Sunday, February 28, 2016

A Brief History of Kabukiza Theatre

The Original Kabukiza Theatre (November 21, 1889) It was built decorated with a western style exterior and Japanese interior, centered on the ideas of Genichiro Fukuchi, a theater reformist. It was named after the genre it presented, and perhaps this may seem simple, but it was quite original at a time when venues were often named after people or locations. 

The Second Period (1911) Rebuilt with a traditional Japanese palatial exterior. The founders of Shochiku Co., Ltd. began to operate the theater in 1914. The building was completely destroyed in October 1921 by fire.

The Third Period During the reconstruction of the theater in 1923, work was interrupted due to the Great Kanto Earthquake on September 1. After three years, the building was completed with the combined decoration of the Nara and Momoyama period architectural design. In May 1945, an air raid almost completely destroyed the theatre.

The Fourth Period (January 1951) The theater was rebuilt using surviving sections, and also preserved the design of the Third Period while incorporating modern facilities. Kabuki developed along with the rapid changes in society, and regained its popularity as we see today, such as through various illustrious ceremonies of inheriting prestigious family names and also performing kabuki in various cities overseas. The theater closed in April 2010.

The Fifth Period (April 2013) The theater you see today was conceived under the motto of "reconstructing the theater retaining the spirit of the Fourth Period." The exterior hosts the beautiful decor of the two periods from its predecessor and displays traditional Japanese craftsmanship and designs in the interior.

The Phoenix The symbol of the phoenix is used in various places throughout the Kabukiza Theatre including banners, lanterns, the roof, and even seats. This mythical bird is a symbol of high virtue. The phoenix, who had taken off after its final performance in 2010, returns to welcome the audiences and watch over the first year of the performance celebrating the reopening, which will mark the first year of the next 100 years to come in kabuki.

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