Kabuki is a classical Japanese dance-drama. Kabuki theatre is known for the stylization of its drama and for the elaborate make-up worn by some of its performers.
The individual kanji, from left to right, mean sing, dance, and skill. Kabuki is therefore sometimes translated as “the art of singing and dancing”. These are, however, ateji characters which do not reflect actual etymology. The kanji of ‘skill’ generally refers to a performer in kabuki theatre. Since the word kabuki is believed to derive from the verb kabuku, meaning “to lean” or “to be out of the ordinary”, kabuki can be interpreted as “avant-garde” or “bizarre” theatre. The expression kabukimono referred originally to those who were bizarrely dressed and swaggered on a street.
Kabuki 21 Excellent resource site on all things kabuki.
Towson University Kabuki and bunraku theatre overview.
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