighter who tries to find the man who killed hisfather, which makes him a tateyaku figure that is a “loyal, good orcourageous”6male character.Costumes6Scott, p. 1684
  5. 5. Ourania Primeraki D-001005-051The costume, or ishō,7differs in order to suit the personality of thecharacter, according always to the type of character; for example a samurai,an old lady or a young boy must have some certain characteristics on theircostumes identifying who they are. This way, the spectators familiar with theKabuki Theatre are able to understand the status and characteristics of eachpart from the very first moment the actor appears.Sukeroku’s costumes were usually donated by shopkeepers, due to thepopularity of the role8and in the end of Sukeroku’s dance on the hanamichi, hewould bow towards the audience expressing his gratification towards theshopkeepers9.In total, he has three different kimonos: the one he appears in, the onehis mother gives him and the one he wears in the second act.Upon his first entrance, he wears high clogs which he later takes offand puts a pipe between his toes as an insult to Ikiu: “Kicking off one clog, heplops down on the bench, slaps the pipe between his toes, and thrusts his leginsultingly in Ikyus direction“10.He “is dressed in a solid black kimono piped in red and pale blue. Anelaborate brocade sash is figured with the Ichikawa acting crest” 11. Thekimono is a garment with loose sleeves covering the whole body, while thesash bounds it around the waist12. The beautiful colors of the clothing makehim a “striking theatrical figure”13. The chorus admires his kimono,7Scott, p. 1358Bowers, p. 1119Ibid, p. 19310Brandon, James R. Kabuki: Five Classic Plays. Honolulu: University of Hawaii, 1992, p. 6511Ibid, p. 6312Scott, p. 13613Kincaid, Zoë. Kabuki: The Popular Stage of Japan. London: Macmillan, 1925, p. 2685
  6. 6. Ourania Primeraki D-001005-051mentioning the “Impregnated kimono crest of Five Seasons; symbol of yearswaiting, steeped deeply in love”14.Fig 1: The kimono Fig 2: A sketch of the costumeThe crest is a “design that represents something that is important to afamily”15. In the case of Sukeroku the peony crest shows a peony, a popularflower in Japan, with green leaves on top, representing the five seasons (inJapan there are five instead of four seasons: summer, the rainy season, fall,winter and spring16).14Brandon, p. 6315
  7. 7. Ourania Primeraki D-001005-051Fig 3: The crestSukeroku is known for the “purple headband”17he wears in the firstact. The headband, or hachimaki, is a cotton strip of clothing about “two feetlong and ten inches wide”18and it shows that Sukeroku sympathizes with thecommon people.Fig 4: The headbandIts purple color, known in Genroku as the "Shoguns purple" isassociated with wealth: the red dye (beni) was imported only from China and17Kincaid, p. 26818Ernst, p. 1617
  8. 8. Ourania Primeraki D-001005-051was rarely found among the common people, which is why Sukeroku refersto it as “the pride of Edo”19. This color appears both on his head and on hisfeet as socks (tabi)20. This way, he shows that he “rivals the ruler in wealth andpublicly flouts him, the highest authority in the country”21. Finally, purple isthe color of love, as suggested by a poem in Kokinshū, in which the chorusalludes: “A headband such as this one in times long ago; spoke through itspurple color of abiding ties”22.Later on in the first act, during a fight scene, Sukeroku takes his clogsoff: “[He] kicks off his clogs, ready to fight”. In contrast to courtesans who arebarefooted, male roles require the use of a type of sock, known as tabi. Theyare part of the formal dress and not wearing them “signifies poverty ordistress, or an inferior status in society”23. They are also practical andimportant for the actor.In the same scene, Sukeroku also “slides the kimono from his rightshoulder to free his arm for action”24. The kimono is made such way that thesleeve is detached from the body below the armhole, a part called furi.However, the furi is so long that it almost reaches the waist, which is why it ishard for the actor to perform the fight scene. Later on, he puts it back andwears his clogs again.19Brandon, p. 7120Bowers, p.18021Ibid, p. 18022Brandon, p. 6323Scott, p. 3024Brandon, p. 738
  9. 9. Ourania Primeraki D-001005-051Fig 5: The Parts of the kimonoWhen his mother, Manko, enters disguised, Sukeroku does notrecognize her from the very beginning. As soon as he realizes it is his motherthe one he teases, he takes his clogs off in order to show his respect. Mankoorders him to wear a “paper robe”25, the “fragility [of which] will counsel[him] in patience”26. The robe is probably a kamiko, which is a paper kimono27worn by the character of the young lover who has lost his social position28,which is why Manko states that Sukeroku will have to bear the humiliation ofwearing it29. Throughout the play, the actor must wear this kimonounderneath the one in which he makes the first appearance. This is due to thelong time taken to wear a kimono. Kamiko in Kabuki theatre is more delicate,which is why Sukeroku appears in “a soft, silk kimono of dark purple andlavender sections, the latter with writing on them”30and it resembles thekamiko Fujiya Izaemon wears in Love Letter from the Licensed Quarter31, which is“the conventional representation of a kimono patched together from love25Brandon, p. 8226Ibid, p. 8227Cavaye, Ronald, Paul Griffith, and Senda, Akihiko. A Guide to the Japanese Stage FromTraditional to Cutting Edge (Origami Classroom). JAPAN: Kodansha International, 2004, p. 13628Scott, p. 14229Brandon, p. 8230Ibid, p. 8231Ibid, p. 139
  10. 10. Ourania Primeraki D-001005-051letters”32. The robe and his promise to his mother make it difficult for him tofight Ikyo. However, towards the end of Scene 1 it is torn33, which enables himto fight.Fig 6: Fujiya Izaemon’s kamiko in Love Letter from the Licensed QuarterFig 7: Sukeroku in his kamiko (on the right is Agemaki)32Ibid, p. 8233Ibid, p. 8710
  11. 11. Ourania Primeraki D-001005-051In the second act he appears wearing “a simple white kimono, tiedwith a pale blue sash, and white leggings”34. The white color is a symbol ofdeath35and the use of it is justified by Ikyo’s death.Fig 8: The white kimono34Brandon, p. 8835
  12. 12. Ourania Primeraki D-001005-051Wigs and Make-upThe wigs, or katsura, are made of real hair, usually black. Each wig ismade especially for an actor and the procedure of making adjustments inorder to fit is called awase36. The main parts of any wig are: “the mae gami, thehair above the forehead or front hair, the bin, the sweep of hair at either sideof the face, the tabo, the coil of hair in the nape of the neck, and the mage, orknot, on the top”37. The wigs for male role actors are quite realistic andresemble the hair styles used in old Japan. Even though there is noinformation about how Sukeroku’s wig should look like, from pictures it canbe deduced it is of the sakayaki style: The front half of the head is hairless,usually shaved. The hair remaining behind is gathered up into a knob at theback of the head to complete the toilet 38.Fig 9: Sakayaki hairThe make-up, also known as kesho, is used in Kabuki theatre toexaggerate the muscular delineation of the face and the emotionalexpressions39. The lack of good lighting raised the need of bold make-up,while the existence of type roles established the standardized make-up40. Theuse of painted faces, a tradition known as kumadori, in Kabuki theatre was36Scott, p. 12837Ibid, p. 13038Saito, R. Japanese Coiffure. Trans. G. Mori. Tokyo: Board of Tourist Industry, JapaneseGovernment, 1939, p. 2439Scott, p. 12240Ernst, p. 181-18212
  13. 13. Ourania Primeraki D-001005-051initiated by Ichikawa Danjuro I ( 1660-1704), who was probably influenced bythe theatre of the Ming Dynasty ( 1368-1644)41. Also, since each type ofcharacter has a different style of make-up, kumadori can also define thecharacter. The whole face is painted white with oshiroi, “a matt white creamwhich gives a smooth surface”42. There are symmetrical curves of the paintedbrows, cheeks, eyes and mouth blue, associated with evil, or red, showingvirtue43. In order to put the make-up, one must wear the habutae, a silky capthat acts as a foundation for the wig. Before the oshiroi is added, an oilyfoundation is applied.Sukeroku has a mukimi make-up44, which is for young and handsomeheroes. It accentuates the human side of the character by highlighting “justthe lips and around the eyes”45.Fig 10: Sketch of the make upOn the white background, there are red straight lines around the eyesat a small angle. Those under the eyes curve up and almost meet the tip of theeye-brows. Also, “the top lip is outlined as a thin curve in red, with a touch of41Scott, p. 12242Ibid, p. 12443, p. 12445Cavaye, Griffith, Akihiko, p. 7313
  14. 14. Ourania Primeraki D-001005-051black at each corner, which imparts a downward twist to the line of themouth”46. As the text suggests, “Thin but bold lines of red and black highlightthe pure white makeup of his face”47. The red neckcloth matches the redoutline of the eyes but also accentuates the expressions of the face due to theantithesis between the bold red and the deadly white48.Fig 11: Sukeroku’s make-upSignificant props46Scott, p. 12447Brandon, p. 6348Kincaid, p. 26814
  15. 15. Ourania Primeraki D-001005-051Kodōgu, which are the small stage properties, are divided into two categories:the dedōgu, which are on stage during performance, and the mochidōgu, thatare held by the actors49. The latter ones affect the movement of the actors andthey sometimes play a great role. Sukeroku appears with a half-shut “oiled-paper umbrella with a bamboo framework decorated with a bull’s eyedesign”50.Fig 12: The UmbrellaThe umbrella is known as janome-gasa and in this play it is noted for itscolor, a “curious dull indigo”51. This color is known as "Between theMountains" (yama ai zome), a name associated with the colors of the twomountains Fuji and Tsukaba. Tokyo is between them and during sunset thecolors that lay on the mountains are indigo and black. The mixing of thesecolors gives the unique shade of Sukeroku’s umbrella52. Sukeroku in someperformances has also appeared with a black and white umbrella.53Theumbrella is an integral part of his appearance: in the early years of Kabuki the49Scott, p. 14350, p. 18052Ibid, p. 18053Kincaid, p. 26815
  16. 16. Ourania Primeraki D-001005-051actor had to pass along the hanamichi, so that the audience could admire theactor. This custom was later abandoned but is still seen in Sukeroku.Sukeroku’s swaggering on the hanamichi before going onstage distinguisheshim from the very first moment as the young idol. 54The umbrella enables himto change several poses, thus appearing like the “bravery and fighting spiritof an otokodate”55willing to help the weak ones. Also, the audience is sure thatthere will be a conflict with Ikyo.Conclusion54Scott, p. 11055Kincaid, p. 26916
  17. 17. Ourania Primeraki D-001005-051Sukeroku is one of the most popular Kabuki theatre plays. The maincharacter, Sukeroku, is the young fearless man who wants to find the killer ofhis father. The several changes of his clothing are a part of the plot, but canalso show the different aspects of his character: he is not the chivalrous manmany think or the lover who seeks company; on the contrary, the audiencerealizes that he is a man with beliefs about family. The purple color shows theindignation towards the rulers and wealth and the make-up and wigaccentuate certain aspects of his character, such as his virtues and distinguishhim from the other characters. Finally, the umbrella is one of his main traitsand it enables him to walk on the hanamichi being admired by the audienceand showing his position in the play. As all the characters of Kabuki theatre,the way Sukeroku appears on stage is very specific and his appearance iswhat characterizes him and shows his personality.Critique of Sources17
  18. 18. Ourania Primeraki D-001005-051Published Works1) Bowers, Faubion. Japanese Theatre. New York: Hermitage House, 1952Japanese Theatre is a book that exhibits the history of kabuki theatre. Itintroduces the reader to this tradition of theatre and shows very clearly thedifferent stages kabuki theatre passed through. It also touches upon somemore practical aspects, such as the use of colors or the setting, and finallyincludes translations of several plays, including Sukeroku. It is a very helpfulintroduction to kabuki theatre for somebody who is not familiar with it, as itprovides a wide range of information but not bombarding with details.I found helpful the section about the significance of the purple, butapart from that I did not use this source much as there weren’t enoughrelative details. However, this is one of my most reliable sources, as theauthor, Bowers, is notable for his studies and auctorial contribution toJapanese art. Since he was also General Douglas MacArthurs personalinterpreter, his translation of the text must be accurate. However, the one Imostly used was by Brandon (see below).2) Brandon, James R. Kabuki: Five Classic Plays. Honolulu: University ofHawaii, 1992This is the text that I worked on. The translation seemed to be the mostaccurate one, as the language was more embellished compared to others andhad more lines in general. I did not use this book for research, but there is agreat amount of stage directions that provide useful information. Thetranslator of the play, James R. Brandon, is a noted professor ofJapanese/Asian Theatre at the University of Hawaii, who has been praised18
  19. 19. Ourania Primeraki D-001005-051with several awards, including for his production of Sukeroku: Flower of Edo,which makes his work more trustworthy.3) Cavaye, Ronald, Paul Griffith, and Senda, Akihiko. A Guide to the JapaneseStage From Traditional to Cutting Edge (Origami Classroom). JAPAN:Kodansha International, 2004A Guide to the Japanese Stage From Traditional to Cutting Edge is exactlywhat the title suggests: a guide on the different traditions on Japanese theatre,examining their history, the elements of the performance, such as thecostumes or the acting, and various plays.It is written by Ronald Cavaye, who has shown a great contribution tokabuki theatre, Paul Griffith, a Professor at Saitama University, and AkihikoSenda, a well respected theatre critic in Japan. Since they all are renowned fortheir work and it is a relatively contemporary book, it is wise to trust it. In mycase, I did not use it as much as I would like to because I had only a limitedaccess to some of the pages. Judging from the extracts I read, it would havebeen one of the most useful books for this Research Investigation.4) Cavaye, Ronald. Kabuki: a Pocket Guide. Rutland, Vt.: C.E. Tuttle, 1993Another guide written by Cavaye, to which I had limited access again.It contains the history of Kabuki theatre analytically and continues the patternof A Guide to the Japanese Stage From Traditional to Cutting Edge, but with moredetails. Since I did not have an overall look of the content, my judgment canbe very inaccurate, but from the pages I read, it seems that it has a greataccuracy and is not limited in one aspect of Kabuki theatre, such as acting, butdevelops thoroughly all aspects, such as music, wigs, rehearsals. I believe it is19
  20. 20. Ourania Primeraki D-001005-051vey helpful for someone who is completely unfamiliar with Kabuki theatrebut does not want only superficial knowledge.5) Ernst, Earle. The Kabuki theatre. New York: Oxford UP, 1956The Kabuki theatre is one of the sources I found quite useful. That EarleErnst is a Professor of Drama and Theatre of the University of Hawaii, aUniversity that has shown interest in kabuki theatre, gives credibility to hiswork. The book consists of several chapters, each dedicated to elements of aperformance. Even though there was no history of the kabuki theatre, I didnot think of it as a drawback since I had already found other sources withextended mention to the development of it, and also there was more space forother aspects of theatre, such as the audience.There were several mentions on the character of Sukeroku andgenerally on the play, so I was able to learn more about specific parts of theperformance, such as Sukeroku’s walk on the hanamichi. That there was nochapter or section dedicated to costumes, wigs and make-up was definitely adisadvantage. The book is very well-written but is it not very useful if it is notread in connection with another book on kabuki theatre.6) Kincaid, Zoë. Kabuki: The Popular Stage of Japan. London: Macmillan, 1925Kabuki: The Popular Stage of Japan is probably the least useful source.There are long sections dedicated to the different phases kabuki theatre wentthrough, but there are only few mentions about the practical aspect of theatre.I found helpful only the small section about Sukeroku. Since the book is quiteold and I did not find Kincaid’s connection to kabuki theatre I do no fullytrust this source.20
  21. 21. Ourania Primeraki D-001005-0517) Saito, R. Japanese Coiffure. Trans. G. Mori. Tokyo: Board of TouristIndustry, Japanese Government, 1939This text is irrelevant to my Research Investigation and I used only aparagraph from it. From pictures of productions of the play I understood howSukeroku’s hair should look like but I could not find the name of thishairstyle. Japanese Coiffure has descriptions of several hairstyles and one ofthem suited the one of the pictures.8) Scott, A. C. The Kabuki theatre of Japan. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1955This is the most useful source and is perfect for anyone who in notfamiliar with kabuki theatre. The book includes the history of kabuki theatre,making also connections to Noh and Doll theatre, and extended analyses ondancing, singing and acting of kabuki, thus giving an overall idea of how it isperformed.The part I found most helpful was the one dedicated to the appearanceof the actors. It is the only book with so lengthy descriptions of costumes,wigs and costumes and fully informs the reader, without however becomingtiring. There are also brief references on Sukeroku, as the play and thecharacter are quite often used as examples.21
  22. 22. Ourania Primeraki D-001005-051Online Sources9) "The Five Seasons of Japan Joshua Zimmerman." Joshua Zimmerman. Web.01 Feb. 2010. <>.Http:// reason why I used this website is because it provides someinteresting and useful information about colors and their significance to thedifferent cultures. The article is written by Jennifer Kyrnin who has a BA inlinguistics and an MBA in technology and management. Since she is notassociated with a science, such as psychology or sociology, that is moreclosely connected with human mind or cultures, I do not find her articlecompletely reliable, which is why I make only one reference to it.10) "Kabuki Costumes and Makeup." UNT - Department of CommunicationStudies. Web. 01 Feb. 2010.<>.This is one of the first sources I came in contact with when I started myresearch. It is a very well written synopsis of what one should know aboutcostumes in kabuki theatre. Its reliability is evident due to its goodbibliography, as there were sources cited I had used myself. Even though itlacks depth, it is an excellent introduction in how the actors look like inkabuki performances.11) "JNTO Website | Japan In-Depth | History & Culture | ExperienceJapanese Culture." Japan National Tourism Organization Web Site. Web.01 Feb. 2010.<>.22
  23. 23. Ourania Primeraki D-001005-051This website is excellent for a person that is completely unfamiliar withkabuki theatre. It is very explanatory and introduces the reader to how aperformance is, not to the history of the tradition of kabuki. The images andsketches are also very helpful. Certainly, a research cannot be based on thissource since the information provided is not sufficient, but it pinpoints themost important elements of a production. It is also a reliable source as it isprovided by the Japan National Tourism Organization.12) Web. 1 Feb. 2010 <>The website is under the aegis of the Harn Museum of Art at theUniversity of Florida so I found the information reliable and helpful. Since Iwas not very familiar with what a kimono is, I found this website very helpfulas it explained how kimonos are made and the significance of the crests.ImagesFig 1 & 10: "Kabuki Costumes and Makeup." UNT - Department ofCommunication Studies. Web. 01 Feb. 2010.<>.Fig 2: "JNTO Website | Japan In-Depth | History & Culture | ExperienceJapanese Culture." Japan National Tourism Organization Web Site. Web. 01 Feb.2010. <>.Fig 3: "Japan Society, New York - Kabuki at the Time of Kunisada." JapanSociety, New York - Home. Web. 29 Mar. 2010.
  24. 24. Ourania Primeraki D-001005-051Fig 4: "Japanese Prints and Printmakers | Paul Binnie |." Contemporary FineArt & Original Prints | Ebo Gallery. Web. 29 Mar. 2010. 5: "Japan." Oracle ThinkQuest Library. Web. 29 Mar. 2010. 6: "Invitation to Kabuki | Fujiya Izaemon." Web. 29 Mar. 2010. 7: Cavaye, Ronald, and Tomoko Ogawa. Kabuki: a Pocket Guide. Rutland,Vt.: C.E. Tuttle, 1993Fig 8: Brandon, James R. Kabuki: Five Classic Plays. Honolulu: University ofHawaii, 1992Fig 9: Web. 29 Mar. 2010. 11: "Index of /festpreis." AOYAKA Trading Co. Web. 29 Mar. 2010. 12: SparkPlugged - Plugging the Best of Japanese Indie, Rock and AlternativeMusic. Web. 29 Mar. 2010.<>Since most of the pictures were taken from internet sources, theirreliability is limited. However, they all looked the way I expected, from whatI have read in the books; I tried to find a match with the descriptions. ThatSukeroku is a popular play enabled me to fund pictures of performances and24
  25. 25. Ourania Primeraki D-001005-051Japanese woodblock prints of the character. The pictures taken from booksare definitely of great reliability as I know who the authors and thoseresponsible for the publication are.25