The Kabuki Guide

Masakatsu Gunji, Author, Christopher Holmes, Translator, Chiaki Yoshida, Illustrator Kodansha America $14 (144p) ISBN 978-0-87011-847-0
This Kabuki guide by a Japanese dance and drama critic provides a brief but informative overview that will help the uninitiated make sense of what could otherwise appear as a mysterious, albeit striking, art form. Developed in 17th century Japan, Kabuki blends elements of dance, drama and ritual into often daylong performances. The work acquaints the reader with Kabuki's history, development and elaborate iconography, and also offers plot summaries of 36 plays. In addition to fascinating but concise discussions of theater architecture, makeup, costumes, music and acting, the book provides visitors to Japan with practical information on theater location and ticket purchase. ""Kabuki positively delights in violent clashes of brilliant, even vulgar colors, in a way seemingly at odds with the refinement and elegance usually held up as the ideal of traditional aristocratic taste,'' writes Gunji, and the accompanying illustrations help to convey the visual pyrotechnics of the Kabuki stage. (March)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1988
Release date: 03/01/1988
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