Japan Study Abroad: Post Nine

I felt like I was transported and loved every minute of it.


Thanks for joining us for post nine of our stay at Reitaku University! On this day, we went to see a live theater performance in the traditional Japanese style – called kabuki. I’m very excited to share this experience with you. This was quite an amazing event to witness, because this is an artform that the Japanese people have preserved meticulously over hundreds of years. Kabuki is performed by an all-male cast and portrays dramas and stories. The stories range greatly in plot and incorporate dance to a degree as well. The lines are spoken in a very old, traditional style of Japanese. My favorite part, however, is the use of the instruments. Some of the instruments used in kabuki include the shamisen, ko-tsuzumi and o-tsuzumi, and takebue. The shamisen is a lute-type instrument that has three strings and is played with a tool called a plectrum. Tsuzumi are hourglass-shaped drums that have tension ropes on the sides to be pulled for a different effect. The takebue is a bamboo flute that has a high-pitched sound and is played by holding the instrument to the front rather than the side. The shamisen was one of my favorites of the instruments, as it created this vibrant, plucky timbre when played. Moreover, during the performance, two performers took some time to give us a shamisen-only show. I was bloLeeAnne and I with instrumentswn away at the level of skill these two gentlemen possessed. It started off slow and methodic and progressed into a fast-paced whirl of spine-tingling sound. During the rest of the show, the flutes and drums were also enlivening as they set the mood for each scene. I really enjoyed the costumes and makeup, as it made me feel like I was watching a whole different world when combined with the intricately painted backdrops. There were also hyped-up audience members that would yell during the show. At first we all thought these people were planted in the audience by the show crew, but then we found out that these were just experienced kabuki goers that would yell the names of the characters and actors to provide more atmosphere. It was indeed fascinating to feel the energy of the theater. If given the chance, I highly recommend going to see these performances. They can also provide electronic translators to people that do not speak Japanese. All in all, I felt like I was transported and loved every minute of it.

Japan Study Abroad: Day Nine


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