Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Stone Foxes and Kabuki on Children's Day



Ok if I tell you I took these pictures on Children's Day, and Children's Day here in Japan is the 5th of May you'll understand how far behind I am in my blog posts. I'M JUST SO BUSY. Anyway...OK so this isn't actually about Children's Day but Kabuki.


Ok so it's sort of about Children's Day. On the 5th of May we learnt that one of the schools nearby would be performing a kabuki play. Kabuki is something very new to me, it's hard to get tickets (I saw a huge queue for a proper kabuki play) it is all in Japanese and often they last all day. This is kind of nice however as you're meant to devote a whole day to relaxation and entertainment. 


So kabuki is a form of theatre that has been around since the 1600s and is known for being flamboyant and made up small acts that I believe document parts of daily life. The kids in this can't have been 13 yet and they did an incredible job and it wasn't tooo confusing..For the most part I think we were following the lives of people in some kind of court. We seemed to have warriors (one of which was this ADORABLE little boy who I think was about 8 and had the cutest high pitched squeaky voice that they must have told him to put on), a princess, and maybe some kind of shogun or samurai.



OK it wasn't easy to understand and we left after a few hours to explore the shrine the play took place in and to eat takoyaki (I think I can attribute any weight I have gained here in Japan to takoyaki..) but I DID enjoy it and I'd love to learn more about it. A friend of mine recently saw a play about samurai that had subtitles so if I could find a kabuki play catering to foreigners I would love to take another bash at understanding what was going on.



This shrine was very small and thus I'm finding it VERY hard to find anything about it..even its name. What's cool about it was that it seemed to have some kind of tall volcanic structure behind its tori gate. 





What I do know is these little guys are kitsune or foxes. And guess what, they're a yokai! They have been appropriated into Shinto, like so many yokai. And while like many foxes depicted in folklore they do like to play tricks, they also are guardians and take messages from this world to the world beyond.





I've obviously still got lots to learn about the things I see while exploring this country.

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