TOP
 >> Exhibitions
 >> Kabuki costumes

Kabuki costumes

Kabuki costumes / Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room 9   October 23, 2007 (Tue) - December 24, 2007 (Mon)

 Image of "Haori Coat (Kabuki Costume), Arrow and target on green satin, Formerly in the collection of Bando Mitsue, Edo period, 19th century (Gift of Ms. Takagi Kyo)" 
Haori Coat (Kabuki Costume), Arrow and target on green satin, Formerly in the collection of Bando Mitsue, Edo period, 19th century (Gift of Ms. Takagi Kyo)

Kabuki was a popular form of entertainment among commoners during the Edo period (1603-1868). Each season began in the eleventh month of the lunar calendar, so theaters presented kaomise kyogen (face-showing stages), which introduced the actors who would appear on stage for the next year. Kaomise banzuke (poster or flyers with actors' portraits) were published, and many people visited the theaters.

Kabuki was established in the early Edo period by a woman named Izumono Okuni at the Shijo River in Kyoto. It initially became popular as a kind of review or operetta performed by courtesans and beautiful young boys, but eventually changed to the present style that is performed by only adult male actors. Kabuki's spreading popularity reached the warrior class to the point where even ladies who worked in o-oku (living quarters for the shogun's wife and consorts) secretly visited the theaters. When an affair between one o-oku woman named Ejima and the actor Ikushima of Yamamuraza theater was exposed, the couple was sent into exile separately. Following the incident, it became extremely difficult for women from the warrior class to enjoy kabuki openly. However, for the ladies living deep inside Edo Castle, their passion for kabuki did not die. After the wife of the actor Nakamura Nakazo became an okyogenshi, a kabuki actress who performs in the o-oku, in 1790 (Kansei 2), an all-female kabuki theater was established in o-oku, where no man except for the shogun was allowed.

The kabuki costumes featured here were used by an okyogenshi named Bando Mitsue. She was an actress favored by Renshoin, wife of Hosokawa Naritatsu, and Omiyo-no-kat, consort of the 11th shogun Ienari. Dating from the late Edo period, these costumes are marked by gorgeous decoration of thick and dynamic embroidery, large design motifs, and rich colors.

 Major works in this exhibition

* Works listed below are in the TNM Collection unless otherwise indicated.
Kitsuke Robe (Kabuki Costume), Green satin with mitsu-myoga (trefoil mioga ginger) crests, Formerly in the collection of Bando Mitsue, Edo period, 19th century (Gift of Ms. Takagi Kyo)
Haori Coat (Kabuki Costume), Arrow and target on green satin, Formerly in the collection of Bando Mitsue, Edo period, 19th century (Gift of Ms. Takagi Kyo)
Page Top