Okuni


Okuni

▪ Kabuki dancer
also called  Izumo No Okuni  
flourished 17th century

      Japanese dancer who is credited as being the founder of the Kabuki art form.

      Okuni is said to have been an attendant at the Grand Shrine of Izumo in western Japan. She formed a troupe of female dancers who in 1603 gave a highly popular performance of dances and light sketches on a dry riverbed in Kyōto. The company's lusty and unrestrained dance dramas soon became known throughout Japan—the style acquiring the name Okuni Kabuki—and other troupes of female dancers were formed.

      Okuni's company and the newer groups normally had the patronage of the nobility; but their appeal was directed toward ordinary townspeople, and the themes of their dramas and dances were taken from everyday life. The popularity of onna (“women's”) Kabuki remained high until it was officially banned in 1629 by the shogun (military ruler), who thought that the prostitution practiced by many of the dancers was becoming too widespread.

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Universalium. 2010.

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