Nihon Buyo (Traditional Japanese Dance)

Bunraku Puppeters (Click for a larger image) There are so many traditions in Japan which I don’t know about or I have never had a chance to actually experience myself. For example, “Geisha”. I had understood “Geisha” in a totally wrong way until Craig taught me! I knew how they look like, yet misunderstood what they did and had no ideas about their lives and customs back in the days. There might be many differences between Geisha during the war and those who currently work in Gion, Kyoto and I am pretty sure that they had lots of rules and customs compared to these days.

Anyway, Craig and I had a great opportunity to experience one of Japanese traditions on Oct. 22nd. Yai-chan who I guess is making his appearance most in our website, and his wife kindly gave us tickets for Nihon Buyo or traditional Japanese Dance. We visited “National Bunraku Theatre of Japan” located in Nipponbashi. The word “Bunraku”
originally was a name of a theater where old Japanese people enjoyed puppet plays, and for some reason it became to mean puppet play itself.

What we watched at the Bunraku Theatre on the day was actually not a puppet play but it was traditional Japanese music play called as “Nagauta” and dance called as “Nihon Buyo”. “Nagauta” is played as a back ground music of “Kabuki” or “Nihon Buyo”. There were about 5 to 10 players (men & women) in black kimono on the stage and they were playing “Nagauta” sometimes with singings. At the center of the stage, a woman dressed in very beautiful kimono performed Japanese dance with a fan or an umbrella, or sometimes a branch with flowers in her hand. Most of the dances expressed sadness.

Nihon Buyo DancerWhen we arrived the theatre, dances had been already started and the very first one we could watch, which was almost over at our arriving, was very beautiful. It was dark in the theatre and spotlight was focused on a woman dancing at the center of the stage and snow was falling on her. It was just so awesome and honestly I don’t know how to express its beauty. The theatre was in all silence and the woman was dancing in quiet but with her feelings.

To be honest, I didn’t have ideas about “Nagauta” and “Bunraku” so we didn’t expect anything at all. However, Craig & I were so amazed at the first sight and we got ourselves seats while other people went out of the theatre, and enjoyed other dances as well for about 2 hours after that.

It was definitely an experience and we really appreciate Yai-chan and his wife Micchan for their allowing us to have this great opportunity. I don’t think I will ever get such a chance to have myself an experience like this. We would like to have a visit to the theatre again and will dress in Kimono next time!