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Japanese Studies Resource

Japanese Studies Resource Guide

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Image: One of several binders of kabuki postcards

Kabuki Actors Postcard Collection

A vast collection of thousands of postcards (絵葉書 ehagaki) of kabuki actors in costume, along with a large selection of kabuki-related vernacular photographs. From between 1912-1980. 

*To see about viewing this collection, please contact Beth Kattelman, curator: kattelman.1@osu.edu 

Image: A detail of an illustration from Nōgaku zue

Nōgaku zue / hissha Tsukioka Kōgyo

Woodblock prints by Tsukioka Kōgyo; Each print presents a scene from a Nō play or other Nō display: subjects include masks, props, costumes, and backstage scenes

Image: An illustration of a magic performance, from Wayō tejina no tane

Wayō tejina no tane / Murakata Yoshisaku

Translation of title: Nuggets of Japanese and western magic

Image: A close-up of a kabuki actor postcard

Kabuki Actors Postcard Collection

A vast collection of thousands of postcards (絵葉書 ehagaki) of kabuki actors in costume, along with a large selection of kabuki-related vernacular photographs. From between 1912-1980. 

*To see about viewing this collection, please contact Beth Kattelman, curator: kattelman.1@osu.edu 

Image: A close-up of a kabuki actor postcard

Kabuki Actors Postcard Collection

A vast collection of thousands of postcards (絵葉書 ehagaki) of kabuki actors in costume, along with a large selection of kabuki-related vernacular photographs. From between 1912-1980. 

*To see about viewing this collection, please contact Beth Kattelman, curator: kattelman.1@osu.edu 

Image: An illustration of noh masks from Nōgaku zue

Nōgaku zue / hissha Tsukioka Kōgyo

Woodblock prints by Tsukioka Kōgyo; Each print presents a scene from a Nō play or other Nō display: subjects include masks, props, costumes, and backstage scenes

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Noh
Kabuki
Bunraku
Rakugo
Taiko
Okinawa music
Enka

Theater

Noh (nō) is the oldest continually performed style of theater in the world. It dates back to the 14th century, and in the 17th century it became the official ceremonial art of the government of Japan.

Kabuki (歌舞伎 kabuki) is a form of theater that became more popular among common people in Japan. It was first performed in the 17th century.

Bunraku (文楽 bunraku) is a type of puppet theater originating in the city of Osaka.

Rakugo (落語 rakugo) is a performance whereby a single storyteller recounts an often humorous tale while seated seiza style using nothing but two props: a fan and a handkerchief. 

Music

Japanese folk music (邦楽 hōgaku) is ancient and diverse. Some of the representative traditional instruments of Japan include the koto (琴), a long, stringed wooden board, the biwa (琵琶), a type of lute, and the shakuhachi (尺八), a bamboo flute.

Taiko (太鼓 taikois the Japanese word for drum. In English, it is often used to refer to a particular type of drum ensemble known in Japan as kumi-daiko which developed after World War II.

Okinawa music (沖縄音楽 Okinawa ongaku) is music following the cultural traditions of the Ryukyu Islands, the largest of which is Okinawa. The shamisen, an important instrument in both kabuki and bunraku, was brought to Japan by the Okinawans. 

Enka (演歌 enka) is a form of Japanese popular music said to resemble traditional Japanese songs. Enka songs are usually sentimental ballads that are distinct from Western popular genres

Select Works


Noh
Translations of plays

Further Reading

Kabuki
Translations of plays

Further Reading

Rakugo
Further Reading